An Open Letter to John Stanton and the Running Room @runningroom


Dear John Stanton,

I know your inspirational story and follow your training programs. I walked a half marathon because of you and I thank you.

But I have a bone to pick with you and your purchaser for the Running Room stores across Canada.

We all know your story about you running when it was dark so people couldn’t see you due to your size. You started running because you were an extended size. Guess what? So am I. In fact there are a TON of us extended size people who run or are learning to run because we no longer wish to be on the extended size of the clothing chart. But guess what? Your store does not  carry extended size apparel. While that is not entirely true, your online shop shows you sell XL but are out of stock. However, if I wish to purchase S or XS I am IN! You have plenty of those sizes! Here’s the thing, most women are a size 12 of larger. I know you have all those runners at your store who have the classic runners physique. I also will have one of those, but not this winter. This winter I need to sport an extended size. While I am 3 sizes smaller then last year, I am still not one of those gazelles. I do not wish them ill will, I know your gazelles work and run hard to look like that. Well, Mr. Stanton, I have worked and run hard to look like this too. All I want is to be able to go to the Running Room, and buy tech wear that respects my body shape.

Please don’t tell me that there isn’t a market for it otherwise NorthFace and Columbia would not be making jackets that would fit me. I have yet to find a store that can help me. I want to be fit and you and other fitness merchants make it hard for me. I live in Edmonton. It is starting to get cold when I run. I do not have the luxury of running during the day. My options are morning or evening in the dark. Dark in Edmonton typically means cool or the very least, COLD.

Columbia also makes tech shirts that are extended sizes. The problem is, I can’t try them on. I live in the Capital City of Alberta. The streets are paved with gold, yet I have to shop online for tech wear. Seriously? The luxury of trying on clothing is lost for me. While you assume most runners are created equal, I can assure you this is not the case. Remember back to before you started the Running Room. Why can you not offer extended sizes for runners like me? I am a woman, therefore I am curvy, so those unisex jobs you sell do not fit the upper body very well.

Is it too much to ask that ONE of your stores offer extended sizes? Come on, one per city is all I am asking, please. I understand how inventory works. I guarantee you it will pay off in the long run. Bloggers like me will spread the word. Besides, I have lots of women friends who are looking for running apparel that fits them. I cheered on the marathoners at this years Canadian Derby Marathon and guess what? There were quite a few extended runners, shocking! We run in daylight for people to see. We are working hard to be the same on the outside as we feel on the inside. Support us by offering clothing that fits, and you will have the most loyal shoppers out there.

Please help us to keep running all winter long.


Mo has a Wild Streak – Let the training begin!

Perhaps by now I’d come far enough that I had enough guts to be afraid.

                                                                                              ~ Cheryl Strayed

I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. That girl now as it figured it out. Mo does too. Intellectually I do too.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Photo credit: bubbletea1)

I have been at this journey for well over a year. Last year it was about setting goals that were insane for me, achieving them and celebrating them. I then fell into a goal setter let down…

I couldn’t find my focus. I was tired. Not so much physically, but mentally. I let go of some serious things, serious people, toxic things and toxic people. Where does that leave me to date?

I smiled spontaneously this week for the first time in I have no idea how long. I smile a lot. I have the wrinkles and laugh lines to prove it. Smiling because you feel JOY is a whole other smile. It comes from a place of peace.

I found it. I have no idea how long it will last but I am enjoying the ride while I am on it.

Because I felt JOY, I was able to sit down and make some goals that had to do with wants. This is different than last year. Last years goals were about proving myself to people. I finally figured out that I don’t need to prove myself to others, I really needed to prove myself to me.

Things I have learned;

I am smart.

I am strong physically and mentally. I am almost strong emotionally. Baby steps.

I like me. I like spending time alone with me.

I have skills that can save my life in the wilderness, in an urban environment and in a recreation environment. How many people can say that?In an effort to find myself I tried a billion different activities and have weeded out the ones that I do not enjoy. If it is for pleasure, then do pleasurable things.

The quote at the top has deep meaning for me. I now have a healthy fear of life. I respect it. I know how to proceed with caution and not reckless abandon. This is a huge growth for me. I walked a half marathon thinking, pfffff I can do that easy. It was not easy. It was 99% mental and 1% physical. I could have and likely SHOULD have done things differently. Being the smart girl I am, I have taken what I have learned, and am applying it to my next set of goals.

