My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Feeling frustrated and getting beyond it

So I had an interesting day at the gym yesterday.

It started out really good. I ran into my friend Meggan as we were both going in. Always nice to see friends at the gym.

I needed to get some cardio done and I had some sessions booked with Cody for strength training.

First up was cardio.

I hopped on the treadmill. Sometimes I just power walk on the treadmill, sometimes I run, sometimes I do both. I started out with power walking, then when I felt like I was warmed up, I did a little running. The running felt good. I was even able to increase the speed. I only had about 40 minutes before my first training session, so I spent 35 of it on the treadmill. I was really happy with it.

Then it was time for strength training with Cody. Most of Cody’s sessions are 30 minutes long. They are small group sessions, so a maximum of 5 people. Often it’s just me and Cody, but occasionally other people sign up too.

So first up for strength training was arms. I love a good arm workout. This session was me and another woman. I challenged myself a bit, opting for slightly heavier weights. It was a good session.

Next up was legs. This time there was 3 of us.  In the first set of exercises he gave us, there was one I couldn’t do. I was frustrated by it. I kept trying but just couldn’t do it. He gave me a modification for it, which I was able to do, but I didn’t feel it was doing anything for me. I wasn’t feeling it. In the next group, he gave us, again, there was one I couldn’t do.  And I was feeling even more frustrated. The other two woman were totally getting it, they could do it all, but I couldn’t. I think that added to my frustration.  I managed to get through the rest of the session without breaking down, but it was close.

His next session was abs, which I hadn’t had a chance to try yet and he had openings, so I decided to give it a go. The first thing he wanted us to do was something I’ve never been able to do. A little background first:  When I joined my first gym in 2012, I came across this piece of equipment. I’m not sure what’s it’s actually called, but I called it a leg lift machine. It looks something like this:

Image result for leg lift machine

I actually had a breakdown at the gym once because I could not do it. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t do it. Never could. Anyway, back to yesterday. He walks over to this thing and almost immediately the panic rushes in, remembering what it was like before. When it was my turn, I tried stepping up into it, and I started shaking and had to step away for a few minutes. I was embarrassed and frustrated all over again. I took a few minutes to calm myself down before coming back. We then moved to the mats. I got down on the floor, ready to work, but once again, frustration that I couldn’t do what he was showing us. They weren’t hard movements, I just couldn’t do them. I tried modifying them, but still couldn’t. I was on the verge of a breakdown and I knew it. I got up and walked out. I knew I had to remove myself from the situation. I was beyond frustrated. I was on the verge of giving up and going home. I posted this pic in that moment:

20664389_10154930054433546_873704029284608320_n

In that moment, I was ready to give up. But I knew that I couldn’t. I knew that I had to push myself beyond my frustrations. I had to keep going. So I drank some water and walked around the gym until I was feeling better. I never went back into the abs session. I waited until it was over. I had another session following it.

Cody asked if I was okay and I said yes, I was fine. He asked if I wanted to go home and I said no, I was good. I could tell he was concerned, but I think he trusted that I wouldn’t push myself too hard. So we moved on to the next session.

The next session was a back workout. This session also had 3 of us in it. I pushed myself hard, opting to try slightly heavier weights that I used previously. It paid off. I felt like I did really well.

After the session was over, I took a break. Drank more water and used the time to chill. I still had one more session to go.

The last session of the day was a chest workout. This session was just Cody and I. He asked if I was okay, and I said yes, I was good to go. We did a couple new things, and again, I opted to try some slightly heavier weights. The session was good.

By the end, I was feeling much better. I felt like I had moved beyond my frustrations. I was proud of myself for not giving up. I felt that overall, I had a good solid workout. I was tired and a little sore, but left the gym with a smile on my face.

20664513_10154930294513546_2505333623077687875_n

It was good at the beginning, messy in the middle, and good at the end. Some days are like that.

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Hoping to find that groove again

When I began my journey to be a healthier me in 2009, I knew it would not be an easy road. I knew I had to take it one step at a time. I had to retrain my brain to look at pretty much everything differently.

The first couple of years were a struggle. Not only was I learning to do things in a new way, I was also learning to live a life after cancer AND dealing with personal tragedies. Eventually, I felt like I had found a groove. It still wasn’t easy and I was still learning a lot, but I was getting better.

There were a few bumps in the road, like when I had to switch gyms and when Tyler decided to give up doing personal training. But I managed to get through them. Then there was the decision to change gyms again, followed by the car accident. While I eventually recovered from the accident, I never did join another gym. I think that was a contributing factor to the struggles I’ve been dealing with since.

As nervous as I was to join my first gym, I’ve realized since then that I seem to work out well around other people, even if we aren’t working out together or even know each other. Maybe I feed off their energy or something. Whatever it is, I just seem to do better with others around.

I’ve tried doing workouts at home, but it’s not quite the same. And I don’t know why. I know a lot of ways to workout with little to no equipment, but I find it hard sometimes to get a good workout in by myself.

