Destination: Vancouver Rock n Roll Half Marathon

I leave soon for Vancouver. This will be my 5th destination Race. I am growing quite fond of them.

I need to pack and I saw the forecast, it calls for rain and lots of it. I have never run a half in the rain. A first for everything I suppose. I don’t believe it will happen…the rain, I mean. I believe in Sunshine and pleasant 12 C.

I am very excited and I am terrified.

We have established I have less than zero training logged in my shoes. I walk and my coach confirmed for me that I will be walking this 21.1km through Downtown Vancouver. (I might run a little bit, especially the downhill parts because they are fun). I am looking forward to walking at sea level and seeing what that will do for my pace. I train at 2300 feet. Sea level will be interesting.

The Grim Sweepers will be on my tail. But I will do my best to keep ahead of them.

My goal is to cross the finish line injury free so I can wear this home:

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The Blue one will be mine. Half Marathon #3 for the year. I will love walking the streets of Vancouver with the Mountains in the background and the sea in front of me. When I finish, my training for WDW will begin. The running will start…but for now my focus is Sunday.

Cheer for me.

Then there was that time I was in the Fall Classic…

A year ago today I ran in the Edmonton Fall Classic 5 miler. I had been running for only 10 months. I ran 5 minutes and walked 1 minute intervals. I finished in 1:28:08. Slow… but who cares? I was 20lbs heavier.

Today I walked the Edmonton Fall Classic 5 miler. I ran 3 times for a total of 6 minutes. I need to keep my heart rate at a certain level until I get the clearance to run again from my Doc. I Had surgery in June, did the Moose is Loose Half Marathon in July, split open incisions and went into shock. It wasn’t pretty. I was put on the injured reserve list by my Doc. No Running, no racing until the end of October. “But I have a half marathon the end of October” Well, I guess you aren’t training for it…said my Doctor.

But I walked, not hard and fast, I went out a few times to push the envelope to see how I was fairing. I felt healthier and stronger than I have in decades. But NO RUNNING.

Thursday I decided to enter the Fall Classic as a test race to see how I react under race conditions. Granted, there was only 160 racers entered. Sure it was a quiet and empty Ada Boulevard on a cool Edmonton Sunday Morning. But I wanted to know what to expect for next Sunday, The Inaugural Vancouver Rock and Roll Half Marathon. My very first RnR, so I decided to do it in Vancouver on their very first one too. Its a big deal for me and I don’t want to be swept. I walk very fast – yet I walk faster than I can run…. not really. Not any more. I have 4 hours in which to complete or they pick me up on the bus of shame.

Anyways…back to the Fall Classic.

I signed up Thursday.

I arrived early this morning because I was going to start with the 10 milers – I am slow, and I wanted breakfast with my team. I started out. In the far away distance, I could see a gal on her second lap. I had met her in Florida last year hanging out in the corrals. She is from Edmonton and she is also slow. I put her in my sights. And I walked.

I find walking harder in many ways from running. If you are consistent, there is no slow speed. When you do the run/walk method you get to slow down and rest. I hate this about walking so I would walk super fast 10:50/km then slow it down to 11:10/km. Now there are walkers in the 109 Street Club who were walking 7/km but we won’t focus on them. They can write their own blog. This fast/slow method kept me focused and I had a target in my sights. By the 5km, I passed her. I PASSED HER! I had never passed anyone before AND I left her in my dust!

That was an awesome feeling!

I knew about 155 people on the course so there was a lot of cheering and high fives. I still didn’t think I was doing very well, but my heart rate was where it should be and I was feeling surprisingly awesome (never before had I felt great in a race – until this one. I thought I felt great at Calgary – but no…I was wrong). The finish line came up fast. Last year I was tired. This year I was not. I finished today in 1:28:52. A few seconds slower than last year and I WALKED IT!

I am walking next week’s RnR. I want to run it. But 2015 will be all about running. My goal is to finish before the truck of shame. If I complete it, it will be my 3rd half marathon this year. Not too shabby for a a fat girl who was injured and couldn’t train the way she wanted too. By finishing next week, that would be a nice feather in my cap.

At any rate, it should be fun.

Happy Running!

Good News! I didn’t Die Today

It’s been a very difficult year for. I once sat in front of a gal who was gazing into my crystal ball and she told me that my life was going to be difficult for a few years to come. That was 3 years ago.

