1st Run after a 2 Week Hiatus
I have been fitted for my brace at Soles in Motion on Baker Drive by specialist Alex Josey. Alex is very knowledgeable in her trade, she helped me a lot and was very easy to talk to. If you suffer from any kind of injury I highly recommend going to see her.
After a 2 week total exercise hiatus I have to say I was very apprehensive about going out again last night. I completed the Moose Loop at an average pace of 7:20. This includes the numerous stopping breaks. It was a 7.8k route so all in all I'm pleased with the result. My ankle burned and throbbed a bit along the way but the brace did it's job as today I am pain free and no swelling. I'm going to call that a win! Did my plant based diet have any affect on my ability to get right back at it? I still have 3 weeks to go before I can truly make a statement to that effect.
Plant Based Diet - the good
The flavours of the food I've been trying are amazing. I hate onions! I honestly don't know why anyone enjoys them. They smell like armpit and I can only imagine that if I were to lick a hairy sweat encrusted armpit that they would taste like onions. Grosse right? I also hate beans. Disgusting!
When I put my mind to something, when I truly commit to something, I always go all in. I'm going to have to get over my hatred for onions and beans and just plug my nose and dig in. I can honestly tell you that no nose plugging is required. The delicious flavour of these dishes overpower the armpit taste/smell of those nasty onions and I don't even mind that nasty bean texture that would typically have me gagging and running from the dinner table.
Dreams - vivid! I can remember each of my dreams since switching to plant based. They are like watching a movie. They are vivid and exciting and sometimes a bit strange. I don't know for sure if this is a side effect of going plant based, but it's kinda cool.
Sleep - I have a much better sleep. I don't sleep as long. I find myself going to bed later than usual, sleeping like a rock and waking up much earlier than normal feeling fully rested.
Cravings - I am (was) a sugar addict! Pure sugar. It would be nothing for me to make a pot of brown sugar fudge (just brown sugar, a bit of milk and butter melted down and boiled to the soft ball candy stage) and eat the full pan in one sitting. Candy sweet tarts, rockets and bottle caps were my nightly treat. I could eat Nutella from the jar like it was pudding. My sugar cravings were so intense that I would find myself foraging the pantry for anything sweet I could get my hands on. Daily. I am proud to say that I haven't had a craving or missed my candy addiction in a full week or more. I love the natural sweetness I get from dates and grapes. My sugar addiction has been kicked to the curb and I didn't even notice.
Headaches. Ugh. I'm a chronic migraine sufferer. I can typically keep them at bay with my 6 hour dose of Advil. Since switching to plant based, that 6 hour dose isn't helping. My headaches are there, constant and extremely annoying. They suck and if I wasn't someone who digs in to a commitment I would already be hitting the cheesesteak and ice cream. I'm giving it 3 more weeks. I have committed to that. If after my 30 day trial these headaches don't improve, despite the other benefits, I will be throwing in the towel.
The Downright Ugly
Bathroom issues - since fruit and veggies are full of water, I have been taking more trips to the bathroom. I am typically well hydrated to begin with and my visits to the bathroom have always been frequent. I never dreamed they would or could become more frequent. Well they are. That is extremely annoying! I literally had to return to the washroom just 5 minutes after the last. Crazy! Ain't nobody got time for that!
#2. Even with all the additional hydration and extra fiber in my new diet, I couldn't go. 3 days passed and I couldn't go. I'm pleased to say that after my run last night things have begun moving again. It's too bad that the butt clenching toe curling urge to go happened mid way through my 7k run.
cold soup is not something I've ever personally tried before, in fact I never even knew it was a thing, however, I tried it and lived it! No better time than Summer to try this delicious soup served cold.
8 English cucumbers peeled/seeded/diced
1 yellow onion
1 jalapeño seeded
2 avocados seeded/peeled/diced
2 green bell peppers seeded/diced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
4 clives garlic (2 tsp)
2 pears peeled/diced
Add all except pears and cilantro to food processor and process until smooth. Stir in pears and cilantro. Serve cold.
I used an apple corer to seed the cucumbers. It was strangely satisfying.
Cube the avocado while still in the skin then scoop out with a spoon. Easy and mess free.
Redemption 1/2 Training Back On!!
I'm so excited!! Met with my Doc Thursday. He wrote me a prescription for an ankle brace and cleared me for running again!! He also made me step on the scale with which I promptly asked him where he kept the scalpels. Agh! 220 lbs! Are you kidding me? I have been refusing to weigh myself for about 4 years. I knew I was packing on pounds like a Real Housewife packs for a night out, but I really did not know I had put on that much! What an eye opener! He told me I didn't have to look, but it's kind of like a nasty car wreck, you want to look away but you just can't. In any case, after years of fad diet after fad diet and the constant yo yo weight I'm now going to get serious about not only my health but my fitness as well. I went to Soles in Motion on Baker drive and was fitted with a wonderful ankle brace. 1/2 marathon training picks up again tomorrow!