I don’t know if it’s lack of motivation or lack of trust in myself or something else. I just feel like something is missing. And because of that, I’ve gained back some of the weight I lost. I know I only have myself to blame. And I know that I’m the only one who can fix it. I need to start making better choices again.

I’ve been talking a lot about joining a gym again. And in truth, I’ve been talking about it for quite a long time. I know it’s something I need. Living in a small town, there are not a lot of choices. And maybe that’s part of why I haven’t done it yet. But we are getting a new gym in town and I’ve already made a commitment to join. I’m really looking forward to it.

But we are getting a new gym in town and I’ve already made a commitment to join. I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully, I can find that groove again. The gym is scheduled to open in about a month. I’m feeling good about it. I’m anxious to see how much I remember.

I know it will take time to get back to where I was and beyond, and I’m okay with that. I’m already working on my mindset. And that’s the first step, and one of the most important.

 

 

2 Comments »

The finish line is a thing of magic

My friend JP recently shared a video on Facebook of a woman finishing the London Marathon. She had lost her husband and son and suffered from PTSD. His comment was ” This! 💙 Running will change your life if you have the faith to invite it in…”

And he’s right.

Running has taken me places I never thought I’d ever go.

I watched the video, and it was beautiful.

My comment on the video was:

“the finish line is a thing of magic. no matter the distance, no matter how long it took to get there, you are forever changed once you cross it. whether it’s an actual finish line in a race or an imaginary one you create for yourself.”

And that got me thinking just how true of a statement that is.

So I thought I’d write about it.

When I first began my journey to be a healthier person, I wasn’t really sure where it would take me or even how I’d get there. I just knew that I needed to begin. I also knew that I had to take it slow, at least at first, or I’d just end up spinning my wheels and would get very far. Baby steps. One thing at a time.

It reminds me of a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

I never imagined I’d end up becoming a runner.

I never imagined I’d love it.

I never imagined I’d start doing local races. And love it.

When I first started working with Tyler, he asked me what some of my goals were. I explained a bit about my journey, and that one of my goals was to walk in and complete a 5k event. I’d given myself a year to complete that goal. With Tyler’s help, I was able to complete that goal in less than 4 months.

It was a very hot and extremely humid day in July 2012. It was a small local race put on by a friend of mine. And I was the only one walking it. A spectator asked if he could walk along with him, and I said yes. I found out his girlfriend was one of the runners. He and I became good friends that day. Not far from the finish, I had to sit down on a bench because I was having trouble breathing. (I had forgotten my inhaler). After a few minutes, I was able to continue. When I rounded the last corner right before the finish line, I was amazed to see so many people waiting. As soon as they saw me, they started cheering, and I’m pretty sure I started tearing up. I remember an incredible sense of pride and accomplishment as I crossed the finish line that day.  It was one of the hardest things I’d done up to that point, and that made that feeling all the more special.

That finish line was a thing of magic.

In that moment, I knew my life would never be the same.

In that moment, I knew that I wanted to do that again.

About 6 months later, I started running. have completed 29 other races.

And since that first race in 2012, I have completed 29 other races. Mostly 5Ks, although there was one 10k and one half-marathon.

And the feeling is the same every time I cross the finish line.

It’s like magic.

No matter the distance, no matter how long it took me to get there.

I crossed the finish line. Every. Single. Time.

In 2015, I took on one of my biggest challenges – completing a half marathon. An incredibly intimidating goal to me, especially considering I’d never done more than 10k before. But I was determined to do it.

I had almost a year to prepare for it, so I did a lot of research to find an appropriate training plan. I eventually found one that was close and adjusted it to make it more appropriate for me.

Every run had its own finish line. Whatever the distance that day, I wouldn’t stop until I reached it. I’d carefully map out my runs to make sure I could cover the distance. I often planned them so I’d end at my favourite coffee shop. As the weeks of training continued, the runs got longer, and I’d have to remap to make sure I covered at least the distance necessary. Often, my runs were a little bit longer than they needed to be. There were days that were hot and humid (even early in the morning), but that didn’t stop me. One of my longest runs was done in the rain, 17.25k, but I didn’t let that stop me either. Another run my back seized up with about 2k to go, but I just kept moving forward.

I trained for 4 months. 4 runs a week. Every single run I did by myself. And some days it was very hard. It’s not easy training alone. Especially for something so big. There were days I didn’t want to run, but I did it anyway. Some mornings I wanted to sleep in, but I got up anyway. I was determined to cross that finish line.

Things didn’t go very well on race day. Things happened that were completely out of my control, but I didn’t let that stop me. I kept moving forward. It took me longer than I’d hoped, but in the end, I crossed the finish line. And once again, I knew my life was changed forever.

Now, when I think I can’t do something, I think about my races. 30 races total. And I have finished every one. Every. Single. One. Often I’m the very last person in, but that doesn’t matter to me. And crossing the finish line never gets old. I get goosebumps every time. I often tear up. Because I’ve accomplished something truly amazing. Every goal I set has its own finish line. Only I can see it, but it’s there. Every time I accomplish something I set out to do, I cross that finish line.

