100 Mo

img_1091Life gets in the way and suddenly you are not where you thought you might be. That is the problem with expectations. You think and plan for one thing and another thing pops up. As did with my life this week.

I went to my my post MRI follow up and discussed events. Things are progressing nicely – and by progressing I mean my Acoustic Neuroma is behaving itself. Swelling has changed and so my new normal plan is working out just fine. Stress free is my goal but seriously when has anyone ever lived through a stress free existence? I practice mindful meditation as a way to combat the anxiety I feel towards my AN and life in general. This has resulted in a positive change in outlook. For that I am thankful.

My Mo goals have not been as successful but all things considered, I am pretty happy about that.

Let’s recap; 2 weeks ago I set 3 goals for myself.

  1. Increase flexibility to be able to touch toes (again).
  2. Increase endurance by walking consistently.
  3. Strengthen core to improve posture.

TOES! I became another inch close this week! I am 2 inches away from success. My body has begun to rebel and groans a bit but I insist we need to continue practicing.

Goal 1= Progressing.

Walking! Well…. It is super icy and I just got cleats screwed to the bottom of my shoes. Falling is not helpful in my new normal life so safety first people! Perhaps this will help me achieve that goal. The winter weather feels like it is back so I missed warm and melty walking opportunities. Cool crisp evenings are something I look forward to.

Goal 2= Stagnant

Core! WOOT! I see the most progress in this goal. I have increased to 100 crunches and feel pretty great about it. When I finish and I am lying on my floor, I can feel a waistline indent, take THAT wine from Friday night! Everything is tightening up nicely. 40 more as an increase felt really great. I am pleased to discover that it doesn’t take long to get back into fight shape. I obviously wasn’t starting from scratch. This pleases me.

Goal 3=knocking it out of the park!

For February I have been thinking about adding something to my morning routine. I think it will be small weights for my arms and shoulders, but I am still thinking about that.

Getting back into fighting shape will be a slow process for me, but my goal of the Canada Road Race is still clear and in sight. I will make it. Having a goal where I am seeing major success has been motivating. Ultimately that is where I am at, finding the motivation to keep progressing.

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Wake up Mo

Remember me?

It has been 18 months since I have posted here. Let’s catch up.

  • You last saw me in Ireland running across the country from Dublin to Kinvara. That was Epic.
  • Then I helped my friend run from San Fransisco to Los Angeles for fun and we raised $10000 for Do Away with SMA.
  • I race the Wine and Dine that year and then in 2016 I went to the Star Wars Rebel something something in Disneyland. That is when the wheels fell off.

I have a little condition called an Acoustic Neuroma. Long story short, it is a brain tumour that took up residence on my vestibulocochlear nerve. Mine is close to the brain stem but not pushing into it. If that happens then it’s surgery to remove. But so far, it’s behaving itself. I have single sided deafness, balance/dizzy issues, pressure headaches but all things considering, I’m doing pretty good! I walk slow now because I have to be super mindful of falling. More women die from falling complications than heart disease according to my doc- I fall a lot and it’s not glamorous so I have slowed down. Fatigue is a big issue that’s not mentioned here but my doc says it’s one very common symptom. Naps are my super power. If you need medical information about it, the Mayo Clinic explains it quite nicely here 

I tried running as this progressed but certain symptoms were more than I could handle. I took all of 2016 off and worked on figuring out what my new normal was going be. Let me tell you, it broke my heart because my physical progress from Fat to Less Fat was pretty damn important to me. I had an aunt say to me, ‘you better watch it – you’ll be fat again in no time.” I know people mean well but sometimes I think ‘Do they really?’ I haven’t really spoken with her now since….2015? I think? I cut out negative and mean people from my life. I made the choice to simplify everything. I found a pretty good balance but felt myself getting squishy… I still wear the same size but when you don’t use your muscles like you used to your shape changes.

I am not likening that much.

I gave up pop and artificial sugars. I gave up sugars for the most part, Christmas 2016 I went over board but, I can curtail that again easily. My eating habits are still pretty great but my exercise is not. Going for a walk once a week with my dog is good, but I need more.

