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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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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3 letters no one wants to hear: DNF

This is the most painful post I have ever had to write.

I DNF the Donald Half Marathon and it hurts.

So why do I just not ignore it, but instead tell the world about it?

Well… I have always maintained that this forum is for me. It is a record of my achievements and failures. It keeps me accountable and provides an opportunity for growth.

I woke up half marathon morning scared. I mean TERRIFIED. it is something I have never experienced before. I realize now that anxious, nervous and apprehensive are not fear. Fear is a completely different emotion.

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I felt out of my element. I was not ready and worst of all, I was going it alone. I didn’t let myself rely on my team or friends.

I walked to the bus pick-up at my resort and boarded the bus with 70 other would be half marathon finishers at 3:00AM. We traveled together in the dark and sat in somber silence.

When I arrived at the EPCOT parking lot, I searched out my team and felt sick. Sick from fear, sick from apprehension and sick from aloneness. How can you be in a crowd of people you like and be alone? Good question but we have all been there and I cannot explain it. This was my first major race – I don’t count the local races because the volume of people just was not the same. Never before in my life had I run with 29 000 other people. For a girl who does not like crowds, this was intimidating.

I approached my team and the first person to catch my eye was Mitch. Relief flowed though my veins. I saw  Brian and we hugged like long lost friends…wait… we are. Teammates that I had knew but never meet before came and hugged me or chatted, photos were taken and jokes were told and the fear in my belly eased.

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We stood around for a long while before the long march to the corrals began. I was hot – too hot for a night race, the temperatures were typically what I finish my Sunday morning runs at. The humidity was high and my hair was a mass of curls. The mile walk to my corral (I kid you not – it was FAR) was lonely. I was the only one I knew. Other teams were floating around me, but I knew not a soul, nor was I in the head space to make friends like I did the previous morning.

I stood in corral P, the last one. 80 minutes away from the first corral. I remembered what Happy told me about standing – DON’T. So I sat amongst the thousands of people standing. Slowly we made our way to our start. The runners from the first corral were making their way to the finish by now. Soon there would be a winner and we hadn’t even begun.

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Donald Duck and Rudy Novotny sent us off. The crowd rushed forward. Soon I found myself in the middle of the pack. Not last, which was a surprise for me, but middle. My knee was throbbing from my run the day before when I had slipped on the uneven surface. I figured at this point I would be in agony by mile 12. However, at no point did I think I would get there.

We ran past Jack Sparrow and the Pirate ship out on the highway, We ran past puppets and birds and bands, we ran past first aid spots of chaff fixing stations and then we ran through the gates to the Magic Kingdom Parking lot. I was getting  closer to the Castle, my goal for the first part of this race. I ran for a while with the Team in Training Coach. Her calm quiet words soothed me as we approached the mile 3 water station. 3 miles in and I was on target. I was well ahead of the sweepers and I was feeling good except for the throb of my knee. I knew how to mentally block that feeling so I was good to see this thing to the end. I let myself think about seeing Mitch, Brian and my girl in Magic kingdom. I was excited to hear the cheers of people on Main Street.

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As I approached the water station I was shocked at the amount of cups on the road. I kid you not, it was ankle deep. To make matters worse, it was a Power Aid station. The road was slick with water from rain that night and greasy from spilled power aid, the waxy cups on the ground added to the complicated nature of navigating across. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been. Me, the girl who runs on ice, knew this would be fine.

I was wrong.

Half way through the station I lost my footing and slipped. I turned my knee in such a way I was sure I would puke from pain. I walked through the rest of the station, took a deep breath and kept moving forward – which is after all Walt Disney’s famous quote – KEEP MOVING FORWARD. So I did. I started to run again.