In October 2010, I was in Germany. I was walking back from the camp showers late at night to the caravan. It was dark and damp. I slipped on some muddy grass and tore my MCL on my left leg. I saw stars, I howled, I cried and I needed help getting into the caravan. I hit rock bottom physically. Mentally that was about to happen much later…

My Doctor encouraged me to walk and he is the type of guy who doesn’t want to tell someone not to exercise. I was just suppose to listen to my knee and not push it. What the hell does that mean? I walked the Half a year later, I swam 1.5 hours 4 times a week and walked 40k a week….that was a lot. My knee hated me but I told it to feck off.

I started training for the Calgary half in January. my knee hated me more than anyone could possibly appreciate. I was stronger than ever. My heart and lungs could take me to new heights and I could walk fast enough to pass runners on the track. Once I hit 45 minutes, my knee said…that is IT, I HATE you and I quit.

And it did.

I had to stop walking, swimming and strenuous yoga. I felt soft and gooey. Gross…

When I went back to my Doc and walked up 3 flights of stairs without my knee weeping, I figured I could swim again. So I did. This time I took it easy. I swam 30 minutes for my short swims and 45 for my long. I was faster than before. I couldn’t belive it. I felt strong, healthy and focused.

I still felt squishy. I knew I needed weight baring exercise. I want to run like a gazelle. I see and hear stories of men who were fat and chunky running and then they became these fit Adonis’. Why can’t I do that? Truthfully, there is no reason why I cannot.

I started reading John Stanton. He is a local hero who was a chubby guy, started running then became the go to guy in Edmonton for all things running. He branched out. He is now the go to guy in Canada and owns a string of Running Room stores. I figured this guy knew what he was talking about.

This is what I know. I HATE LEARN TO RUN CLASSES. When I have a goal I turn inward. I prefer the silence and solitude to pull me through. I have an inner drive and focus that will amaze the strongest man. I get this from my dad. When I swim I use this focus. This is why I can swim for 1 1/2 hours. I only stop because I am hungry and have no energy left. Mentally I could go for days.

I did some research and discovered that I should start my learn to run classes at a 3Km. Running for 20 minutes non stop. I don’t want to be surrounded by people when I do this. Perhaps it is because I talk for a living  – but I don’t want to chit chat when I run, walk or swim. I just want to go. It feels like flying when I am alone in my head.

Saturday I did my first session alone at Wildrose Park. I ran 1 minute and walked 2 minutes x6. This took me 19 minutes. I went a distance of 2.07km. My heart and lungs laughed their heads off. It was easy for me. It was EASY for me. The fat girl RAN and it was EASY. I can walk 26km.

When I got home what struck me as I walked in the house was, wow it feels good to not be so tired I want to sleep. I felt energized.

I need to repeat 1 and 2s for the rest of the week. Stanton says to do it every other day. Awesome, that is easy enough to do. I did yoga today. Tomorrow I will run 1 and 2 for a total of 19 minutes. I will then swim after work for 30 minutes. I swim to de-stress and to change eating habits of eating while stressed out. Here is my challenge for the week…

It is no secret that I am a night owl. Mornings are for the birds and the sunrise. To get my runs in this week, I will need to run in the morning before work. Holy Hell that sucks the big one.

That will be the challenge. Not the running, not the swimming – but running in the MORNING for crying out loud. I will do it. Laying out my clothes tonight will help motivate me. I can do this because this is the MENTAL challenge. I kick-ass at mental challenges. Morning run? I accept that challenge!

Besides it has me excited. I am anxious to run 3k without stopping.

I plan on doing that for my birthday. Happy birthday to me on Dead Elvis Day! August 16 incase you want to come cheer me on at Wild Rose park.

Goal #2 5k in the same fashion. I will start at the beginning and work every week until I can run 5km with out stopping. I plan to have that goal achieved by October. Then I will be a 5 k runner and do the Santa shuffle in December, run at the indoor track and perhaps outside if I can figure out the not falling on ice part.

Goal #3 will be to run the Canada Day 10Km.

Goal #4 will be the Donald Half in WDW. I want that medal so bad I can taste it. I will run the 5 k fun the day before.

Doing this slow to re-build the muscles around my knee will be the key. It is hard not to skip to the end. But that is the goal – slow and steady.

I completely get Cheryl Strayed. Her journey made perfect sense to me because in many ways it is my journey. One step in front of the other. I can’t jump ahead to the end and neither did she.

Wake up call at 6:00AM – good grief… I’ve got this.

Where did Mo’s Energy Come From?

Mo has grabbed me by the tail and is pulling me along at great speed! I am, for lack of a better word, Gobsmacked!