So I signed up for a Race.

2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday, My 50th birthday and Edmonton Marathon’s 25th birthday.

While my dream of NYC Marathon is now a faded memory, I can still walk. Sure I have to walk slow and less far but I am still upright and not dead yet so all is well. I signed up for the Canada Day Road Race 2.5km.

IT’s shocking to me that I am okay with 2.5k and not the 15 km or relay of even 5km. It has taken me a year to get over the fact that I do not run anymore.

People say, well you will bounce back. That isn’t helpful. 1 year of getting used to the fact that everything in my life is different is not the same as bouncing back, because I had to find a new normal. I also do not want to undo all the hard work I have put into myself. I am worth the effort so here I am back with Mo trying to figure out what fitness level I am and how I am going to move and advance through new levels. So I made a few goals.

  1. Increase flexibility to be able to touch toes (again).
    1. I will engage with yoga stretches every morning for 5 mornings a week.
    2. Primarily focusing on my hamstrings.
  2. Increase endurance by walking consistently.
    1. Walk for 30 minutes every day after work with my dog.
    2. 1 Long walk on the weekend for a minimum of 1 hour.
    3. focus on time not distance yet.
  3. Strengthen core to improve posture.
    1. planks every morning starting with as long as I can go, I suspect it will be 30 seconds but we will soon see. Record how long and increase over one month.

3 small goals is good for January. I will update my progress and reassess the goal in February. My long term goal is Canada Day 150 2.5km race.

I plan to be in the creek a lot this month because its my happy place and I really need it.

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Health can sure change your life in a moments notice.

 

 

Running Coast 2 Coast: Podcast Edition

rc2c5 years ago I was sitting in the car with my friend Simone and she was telling me how much she loves running. It released her from her stresses. I replied with…. I don’t understand how running feels good AT ALL. You are crazy, it makes no sense to me.

My dad always ran and my family was always saying “you are addicted to running, this is terrible, you need to stop, its bad for you.”

My dad didn’t stop. He kept running. He basically did what he always does. he replied with a “yeah yeah yeah” and did what he wants. Why? Because my dad is a grown up. He gets to choose his own hobbies, his own passions and his downtime spent freely from obligations.

Go Dad, you rock!

I met a runner who runs marathons…get this…FOR FUN. Seriously? Do you know how far that is? Dude, 42.2 km is FREAKING FAR! I didn’t give him the proper respect. I was all….big deal, so you run. So do lots of people. But the more I listened and understood, the more the Kool-Aid tasted better. I drank enough Kool-Aid that I wanted to give running a try.

Boom, 5 years later I am a bonafide Runner.

I have a Pie Run tomorrow. I get to go for a run and they will give me PIE at the finish line. Seriously….who doesn’t like Pie? I’ll run for pie.

I told my pal about the Run for Pie – the same guy who runs marathons for fun. He said “Pie? That has to be one of the best foods available a race course! But there was one time I had a sub, there was these people….”

We exchanged race stories.

Then we thought, this might be a fun podcast.

So he pressed the record button on one of our conversations.

Suddenly, not only am I a runner, but I am a podcast host who talks about running.

Weird how life takes you down paths so unexpected.

You can find my podcast Running Coast 2 Coast here:

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If you like it, please leave a review. If you hate it, please leave a review with WHY. Whys are important for growth.

We are 3 podcasts published and have lots ready to roll out. Even if no one listens, we are having fun. AND I get to talk about running, my next favourite thing to running.

Doing stuff I like and having fun. Can’t get better than that.

Dad’s are smart. Well, mine is. Thanks Dad.

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And I’m back…

I have a band of brothers who are insisting they run with me during the Donald Half Marathon. Joke’s on them, They will be walking fairly quickly while I sprint my heart out to keep up.

In an effort not to let them down too much, I am doing speed work during the week to get faster. I’m not all that convinced it will work. This year has been such a training clusterfuck. I had surgery and injuries and set backs. All of which have been important learning lessons.

I can get the long distance in, the speed works helps somewhat so now its time to add the other piece of the puzzle.