With the water station behind me and the 5k marker ahead, I felt my knee cry out in pain be very step of the way. As I rounded the bend in the road to cross the 5k mark, I heard the words of Mike Scopa from Mickey Miles Podcast come back to me. He had injured himself before and kept running with big regrets. I had a week of work ahead of me and I don’t get to sit – how was I going to manage? 3 more strides and I knew I was done. The pain was getting worse. I crossed the 5k mark and stopped. Shoulders slumped and a defeated air over took me.

I hobbled over the the van at the 5 k and told him I needed medical. He pointed up the road and said its 1 1/2 miles that way. I replied with a “I will never make it. I am sure I blew out me knee”.

He was on the radio and in 5 minutes a brigade of first aid cyclers pulled up. One gal talked so calm and kind to me that I just started to cry. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. The disappointment from pulling yourself out from a race was more than I could bear. Even now writing this I am crying.

They asked me questions and and I told the I had tore my MCL before and knew I had done it again. The pain was the same – only this time I knew what it was. They wrapped my knee and asked if I could walk to the van. I said yes but when I actually began to move – I couldn’t get my leg to cooperate. How did I get from the water station to the 5k mark? I had heavy assistance climbing into the van.

The door shut and there was my journey done.

My dream of “One Day – running the Donald was over”

They drove me back to the finish line where the medical tent was. We had picked up people along the way – people who were swept because they were too slow. They were happy and pleased with their performance and there was me – sitting in pity and trying not to cry.

At the medical tent, everyone piled out before me and then people climbed in to asses my knee. I knew what was wrong, I explained what I was feeling and I told them what I needed. Aside from a hug – I needed ice and help out of the van. Stairs appeared and many hands helped me out and over to the bench where a medical personal assessed  further. He wrapped my knee with ice, taped my knee up and gave me water. As we sat there talking and deciding what to do next, a medal appeared around my neck.

I asked what this was for and the gal whispered into my ear “This medal is not for crossing the finish line, it is for the miles and hard work you put into before you even arrived here. It is for the pain and suffering you endured. You earned this as if you crossed the finish line. Wear it with pride.”

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Then I began to cry like my heart was broken. Pain more sever than the MCL injury. Ego is a tough thing to over come.

I made it back to my room, showered and iced my knee some more, took meds and limped over to meet my team. By the end of the day – I had enough hugs and support to feel better until the last one. We were parting ways until later that night when one member wrapped me up and hugged me hard – once again I cried from disappointment but comforted by his understanding. Mitch let me lean on his shoulder and use it in a way I had never relied on anyone before. I needed that sympathy and understanding. Once that was done, I felt better. It no longer mattered that I didn’t finish. It was over and I could move on.

For the first time I allowed myself to feel the disappointment instead of mask it. Feeling it let me move on quickly and look forward to the rest of the weekend. What a huge difference it made.

A week later with some distance behind me, I find I am feeling a bit scared to run. This tells me my knee isn’t ready. It will be soon and I have registered for the next race. I need to have a run with an excellent outcome, I am ready for some good.

Meanwhile, I love my team. Thanks you guys.

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Why Would I Stop Running?

1476023_668049609912757_266164373_nI had a conversation the other day with a person who tries to be kind but after decades of being mean and nasty, words still come out wrong. She had called me to see how I was doing, we speak to each other and ‘catch up’ about once a year….and only if she calls.

She had asked me about my progress on my running and my weight loss because apparently it is how you look that defines you. I had NO IDEA  ← insert a heavy sarcastic tone here. I always thought it was the things you do and they way you treat people that define you.

At any rate, I told her about my weight loss  – it has tapered off but that happens. It leaves in waves and the tapers off. The suggestion was to drink shakes or smoothies to boost something or rather so it will kickstart me again… Um – get ready for more sarcasm – I had no idea she was a nutritionist too!! I ignored her helpful suggestion and told her my Doctor, my dietitian and I had a plan and its working great. (apparently if it was working great I would be thin by now) I also told her of my running life – its hard right now because of the new snow and the windchill makes it disgustingly hard to want to go outside – but I do it.