The finish line is a thing of magic. It makes you feel like you can accomplish anything.

 

Leave a comment »

And the award for the best story goes to …

Okay. I know it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ll explain that in another post. But for now, let me tell you what happened today …

 

So awhile back I decided that I needed to get my butt back in gear and running again. I wrote up a plan that would start with the new year. I lost a lot of the running base I add due to injury (more on that later) and need to rebuild. So my plan is to start out slow, run when I can and work my way back up to what I know I’m capable of doing. With that in mind, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and do a Resolution Run on January 1st. My local running store does one every year and I decided this would be the year that I would tackle it.

With that in mind, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and do a Resolution Run on January 1st. My local running store does one every year and I decided this would be the year that I would tackle it.

I got new running shoes for Christmas, so I was a little excited to break them in.  I also got grips for my shoes so I could run outside when it’s snowy/icy.

I wasn’t sure if I would need the grips this morning, but I took them with me anyway. The sidewalk and road by our house were icy, but that didn’t mean it would be icy near the running store. The route would be part sidewalk, part road. And there is a giant hill involved. I was excited, although a little nervous.  When we got to the store, the sidewalks didn’t look that bad. I ultimately decided not to use the grips. Looking back, I should have used them. Read on to see why …

So we head out to the start. This is when I notice the sidewalks look icy than I first thought. But too late to go back to put the grips on.  I knew that I would need to be extra careful.  I never worry about how long it takes me to finish, I just worry about finishing. That’s always my first goal – cross the finish line. Anyway, so off we go and lots of people are being extra careful. There were a few slight slips at the beginning, but no one fell, so that’s good. Pretty soon everyone was way past me, but I don’t really mind. I’m pretty well used to that.

We had been warned that there was a big icy patch at the corner where we turn. I was prepared for that. I get to the corner, see the ice, and carefully cross the road.  Now here is where I messed up. I was thinking there was a sidewalk as soon as I crossed the road. It’s been a while since I ran in this area, so I didn’t remember that the sidewalk starts a little farther up the road. Anyway, after crossing the road, I end up walking in the parking lot, which of course is covered in ice. I’m trying to figure out how to get off the ice safely and get back to the road or to where the sidewalk is. I make it to the area where there is snow. It’s not far to the road, so I think I can just gingerly step through the snow to the road.

Wrong. So wrong.

I get about halfway across when I step on a spot that is not firmly packed, and I sink into the snow up to my thigh. Just one leg. I try to get myself out, and sort of manage to, but then I fall again into the same area. Now I’m really stuck. Looking back, I remember thinking I hope I don’t ruin my brand new shoes. I went straight down, so I didn’t think I was hurt. There was a woman across the street who was running and she saw me fall. At first, she didn’t know I was stuck, but as soon as she realized I couldn’t get out, she ran across the street to help me. She didn’t have gloves on, so she ran back across to her car to get her gloves, then back across to me. While she did that, I called my husband who was nearby waiting for me to finish. At this point, a gentleman showed up as well to help. Between the 2 of them, they helped me get out of the snowbank and over to the road. Then they helped me across the road to where my husband picked me up. He drove me back to the running store. I was a little shaky, and pretty embarrassed, but I was okay.

When I got back to the running store, I think they were a little surprised to see me back so soon. I explained that I had fallen. I was okay, just a little shaky. I was upset because I’ve never not finished a race before.  They asked if I wanted to go out again, and I said no, I was afraid to fall again. They gave me the option of doing a different route so I could still finish the race.  I was happy with that. So while the others were making their way back, my husband and I were walking the remainder of the distance near the store. When my friend Meggan finished, I explained to her what happened. She asked if I was okay. I said I was, just a little shaky. My pride was hurt more than anything. She walked with me for a bit to finish the distance of the race. I was starting to feel a little sore, but nothing too bad. I did notice a small cut on my left ankle. I might have some bruising, but overall I’m okay.

As Meggan and I were talking after the race, we began to find the humour in the situation. Looking back, it is pretty funny. I can only imagine what people driving by must have thought seeing me stuck in that snowbank. I’m short anyway, so having my leg stuck in that snowbank almost all the way up must have looked pretty funny. Meggan said they are probably telling their family and friends “guess what I saw today!” And then I said, “and yeah they probably won’t be believed. Sort of like saying you saw Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster.” We both thought that was pretty funny too.  And then Meggan said, “Just think. You started the race, got stuck in a snowbank, had 2 strangers help you out, and you still managed to cover the distance! And the award for the best story goes to …”

So there it is.

I decided to start the new year by doing a 5k race. I fell into a snow bank and got stuck. My pride took a big hit. I was rescued by 2 strangers. But I still managed to cover the distance. Whoever said running is boring.

Heck of a start to the new year. It didn’t go as planned. But it worked out in the end.

And now I have a heck of a story to tell again and again.

