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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It’s April? How did THAT happen?

I bet you have been wondering where I have been lately.

Well…

Honestly, I am trying to figure out how to get an extra 8 hours into my day. Apparently it is impossible.

imageI have the Calgary 50th Marathon Weekend coming up June first and to train for it has been a struggle. I am caught in that crazy cycle of too tired to train and need to train so I won’t be too tired. I KNOW you know what I mean.

So what am I doing about it? Well, my  new job has me on my feet all day – seriously all day and I walk tons. So that is great. I am also teaching a Learn to Run Class….but that doesn’t get me any serious miles. Tomorrow is my long run and I need to log 14km. Will I? Sure? I can visualize it. I know the route. I am reasonably certain I will do it.

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You know what I need? A new pair of Ghost 6. I am running in Brooks Pure Connects2 and its great for short distances but my muscles are just not strong enough to get me through a 14k with them. I will give it try though.

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Then guess what else I did?

I am hosting a 10k Trail Run in Emily Murphy Park! you can find the link to sign up here. and the details about the race here.

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Fly into Edmonton, I promise you a great race!

Oh…and then I did something else. (Clearly being finished University has given me some time to think of events to produce)

I am hosting a virtual run for Star Wars Fans, May the Fourth Be With You. It is a 5k, 10, or half marathon run that you do on your own time…hopefully May the 4th (Get it? May the Fourth? Force? Get it?). It costs $30 and if you are a Running Team member at DAWS you get 10% off. All proceeds from this race for to our Foundation Do Away With SMA. Come try it out. The medal is cool.

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What else is new? Well….I am running the Dumbo (a 10k and a half marathon) in Disneyland. I think you should join me for that too. That is bound to be fun.

But mean while…after my long run tomorrow, I will post some cityscapes and get back on track with my fitness. I need to be more accountable and I am just failing miserably. I need this for me.

Happy Running!

We have a Hulk!

The Edmonton Tourist:

DAWS is pre-selling bibs for the Avengers half marathon! Whaaaaat???

Originally posted on Do Away with SMA:

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That’s MY SECRET…DAWS is putting it’s name in the hat for 2014 Avenger Inaugural Half Marathon Bibs.

The Truth is… DAWS is shooting for charity bibs for the 2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort.

We have been burdened with the Glorious Purpose…gunning for charity bibs for the Avengers Half Marathon.

How you might ask? Run Disney let’s charities sell bibs for the Inaugural 2014 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. And…DAWS is putting it’s name in the hat for charity bibs for this race!!

If you’d like to run with us, let us know!!!

Runner Facts:

  • Each race bib for the Avengers Half marathon will be $285. This includes a 1 day/1 park ticket, taxes and race fees.
  • There is also a minimum 3-night hotel room accommodation attached to the race bib through Outlander Travel, our partner in this endeavor. Runners will need to arrange…

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My Olympic Training: Calgary 2014

As a kid I use to dream about being an Olympian. Not the kind of dream where I was an athlete and worked hard to advance so I could make the team. I was not THAT kid. I was the kid who would slide down a hill on my toboggan or Crazy Carpet and pretend that I was in Bobsled or Luge. I would skate at the local rink, flooded Tennis courts for non-hockey skaters and Hockey rink for those with a stick and puck. I would skate on either ice depending how I felt that night. My brother was always goalie and sometimes I was Karen Magneson – my Women’s Singles Figure Skating hero. I was never a good enough skier to fantasize about winning, I was too busy trying not to fall, but before bed every night, I would play out the role of winning a medal.

The closest I have ever come to playing out that fantasy is through running. It isn’t because I am a fast runner who wins my age division, don’t make me laugh. It is because of the participation factor and the opportunity to earn a medal at the finish.

If you have never had the chance to run/walk across the finish and have a medal placed around your neck, I recommend you give it a try. There is something very satisfying about training and the then completing an event. Lots of people I know, don’t care about the hardware. I have mine strung up on my office wall. It isn’t about winning, it is about the hard work and effort it takes to EARN them.

I had a conversation not that long ago with an employee. She had asked my opinion as a former educator about creating an even field where everyone gets a “good job” or everyone gets a valentine. Those two questions for me were separate, but not for her.

Everyone receiving a Valentine is important in life. Why? Social skills are how you navigate through life. If you cannot be kind to people for the sake of being kind, then your future home/career life will be very hard indeed. You don’t have to like everyone, but being kind and polite will get you far in this world. It’s about effort.