Then she asked me what will happen to me when I stop running altogether? It would be a shame to get massively fat again. WTF? Why do I have to stop running?

Apparently, it isn’t as awesome as cycling and I should switch now before its too late.

Really? Too late for what? Armageddon? The Zombie Apocalypse? I am pretty sure I don’t have to quit if I don’t want to. In fact, my Doc and I were just talking about up coming races and how I preregister to keep motivated because I always need to know what is coming up next so I don’t fall into the Marathon Blues ever again.

The Marathon Blues is a phenomena where you train super hard for an event and then once it is done, you have nothing to look forward to or train for and life feels like it is missing something. I told my Doc I have 4 half marathons for 2014. That will keep me going in spite of the snow.

I am currently waiting for the sun to come up because I don’t feel like running with my headlamp today. And I am hoping the wind will slow down when the sun is up…at the very least it will look warmer than dark and foreboding out.

As far as I can tell, there is no real good reason why I have to quit running or why I would ever stop. When that day comes, I will deal with it then. Meanwhile, being 46 I have a good 20+ running years ahead of me if I continue to play it smart. Between me, my Coach and my Doc – we have it covered… Thanks.

Now please excuse me, I have a 5k in shin deep fluffy snow to run.

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Edmonton Marathon Weekend V2.0: The ChatterBox Chronicles

I am not a stranger to Edmonton Marathon Weekend. My first time going was 2010. I was a spectator standing there cheering for people thinking…Why would any one do this??

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Fast forward a year later and there I was talking to a guy at the water station, he asked me why I wanted to walk this. I replied with “Last year I couldn’t understand the appeal, this year I do. I am walking because someone said it would be too hard. I laugh in the face of hard, HA!”

Last year I didn’t sign up. I went to cheer people on instead. Then came some inner drive to RUN. So I ran…kind of like Forest. I just ran. Then I figured I could run 10km. Never did I think I could run farther.

You know the details of my training. I ran farther.

IMG_4566This past weekend I had the opportunity to run with my girl for the first time ever. She entered her first 5k race. IMG_4570She wanted a medal and I know that feeling!

So we signed up for the Edmonton 5km together.

IMG_4572As we stood at the start line she was nervous. She asked me “what happens if I fall?” I said, “I will pick up  and kiss you better, then we keep running.” Then she asked, “What happens if I am last?” I said, “Sweetheart, as long as I am in the same race as you, you will never have to worry about being last.”

She hugged me and we set our Garmins. We were ready. John Stanton called the start and we were off.

The problem with the chaotic start is I run too fast. I went out at a 7:45/km pace. This is lightning speed for me. My race pace was going to be 10:30. By the time I got control of my speed, my daughter was long gone.

1150242_10151860697776337_397909244_n1001267_10151860681051337_791461993_n We passed each other and she was so excited she double high fived me. I crossed the finish line 10 minutes after her for my fasted 5k time EVER. I was moaning earlier in the week about how slow my 5k was at AN HOUR! IT TOOK ME AN HOUR on Tuesday – wow…that was my slowest time and a short week later, I ran my fastest, 51 minutes. It may seem slow to you but it is HUGE progress for me. The confidence booster I had been needing.

As I ran past my girl and my dad at the finish line. The look on my girls face as she watched me finish was worth every pain, ache and bad day. I could see pride. She told me that 4k is just right and 5k is too far. She hugged me and said 21.1k feels impossible. My Dad hugged both of his girls and declared his pride, I was hugging my girl and telling her how proud I was of her. Its funny how emotional you get after completing goals.

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My ChatterBox is now excited about her next big race. The Family 5km in WDW. She takes after her mama, the lure of the medal. My next big race was to be the next day. Back to back races, 21.1km  – I won’t lie, I was more than a little nervous, but more about that tomorrow.

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Looking for my Mojo

As I struggle to get back to my mojo, I realize I made an excellent decision about a month ago. I signed up for yoga again.

