I have become that person I used to mock….Karma is real

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Welcome to Winter in Edmonton. Everything was moving along all tickety boo when suddenly there wasn’t enough snow to go around. Old Man Winter in his infinite wisdom decided to dump a couple of feet on us and then share frigid wind chills too.

Awesome.

And when I say ‘awesome’ I mean ‘$%#&*@!@$#%^*!!!”

That photo is my neighbour’s car mid way between the snow dumps. Dear Neighbour: USE YOUR GARAGE! My sled dog needs to bound across the snow because the piles come up to his shoulder. He is a big dog.

This winter I have become a wimp.

I admit it.

I am a wimp. I am the person I used to tease and mock. I DON’T WANNA RUN IN DEEP SNOW! Nor do I want to run when its -29F Windchill. Its nuts. I admit it. I am a sissy lala crybaby.

I have a problem. I am running the Donald Half marathon and I need to train. I am HATING my treadmill and do my Speed work on there. Its gross, but I do it.

My LSDs are another issue.

I just can’t face running the trails … I just can’t.

The Meadows Recreation centre just opened up down the street from me. I decided to give it w whirl. $10.50 for the drop in fee.

OUCH….did I mention I am also cheap? I like free. But given my options….$10.50 will have to do. Thankfully I wouldn’t be using the treadmill there. I have my own torture machine of evil in my office.

My first impression of the facility was WELL DONE EDMONTON! It is big, bright and well thought out. I love that there is a ‘dry’ change room (which also means no kids in there because they use the pool!) Now that I no longer teach, I like kids WAY LESS when they aren’t mine – true story.

I made my way up to the track. It was located around the perimeter of the north side of the building, it didn’t go around the hockey arena nor the swimming pool. That would have only made the facility track better. Why? Because when you train for a distance like a Half Marathon, less laps = good.

As it was, 4.25 laps = 1km or 7 laps =1 mile.

3/4s of the track had large windows that reminded me why running inside was good. The other 1/4 of the track over looked the pool. That served as a reminder that I am thankful my kids are big….as in adult sized.

The track was 3 lanes wide and had ample room on the sides for stretching, lunges, walking super slow or just resting. I laced up my Ghost 6 and attached my footpod to my shoe (Don’t tell Andie, but I left my Polar M400 at home and wore my Garmin Forerunner 15). I kept a rough estimate to how many laps I did, and it was fairly comparable with my footpod. That was good to know. GPS units don’t work so well inside a concrete fortress.

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Now that I know how terrific the facility is, I think I will get myself a monthly pass so I can go there before and/or after work during the winter to get my workouts in. Did I mention there is a library too?

Meanwhile, next Saturday I am running the Santa Shuffle 5km with some pals. It’s supposed to warm up to +1C. That is not great because the snow will be slushy. MAKE UP YOUR MIND WINTER!

At any rate, the training is happening and I am still slow and now I have no excuse.

Thanks winter…you’re a jerk even though you are pretty.

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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.

 

Good News! I didn’t Die Today

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

She was right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So where did I leave off?

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

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

It sucked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Off we went, further into the valley.

It was at this moment I listened to my feet.

Feet: Hey Robyn, WTF is on us?

Me: Nike Pegasus 31

Feet: Where are the Ghost 6 that we love?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I ignored them, but ran to my store.

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

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

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

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

Bring it on.

 

This year is a write off

2014 is all about teaching me patience.

I am not a patience girl.

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

Karma is teaching me all about it.

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

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

Then I had surgery.

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

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

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

We finished!

That was just plain stupid.

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

Oh, NOW you tell me!!!

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

I lost a lot of fluid and went into shock.

I froze all afternoon.

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

Crap.

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

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

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

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

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

Resting is hard.

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

That my friend is progress.

 

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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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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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.

So you think I am Dopey?

Yesterday my team-mate Mitch discovered why his foot has been giving him issues. Apparently it has a stress fracture and his doctor told him not to run.

Been there, ran on it and STILL finished a half marathon. I think Mitch is being a wuss, however, he IS being smart and listening to his doctor. It is smart for lots of reasons:

  1. he won’t have a permanent injury
  2. he can rest and mend, then come back stronger than ever
  3. he can get out of chores around the house

All those reasons are good ones.

He asked me yesterday what was the craziest thing I have ever done in the last 30 days. Obviously it was running in a blizzard. That was stupid.

Then he asked me, “What is the craziest thing you will do in the next 30 days?”

Obviously run the Grumpy with very little distance training under my belt.

I was wrong.

He informed me that I was going to run the Dopey. He was giving me his marathon bib and I can run a marathon for fun! WOOT! Now WHO wouldn’t want that for Christmas???

I sat in my chair and looked out my window at this:

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A foot of new snow with more coming and temperatures hovering around -17F. I had asked my other team-mate Joe how many miles did I need to be at this week if I was to consider running the Dopey. He said 15k Saturday and 32k Sunday.

Right.

The furthest I have run to date was in August, I ran 22km. Since then, I struggle in with the snow and cold to make my distances. Today was an hour out there freezing my tushy off and I made it to 6k.

The Dopey is a 4 day back to back race. The first day starts with 5k, next is the 10k, followed by the 21.1k and then finally on the last day you go big with a full marathon. I have never run a marathon in my life. I am not even sure I have walked that far even with all my Disneyland commando type days. 42.2km is FAR. It is the equivalent of walking from Sherwood Park to Spruce Grove (this is for the benefit of my Edmonton peeps). Respect the distance.

As I looked out my window I thought about the possibility. I could toe the line and start. If I get swept, then I get swept. There is no shame in trying. The up side is I am mentally strong enough to finish in 7-8 hours. I know I could do that. This article from Forbes explains me very well.

But do I want to?

Running the Dopey means earning a collection of 6 beautiful medals.

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Running the unofficial Dopey – which is what I would be doing is a collection of 4. I would miss out on the Goofy medal and the Dopey medal. I would have to try to score them on ebay.

My daughter is coming with me that weekend. She is running the 5k with me. She was worried that I would not be able to visit parks after I ran the half because I would be so tired. If I ran the marathon too, I know I would be too tired to be in the parks on Sunday. She is my reason for breathing. Missing out on a full day of park time with her would be devastating for me.

The other thing I thought about was some goals I set for myself.

Recovery is a big part of that. To recover quickly after a race, proper training is part of it. I have NEVER run a marathon and to do so without training is not respecting the distance and doing mean things to my body, then I need to sit on an airplane for 8 hours. I will not be able to move, never mind getting up for work the next day.

I have a dream.

My dream is to prepare to run a marathon. Train to the best of my ability and that includes sleep and nutrition. When I run my first marathon, I want to be in the moment. I want to be prepared and see what my best effort can bring. The days of taking risks because I am mentally strong enough are over.

Go Big or Go home is a motto I will save for different adventures that include training and supporting my physical needs properly. I really do think I could run the Dopey this year. I am in the best physical condition of my life. However, I am not prepared for the physical consequences or the emotional ones where my daughter becomes disappointed. Just thinking about what she means to me brings tears to my eyes. And really, no physical goal is more important than her.

So Thanks for believing in me Mitch and Joe, but I will pass on the unOfficial Dopey and will do the real thing in 2015 when I am ready.