I almost wish I had a picture of me stuck in that snow bank. Almost.

 

Happy New Year!

 

Leave a comment »

Mindset

I’m participating in a webinar this summer called Summer of Success, hosted by Mark Black.  I’ve often thought about doing one of these, but never really had the chance to for one reason or another.  When the opportunity came up for this one, I just couldn’t pass it up.  It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling a lot lately.  I’m hopeful that this webinar will help me move forward.

This week’s topic was on Positive Mindset.

One of things I learned early on in my journey to be a healthier person is that mindset is everything.  If you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t have true success.  I know that’s why I failed over and over again in the attempts I made in my teens and 20s.  Once I changed my mindset, I found the success I desired.

Mindset is how you view everything.

Do you see things in a positive light? Or a negative one?

When something bad happens, do you look for what good might come of it? Or do you dwell on the bad?

Simply put, do you see the glass half-full or half-empty?

I’ll admit I don’t always have a positive mindset.  I try my best, but sometimes I find myself thinking negatively.  I know I need to change how I’m looking at the situation, but it’s not always easy.  Sometimes I can do so relatively quickly; other times, it takes me a long time to turn my thinking around.

When I first received my cancer diagnosis, I was devastated.  I remember thinking my life was over.  I couldn’t see anything positive about it.  Even as the doctors told me it was caught early and that the prognosis was good, I couldn’t see past the disease itself.  I never feared cancer growing up.  It didn’t run in my family so I never thought to fear it.  I feared heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol because those did run in my family.  But there I was sitting in that doctor’s office hearing the words no one ever should have to hear.  As I slowly told family and friends, did my own research and saw more doctors, I realized it was not as bad as the word implies.  I was lucky.  The cancer was found early, and it’s location meant that it was the type that it did not spread quickly.

The more I learned, the more my thinking shifted. 

The more my thinking shifted, the more I realized I had been given the opportunity to change my life. 

I could continue to be the couch potato and junk-food junkie I had been most of my life, or I could look at this as my chance to make my life better.

I could learn to make healthier choices. I could learn to be a more positive person. I could learn to enjoy exercise (for perhaps the first time ever).

As weird as it sounds, I began to look at my cancer as a gift.  I was being given the chance to become a better person – both mentally and physically.

So that’s what I did.

It’s not been an easy road.  I had a lot of struggles at the beginning.  A lot of things were thrown in my path: nearly losing my dad, the death of my stepmom, the deaths of 2 of my beloved cats, and the death of my mom — all in just over a year.  None of them were easy.  Any of them could have broken me.  But I refused to let them.  I was building a new life for myself.  I stumbled and fell a lot, but I always got up.  I refused to give up.  And with each thing I overcame, I became a better person.  I began to see everything in a different light.  And let me tell you, it really does make a difference.

Friends began to tell me how much of a difference they could see.  Not just in my physical appearance.  I seemed happier.  I smiled more.  I laughed more.  I was more open.  The more I looked for the good, the more I found.  Funny how it happens that way.

Two years ago, my husband and I were in a car accident.  Yes, I was upset about it.  But I surprised myself but almost immediately looking at the good side of it.  It was a single car accident and we both walked away with only minor injuries.  It could have been so much worse.  And I could have dwelled on that fact, but I chose not to.  I chose to see just how lucky we both were.  I think that made a huge difference in the healing.

My journey to be a healthier person has not been easy.  And right now I’m going through a lot of struggles.  I’ve been dwelling a lot on the past.  This week I was reminded just how important it is to have a positive mindset.  It’s always been there, in the back of my mind. And right now the negative thoughts are trying to squash it.  But it’s starting to fight back, fighting to get back to the top where it belongs.  And I’m going to do whatever I can to get it back up there.

I know it’s not an easy road, but I’m determined to get where I want to go.  And I’ll get there.  I’m positive.

 

 

3 Comments »

Goodbye 2015

Well, here we are at the end of another year.

It’s certainly been an interesting one.  I upped my running game this year but faltered in other areas.  I’m still learning how to create balance.  It’s not easy.  I still struggle a lot.  I’m trying my best, but some days are really hard.  I still have days where I just want to give up.  Somehow I find the strength to push through, although I’m not sure how.  I’ve had to find a lot of strength lately, although I kind of wish I didn’t have to.  I know it’s all part of the journey, but some days I wish things were a little easier.

Anyway, let’s get on with reviewing the year…

At the beginning of the year, I set some goals for myself. Some big, some small.  Some fitness related, some not.  So how did I do with them? Let’s see …

First, I wanted to do more races. In fact, I set a goal of 10 races.  That might not seem like a lot, but for me it was.  I actually had my doubts a few times that I would be able to do it.  But I did it.