I love the beginning of yoga, the part before class starts. There is a lot of stretching, sitting quietly and basically chillin’. I love the end of yoga, the part where there is laying down.

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The middle bit of yoga is work and my abs feel it already. I like to think about quitting during the hard part.

But that is not why I go to yoga class. Becky, our blonde cute instructor who is about 22, went around the class asking our names and why we wanted to practice. Poor old Bryce, one of two males in the class, said he needed to gain flexibility. Poor guy, I was behind him and he was right, he is not flexible. I felt badly for him, it looked painful. The entire room said flexibility or fitness or core, except me…I said to get out of my head and relax.

This is not my first rodeo, I have been to yoga class before and I know how great I feel afterwards. As I walked out with my friend, I mentioned how it feels like the runners high I get after a great run (What is that again? I Haven’t had a great run in a while). I love that feeling. It makes me LET GO. 

At the beginning of class – and every time I exercise actually – I talk to myself and offer up an intention. Usually about releasing something…today it was anger. I was still pretty upset from my week. It has been difficult. I stress about my head and how if feels like it’s getting worse. I stress about my fitness level and how I don’t feel like I am progressing. So my focus today was releasing anger. It is hard to release. The monkey mind looks at everything and can be critical.

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By the time I was in Shavasana (final or Corpse Pose) tears were streaming down my face, yet I felt calm. It was a real surge of emotional release. Yoga does that for me. I never look at it as a series of stretches that will enhance my running – but it is that too. Yoga is about the mind/body connection for me.

On the drive to class I was crabby. On the drive home I was chipper. I noticed a difference, I am sure she did too. My friend pulled into my driveway and said you are running tomorrow. You are going to find it fun again. Get your mojo back.

I promise I will try.

I want it back desperately.

I also know if I try too hard it won’t work. So tomorrow, I will go to the valley, I will run at a relaxed pace and not worry about goals. I will run because it’s fun.

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I need to cry or change the attitude. Change the attitude it is!

Worst Run EVER happen today.

My pal came over early this morning and we headed to Emily Murphy Hill to run 6 repeats.

  1. I hate running up hill but love running downhill
  2. I have felt bad of late, I haven’t bounced back from last week’s 18 hour sleep days
  3. Hurling your cookies because you run is never fun

But those are excuses. I didn’t push myself. Instead I watched my friend take off like a rocket and do all 6, then she went home and signed up for the 10km. I am feeling a little jealous of here today. She is a BEAST, she pushes hard and has serious stamina. I run halfway up and hurl. After 6 halfway attempts I went to the grass and punished myself with core work and yoga poses I hate until she finished.

The worst of it is, I am angry. Angry at me, angry at my PERCEIVED expectations of others, angry at the fact that I am happy running slow and just don’t feel like getting faster, except when I run in WDW on Marathon weekend, I better run faster or my ass will be swept off the course. I am angry because I feel like I am being left behind. I see my teammates progressing or ask for help and get it. Here is the thing:

  1. I know what I have to do
  2. I know how to do
  3. Someone holding my hand while I do it just makes me angry
  4. Crying on my coaches shoulder is not going to help the situation because I KNOW what the problem is!

Here is my plan to improve the situation:

  1. Get some serious sleep! I was up late last night waiting for my girl to come home after a concert, then I had to hear the evening’s recap and oogle the merchandise. It has been a very long time since I have woke up in the morning feeling rested. Sleep by 10:00 tonight and I am NOT setting my alarm. I shall wake up when I am ready.
  2. Hydrate better. Fricken Diet Coke has slipped into my life again. I need to quit it before it becomes an addiction again. More Water Missy! And when I say Missy I mean me for a change.
  3. Find my earbuds! I haven’t seen them since Sunday. I think they are in Trusty Steed’s Truck. He drove me home on Sunday after my long run. Plug in and listen to music that energizes me.
  4. Find a path that isn’t flooded but isn’t dead boring either. I AM SO BORED OF MY TRAIL – the hideous one behind my house. I think I will head to  – I have no idea. I will explore some maps tonight.
  5. Run for fun tomorrow. I have forgotten how to do that. Run without a goal other than distance. No time, no pace, nothing else but fun.
  6. Change my attitude! End my run on a positive note. Smile while I run or at the very least feel like I am smiling.