This weekend I continues my training for the Calgary Half Marathon. I walked 3km on Saturday and 7km on Sunday. The past weeks tempo walk had me reaching a 10min/km pace. I was so incredible excited because that is 4min faster than i was at the beginning of training last year! Saturday rolls around and I am suppose to have a steady walk for 3km…. I clocked in at 8.66min/km. I was elated! I ate well had a great sleep and then Sunday rolls around.

I spent the morning doing school work, University Classes come first for me. Then I made cookies for lunches, nice treat for the offspring who have just come off of exam week. Then I headed for the gym. As nice as the weather is, the sidewalks are too slippery for me to want to take any chances with my knee. My MCL injury is taking it’s sweet time to heal, and I don’t want to aggravate it. I am so thankful the YMCA has a track. I find treadmill work mind numbing.  Hill train will have to be done on the tread mill, but until then…round and round the track I go!

9 laps = 1km

I have been keeping a close eye on the clock. Keep in mind I am WALKING. I am not the fastest walker ever, nor am I the thinnest. I am moving at a pretty good clip for me. Last year my fastest time for a 5k was 1 hour. Today I did a 5k in 45min. I just about fell over. This was my LSD (Long slow Distance) I was not huffing and puffing, I was lapping people and I felt great! I did 7km in 68 minutes. I had to stop because of a clusterf**k on the track. 6 guys were strolling and hogging the lanes. Very annoying, I passed them three times, then they were too tired to continue.

The great thing about  training this time around is the feeling afterward. If this is a runners high or close to it…I am IN! Last year after every work out session I felt like death. Putting in an entire year of hard work and crosstraining has paid off for me. I was super pumped after the gym and was raring to go. I had a surplus of energy and felt so productive today. It got me thinking about setting some medium term size goals for myself.

I want to enter a road race for 10k. That would be fairly easy for me. I have chosen a race that is a nice course, close to my final goal ( Calgary Half) and has cool swag…because if you read the Edmonton Tourist you know I am ALL ABOUT SWAG! This race isn’t a stupid T-Shirt…it is Cool Sunglasses! I am IN! The course is through Edmonton’s River Valley, quite frankly it is beautiful even when there isn’t any foliage. There is a killer hill involved but I will be doing hill training before then. I’ve got this.

I love this feeling and I never want it to go away. I am so thankful I kept up all that hard work. I think that means this year will go by easier for me. Thanks Mo!

Holy Crap 16km is far!

I walked 16km today. HOLY CRAP that is far! I learned a big lesson from my last soul sucking experience and these are the changes:

  1. Bring 2 ipods because your’s suck and the battery life is dismal – CHECK!
  2. Eat the right fuel – CHECK!
  3. Hydrate well before hand – CHECK!
  4. Walk a route that was inspiring and not soul sucking – CHECK!

I did all those things but…

I have been having a ton of emotional issues I am dealing with. I learned a few things about relationships. Care to glean from my limited vast knowledge? It does not matter how hard or how much you love someone, you cannot make them love you back. You have to accept it and move on, or your life will be filled with empty promises and heartache. Message received, loud and clear. My big lesson this week was ACCEPTANCE. I need to accept that I cannot change things. I know this prayer. It rings true for me today. Walking 16km with these thoughts in my head did bring tears to my eyes, but it also brought affirmations about where I am today. I am stronger than I thought, I am wiser than I thought, I am more capable than I thought. I am a goal setter and achiever. Thank heaven for that. The goals seem to pull me through the hard times and get me over the bump. I needed to rely on the CBT I learned in the spring. This prevented my walk from becoming a pity party. I focused on the party I plan to have on August 22. I am heeding the advice of Another Goal Setter and throwing myself a big party to celebrate my achievements. I will celebrate my 44th birthday, I will celebrate 1 year of the Edmonton Tourist Journey and I will be wearing the medal I will have earned from completing the Edmonton Intac Derby Half MArathon. I then went through the guest list in my head. I have decided to invite everyone who has been supportive of my year long journey, who cheered me on when I walked/swam/changed my life.

I will send out invitations about a month before the half marathon. I don’t expect everyone I invite to come, but I do hope some of you will. If you get a chance to peek at the guest list and notice your brother/niece/friend/coworker is not on my list, please remember that this is MY list and MY party. I reserve the right to celebrate in my own way, inviting the the people I want to be with. I want this party to be an emotionally safe event for me. Your favorite people may not be MY favorite people, shocking I know, but true.

Next Sunday I need to walk 16 more km. I will continue to do all those things on my list but I will add bring painkillers for my knee ( I am recovering from a torn MCL that happened in October 2010). I will practice acceptance and CBT to lessen the heartache this week. I am strong, I can do it. Besides I now have a support network that runs deep AND I have Mo.