Second, I set a goal to do my first half-marathon.  This goal terrified me.  I chose a race in October so I’d have plenty of time to train for it.  After a lot of searching, I found a training plan that I thought would work for me.  I had to modify it a little, but I felt it was a good solid plan.  The training went well, and when race day arrived, I felt I was as prepared as I could be for it.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done.  Although it took me longer than I had anticipated, I did cross the finish line.  While I was physically prepared, I hadn’t really mentally prepared for it.  But I didn’t realize that until mid-race.  I gave everything I had to that race, and then some.  To be honest, sometimes I’m not sure I made it to the finish line.

I wanted to do more running this year, and I certainly did that.  I had to log a lot of kilometres in my training.  Once the race was over, though, I didn’t do much running.  I felt like I needed to rest and reboot.  In my training plan, I had built in a rest period after the race.  It ended up being longer than I had planned.  I did some short walks in the weeks after the race, but no running for several weeks.  When I did start running again, my heart wasn’t always in it.  I questioned myself a lot.  I did a lot of reflecting.  I came to the conclusion that I had given  so much to my training and the race, I was mentally exhausted and just needed a break.  I decided not to harp on it and just let myself rest.  I did do some running, but not very much.

I also wanted to get back into the gym.  While I did visit a gym here and there, I still have not joined another one.  I really do miss it.  I really do need to get a membership somewhere.  Circumstances just didn’t allow it this year.  Hopefully next year.

The other goals I had this year were relatively minor — read more, write more, spend more time with my friends.  I did read several books this year, so I’m pretty happy with that goal.  I love to read, so I always think I should be reading more.  There are several books I heard about this year that I want to read.  Hopefully I will get the chance to next year.  While I was training, I regularly wrote on my blog.  Once the race was over, I posted a couple of things but haven’t posted anything since.  Overall, I think I did pretty good with that.  I’m hoping I will do as good or better next year.  As for spending more time with friends, this one was hard.  Everyone is busy these days.  I tried many times, but to no avail.  Maybe next year will be better.

The one goal I continually need to work on is being hard on myself.  I think I did pretty good with that this year, but I know it’s an on-going thing.  It’s something I will always need to keep an eye on.

Overall, I think I did pretty good with my goals of the year.

So what else happened this year?

My job with Celebrate the Hero continued to grow.  I really love working there.  I’m continually learning new things.  It is so rewarding.  I hope things continue to go well there.

My husband and I took a short trip to Delaware this summer.  My dad got remarried, and I was able to spend time with some of my family.  Because we live so far apart, I don’t get to see them very often.  We stay in touch via Facebook, but it’s nice to actually see them. We took day trips to Philadelphia and New York City.  We crammed a lot into the few days we were there.  I wish we could have stayed longer, but at least we got to see them for a few days.

To be honest, not much else went on this year.  My training and race schedule took up a good portion of the year.  I spent as much time as I could at my favourite local coffee shop, Urban Escape.  They moved to a new location this year, but not far from their old one.  I really love that place.  I love that it feels so comfortable.  I love that everyone is so nice and friendly, especially Juliet, the owner.  It’s just a wonderful place to be.  I made a few new friends, which is always nice.  And I even reconnected with an old one.  Overall, it was kind of a quiet year.

Well, that’s it.

I hope you all had a wonderful year.

And I hope your 2016 will be a happy one.

 

 

Leave a comment »

The County Half-Marathon (2015) – race recap

Fair warning, this will be a long post.

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this.  I definitely needed some downtime after the race just to recharge, both physically and mentally.

________________________________________________________

I woke up Sunday morning with the typical pre-race nerves.  I’ve done enough races now that I knew I’d have them.  Truth be told, I’d been feeling them for a few days.  Although this time, the nerves were much stronger than they had ever been before.  I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering this would be the biggest race I had ever done before.

I was up earlier than would normally be for a race day, but I had to be.  It was going to take about an hour to get to the location, and they close the roads, so we had to be out there before that.  I showered and dressed, and then made my way downstairs for breakfast and coffee.  I added a few last minute things into the bag I was taking to the race.  And I made sure I had everything I needed in my race vest.  I took the time to do some stretching as well.  I like to do some stretching before a race because it helps calm me a bit.

Soon enough Karen arrived to pick me up.  We stopped on the way to race for coffee (for me) and tea (for her).  We made sure we had plenty of time to get there, just in case there was traffic.  As it turned out, there really wasn’t any, which meant we got to the location pretty early.  The way this race works is everyone parks where the finish line is and then you are transported by bus to your start line.  This race is a full marathon, half-marathon, and relay race.  Karen and I were both doing the half, and several other people we know were too.  One friend was supposed to do the full, but he injured himself and had to pull out.

The full marathon and relay start 2 hours before the half, which I think is a little weird.  If you think you will take over a certain amount of time for the full, there is an early start option.  There is no option for the half.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, it was finally time for us to board our bus.  As we were getting ready to get on the bus, I realized I left my belt bottle in Karen’s van.  I decided not to go back for it, thinking I’d be okay since there would be a water station about every 2 kms on the course.  We took the first one going to our start line.  Karen told me to go ahead of her, and we joked that she was going to block me from trying to run away LOL.  So we get to the start line, and we have over an hour wait until we run.  It seems like a ridiculous amount of time to wait! And all it did was give me more time to freak out.  I talked to other runners and paced around trying to keep calm, but it didn’t help that much.  I really was freaking out.  More and more runners were arriving and all that did was freak me out more!