There we have it. I have vented and no longer feel like crying. I will have a better run tomorrow. I will have fun running tomorrow and as my reward for changing my attitude, I will go to yoga class.

I can’t wait 🙂

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Changing the Weak Mind into a Strong Mind to reach the Finish line

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A friend of mine who is training for the Edmonton Half Marathon texted me that he had completed 18km the other day. That is WAY ahead of schedule. The rest of us were at the 10km mark. I suggested to him he should train for the full marathon  because his distances were right on target for marathon training. This was his reply:

I don’t think I can be in marathon shape in 8 weeks. It feels crazy.

Oh really? This was my response”

If you don’t think it- then you can’t.

If you think you can, then you will

I believe in the power of the mind. But let’s clarify that. I am not naive enough to think I can do anything without putting in the work. Muscles and the rest of my body rely on me to train, that way they know what to do when the mind takes me into the land of daydreams while I run. You see, running long distance can get BORING. Shocking right? Any time you are out there over 2 hours, you literally run out of stuff to think about. So I daydream. I am an awesome daydreamer. I could medal in all daydreaming events. This is a benefit of being an introvert.

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Let’s clarify the definition of Introvert: Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.

I am an Introvert and it’s awesome. It is hard to find time to be alone with my thoughts because the people in my life are talkers. I like taking trips by myself, I like going to movies by myself, and shopping by myself – it’s all good! Give me an empty room and I have reached nirvana! So running solo for 2-3 hours is an exquisite time for me. Alone, peaceful and silent – except for the waving hello to fellow runners, I don’t talk but I will wave and smile…sometimes I don’t smile because it feels like work. Such is the life of an introvert.

I often hear my peers worrying about being able to do the distance. They worry about not making it, or having to quit. I just don’t understand it. Why wouldn’t you be able to finish? Injury could be a factor. But mentally strong people push through it to finish. Not because it hurts less or they are stubborn, but because you have told your body with strength and conviction that you are finishing. You muscles carry you through to the end and the mind masks the pain. It is an amazing thing. That is how I got through my first half marathon with a stress fracture. My mind was masking all the issues from the PACE BUNNY WHO WOULDN’T SHUT UP to the pain I was feeling until I crossed the finish line. That was when all hell broke loose. I then began to feel the pain and my body wouldn’t let me walk on the foot anymore. It was crazy. The power of the mind is truly incredible.

Belief is only a part of the mental toughness training. Running in weather is important. Rain, snow, heat are all factors that play with the brain.

I am wanting to learn about developing mental toughness. I want to be able to push through pain and exhaustion to finish my goals. I can do this. In an effort to learn more, I am beginning a series about women athletes who work through obstacles and overcome them to achieve their goals. I’ve started the interview process with some amazing women and will begin this weekly summer series The first week of July.

If you are interested in being interviewed or can recommend an amazing female athlete in your life, please drop me a line! I’d love to learn more about you or them or both!

edmtourist@gmail.com

or message me on facebook at The Edmonton Tourist

or on twitter @EdmontonTourist

Meanwhile, stay strong and just do it.

Happy Running!

The training wheels came off and now I am ready to proceed with the rest of the journey

549273_349576008488429_102793663_nRemember way back to January 2010 when I started this Just Me and Mo Project? I was pretty worried about failing and not being able to find the MO to finish off what I started. My goal was simple. Make the outside me match the inside me. I took several steps to get there, I made small changes that became great habits and I began a fitness journey that has rocked my world and turned me into a medal whore. I am 90lbs lighter than I was that day in January.