Powered by Plants
On one of my recent training runs with co race director James Penny, I was in awe at how easily he was taking to the long runs. The change in him in one short year has been incredible to watch. As he ran past me almost effortlessly he hollered back "plant power!!" Jimmy has been trying to get me to move to a plant based diet for weeks and well, he's finally convinced me. I'm giving it 30 days. My Doc visit really opened my eyes to just how unhealthy I really am and the 2 week training break I had to take due to the uncertainty with my ankle made me realize that I really need to see if I too can become "plant powered"
I have to say that this past week has been incredibly easy to stick to. I hate beans. The texture literally disgusts me. I was fearful that I wouldn't be able to stick to a nutrition plan that was BEAN based. GROSSE! I gave it a chance anyway. The recipes I found in the "Forks over Knives" cookbook have been easy to prepare, exceptionally delicious and to quote my hisband "bite your face flavourful" ha! Whatever that means? After a week of plant based meals, my family is 100% on board for plant based nutrition! They too are amazed at just how good these meals taste.
I will post my favorites here occasionally during my 30 day plant based trial so if you're interested in trying some of these dishes out yourself, feel free! All recipes were taken from the Forks over Knives Cookbook.
Positively Pink Salad
1 beet raw, peeled and chopped
1 Pomegranate seeded
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
1 cup of frozen corn thawed
1 avocado cubed
1 can of navy beans rinsed and drained
1 box of couscous (about 4 cups cooked)
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and toss
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
Whisk until smooth
Pour over salad and toss to coat ( not all the dressing is required)
the easiest way to seed a pomegranate is to cut it in half and beat the outside skin with a wooden spoon, the seeds fall right out!
when cutting an avacado cut it in 1/2 around the pit, twist to seperate then chop down on the pit with a sharp chopping knife. Twist the knife to remove the pit. Use a paring knife to slice the flesh while still in the skin. Once it's cubed, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
Currently I’m being blessed with the stamina of a male neutered housecat with a bad paw, or in my case a bad ankle.
Maritime Race Weekend redemption ½ training has been put on hold. For how long? I have no idea. I have a Doctors appointment with my family Doc so hopefully I’ll figure out where I go from here.
I haven’t been able to run for 11 days now. I can barely walk. My sanity is suffering. Lord, give me healing or give me death! (possibly a bit over-dramatic)
my MRW in training shirt that I was proudly wearing during my last long run --- 11 days ago!!
When I began training for my redemption ½, I noticed my ankle was giving me a bit of push back. It wasn’t really liking my new training plan, but I continued on. In the back of my mind I was thinking, it’s just cranky, I’ll R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) it and carry on. I attributed the ankle tenderness to running on the shoulder of the road, putting more pressure on the outside left due to the curvature of the shoulder.
July 1st, I ran my best 10k this year. My ankle didn’t bother me at all. I was able to run in the middle of the road where it’s pretty much flat, no pressure at all on the outside of my left ankle. It was a great feeling running without pain. The day after the Epic Canadian 10k was my long run day. I was supposed to do 15 or 17, not sure, I didn’t measure it. It was horrible! I barely made it. I think I did more walking than running. My ankle was burning with pain. That evening the R.I.C.E method wouldn’t even take care of it, it was throbbing, burning and the swelling would not subside.
my treasured Epic Canadian 10K medal from my best 10K this year! Praying it won't be my last!
I went for a very short walk 3 days later and it swelled up again. It has been swollen ever since. I went to see a Doctor at the Walk in who told me it was an over-use injury and was possibly fractured. He advised me that I needed an x-ray and if I continued to run on it I would end up in a boot for the rest of my life. WAIT! WHAT?! SHUT.UP! That put the fear of God in me, no kidding! I had my X-ray Monday, Tuesday I was informed that there was no amoralities found in my ankle. PHEW! Wait. What? Hence my appointment today with my family Doc. I pray that he will be able to shed some light on this injury or whatever it is so that I can get back to my training. Maritime Race Weekend is just 9 short weeks away and at this rate I’ll be starting from scratch! Not enough time! I’m freaking out!
When most people can’t work out, they don’t eat as much. Not the case with me. When I can’t work out, I eat MORE! I am a stress eater and these past few weeks have me stressed to the max. I don’t stress eat anything good either. Chips, Pop, Candy, Sausages, Hamburgers, Pizza, Garlic Bread, Donairs, Ice Cream, whatever, you name it, I’ve ate it. Gah.
My running buddy and co-race director Jimmy has me intrigued with this plant based diet. His stamina and health has sky rocketed since he watched the “Forks over Knives” documentary on NetFlix. I haven’t watched it because I don’t have NetFlix, but just watching how Jimmy has changed this past year has made me want to try it out. I borrowed the book from the Halifax Regional Library and I’m starting to change how I eat.