She was right.

It’s not that my life has been terrible, on the contrary. Growth and learning have happened at an exponential rate for me. All the great life lessons come to me at a price. They are never pleasant and they are never pain free. I learn best from hitting bottom than I do from skipping along smelling daisies. I am pretty sure I have reached Super Genius Level with all the life lessons of late.

My ‘not running’ lesson has been hard as well.

Since my Calgary half Marathon – my plans and goals were shelved.

Calgary was the most kick-ass awesome race experience to date.

  1. I felt strong
  2. I recovered quickly
  3. I was ready

I had set some pretty amazing goals for right after the race. I had planned on not losing my distance. I was going to maintain the ability to run16k for my longs. That to me works perfectly for half marathons – well, for me. I had the Moose is Loose lined up to walk it with my dad, then I was going to Disneyland to Run the Dumbo Double Dare (10km on Saturday and 21.1km on Sunday). The Vancouver Rock and Roll Half Marathon would be next the last weekend in October and then FULL ON TRAINING for the Donald in January. As you may recall, I achieved a DNF in WDW for a knee injury.

So where did I leave off?

Well, I had surgery after Calgary and my world fell apart. For the record, Patience is not a Virtue that I am very good at. I should have not walked the Moose with me Dad, but it was with my Dad and it was his first half and I am very happy I did it even though I experienced a major health scare. When I say major, I mean major. My Doc was not happy and wrote me a note forbidding me to run in Disneyland. So I deferred it until next year.

I watched all my pals and my daughter cross the finish line.

It sucked.

I was happy for them but I was sad for me.

Now looking at my calendar, the time table tells me that Vancouver is 6 weeks away.

I have been walking, I can do the distance, but time is a major factor. I am not elevating my heart rate lately so speed eludes me. The other side of that coin is…I am afraid I have lost my mojo.

Today was the day I would attempt to run again. I announced it at RunClub on Wednesday. In front of 60+ people who know me as the RunClub MC. IT made me accountable. So what did I do?

I went for a run today. And I didn’t die.

I brought The Captain with me. I knew that we would be stopping lots because he has to sniff everything.

I am out of Ghost6 runners. This makes it sound like a grocery list item. Well, for me it kinda is. I work in the running industry, so shoes are one of those ‘milk, bread and eggs’ items. I have a wall rack FILLED with shoes of every make and model you can think of. But Ghost 6 is my long distance shoe. My last two pairs are finished. I wore one yesterday on the floor at work, walked over 5k just doing my job, and got home to find my joints, back and shoulders were pain riddled. This is a sure fire sign that my shoes are done. I had discussed my shoe issue with Nic, my shoe whisperer. He had suggested that I give my Nike Pegasus 31 a try (I have 2 pairs) They are a neutral shoe with nice cushioning and a drop similar to the Ghost 6 that I have been using. I wear them all day for work and feel great! Odds are this was going to be a reasonable replacement and I was happy with that idea!

I began my run this morning at the top of Mill Creek Ravine. It is an old rail line that has been converted into a running path. It is paved and tree lined. When I say tree lined I mean it is bush. IMG_7680

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It feels like you are in the middle of no where. I love it. It is my favourite place in the whole world. It isn’t tainted by memories with others because I will not share it. It is my place. In fact, it is my happy place.

I just lied, I share it with my Captain, but only him.

The run started off pretty good. My legs felt good, lungs felt good, I kept my pace slow so I wouldn’t over do it. It was good….not great or fantastic, but good!

Half way I needed to stop and sit on the bench. I was getting dizzy and I blame my brain tumour. It makes me dizzy all the time, sometimes worse than others. Sitting calms things down. It was at this point The Captain decided he needed to chase rabbits into the bush. Ummm, no.

I was not going to bush-sack today. He looks at me and speaks like Chewbacca with groans and such. I looked at him and firmly said no. He actually  “harumphed” followed by a pout. He wouldn’t look at me for the next 10 minutes as punishment.

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Off we went, further into the valley.

It was at this moment I listened to my feet.

Feet: Hey Robyn, WTF is on us?

Me: Nike Pegasus 31

Feet: Where are the Ghost 6 that we love?

Me: I don’t have any left. Brooks has the Ghost 7 out now and we don’t like it remember?