As I was pacing around, I saw Tyler.  I didn’t know he had planned to run.  It was actually a great comfort to see him there.  We chatted for a few, and then he left to do his warm-up.  Finally it was getting closer to the time.  I checked my bag, as all the other runners were doing.  The first runners in the marathon were passing by, and everyone cheered.

The sun was mostly shining, which I was happy about, but it was very windy.  The wind made it cold.  Thankfully, I had gloves and a buff on.  I wasn’t sure if I would need to keep the gloves on throughout the race, but I was happy to have them at the start.

It was finally time to line up.  I stayed near the back, as I always do, out of respect for the faster runners.  Finally it was go time.  I was happy to finally going.  I had been going a bit crazy! All that wait time I had been questioning everything from my training to my sanity.

As I crossed the start line, I reminded myself of a few things:  This was my race, not anyone else’s.  Don’t out too fast.  No matter what, I had to cross the finish line.  Don’t worry about the time, worry about finishing.

There were a few people along the road cheering for the runners/walkers as they passed by.  I thought that was pretty cool.  There was a family with their dog, and as I went by, I said hi to them and the dog.  The dog seemed to want to join me in the race.  Everyone laughed.

The first part of the race was relatively flat.  I was totally okay with that.  I slowed to a walk at the first water station, grabbed a drink, and moved on.  The scenery was pretty.  I thought about pausing a couple of times to snap some pictures, but I never did.  As the course moved along the water, the wind really picked up.  I pulled my buff over the back of my head so my hat wouldn’t blow off.  It was mostly a head wind, which kind of sucked, but nothing I could do about it.  Slower marathon runners and relayers passed me.  We shared words of encouragement.  That’s always nice.

I paused at each water station I passed.  I was very happy they were there.  I thanked all the volunteers as I continued on.  I had to stop a couple of times to use the porta potties too.  Happy to see them there too!  I followed the fueling plan I had worked out in training, taking in a gel about every 2 kms. I made sure I had plenty of them with me, in case I needed extra.  Plus I had some chews as well.

Pretty soon, I was alone on the road.  And I knew I would be.  I was okay with that.  By most standards, I’m a slow runner, but I don’t care.  I had my music to keep me company as I was running, as I almost always do.

I continued to thank each group of volunteers I passed, and even the cops that were keeping the roads blocked for the race.  Buses continued passing me as they continued to take relay team members back and forth.

As I was going along, it seemed to me that there weren’t as many water stations as there should have been.  I figured maybe I just wasn’t paying attention to the kms as much.  I didn’t really think about it too much to begin with.  But as I neared the halfway point, 2 large trucks passed me with their backs open.  One I noticed had tables in it, like the ones at the water stations.  As I neared what should have been a water station, I saw the trucks stop.  A guy got out of truck, picked up the KM sign that was ahead and put it in the truck.  I started to freak out!  I pulled out my phone and sent a text to Karen, who I knew had already finished and was waiting at the finish line.  I explained what was happening and she went to  find one of the race people.

I also sent a text to my friend Jeff, who had been sending me texts since the race started.  I told him what was going on and that I was freaking out.  He did his best to calm me down, but it was difficult.  This was my worst nightmare! I was being left alone on the course!!

This was also about the point that the hills started on the course.  I had begun walking because Karen and I were texting back and forth.

A couple of kms later, I finally came across another water station.  It was being manned by a woman and her kids.  They were really nice.  I was so happy to see them!  Two of the kids decided to walk to the end of the road with me.  I thought that was really nice.  After I had passed them, the woman closed up her water station.  She gave me a bottle of water, which I greatly appreciated.  As I continued on, a cop came by in his car to tell me that the roads had been reopened and to remind me to stay to the side of the road.  I thanked him and continued on.  A little bit farther down the road, there was a guy stacking wood in his yard.  He asked me how I was doing and I said I was fine.  He asked me if I was going to finish, and I said “Hell yeah!” He laughed.

About another km or so, the woman from the water station came by in her car.  She offered me another bottle of water.  She said all the other stations have been closed up and she wanted to make sure I had enough water.  I took the bottle and thanked her.  I told her I was very upset about the water stations, and she said she was too.  I wish I had gotten her name.

I was pretty much only walking at this point.  I was really upset and trying not to completely lose it.  I was on the shoulder of the road, and it was hard to run on the gravel and dirt.  A few times, I wasn’t even sure I was going the right way.  Karen was going her best to keep me calm too, but she knew I was having a hard time out there.

A couple of times Karen texted me to ask where I was at.  I didn’t always know, which of course freaked me out too.  I told her at one point that there was a large hill just ahead of me.  I was beginning to wonder if the road ever ended.  I was pretty angry at the race people.  I did my best to use that to keep moving.