Monday I treated my family to gorgeous vegetable skewers and “dill”icious bean dip. To mine and my families surprise, they were delicious. Definitely a recipe keeper. Tuesday was leftovers, yesterday I made couscous bowls. The sauce was a mixture of Tahini, cilantro, lemon juice and garlic. The couscous was layered on a bowl of salad greens and mixed vegetables. The sauce drizzled over top. I thought it tasted like a bowl of KFC! I didn’t mention that because obviously my taste buds are less than normal, however, both my husband and my daughter said the exact same thing! This tastes like fried chicken! Yup. Another recipe keeper for sure. Tonight I’m going to go with Black Bean Cauliflower Wraps. I’m going to try this plant based diet for a while. I’m going to give it 30 days. I need to do something. I need to get out of this funk I’m in. I need to get healthy and above all else I need to start running again! I run to remain sane.
myself and running buddy/co-race director Jimmy during one of our successful long runs
I have taken screen shots of the recipes mentioned in the blog if you want to try them yourself. Of note; these are for a family of 4 so keep those quantities in mind when measuring ingredients.
When I lined up at the start line for this years Epic Canadian Maple Leaf 10k I was pretty hopeful that this would be a PR race for me. The weather was absolutely perfect! The skies were overcast and it was just cool enough. I was beginning my warm up stretches and a lady pulls in beside me and she says "Are you ready for the hills?" ACK! Why is that a 4 letter word? HILLS? You mean there are HILLS on this route??!! Every single time I hear that word before a race my butt cheeks tense up and I get inside my head. That part of my head that says "you know you're going to bomb this right" Well, I didn't. I took 13 minutes off my last 10k time! Yep I sure did! This race was totally EPIC! Hills and all!
There is something about hearing the national anthem play. It warms my heart and I can feel tears start to form at the corners of my eye. I mean, how blessed are we to live here? Any time you get out for a run in the Spring or Summer and even Fall and Winter, you can honestly praise God for our many blessings that come simply by being born in this Country. God Keep our Land! There was plenty of excited chatter at the starting line, but when that anthem began to play, not a peep could be heard, not an engine started and every man in the crowd removed their caps. It was an amazing sight. All standing at attention to pay respect to this Nation. Glorious and Free. Happy 150th Canada! The horn blasts and we're off.
This race is a delightful mix of road and trail. It is not a double loop or a full out and back, it's a circle. I love races like this and there is a very specific reason why. You don't go back the same way you came so it keeps you engaged. You are treated to new scenery around every corner. There is plenty of room on the road for racers to space themselves and the pavement and trails are very forgiving on old decrepit joints like mine. We began our journey down past Lake Banook and up around Sullivans Pond. I'm not going to lie, the whole time I could hear that woman's voice in my head "are you ready for the hills?" I was of course, I mean, really, we are runners and we run in Nova Scotia, can anyone tell me of a route where there 'aren't' hills? Everyone talks about hills like they are to be feared, those poor hills have a bad reputation and it's my aim today to remove that stigma surrounding them and stand up proud and strong for those hills! YOU GO HILLS! (ok, maybe that was a bit over the top). Seriously though, hills are EPIC and here's why. Only 1/2 of them are up. I mean that pretty much sums it up doesn't it? Think about it. Going up, you are giving your butt a serious workout. I love hills for the Kardashian butt it gives me. The whole time I'm climbing a hill I'm thinking about how great my butt is going to look in those jeans. That gets me to the top! Once I crest the top then it's down! There is always a down! It's the down where I find my groove! I can turn on beast mode and kill the next 1/2 a kilometer all because I was able to turn on the down hill after burner. I can't imagine a run without hills to be honest, how boring would that be? 10 km of flat nothingness? No burst of energy? No recovery mode, just 10k of flat boring blah. Go on a race down a train track, if that suits your fancy, if you want to KILL a run and feel great doing it, then I say do the EPIC Canadian!
After turning the corner from Sullivans Pond, we continued on up towards Mic Mac Mall. The route from Mic Mac Mall to the Shubie trail system was amazing! All down hill! I really got my spring in my step and it felt awesome!
Heading into the Shubie Trail System was a wonderful surprise! I had no idea when I started this race where the route would take me, I have never been very good at reading maps. I was so surprised to see that I was going into Shubie Park! I love this trail! My only regret is that I didn't stop to take any pics along the route, I will have to do this route again someday because it truly was fantastic!
All along the route, we were treated to kilometer markers that had pictures of EPIC CANADIANS on them. Nice touch and I really wish I had have stopped to take a few pics of those, but once I get in my groove it's hard to stop, that and well, the skies opened up again and I really didn't want to bring my phone out in the downpour. I remember the 1km marker was Gord Downie and the 9k marker was Mike Meyers!
At around the 8k mark, we were on our way out of Shubie and heading back to Lake Banook. With only 1/2k to go, we were treated to a huge Canada flag hanging above our heads and numerous other Canada flags marking our last 1k to the finish. I was losing a bit of steam around the last k, but just seeing the Canada flag and realizing I was running in an EPIC Canadian race for Canada's 150th birthday was enough to push me into beast mode and I finished this 10k a full 13 minutes faster than my last 10k! This wasn't a PR race for me, believe it or not, but it certainly was a great one and I cannot wait to do it again!