Feet: Oh right, but that doesn’t explain the Pegs.

Me: True, but they felt so good on a 9 hour day, I figured they would be awesome!

Feet: well, now we know they aren’t. To prove this point, we are going to make the arches burn now. Followed by telling the knee you injured to get cranky because your arches burn and compensating for us is really going to make your knee cranky.

Me: DAMN, why can’t you two just be happy you are out running again?

Feet: Because, we want Ghost 6 strapped to us and we are not going to behave until you meet our demands.

Me: Seriously? you are holding me hostage? You are going to regret this feet.

And they did. But in turn, they made my last 3km H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICK!

To make them suffer, I did a long a steep hill. This made knees really pissed at me. Heart and lungs were cool with it though.

Once I reached the top I paused to check out the view.

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To me there is nothing prettier than a prairie blue sky! The feet were finally relaxed about the running thing and felt happy again. Then Cap and I hit the road once more and the feet were ANGRY!

I ignored them, but ran to my store.

I entered the building, walked back to the clearance room, found the last 2 pairs of Ghost 6 size 10 Women’s and marched to the counter where I did a product check for other shoes in the province.

These were the LAST 2 SIZE 10 WOMEN’S SHOES LEFT. DAMN YOU BROOKS!!! So I bought them, and some KT Tape for my knee.

I ran just .2 shy of 7km. Not bad for my first day back. It took me a while, but that part will take practice. I have a 10km scheduled with Karen on Sunday, so I will run a couple of 4-5ks this week to keep the joints moving.

AND I will run in my new Brooks Ghost 6, training has begun for the Vancouver Rock and Roll. I have my health, the motivation and the shoes.

Bring it on.

 

This year is a write off

2014 is all about teaching me patience.

I am not a patience girl.

I have copious amounts of patience for other people, children, jerks, co-workers, animals and telemarketers. But not for me.

Karma is teaching me all about it.

If you recall, I injured my knee during the Donald half marathon in January and was pulled from the race. That sucked.

I couldn’t train for a while. But I did end up having the best race yet of the year – Calgary Half Marathon. I felt great, I was so excited to keep training for The Moose is Loose, The Dumbo Double Dare, The Vancouver Rock n Roll half Marathon and finally, The Donald Once again.

Then I had surgery.

It was cool, all good, I looked great. I love the freedom of the upper body saggy skin gone.

I went to Hawaii to run the Coconut Chase….well… I finished-ish…

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The next week I entered the Moose is Loose with my Dad.IMG_7313

We finished!

That was just plain stupid.

My Doc told me no running for 6 weeks. I didn’t run the Moose. I walked, but apparently 21.1 km is considered OVEREXERTION.

Oh, NOW you tell me!!!

Never in my life did I feel so terrible walking. I felt dizzy, all the blood had left my head, fluid was leaking out of my nearly healed incisions and I burst 2 new holes around my surgery scars.

I lost a lot of fluid and went into shock.

I froze all afternoon.

When I went to see my Doc he wrote me a note and told me NO MoRE RACING UNTIL OCTOBER 31.

Crap.

Part of me likes having his permission to rest. I need that kind of permission or I will do too much because I don’t want to be considered a sissy. 2 days out of the hospital and the Hubs thought I should be doing more. The Doc set him straight, but it’s that feeling that I should be doing more because people expect it.

I am reading how excited people are about the Disney Dumbo Double Dare Race, My friend told me I am doing it PERIOD. Well…… no. I do not want to be in bed for the rest of my days in Disneyland because I burst a seam. I do not want to be all shocky and crabby. And I want run the Rock n Roll in October – its pretty close to the end of the month, so I won’t train. Half marathons are all mental right? Ha…

It takes all my energy to work on my feet all day. This new fangled health care system where they send you home so early is frustrating. If you are home, you are fine right? Wrong.

The up side, I put on my capris today…I need new ones. They are huge. I needed a pin to hold them up. Even without running and walking I am still progressing in the weight loss department. I don’t even feel like I am trying. It has become habit…4 years later, it SHOULD be habit right?

Its just taking soooo long…did you hear me whine and whinge there? Well I did.

Resting is hard.

Never in a million years would I ever thought I would be thinking that.

That my friend is progress.

 

No one told me THAT would happen!!

I have a secret that no one talks about.