FOOD INTAKE.

I have been pretty good thus far. I have been careful about what I eat, drink my water and keep sweets to a minimum. I have MAINTAINED….after I gained 10lbs. First I gained 10 then I held it there.

I re-installed Myfitness Pal again today and am in the middle of syncing Mapmyrun and Garmin connect with everything.

Why?

It makes me accountable. I want to lose another 50lbs this year.  (not by 2015 – I mean November 2015). I have the tools, I have the knowledge and I have the ability. I just HAVE TO RIGHT IT DOWN!

That part is the part that I am not consistent with. I started today.

I wrote everything I ate – including the Aero Bar and the Tostito Chips. I was 175 calories OVER my daily goal of 1790. That total will apparently get me to my goal of 2lbs per week for 1 month. Then I will adjust it to 1 lbs per week. It also helps me not go bonkers over Christmas. I didn’t last year and felt awesome. I will do it again this year.

It is interesting how I feel about food journaling. A year ago I would have not wrote the food in, giving myself a clean slate for tomorrow. Yet I wrote the good parts and the bad parts in. I am trying not to think about food in terms of BAD or GOOD. But rather in terms of fuel for running. I need to make sure I have the right amount of protein grams and carbs in so I will feel fab over my long runs.

On FB I have THIS as my profile pic 1375002_10152876402766337_9194937867845132687_nOn the side of the hat it says TRAINING. I have no plans to run the Calgary Half or Full next year because I am planning on really focussing my training on the Dumbo Double Dare. That means I am running ‘just 2’ half marathons. My training pal Liz laughed and said “Just two?”

Just 2. When did I become THAT girl? That girl who can now fit into a running jacket. That girl who explains fartleks to run club members, that girl who can talk about nutrition with beginner, marathoner and ultra runners. That girl who can hear about a foot issue and talk to people about solutions and shoes. That girl who understands clothing tech.

Yet I am still that girl who is scared to run with her band of brothers because she is slow.

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And because one of them looks like this:

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That is pretty much all the motivation I need.

 

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.

 

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!

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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Suddenly it was a lifestyle

39176_413620261539_5541464_nRemember way back when?? 2011 when I made the decision to move forward and change my lifestyle, I had hoped it would stick. It has taken me longer than I wanted but I haven’t gone back to that dark place where the weight piles on.

I am still losing weight.

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Shocking given my lack of focus, however, I have certain habits now that are healthy ones that haven changed. So that alone is what has seen me lose 7lbs in the month of January.

Cool.

Sure I went out for a lavish dinner when I was in WDW and had an appetizer, main dish, AND a dessert – along with 3/4 of a bottle of wine. My dinning partner had some of the bottle but was also indulging in other libations that were present at the start of dinner. I ate a churro, a couple of cookies and other than that, nothing outrageous. Why? I think food doesn’t hold that same appeal that it used to. I no longer think of food as a ‘treat’ or a ‘reward’. But I do enjoy it and make sure the calories are worthwhile. I am often heard asking “Is it worth the calories?” Dinner at the California Grill was a resounding YES, dinner at Captain Cooks? Not so much – so I played it safe, move vegetables less bread.

I was asked again recently how am I doing it? To be honest – I am not sure because I haven’t recorded my calories in a long while and I over indulged in sweet over Christmas and that is always hard because it is hard to ween yourself off of sweets – at least it is for me.

I do have a list of things I always do out of habit now. This makes it easier to cope. These are things my nutritionist encouraged me to do.

1. Weigh yourself once a week. Weight will fluctuate 7lbs in a week. Seems like a lot. But female cycles, water retention for too much sodium or not moving enough for a few days can really make a difference. any more than 5lbs is a warning to me to be more conscious about what I put into my mouth.

2. Keep track of your daily movement. I sucked at this until I go a Polar Loop. I lost about a dozen pedometers. The loop stays on my wrist and converts all movement to steps for me. I started out with a baseline and increase it by 10% per week.  When I was in WDW I was doing 37 thousand steps on average. That is 3x my goal. Pretty sure that is why it was okay with me eating a little more than normal – I was hungry and for good reason.