Huge congrats to race director Tim Chestnut on a fabulous event! Happy Canada Day!
Don your Superhero tights or Wonder Woman belt because if you can do this race you can do anything! I'm not kidding! What a turnout and what a morning! For this one, I chose the 10k. It was fabulous!
It was a beautiful sunny day to begin the race, huge shout out to the organizers as they had on site registration, and bib pickup at despite the hundreds of people that showed up, there was plenty of time to get everyone sorted out. Tons of parking and I was very impressed with the turnout.
I didn't even come close to PR'ing on this one, but that's not to say it couldn't be a PR race. The start was very bottle necked. Those of us that choose to run at the back of the pack could witness the fastest runners turn the Jerry Longcloud loop before we even began to walk to the gantry! If you are looking to PR, my suggestion is this. Start way at the back. When the fastest go, there is plenty of time to weed yourself through the slower runners or walkers and before you know it it's just you. This is a chip timed race, so it really doesn't matter what time you cross the gantry on the way out, only when you cross on the way back :). The trails are very narrow so if you start out anywhere but the back, you will be bottle necked from the gantry until the 5k turn around point. Not a fun place to be if you are trying to PR. It's an out an back so you can never really escape the bottle neck effect if you are doing a 5k, but once you pass the 5k turn around point then it's pretty much just you, the trails and the sunshine.
unfortunately I was too busy dying to think about taking pics along the route, so this is an old one I dug up from the fall.
I'm not going to lie and say this was an easy 10k, it wasn't. In fact, it wasn't even an easy 5k. When I got to the 5k turn around point I was already dying and it was starting to feel like I'd already run 5k instead of 2.k. The beginning starts up a small but steady hill, then when you crest the corner you're pretty much home free on the down until about the 1k mark then the fun begins. We go up a grassy trail and it's not a steep climb by any means, but it's a steady one and the grassy part adds to the difficulty. The pay off is at the end. When you crest the top, you are treated to a view like no other. A mass span of sea and green! It's stunning! Like I said above, I wish I wasn't too busy trying not to die so that I could have thought to take a pic. That is something that needs to be seen! A little bit of a round about through the shaded part of trail and we are at the 2.5k mark!
Continuing on up a tiny almost not even worth mentioning hill and we are at the crest of the Heritage Trails. The flat lands! Whoo hoo! I found my stride but the sun was fierce! No shade to be seen and the flat quickly turned to hilly again. If you have run the Hillside 5k then you will recognize this part of the trail, it's very hilly. I don't mind hills though, it keeps things interesting and they aren't big hills and 1/2 of them are down!
Did I mention the sun was fierce? Oh boy! At the 3k mark I was really questioning my judgement on wearing black and on going 10k, I mean, was it really only 3k? I had to will myself to at least get to the 5k mark so I could get water. Where exactly was the 5k mark anyway?
It felt like it was 50 miles away!
I finally made it to the parking lot of the Salt Marsh Trail area and it was a welcome relief of the heat to be able to run on a nice flat and shaded straight away again. I thought I could feel the salt air cresting my face, nope, that was just sweat... ah well, same same I guess. I knew I had to be close so I kept on trucking. This was a much easier trek as it was flat and shaded. I was hitting my stride! The 5k mark; the turn around point couldn't have been at a better spot. We make our way out of the beautiful shade and are treated again to the most beautiful scenery I don't think you could fine anywhere else but here. Beautiful!
On one side the stream begins to melt into the ocean that is ahead and on the other side the mass ocean melts into the stream. It's stunning. Truly!
Speaking of melting, by this point I was melting from just about every pore. I needed water I needed it in me and on me.
beautiful scenery, not such a beautiful pic!
I was so happy to be heading back, I had some serious spring in my step and I was hopeful for a PR. As soon as I started my entry back into the Heritage Trail though, that sun killed me. It really zapped all the life out of me that I had left. I felt my feet dragging and I barely had the energy to shuffle let alone run.
When a 1/2 marathoner passed me on the way back I knew I was done! I managed to finish with a run, it was a nasty run, a sweaty, snotty and smelly run, but it was a finish.
Way to go MEC on yet another beautiful trail run! I don't blame you for my pathetic 1 hour 20 minute finish, I blame the sun. I'm more of a rain runner than a sun runner.
Basically, my review on this race is do it! Plenty of scenery to keep you engaged and plenty of hills to keep you focused! At $15 it's a steal of a deal! Can't wait to see what MEC race series #4 offers!
Rain couldn't damper the spirits of those that came out to run at the 6th annual Run or Walk in the Park for Scleroderma at Dewolfe park in Bedford Nova Scotia!
As a Race Director myself I am always looking for runs that are in support of important causes. Race Director Jason Doucette did not disappoint! When I was telling people I was running in this race, every single person I told answered with "what's Scleroderma?" I admit that before I met Course Director Tina Pace I didn't know what it was either. As the tag line states, it's a hard word but an even harder disease! This is a disease that hardens the skin but can also affect major internal organs and can be life threatening. There is no cure for this disease and only research will find it. I have known Tina for a very long time so I know a bit about the disease but I learned more on my run today with thanks to signage along the way which sought to educate further about this horrific disease.