When you lose a lot of weight, and I mean A LOT, your skin doesn’t spring back into place.

You know all those photos for people in bikinis with tight skin in their ‘after’ photos…yeah, about that…

So we all know what I have been doing since January 1, 2011. I have been living my life in a different manner. I began ‘lifestyle’ change not a diet. This is me before:

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That is over 100lbs ago – about 107.8lbs to be precise.

As I lost weight, it was like my body was melting from the top down. I still have a giant ass and legs, but the weight on top left first. Weird. I noticed things like, rings falling off, my cheeks didn’t obstruct my vision, shoes got too big and underwear would slide down my hips as I walked. I couldn’t visually see me change, except I found my collar bone.

I could sit in theatre seats, I didn’t need seat belt extensions for the airplane, my kids could walk past me in the pantry, I use to have to move out of the way so they could enter.

As the weight continued to disappear, I noticed something else. My skin stayed where it was and didn’t leave. Think about that. Lose a person the size of my 16 year old daughter and the skin doesn’t spring back. Skin is heavy.

I talked to me Nurse about this issue…was there a cream? Was there more time needed? What did I need to do?

She said something very shocking to me.

Plastic Surgery.

Whaaaaaaaaa??????

What the hell man! I do this the hard way, no surgery, no lypo, no bariatric and you expect me to cut off my skin? How is THAT even fair??

I had a preconceived notion that plastic surgery meant vanity.

It does to some people. I talked to my doctor about it. Skin removal would ease the strain on my neck and back. I would be able to move more freely. I would be able to see the change and keep moving forward because honestly, I am only half way in my weight loss goal. He talked to me about a plastics surgeon that only works with people who have lost weight and have been able to maintain the weightless for over 2 years. The candidate cannot be on a fad diet nor can they be yoyoers. They must be healthy and fit to meet these requirements.

I thought about it for a while.

This was a big change. People don’t really understand. I was at the point where I could easily give up and go back to my old ways. Removing skin was for me, a bigger change than I had anticipated. It not only meant physically changing my body, but it mentally implied that I was ready to move forward and keep going. My long term commitment was still not over. I would have a lifetime of thinking of food as a battle. I never could relax for a moment. Kind of like a person with a drug or alcohol addiction. It is always there in the background, never leaving you. Removing skin was going to be me saying to my body – I let you down, but I never will again.

I was asked to be put on the list.

2 years later, the surgeon calls me for a consult.

Took you long enough pal.

I figured a year because I needed to maintain or keep losing…I had done just that. I kept moving forward and waited a really long time for this moment.

I entered his office on clinic morning and an entourage of interns and resident docs paraded behind him. I was asked to remove my clothes and stand in front of the gang while they poked, tugged, lifted, made inappropriate comments.

First I said no – there is too many people here and this is weird. Get out. They all left but the Resident – she was lovely and had great bedside manner, a gift that will be beat out of her as her tenure for surgery continues – and my Doc. He kept saying “these are crazy nipples” I smacked his hand and said “DUDE I am standing RIGHT HERE and can hear everything you say!”

He apologized and from that moment on, we had a good relationship. He agreed to my surgery saying I was an excellent candidate and I needed to get on another wait list….WTF?

Another list?

So I called his office where is staff were lovely, kind and compassionate. I was asked to go on the cancellation list.

Then I waited.

less than one month later I get the call : So….how’s 3 days from now?

Ummmm….yes??? Maybe???

Things that crossed my mind:

  • I can’t leave work, we are short staffed
  • I can’t leave work because I took on the extra to help out my boss
  • I can’t because I am running races this summer
  • I can’t because I am scared

Then I cried.

I went into my bosses office and asked to speak privately. I have this issue with thinking in my brain before getting the entire story out so I began the conversation with, “so I guess I have to say no but…”

He panicked and said “No TO WHAT??”

I told him about the surgery.

At that point I was prepared to quit. I didn’t want to because I respect him too much and I couldn’t do that to the team, but I was willing to.

He told me to do it and not to worry about a thing. He organized everything and I left that weekend feeling relaxed and able to put work behind me.

Step one to a successful surgery : Zero Stress

Step two: be fit

Step three: eat protein

My the third day I was laying in Day Surgery at the Lois Hole Women’s Hospital starving to death. No food or water since 11:30 the night before.

I have this great ability to sleep anytime/anywhere – so I did.