3. Eat enough protein. Protein keeps me from craving carbs. Who would rather eat a loaf of break than a steak? Well, I would, but by making sure I get enough grams of protein every day – I can reduce the carbs in my life. I no linger have them with dinner. I do at breakfast and lunch – lets face it, your body needs carbs. It is a quick energy and if you choose wisely, it will be good for you too. But protein feeds the muscles I am building and keeps me fuller…longer. The longer is good because my new job prevents me from snacking. This is good AND bad. Eating every 2 hours – smaller meals – is ideal for me. however, circumstances prevent me from achieving this. But I do get to drink more water than before. That is good.

4. Drink water. Don’t drink it all at once. spread it out during the day. Stop drinking your calories. This includes Juice, sugary drinks, frothy sweet coffees and smoothies. I admit to drinking alcohol. I enjoy wine and beer and scotch and rum, but not every day AND not binge drinking on weekends. If it doesn’t enhance my experience than I don’t drink it. So Alcohol is a rare beverage for me.

5. Eat different food every day. This shakes up your metabolism and keeps it cooking. Sure it is easy to eat cereal every day of your like. But changing it up keeps your body from becoming complacent. This is important. AND EAT more not less. Starving yourself and keeping yourself hungry puts your metabolism into survival mode. Not cool. You don’t want it saving your fat, you want it to USE your fat. Because quite frankly, you aren’t using it for anything useful anyways.

5. Don’t eat 2 hours before bed time. Breakfast is called Break-FAst meaning you fast all night and brake the fast by eating breakfast. The 2 hour window is because that is how long it takes your body to typically digest your dinner.

6. Don’t skip meals. This makes you binge eat at a later time of the day. Not helpful.

7. Are you hungry? Are you really? Do you know where you are hungry? Odd question for some. I get hungry in my mouth. This means I need oral stimulation – quiet from the peanut gallery thanks. Gum or a mint helps, so does drinking water through a straw. I don’t know why, but it does. I also get heart hungry. Anger, sadness, broken heart will have me in search of food to feel that deep chasm. I now make myself sit in my emotions and feel it. It doesn’t last long and then its over. Numbing it with food just made me this fat in the first place. Hungry in the tummy? There you go! EAT! Never feel shame about eating. Eating is good for you if you eat for hunger. It is fuel.

Remember Food is Fuel not Therapy and you will make out just fine.

Meanwhile, I hope to lose another 50lbs this year. 7 down and 43 to go. Totally doable because it is now my lifestyle.

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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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What the HELL Happened?

031Here I was, just a girl trying to become a runner and blogging about it regularly, then SUDDENLY, I am running and employed in the Running Field and before I know it I am leaving for Walt Disney World to run everyday and I forgot to train properly.

You can’t hear me, but I am laughing my head off.

The Polar Vortex has frozen my world. I didn’t run as far as I should have, I didn’t eat as well as I could have and now its too late. I leave at midnight. I am mostly packed. I am mostly ready. 009I am not really sure how things will turn out.

But.

How bad can it be? I will be at the second Happiest Place on Earth (the first one is Disneyland). I will be hanging out with my friends and team mates. I will have my best daughter with me. I have run a couple of Half Marathons this year and know what I am up against.

I am pretty sure I’ve got this.

Sure I was stupid about it.

Sure I am relying on my mental strength.

Sure I talk big.

If it goes bad, I will blame the weather like all good Canadians do. Then I will blame not being a morning person (seriously Disney, you expect me to get up at 2:30 AM to run? WTF? That is Florida time and I will be on Edmonton time – it will be 12:30 – which is fine if there is alcohol involved because that is called a party. I have participated in running across lawns at that hour with a beer in my hand. But never with 20 000 people joining me).

I hear there will be mice and birds (Mickey and Donald) I am terrified of mice and birds so I am sure that will help me make it to the end – the running away from them part.

Meanwhile… If I come back with out the medals, you can be assured I had a great time.

If I come back with medals, you will know I had the best time.

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See you on the other side!

Happy running.