There were other signs along the route that educated me. For instance; the name Scleroderma comes from the Greek word Sclerma meaning hard and derma meaning skin. One look at the blue/white hands of course director Tina Pace as she fought off the cold rain was proof positive that more research into this deadly disease is needed!
On to the route itself.
This is a PR route 100%! I love it! I myself was able to PR! According to my Vi by Lifebeam I ran my fastest 5k ever! 29 minutes and change! WOW!!! The route is flat and we were treated to a scenic coastal run then a quick trail jaunt and back along the coast again! Even in the rain what's not to love?
This race was organized amazingly well and the door prizes were pretty awesome too! Even in the pouring rain racers couldn't stop smiling ear to ear! I was able to take away tips on how to run (no pun intended) a more organized H2H 5k from the organizers of this race!
some people affected by Scleroderma stood in the rain to show that even though most don't know what this is, it's quite common
If you are looking to PR on a 5k then look for this race next year! I encourage everyone who is reading this post to learn about Scleroderma, set yourself a fundraising goal and sign up next year! Not only is it an extremely well organized event, it is for a cause that's important! Thank you Jason for a great run, an awesome route and amazing post race burgers! YUM!
Sadly this is my first blog regarding the MEC trail series. I signed up to run each race in this series as they offered an incredible deal in 2016 for the whole series that I couldn't pass up. I always wanted to run a MEC race and this deal gave me the boot to the keister that I needed. Sadly, I missed the 1st race in the series at Point Pleaant Park due to illness but no way was I going to miss this one!
If you've never been to Citadel Hill in Halifax, for 2017 Parks Canada is offering up FREE ADMISSION to everyone to celebrate Canada's 150! You HAVE to go!
On to the race;
What can I say? AMAZING!! One of my favourites for sure! I might be a tad biased because I'm definitely a trail runner at heart. We began in the parade square, from there we ran across a cobblestone path to the outskirts of the Citadel. We then picked up speed as we raced down the hill. We didn't enjoy that feeling of gazelle like grace for long as we quickly did a U-Turn to traverse up that lovely long steep luxiourious downhill that gave us so much flight to our feet. At about a quarter of the way up, my gazelle like greatness turned into a sloth like sluggishness! Once we crested what felt like the tip of Everest we continued along the perimeter of Citadel to another long yet much less steep hill down to the base of the great Citadel. We traversed along the base for 1/4 trek, this was a welcome break to catch our wind and hit our stride again before we headed up the much longer though steadier and more manageable incline to the top. Once we crested we finished off the remainder of the outside perimeter and went inside the ditches portion of the run. This was FANTASTIC! I have visited Citadel Hill many times but never went inside the ditches! I was in awe! We traveled through cobble stone tunnels, over grassy terrain and back though again! Honestly by the time I finished this short 5k I really wished I signed up for the 10 because I badly wanted to do it all again! It was fabulous!!
Of course every review must endure a few cons. I tell you, it's very hard to find any cons about this run, but in all fairness I will give some downers.
The run around 1/4 of the base. It was all sidewalk. I'm a horrible runner, my form is something that definitely needs work; running on concrete kills me. When we had made it to the base it was all pretty much single file running. We had to leave adequate room for the rockstars to come back. That played havok on my pace as well as my form. It was hard to find a new normal for my pace and the concrete killed my lower back. If you're looking to PR on this one, I'd say save it for another. This is not a PR kind of event. You will find yourself walking through tunnels and slowing down considerably while running single file. Not to mention taking in the scenery all around you. Seriously, who can speed through all that? Enjoy it! When will you ever get the chance to run through the gulleys of Citadel Hill if not with the MEC Citadel Highlander?!
Do you believe in God? I do. This is my story.
September. 2011. I was broken. Tired. My personal life had sunk to a place of misery in a way where I could see no resolution. I was trapped in a life I no longer wanted. I couldn't get out. I needed help and couldn't find any. The level of hopelessness and despair was unbearable.
After another fight with my husband I got in my car. I drove. I drove to Lawrencetown beach. I drove down to the water and parked at the waters edge. I stared out at the water and screamed and cried and beat my fists on the steering wheel. I gripped that stearin wheel with all my might and I screamed GOD!!! PLEASE HELP ME!!! You need to know that at this point in my life I had no relationship with God. I hadn't been to Church but a handful of times since grade 8. I didn't believe in the giant man in the sky and I thought all religious people were weird, crazy and completely brainwashed. I thought they hated people who were different than them and they wanted only those that had the same values in their club. I thought they were hypocrites and I had no use for any religious person or any religious talk. I wouldn't shun anyone who spoke of religion but I surely wouldn't listen to them either. I regarded them with pity because I knew they were crazy.