Then they took me up to the operating theatre where they drew all over me in sharpie in (including a happy face for me later) obviously the doc cut along the lines.

I woke up 2 hours later and wanted to eat. They said I would be nauseous  – nope – food please.

Here is what I discovered:

  • my fitness level made my recovery fast and effortless.
  • my core strength made moving in and out of bed a breeze
  • the nurse was worried about my blood pressure and resting heart rate. Apparently it was too low for someone my size (64 people! that is awesome) I told her I just ran a half marathon, I am a runner – suck it.
  • I was also asked about diabetes – I lost 100lbs and I run – suck it
  • My blood work showed my cholesterol was normal – again runner!!! Suck it and I eat healthy.
  • Size discrimination is rampant

Here I sit, 5 days later – I nap frequently because surgery makes me sleepy and they cut off 6.8 lbs of skin people!!! Walking to the car, I noticed my neck and back felt fantastic! The weight was gone. Now if only the potholes would leave I would be a happy camper!

I am glad I did it. I look so different, feel fantastic and really need to run – but that is still 3 weeks away. I feel like I am on a really long taper.

The next phase will be the panelectomy  – the saggy skin that hangs low past my belly – I can’t WAIT for that one!

Meanwhile, I really feel like I am over the hill that was holding me back. Onwards and upwards and did you know that bras come WITHOUT industrial harnesses? AND in pretty colours?? Neither did I!

Me yesterday: My sister and I comparing chest sizes after I go from an I to a D – I still win :)

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The Calgary 50th Marathon or What was I thinking?

June 1st is a day that will live in infamy…at least in my mind.

I ran the Calgary half marathon and didn’t really train for it. Everything I could have done wrong I did and yet I never felt better completing a half marathon in all my life…true story.

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I knew after I completed the Calgary 10k last year that I was going to run the half. How could I not? It was the 50th year for the Calgary Marathon, the oldest Marathon in Canada. (not to be confused with the oldest race because I think that may be the run around the lake in Hamilton…but I could be wrong, in fact DO NOT USE THIS AS A FACT FINDING MISSION.

Calgary has a lot going for it, great speaker series, great course – it is NOT AN OUT AND BACK! Terrific crowd support and beautiful weather. I know they didn’t have anything to do with that, but they should still take credit! And ELVIS!

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He called me Darlin’. There was a ton of entertainment on the course. I love you for that Calgary!

I was really looking forward to the Speaker Series at Expo. I wanted to meet Bart Yasso and Dean Karnazes. I saw the both speak but waiting in lines is not my thing, so I just waited to meet Yasso. He signed my bib. I rubbed it LOTS on race day for luck and inspiration. I made the most shocking comment ever. I tell everyone who will listen that a Half Marathon isn’t ‘just a half’ it is HALF of nothing, it is far! Be proud! Yet when I sat next to Bart Yasso, the first words out of my mouth were, I’m only doing the half, I am not ready for a full yet.

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Being the Amazing Bart Yasso, he replied with, a Half is FAR. You are like me,I am a halfer. do not apologize for your distance, be proud.

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You are right Mr. Yasso….I am very disappointed in myself for saying that, and worse…THINKING IT!

The next morning I walked to the Stampede Grounds and waited with the Trusty Steed, Amy, Rachel, Tiffany, Greg, Brent, Natalia, and a bazillion others that I knew in passing from Edmonton and those who were strangers but became friends that morning.

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(Did I mention I was in corral B? I didn’t?? CORRAL B PEOPLE! That is the closest I have ever been to the front of the line. )

We all got caught up in the hype of the morning and took off like the Kenyans we are not. Once our hearts exploded we then found our pace and ran. I knew the first 10k of the course because I ran it last year. This year the Halfers had to cross the 10k track and merge over into the other lane. That was tricky. If I was faster than I would have beat the 10ers, but that was not to be my fate. No one died or was harmed in the merging but I really had to sprint. I hate sprinting, but I can now do it. There is something you never would have heard me say a year ago.