I had been going to the Weight Wise Clinic that was created to give people the tools they need to change their lifestyle and lead a healthier life. It can be done with or without bariatric surgery. I decided not to choose surgery and continue down the path I am on. I have to say I have been successful but I also have to say it hasn’t been easy.

Today my Health Nurse Coordinator transitioned me out of the program. She said I have the tools, I am applying what I have learned and my weight keeps coming down. In fact, I am 2 dress sizes down from the last time I saw her. I am feeling empowered.

After I went to visit the Nurse, I was sent to dietary to discuss my plan.

My big question was how do I figure out when I need to drop my calorie intake and how to I proceed with maintenance?

Well obviously the maintenance will be in about 2 years time, but she won’t be in my life so I needed that formula. You know something? There IS a mathematical formula! Who knew this weight loss thing was all math?

Um… me. I knew that I need to burn more calories than I ingest. The simple formula of eat less and move more, but did you know that your body needs a basic amount just to have organ function? I bet you don’t think about that when you stand on the scale and wish you were the same size as you were in high school.

Oh come on, are you really thinking you body will let you get back to the weight when you were 17? It isn’t going to happen in a healthy manner, I can guarantee that!

Here is the formula:

10 x wt (kg) + 6.25 x Ht (cm) – 5 x Age (yrs) + 5 = BMR (male)
10 x wt (kg) + 6.25 x Ht (cm) – 5 x Age (yrs) -161 = BMR (female)

You need to use the metric system for this formula or it won’t work. The good news is metric makes math easy. So figuring that out, I need to consume 1550 calories a day to lose about 1-2lbs a week. Any more than that and I am putting myself at risk for taking off too much and putting right back on again. No thanks, 2 years of hard work and I am wanting to go back to where I was. My dietician told me not to drop below 1200 calories per day. If I always food journal then I will have a pretty good idea when I will be finished losing weight. You see, I don’t get to pick a number out of the air. I was told I have about 90 more lbs to lose. That will not put me in the 17 year old weight bracket I was in high school. In fact that will leave me about 50lbs heavier than I was back then. BUT!

But?

YES BUT! I am fitter now than I was then. I am healthier now than I was then and I can easily see myself being a size 10 or smaller when I reach that goal. That is based on my current size and height. I don’t know about you, but I am stoked about being a size 10.

We also talked about panel surgery or Panniculectomy Surgery (Abdominoplasty). There is a good chance I will be covered under Alberta Health Care for this procedure. It is the removal of my belly skin – not fat. I am getting rid of the fat but the skin is loose and droopy – how attractive… It is more common in mothers due to the pregnancy thing but I was obese and pregnant so it is higher for me. This is one of those woulda shoulda coulda moments for me. At any rate, I will lose all the weight I can and then talk to my doctor about the excess skin if necessary.

So, where does that leave me? I no longer have medical support services.

Not true, I have my amazing Doctor. If I find I need dietician support, I can access that through the Primary Health Services (free to patients in the Edmonton Area whose doctor is connected to the PCN) Which mine is and its an AMAZING service!

Meanwhile I have to stay committed to fitness. I have mapped out my fitness goals way off into the future so I am always working on something. I learned my lesson after my first half marathon and got the Marathon Blues. It was a big set back, so this time I am prepared.

It’s a big day in my Me and Mo Journey. I am now ready to remove the training wheels and head out on my own.

Yay me!

Learning from Hard Lessons Improves Performance

I learned some hard lessons this week about running.

  1. Mental Strength gets you to the finish when your body won’t.
  2. The body is capable of things you weren’t prepared for.
  3. Fuel quality is as important as hydration.