Just 3 days after my incident at the beach my son came home from school and asked me if he could go to youth. I asked him what it was. He told me that it was a church group at a church on Ritcey cres. I was very skeptical. I didn't want my son getting in a group where they started praying and teaching about God. I didn't want him to get roped into all that garbage. He was impressionable and young and easy prey. I let him go. I had weird images about what this group was all about and when he came home I asked him about it. He told me it was cool. They had a band and played games and he had a lot of fun. I thought, yah, sure, until the brainwashing began, but whatever... ok... you're having fun and that's all that matters.
The next week, after youth, my son asked me if he could go away on a trip to Kingswood University with his youth group for the weekend. BELLS AND WHISTLES galore rang out in my head. NO WAY!! You aren't going ANYWHERE with THESE PEOPLE!! No way! I don't trust any of them! I didn't say that. I said "I want to meet them". He told me they were having a bottle drive the Saturday to raise money for the trip. I decided I would meet them at the recycle place where they were collecting bottles.
The first person I met was Pastor Tim the
Youth Pastor. I shook his hand. Before I even introduced myself and stated my business, this man welcomed me into his personal space. I was full of judgement and questions where he was full of curiosity and love. I could just see it in his eyes. I immediately relaxed my stance just by being near him. I explained who I was and why we were there. We chatted a bit. I was feeling more comfortable about letting my son go but still not 100%. Then I met Pastor Jay.
Pastor Jay is not special on his own. He is just like the rest of us. He is not someone you would pick out in a line up and say Yup! He's a man of God. He is not someone you would immediately see and say he's a Pastor. He's absolutely just a human like me and you. That day however, he was God to me. Ok, as I wrote that last sentence, the feeling on meeting him that first time is stirring in my gut and tears are starting to well up in my eyes all over again. I shook his hand and I felt the power of the Holy Spirit leave him and enter me. I knew at that moment there was a God. He was real. He was here, he was going to help me, he was going to heal my family and he came simply because I called. I didn't even believe in Him and I rebuked him and he still came. Simply because I called.
That following Sunday I went to Hillside Wesleyan Church and I've gone ever since. I became involved in the Church. I wanted to show God how thankful I was. God came into my home. He walked through it and took out all the sadness, misery, hopelessness and replaced it with love. Simply because I called.
Do we still fight as a family? Yes! Of course! Do I still have moments where I wonder if it's all worth it? Yes! Do I still leave and wonder how I'll ever get back? No. Why? Because I know I have God in my corner and I know he will always be there to help me through the storms.
If you've made it this far through my story, I thank you. I'm glad to know you know my story. Today, on this Good Friday, the day when Jesus made it possible for me to tell God personally that I needed him and the day he made it possible for God to personally answer me, I felt compelled to share my story with all of you. I felt compelled to publicly confess my adoration, love and complete thankfulness for a God who loves me so much that even though I rebuked him, when I called, he answered.
Praise be to God in the highest. I'm not ashamed or afraid.
Do you believe?
Lessons learned from first ½ marathon and will I do another?
I did it. I completed my first ½ marathon this past Sunday. Will there be another? YES! Why? I don’t like failure and this ½ was a failure in my opinion.
I am proud of myself, don’t get me wrong. I am definitely proud of not only deciding on doing a ½ marathon, not only for actually signing up for the ½ marathon, but for showing up! The raging war inside my head especially since I already had the T-shirt in hand was something out of a fiction novel. I went back and forth about not showing up. I didn’t train as hard as I should have, I will not make it, I’ll take my ‘swag’ and try harder next time. Then, I wouldn’t feel right prancing around in my ½ marathon swag knowing I didn’t actually do anything to deserve it. The left won the argument and I was doing my shake out run at 6 am Sunday morning.
Sunday morning started out with trepidation. I spent most of Saturday evening googling stretches pre marathon, meals pre marathon, and what to do the morning of the marathon. I got up and made myself a bowl of oatmeal and ate ½ of a banana. I’m not a breakfast portion and my stomach was already in knots so I didn’t really enjoy the meal I was forcing down my throat.
I poured myself into my car, it was raining but it was warm. This may seem like another downer to my mood, but I am a rain running lover. LOVE it! The fact that it was warm rain made me feel even more empowered to get to the starting line and get started. Things were looking up.
I pulled into the parking lot, and started off on my ‘shake out run’. I googled this Saturday night and it seemed like a good idea. I started off on a very slow jog. I think I went for maybe 15 minutes? It wasn’t long. I arrived back at the race venue and continued on with warm up drills. Squats, lunges, grapevines… that kind of stuff. Ran into some other racers I knew, hugged it out and wished each other well. Then headed over to the starting line.
I settled in behind the 2:40 pace bunny. My plan was to do a 4 and 1 routine and if my calculations were correct, that would put me in at around 2:30 but I didn’t want to force it so I was happy with where I settled in. The conversations around me were of nervous small talk. The ladies were excited but nervous, I could hear a lot of “you’ll do great” and “what was I thinking” and “oh dear”’s. This was going to be fun.