The lady from the water station came by one more time, just to make sure I was okay.  I thanked her again.  Another lady drove by, asked if I was okay and if I wanted a ride to the finish.  I told her I was okay, and no, I needed to finish.

I had to go up another hill and the road was curving, so I hoped that meant I was getting close to the final turn onto Main Street.  As I was heading up the hill, I saw Karen walking towards me.  I was so glad to see her! At least I knew I getting closer to the finish.  At least I hoped so.

My back was feeling a little sore.  And I thought I could feel a blister on my foot.  But I wasn’t going to give up.  I knew I had slowed down quite a bit, but I didn’t care.  I was determined to finish the race.

As Karen and I walked, we talked about how the race had left me out there alone.  What really made the both of us mad was that we had talked to them the day before at packet pick up.  The guy we spoke to guaranteed me that they would not shut down the water stations as long as someone was still out there.  But that’s exactly what happened.

As we got closer to the finish, a guy came up to us.  He was from the race.  He said that they had shut everything down at the finish line, and that they would contact me about getting me my finisher medal.  I became even angrier! I asked about my backpack that I had checked.  They said they had it.  I told him I needed it, that it had my glasses in it.  He called the lady who had it.  After a couple of minutes, he came back to us.  He said that he will go meet her to get it and my medal and meet us at the finish line.  Then he left.  I swear, I could have spit nails at that point!!

Thankfully, it wasn’t too much farther to the end.  As we finally neared where the finish line should have been, a man stepped out and started clapping.  I didn’t know who he was.  Once I crossed, he came up to me.  He said he was one of the bus drivers and had been watching me all day.  He said he stayed there waiting for me.  He said “everyone deserves to have someone cheering for them at the finish line.”  I was crying.  I thanked him repeatedly.  I told him he has no idea how much that means to me.  I wish I had gotten his name.

Finally, the other guy arrived.  He gave me my backpack and my medal.  Karen took a picture of me.  The guy asked me what my finishing time was.  I told him what my running app said, and he wrote it down.  He said it would be entered into the stats.  And he once again said that one of the race directors would be in contact with me.  Karen ran to the get the car,  I slowly got in, and we drove home.  I repeatedly thanked her for coming to my rescue and helping me finish.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done — both mentally and physically.  It was not the way I had hoped the race would go.  It was not the finish I had pictured.  I missed out on the post-race food, beer, and celebrations.  I missed getting an official race photo.  I’m angry that I was lied to and abandoned on the race course.  I had plenty of chances to give up, but I didn’t.

I crossed the finish line.  And had someone there to cheer for me as I did.  And that’s what matters.

 

2 Comments »

Half-Marathon training – Week 13

This was the second to last week of training and that means it’s taper time!  I’ve never gone through a taper before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Up until now, I’ve done mostly 5k races, with one 10k race in the mix, so there was. I need to taper.  But I knew with this race, the taper would be necessary.  And frankly, I was looking forward to it. Life has been throwing me some curve balls lately, so I was happy to take it a little easier. I did have to move some stuff around this week, but that’s okay.

Here’s how the week went: 

MONDAY – Rest day. I did a bit of walking around and going up and down stairs at work, but that was it.

TUESDAY – I did an easy 6.5k, mostly a power walk. 

WEDNESDAY – I had to move Thursday’s workout to today. Another 6.5k, again mainly power walk. 

THURSDAY – Had to take today as a rest day because my husband had minor surgery. I did manage a few flights of stairs while waiting for him.

FRIDAY – It was a beautiful day, so I did an easy 5k.

SATURDAY – The last big run before race day.  My plan called for 10k, but I planned on pushing it to 11k. I finished at 11.25k. And it felt really good. Then did an easy 1.5k walk home.

SUNDAY – Since I did some kms on Friday, I took today as a rest day. Although I didn’t really rest because I did stuff around the house.

In total, I did 30.75k this week. Much of it was walking or power walking, but I’m okay with that. 

I did my best to not push myself too hard this week. I also have been trying to keep myself busy so the nerves won’t get to me too much. 

Slowly I’ve been gathering things for my race bag.  I’ve never put one together before, so I’m not totally sure what I need to put in there.  But with advice from my running tweeps on Twitter, I have some good ideas of what I need.

That’s really it for this week. Short and sweet. 

Race day is one week away.

Leave a comment »

Half-Marathon training – Week 10

Another training week in the books. The humidity has been up and down lately, which makes it hard some days. I’m hoping the humidity will break soon so I can finish these last weeks strong.

Here’s how the week went:

MONDAY – Rest Day. Took care of stuff around the house.

TUESDAY – I pushed my distance a little farther than I needed to, ending with 7.2k

WEDNESDAY – I opted to take a walk for cross training this week. It was a nice day out, and not too humid. I even worked in a couple of hills on my 3k walk.

THURSDAY – brutally humid today, so I decided to run around the indoor track. It gets a little boring going around in circles, but I managed to hang in there for 6.7k

FRIDAY – I’ve been feeling a little sore lately, so I decided to do some stretching on my rest day. I also went up and down the stairs quite a bit while cleaning my house.