Effort in social skills and accomplishments is important. That old adage, Do your Best, isn’t just words, its meaning full.

I don’t think you should get a medal or a gold star for just breathing. I think effort needs to be applied. What do I mean by effort? That person needs to do their best work/job/attempt. There needs to show movement towards achieving more than they achieved yesterday. For example: I have set goals to achieve a faster km/min time with my running. I am doing the cadence and stair work recommended by my coach. I will still not be the fast group in the Calgary Marathon, so does that mean I am not deserving of a medal if I am able to cross the finish line? It isn’t like I am not trying, get swept and still expect a medal at the end. Cross the line one goal, Cross the line with a PR is another goal and being able to walk normally the next day is another goal.

To achieve this, I am doing speed work and distance work. I am also doing wall sits, planks, push ups and various other work to make my core strong. I also am focusing on nutrition.

I am realistic in my goals and know I will not win the first place age division. So does that mean I am not worthy of a “great job Robyn!”? The gal I was talking to said, ‘the world sets up for false expectations.” Does it really?

I think the world is a tough place and things need to be earned. There are consequences to actions. Great Effort = Great Rewards. Some people argue not always, but I disagree. You just may not see or acknowledge the reward.

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I ran three sets of stairs every time I passed a set on my run yesterday. I ran up and down each step except the last step, those led me to the top and yet I was still at the bottom of a hill, so I ran the hill too. My backside and hamstrings are feeling it today, but I was rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment. I celebrated with my coach and gave Hoff a big hug when I saw him. Did I win? No, of course not. My chapter 2 is not Ting’s Chapter 37. Ting is an amazing runner and is faster than I will likely ever be. He is also 20 years younger than I and has been running years longer than I. However, My Chapter 2 of my story is better than my Chapter 1. I am progressing and I am pretty happy about that. I try not to measure my success against others. Perhaps being 46 years old is the reason I don’t need to. I am secure in myself and focused on my own goals, I don’t need to worry about anyone else. I am competitive enough with myself, so beating my old time or distance is enough of a win for me.

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I was taught to do my best, and my best I did.

Calgary will be my Olympics and I am pretty excited about it.

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Cadence work and knee testing = confidence building

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I signed up for Disney’s Dumbo Double Dare. A 10k and a 21.1k back to back on the hottest weekend of the year.

Why? I want to prove to myself that I can be fast enough to run a half marathon at a Disney race. I hover around the end. There is a risk of being swept. And mostly, I need to over come my fear of running.

Fear of running you ask?

Since I slipped on those damn cups in Walt Disney World and injured myself, I have had an irrational fear of running.

I have 9 races this year, 2 half marathons and a bunch of 10kms. I need to get back in the saddle so to speak.

I have been talking with my speed coach Hoff. He is the 10k instructor at the Running room and great friend of mine. We have been talking about my goals for this year. I didn’t really have any targeted goals, just distance. I can do the distance but I want to increase my speed and lengthen my stride. I am not suppose to worry about either because it will come. I disagree. It won’t happen unless I put the work in.

That is where Hoff came in with some great advice. He suggested I do cadence work.

Huh?

I am supposed to run and warm up, feel comfortable then do a one minute interval where I count my left foot strikes. My first interval was 64.

Okay, Hoff, I did that. Then I ran without counting for a while and then did another interval, I counted 74. I did 10 more intervals and peaked at 85. I found I was averaging between 74 and 75 left foot strikes.

So what does this mean?

Every week I will attempt to increase my average cadence and peak out at over 85. This is supposed to help make me faster, increase my focus and he told me whenever I feel sluggish, start counting. It will increase my speed and take my focus away from pain and drudgery.

My goal is to peak out at 100. This will apparently help with my stride and speed over the long haul. It is the same as a fartlik except I have a different focus. This seems to work better for me and my OCD mind. I am interested in seeing how this will affect my running over the long term.

Friday, Hoff has me running stairs instead of hills. Hills will come later, meanwhile stairs will strengthen my hams and force my legs up higher than when I run hills. Also making my stride longer and stronger.

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I visualize myself crossing finish lines with time goals on the clock. This is new for me. Quite frankly, having a new focus invigorates me.

Thanks Hoff.

Happy Running!