The first 3 miles were slow and steady then I found my groove. I was in my zone. The rain was falling, my music was perfect. It was a perfect day for a great run. Lately those ‘great running days’ were very few and far between for me so when this started to take on the form of a great run I went for it. I knew my abilities and I was ready to let them shine.
I blew past my pace bunny. I blew past the next pace bunny and settled in between the last and the next. This was my zone. I was going to make great time. I was so pleased with myself. The 4 and 1 plan abandoned long ago. The slow and steady abandoned when I hit my zone. I was hitting the runners high and loving it.
I managed to get up the first hill (which is the same as the second hill as it was a loop course) and still felt amazing. This race was billed as a fast flat course, but on the day of, the advised us that there actually was a hill. A hill we’d have to conquer not once, but twice. They had volunteers stations at the bottom of the hill holding a sign “YES, THIS IS A HILL. NOW GET OVER IT”… I blew past the water stop, nope, don’t need any refreshment just yet. I blew past the next water stop and as I was nearing the next water stop I grabbed a cup and drank on the run. A skill I never attempted before. It was ok, I poured most of it in my eye but I did get a couple gulps. I just kept running.
When I approached the hill for the second time I had a conversation with myself. I decided I would stop and walk the hill because a seasoned runner once told me that hills zap so much energy from you that you never fully recover. Even though I ran it the first time, this was closer to the finish and I was so afraid of the dreaded wall that I decided to stop and walk it. MISTAKE #1. Well, this was really the only mistake I made to be honest. In my opinion, if I had have just kept my stride, completed the hill I would have completed the ½ marathon and still had something to be proud of.
I crested the hill and began my decent down. I couldn’t get back in my stride. I couldn’t find it. Running again after a long walk was awkward. It kinda even hurt a bit. I grabbed the water and tried the drink and run thing again, failed miserably. I didn’t pour it in my eye this time, but I choked on it and continued to choke for the next few strides. The lady in front of me turned around to coach me on. You’re doing great. Keep going, slow your stride. I wanted to tell her I was fine, but I couldn’t stop choking. That was it. The wall. I hit the wall so hard it actually threw me back a few steps.
The closest pace bunny and her crew passed me when I was walking up the hill and I was sure I was going to pass them on the way back, when I found my stride again, but I didn’t. I was alone. Not last, but alone. I tried to keep my pace up but I couldn’t find it again. Doubt started to creep in. Then the pain started to creep in then the fatigue. The next water stop I thought if I could just get a glass of that liquid nitrogen (Gatorade) I’d be fine… no Gatorade, just water, gah, no thanks… the last one didn’t help much. I was defeated. I stopped and walked. I thought I’ll just walk until the next song. The next pace bunny and her crew passed me. When I started running again, I could barely put one foot in front of the other. The runners passing me on the way back out were cheering me, telling me they were all in pain too. This made me feel better but also proved to me that my pain was showing. Literally. The next water stop didn’t have any Gatorade either. I was defeated again and walked the next song again. I started running again. The end was literally in sight. Just past the last water stop. I just needed something more than water. All they had was water. I resigned. I walked for a good minute or two then the last pace bunny passed me. I could see the finish line in sight. I mustered up enough gumption to start running to the finish. I began to cry. I began to cry at my failure. I began to cry and my accomplishment. I began to cry because even though I knew I was running the finish gantry wasn’t getting any closer. I knew I wasn’t going to make it. In my earphones a song began to play:
We may faint and we may sink
Feel the pain and near the brink
But the dark begins to shrink
When you find the one who knows
The chains of doubt that held you in between
One by one are starting to break free
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering
Let your burdens come undone
Lift your eyes up to the one
And then I bawled. I began to bawl like a new born enfant. Through my bawling tears I kept running. I crossed the finish line and I couldn’t stop bawling. This ½ marathon was not just a goal of mine, there are many reasons behind why I do what I do and many more behind why I started and just as I began to cry at my failure then at my accomplishment for this song to start playing in my ears at this exact time, I can’t articulate what it did to me. I crossed that finish line and if I could have fell to my knees at that time I would have. I thank God and I praise God for every sting and every burden and doubt and yes failure I have ever had. He knows. He knows it all.
What did I learn from this? I learned that I can do anything I want to. I learned that if all my training indicates I should run a certain pace, I should keep that pace. I shouldn’t have run ahead then I wouldn’t have hit the wall. I learned that if things are going good, don’t throw a wrench in the gears. I learned to keep my own replenishments and not count on race route replenishments. I learned to hill train even if the race is being billed as a flat course. Most of all I learned to keep God in my head at all times <3
My 1st Half Marathon.
In 2008 I signed up for the CIBC run for the cure. I was doing this for my mother who had survived breast cancer. I didn’t sign up to run as that was just crazy talk. I signed up to walk, and not the 5k either, I signed up to walk the 2.5. That was about as far as I was going to bring the crazy. When I was there, I ran into an old friend. She told me she had signed up to run the 5k. RUN? 5k? Are you crazy? Wow! You must be in great physical condition! Good for you! I was so proud of her for taking on such an undeniable feat! After walking my 2.5, I was so caught up in the excitement and elation of all those around me that actually ran the 5k that I thought the next year I was going to run it. Thus began my love for running.