SATURDAY – Long run day. I had company from out of town, so instead of ending my long run at my favourite local coffee shop, I just looped back to my house. I think that made it a little tougher near the end (haha).  Once again, my longest run to date – 16.23k. 

SUNDAY – I woke up very sore from my long run on Saturday. My left foot in particular was pretty sore. I opted for another rest day. I don’t want to risk getting hurt.

My plan called for 34k this week, and I ended the week with 33.13k. Not too bad considering I took an extra rest day.

With my long runs getting longer each week, I’ve noticed I’m getting pretty sore. I’m trying to incorporate new stretches, but I’m not sure how much difference it’s really making.  I did some searching on google and Pinterest for stretches and strengthening moves for feet and ankles.  I’ll be trying them this week so hopefully that helps.

This week’s long run was particularly hard near the end. It felt like my back seized up a bit. The last 4 kms were particularly hard and very slow.  When I got back home, I laid on the floor on a yoga mat and did some stretching. It helped my back a bit, which was good. My feet really hurt though, and they were still a bit sore on Sunday.

A couple of interesting things happened on my long run this week …

1) I had run about 3k when I noticed a truck driving rather fast coming up the street.  As I neared and then passed me, the passenger leaned out the window and yelled something not very nice at me. It caught me off guard. On instinct, I yelled something back. Instead of getting upset about it, as the old me would most certainly have done, I got mad. I mean really mad! How dare they! I’m out there trying to better myself and they have the nerve to drive by and shout mean things. Cowards! I have more courage than they will ever have or even hope to have! I was angry about it for awhile. Well, until the next thing happened …

2) I had gone about another kilometre or so when I had to make a bathroom stop. I was near the local YMCA, as I knew I would be, so I stopped in. I’ve been there before, and they are always nice about letting me use the bathroom. As I was leaving, I stopped to thank the ladies again. They started asking me some questions about my running and my journey. I was happy to talk about it, as I almost always am.  They had some really nice things to say and made me feel so awesome. 

Several other people said nice, positive, encouraging things to me as I continued along on my run. They easily cancelled out the meanness from the incident early on my run.

Also on my long run, I was taking in an energy gel about every 2k. It really seemed to work well. I also made sure to drink often. I went through 2 large bottles of Gatorade and about a half of one of those bottles of water. I probably should have finished the water, but overall, I’m feeling pretty good about my fueling and hydrating as I’m running.

I think other than probably needing to do more stretching, my training is coming along quite well. 

I have 2 more long runs before I start tapering down my kms. 

Race Day is less than a month away. And I’m trying not to freak out about that.

Leave a comment »

Half-Marathon training – Week 7

HALFWAY POINT.

Wait! What? 

Halfway done? Really?? 

OMG! That means Race Day is only 7 weeks away!

Ok, can’t think about that right now. So much training still to be done.

This is how the week went:

MONDAY – My leg muscles were feeling pretty tight, so I decided to do a stretching session today.  And I combined it with a short upper body workout.  Felt pretty good.

TUESDAY – Today’s run was 6.64k, with another 1.4k of walking after that. Once again the humid had me out running early. Also did another stretching session and short upper body workout in the afternoon.

WEDNESDAY – Cross training on the elliptical again this week. 

THURSDAY – I pushed my run just a little bit farther today, finishing with 7.01k. Then walked another 1.42k.

FRIDAY – Rest Day. Thank goodness. 

SATURDAY – Long run day. The plan called for 11.25k. I managed to push a little farther and ended with 12.24k. My longest run to date. And it was hard. After some rest, I walked another 1.42k.

SUNDAY – Thankfully, the plan had me doing a short run today. Another 5.35k in the books.

Total for the week – 35.5k. My training plan called for 29.25k.

The humidity was a factor all week.  I was up early all week to avoid it as much as I could.  Most days, it was already a little humid when I headed out.

Monday night, I only slept about 4 1/2 hours, which is why I didn’t push my run in Tuesday too much.  I actually surprised myself a little by going out at all. 

The elliptical is my favourite way to do my cross training.  Sometimes I wish I had one in my house.

My long run this week was hard. It was already a bit humid when I headed out. But the temperature was still a little cool, so I didn’t feel it that much. I took 2 bottles of Gatorade with me, because I was pretty sure I would need it.  And I was right.  But that also meant I had to make a couple of bathroom stops.  I took chews with me for my fueling choice.  They seemed to work fine, but I didn’t have enough of them with me.  I was starving by the time I ended my run at the coffee shop.  I also had to stop twice to loosen my shoes. I think I tied them too tight before I left the house.  In the end, it was the longest in time and farthest in distance I had ever run. I was pretty proud of that. 

Sunday’s short run was a little slow than I would have liked. And I didn’t push the distance much farther than I needed to.  My long run really took a lot out of me.

Well that was my week.  Check back next week for another update.

Leave a comment »