I learned a lot about myself. I am that person who will stop and help people on the course. I am NOT that person that runs past someone and thinks “sucka…I am passing you!!!” On the contrary, I am the person who will hold your hair while you puke, give you my last GU if you look like you need it, Wait with you until the first aiders arrive because you are delirious. Conversely, Karma was just as kind to me, I had spectators jump on the course with me a run a bit, they asked my story and seemed concerned that I wasn’t doing well. I have news for you – that expression on my face is a problem I have had all my life. It is called “Bitchy Resting Face” It makes me look like I am in pain, or tired or having problems when in fact, I had the best best run of my life.

I crossed the finish line and fist pumped the air because HAHA I DID IT! I had a massage, because for $20 it is stupid NOT to get one. And I walked back to my hotel. Now, this halfer was the first time I didn’t need crutches or friend support to hold on to me. I walked home with a spring in my step and felt fab. The only thing I wish I had was flip-flops. I didn’t want to endure bag check and really, I was fine. I still have all my toenails.

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Me and Aimbo (can you see the size of that Full Medal?? It is a belt buckle with a bottle opener. Amy just finished the Blackfoot 100k the weekend before and paced a group to finish 2 minutes under 4 hours for this one. She is a BEAST. This summer she is running the Sinister Seven and Death Race SOLO back to back. She is my hero.)

I broke the cardinal rule in Running and wore BRAND NEW OUT OF THE BOX Shoes. That was stupid, but Brooks Ghost is MY SHOE. They felt like home putting them on and I don’t regret it. I don’t advise this of you. I walked away blister and injury free. So it worked for me.

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Flat Robyn and her shiny new shoes!

I ate a steak sandwich because I was thinking about a burger at the 17km mark. GU just doesn’t cut hunger. I drank a beer because it tastes the best after a half marathon and I stole cupcakes because that is how I roll.

I stayed at the Fairmont Palliser and there was a reception in the lobby. Cupcakes were everywhere. I took one on the way up to my room. Sugar was good. On the way back down for lunch, I stole another one. Hunger is a problem for me after that many miles. I can only imagine when I run a full what I will need to eat.

Will I run this course again? YES! I really want the belt buckle that is also a bottle opener. It is the size of my head. Big in the way only Calgary can do. But I won’t be running it next year, I have new races to face.

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Happy Running!

That day I became became my own hero

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I did some things in the last 30 days that really amazed me.

  1. I took over the primary spot of managing at work, although temporary, I never excepted to be in this position. I have learned more about myself in a few shorts weeks than I thought possible. University was right, I am capable of so much more than I believed. It is a wonderful feeling to have the complete faith of those around you. I never had that in a work situation before. I like it.
  2. I fitness level is at a level that I didn’t believe to be possible and STILL carry around this kind of weight. I didn’t really train for the Calgary Half Marathon. The Trusty Steed tried to talk me out of running the half. saying I need to be careful, I might injure myself, I really need to evaluate the effects of recovery….blah, blah, blah….We have had this conversation before. I now just ignore him and do what I believe I am capable of. It’s not like I had never done a half marathon before. It wasn’t my first rodeo. I knew how far it was, I respected the distance AND I know about the best ways to reach optimum recovery for me. I ran it, and I never felt better during a half marathon. Never – EVER. I recovered right away and went to work the next day and stood on my feet ALL DAMN DAY. You know something? I have the medal to show for my accomplishment. I feel more proud of this medal than any other I have earned.
  3. I have always been afraid a body modification. The thing about weight loss that no one talks about is the extra skin that doesn’t spring back into place. I have people tell me that they had no trouble. Well, I am will to bet they didn’t 100lbs+. If their skin bounced back, I am super excited for them! Way to go! It is AWESOME that you loo and feel great! That didn’t happen for me. I am at the point of no longer seeing my progress. The more weight I loose, the same way I look. It is kind of discouraging. I talked to my Nurse at Weight Wise and she suggested Skin Removal. It isn’t for the feint of heart. I talked to my Doc and he referred me a Plastic Surgeon who specializes in procedures BECAUSE of weight loss. He won’t even talk to you if you are a yoyo dieter or a fad dieter or haven’t kept the weight off for years. I qualified. I had round one of 3 treatments. Let me tell you, after going through the first phase, I CANNOT WAIT for the second phase!!!

There you have it, 3 things that I did that amazed me. Each one will get their own special entry here on The Edmonton Tourist and here on Me and Mo. Stay tuned because we both know how I like to share crappy stuff that happens to me and then I turn it into lemonade – or Dole Whips because Dole Whips are better than Lemonade.

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