In 2009 I decided to quit smoking and take up running. I was introduced to a great app called Couch 2 5k. If you have never heard of this app, I highly recommend it. It’s hard to believe that it literally got me from the couch to running a 5k. I tell everyone, if I can do it, anyone can do it and I truly believe that.
The first few weeks were brutal. I mean, seriously, if I can’t run for 30 seconds, how am I ever going to run for 30 minutes? You do though. When you go for 30 minutes you can’t remember how it felt dying at the 30 second mark. It’s remarkable how much our bodies can accomplish. My 1st 5k race was the Run for the Cure, I completed it in 33 minutes.
Leading up to my hysterectomy in 2012, I had run quite a few 5k races a couple 10k’s and was hitting 5k a day lunch time runs. I had developed quite a love affair with running. Until my hysterectomy that is. 6 weeks of recovery time was enough to throw me into a running funk. The moment I was given the go ahead I started out on my first lunch time 5k. At the 2k mark I was in so much back pain I couldn’t go on. My legs completely locked up and I was barely able to walk the rest of the way back to the office. I didn’t give up. I continued on failing at every lunch time run for the next month. Then I gave up. My love affair with running ended. Quickly.
By the time the Fall rolled around, I was determined to reignite my love affair. I started out slow with the C25k program. This time around I was much heavier, menopause does that to you btw. I had packed on a good 20 additional pounds (about the same size I was in 2009). I had recruited a few other people to come along with me on my journey back into running. By the Winter I was back to my lunch time runs. It felt great! So great in fact that I wanted others to share in this love affair with me, to feel the joy of crossing a finish line, to know that you CAN and WILL run and LOVE it! I started training others like me and then decided to become a race director. (shameless H2H 5k plug… you’re welcome)
2014 – present brought too many mental challenges to mention and more weight gain (again.. thanks menopause, thanks stress) no amount of running was going to help. I started doubting myself. I started hating myself. I started hating my circumstances. That back pain I had experienced in 2012 returned with a vengeance. My love affair had officially ended. Gone! For good! My runs were now out of necessity not out of love. It sucked.
Despite the fact that I no longer had the joy of running that I previously held, when Sole Sisters announced in October of 2015 that they were going to add a ½ marathon to their race series, I signed up. Immediately. What made me make such a hasty decision? I honestly thought that if I paid an exuberant amount of money to run a bucket list race then my love affair would re-ignite. I thought if I had something really worthwhile to train for then I’d remember why I was so in love in the first place. *spoiler alert – it didn’t.
The worst part about signing up for a race a year in advance, in my opinion, is that it’s a year in advance. I started out in October with the mind set of “I have a full year to train!” “I’m going to rock this run!” I began with the C25K ½ marathon trainer. BOOOORING! The plan is basically a walk/run plan and at no point do you actually run a full ½ marathon. I stuck with that plan (sporadically) for about 6 months until I just couldn’t handle the walking portion anymore. I’m not a walker. Like at all. I don’t have the patience for it. If I can travel further faster then I’m choosing faster. Training for a walk/run plan was killing me. I found that I couldn’t even run 4 minutes without feeling exhausted and wanting to stop. Then after the 1 minute walk was over I’d find it incredibly difficult to get up the energy to run another 4 minutes. This was crazy to me. I was used to running 45 mins to an hour non-stop without an issue and I couldn’t even push out 4 stinking minutes? That plan was abandoned once April/May hit and I started a new ½ marathon plan that was your traditional short run, tempo run and long runs. All I can say about this plan is UGH! The reason why I say the worst part of planning a race a year in advance is that when it’s a year in advance there is no real drive to ‘get out there’ “there’s still lots of time to train” until there isn’t.
Race day is Sunday. The longest run I have completed is 10 miles. Granted I have done it twice and granted the course was difficult with numerous giant hills along the route, but it was only 10 miles and it was only twice. I never did do any tempo runs. I figured my goal is not to finish fast but to finish. I tried to train at least 3 times a week, but I’m not sure if I even did that. I did cross train. A lot. Swimming, cross fit, yoga… almost daily. My last race was a 10k in August, I barely crossed the finish line and it took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to do it. Grosse. I’m freaking out. I don’t think I trained hard enough. I don’t think I like running anymore. I don’t think the Cheetos, cookies, cake and candy that I’ve been omnomnomin the past year is going to help me, I’m still way overweight. Why did I sign up to do this?
I’ve decided I’m going to go back to the C2K5 ½ marathon training plan. It involves walking the first 5 minutes, then run 4 and walk 1 24 times. I just don’t think there is any way I’m going to be able to run 13.1 miles.
All I can say is stay tuned… I’ll let you know how it went. That is if I actually get the nerve to show up at the starting line.
rather unflattering pic of me barely crossing the 10k finish line in August.
I began my running journey in March of 2009. I began my journey of faith in September of 2012. Running releases stress from my body while my new found faith releases stress from my mind.