I went out for an ‘easy’ 8k on Tuesday. Easy…who would have thought I would have ever found an 8k easy? After my 13k run on Sunday the plan was an easy 8 for Tuesday and an 8k Temp for Wednesday. Tuesday was not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Someone had poured lead into my shoes and then stapled my feet to the ground. My legs were heavy and I was sore. It was the first time I felt pain in my hips. It wasn’t muscle pain from too much on Sunday – it was the kind of pain that was beyond fatigue. I knew I had to loosen it up of I may cause injury to myself. I took the first k slow to warm up the muscles then I found myself needing some yoga to stretch out or I wasn’t going anywhere. After pigeon pose, triangle pose and some various runners stretches I was able to move a bit more freely, so I resumed the run.

2km later and I was ready for a cab ride. I felt worse than I could ever recall since I had began running in January. It was days like that where I needed verbal support – yet I was running alone.

I knew I had not eaten enough protein the day before, nor had I drank enough water prior to the run. I was in the middle of my cycle and from reading on women’s run boards I knew that this feeling was common. We have lower iron levels, we are needing increased hydration and vitamin B levels are low. By ignoring my needs days prior to Tuesday’s run, I inadvertently sabotage my run. What was to be an easy 8km, turned into a nightmare of epic proportions.

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By the time I had reached My favorite part of the trail, I was DONE. I pushed farther but circled back and sat on the grass. I did some more yoga and texted my coach asking for him to pick me up and drive me home. He was a jerk and said no. Actually, I had hoped he would cheer me on but he was hard nosed about my plight. So I sat there feeling sorry for myself.

I figured I could walk back but I couldn’t find the mental strength to stand up, so I sat.

The trails downtown in the river valley are packed at noon by people running/walking/cycling on their lunch breaks.  A pack of moms and strollers were coming up on my right. I didn’t want to be behind them so up I got. I was stiff and achy and needed to walk to the path. Slowly I made my way into a run.

I didn’t even get into 10 minutes before I found myself walking. I took  in some water and tried again. This time I made it to the Low Level Bridge and climbed up to it. I ran across and got into a groove that allowed me to make it back to my car to finish off my 8k for the day.

All I could think about was how long it took me to  finish, how disgusting I felt and how was I ever going to finish my 10k road race in 2 weeks?

One thing I knew, I couldn’t let that bad run finish me off. I went home and hydrated, ate protein and had an ice bath. All the things that help with recovery. The next day was my first Tempo and I was nervous because my easy 8 was a bad experience.

The next day my daughter decided to go with me. We went to Laurier Heights to run along the river. She took off like a rocket. I ran my damndest to keep up with her but I had no chance. Although my pace on the Garmin indicated that I was running 2 minutes faster than I ever had before. I was able to maintain that pace for 1km. WOW! That did a number on my ego!

3km in and I was altering my pace from fast to medium and changing it up every km. My medium pace was also faster than what I normally do but it felt slow. I couldn’t believe it.

By the time I had finished my 8k, I looked at my average pace and I had knocked off 27 seconds per km off my previous fasted time AND I maintained it over 8km. It made the previous run feel like a bad dream.

I was pumped! I went home and repeated the same recovery method, hydrated, ate protein and an ice bath.  Now, do I think I maintain that pace over 10k in Calgary? Maybe? The plan is to start of at my medium pace so I have some kick for the end and go fast and pass my dad at the finish for the win. At least that is the fantasy.

The learning curve may have been painful but there is something important about failure that teaches valuable lessons.

  1. Recovery routine is as important and prepping.
  2. Learn from mistakes and don’t repeat them.
  3. Lean on people when you need to and you won’t be disappointed.

Happy Running!

In addition to running the 10k in Calgary with my Dad, my other goal is to raise money for the Dream Team Make-A-Wish Project. I chose to run for the Dream Team project for several reasons, the team, the support, the coaching but the most important reason is to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Project. I have family and friends who have benefited from this amazing charity and it is time to give back. Our Team slogan is Because you can’t smile on the outside without feeling better on the inside. 

Please consider donating on my behalf, Robyn Engel Couture here DONATEYou enter any amount from $1 – infinity and beyond

I thank you, my team thanks you and some little kid who’s wish came true thanks you.

For more information about the Dream Team Project, please visit here.