Monday, 30 December 2013

New Year, New You

So most of us make a New Years resolution to lose a few pounds or to get fit and since you all know my story so I thought I would share the story of 2 of my friends, both of whom have lost over 100 pounds and become marathoners.  I know Katie from a group on Facebook and she is a bit of a role model for me and a source of inspiration.  Darryl was in my marathon group this summer and he and his wife Lori are leading the next marathon clinic starting at the end of January.  When I met Darryl, I though he must have always been a runner since he is so fit and fast and was surprised to discover his story and I think you will be too.  I hope their journeys provide a bit of inspiration for you in 2014. 

Darryl's Story

My wife decided after one particularly delicious and overindulgent Holiday season, that enough was enough.  She told me that she was joining Weight Watchers and I was welcome to enroll if I wanted.  Having been significantly overweight my entire life, I was extremely skeptical about my chances for success.  On January 1, 2011 I weighed 245 pounds and had a 42 inch waist.  

Darryl before his weight loss

By the end of October that same year, I'd lost 100 pounds and was down to a size 29.  I have been able to maintain this weight, give or take a pound or two, for the past two years.      
While I give Weight Watchers all the credit for getting me started, running has been the solution to keeping the weight off.  I ran my first 2 half marathons in 2011 and followed that up with 2 marathons in 2012.  In 2013, I ran a 30km race, 2 half marathons, and several 5 and 10km races.  I'm registered for The Dopey Challenge (a 5k, 10k, half, and full marathon on 4 consecutive days) in Florida in January 2014 and plan to run my first Ultra (50km in Niagara Falls) in the summer of 2014.  Did I mention that my wife runs as well and we do all our races together?  I am well and truly blessed.        
Darryl and Lori after Around the Bay            

Losing weight gave me the confidence to start thinking "outside the box" with regards to what I'm physically capable of.  And running has become the passion that I can't imagine living without.  Every time I lace up the sneakers, I find myself shaking my head and wondering why it took so long to make the changes I so desperately needed in my life.  But then I look down at my feet and smile...and maybe that's enough.              

Katie's story

I started running again about 4 years ago.  I had run in my youth and in University but had fallen out of the habit.  I think I spent about 10 years leading a very sedentary lifestyle.  I would see people out running and feel jealous, green and sick almost inside.  I thought that "feeling" that "awesome high" was lost to me at 258 pounds and a size 22.  

Then one day, after many many false starts, I walked into the gym.  I started with 10 min on the treadmill, and then 20, and then 30.  Soon I was training for my first 5km race.  Someone suggested I sign up for the Army Run.  I was stunned that they believed I could do it!  I got hooked at that race, running my first 5km race in 33 min 12 sec at a size 18.
Katie at her first race

I didn't look back, from there I ran a 10km race, and then came back to run the Army Run HALF MARATHON the following year.  It wasn't long before I made a lifelong dream of running a Full Marathon come true. I ran the best race of my life that day. Fuelled by emotion and messages on my ipod of my little girls saying "You can do it Mommy!,"  "Your strong Mommy." I think I cried the entire 42.2km.  It was my best race ever and my fastest at 4:17. 

Running and working out have become my safe place, my sanity saver, my identity in many ways.  As hard as training for 4 marathons, 5 half marathons and all the other stuff has been; that part has always come relatively "easy" to me.  I enjoy it and the pay off, that "high" ,is well addictive.  Let's talk about that word "addictive."

You see long before I became a size 22, I was much smaller and fought an eating disorder most of my youth.  I have an addictive personality, an extreme personality.  When I was young I was bulimic, a very addictive binge and purge cycle.  When I was a size 22 and sedentary, I was still addicted to food and binged without the purging. Then running came into my life and filled me with healthy endorphins, confidence, and a desire to perform well. That desire to perform well meant that I needed to take care of myself and I needed to eat well to fuel my body.  I can honestly say that running has played a huge role in my recovery with disordered eating.

I always say that our family lifestyle has changed now that my husband and I are active.  I love that the girls watch us race and workout and copy us.  I am also so so very thankful that see me running to the finish line of a race and not binging and hating myself.  So running is my happy place and I am so very thankful for it.  

Here is  a link to Katie's Blog Katie's Blog
Katie after her latest marathon in October

Friday, 27 December 2013

Looking Back

Well, I can not believe that 2013 is almost over, what a year it has been.  

First I will start with an update of my vacation, I went to Cocoa Beach for a cruise in the Caribbean. Goofy training did not stop because I was on vacation and I had some serious training to do that week.  The highlight was meeting Kate in Cocoa Beach for a run on Sunday.  I posted on a Facebook group I was going to be running in the area and did anyone know a route.  Enter Kate who lives there and she suggested a route.  I asked her if she wanted to run part of my 21K with me and I was delighted she said yes.  Neale and I ran 11K first and Kate and I ran 10K together.  I loved running with her so much that I said I would come back to run the Space marathon with her when she was ready.  

Kate posted this on my FB page and I agree

I had to do back to back 25k runs on Friday and Saturday on the cruise ship. Let's just say that running on a treadmill on a rolling cruise ship is not easy so on Saturday I did part of my run on the treadmill and part on the outdoor running track, that in itself had it s challenges but I finished 20 out of the scheduled 25K.  Anyway, I got them all done and was quite proud of myself.  

As I type this I have done 11 out of the scheduled 12 races this year, 3 triathlons and 9 running races.  Each triathlon was a new distance for me and I completed my first marathon, another first.  I got a PB/PR in each distance I raced and for the new distances, I did better them my anticipated time.  Most important I learned a lot about myself and my abilities and that is what I will remember more about this year, this year was about proving to myself that I was worthy to be called a runner and triathlete.

I learned to speak up for myself and what I need.  I started the year with one coach and end it with another, I learned what I needed from a coach and would not settle for anything less.  I want to say a huge THANK YOU to my coach Laura.  Thank you for helping me achieve all my goals this year, it has been a blast and I can't wait to see how 2014 turns out.
Laura and I after my Half Iron Distance Triathlon
I learned to make lemonade out of lemons.  Both Neale and I suffered injuries this year, his worse them mine but they both had an effect on my training plan.  I was out of action for 4 weeks this spring and it played havoc with my training for my May races.  I did manage to run them all but I knew I could do better.  I was running the half marathon for Team Diabetes so that became my focus, finishing it for my friends who had diabetes. That was the plan but the night before the race, I found out my SIL died and I added her name to my shirt and ran for her that day. The last 5K I struggled but I kept going, thinking of her and as I crossed the finish line, I let my tears flow.
Barbara and I after our race, Barbara the marathon, me the Half marathon
Neale's injury had the biggest impact on my training, I ran the Army Run half marathon since he could not and I ran his marathon in October instead of us running my first together in Philly in November.   In the end it turned out to be a blessing as I ran a PB for that half and had the best first marathon experience, better then my expectations in a fabulous city with fanatic crowd support.  

I learned I was stronger then I thought.  I did workouts that I could not even imagine last year and then I did them again and again. When I signed up for the Goofy last March, I planned on walking most of it but now I know I can run it and have fun doing it.  I cant wait to run with Barbara and Lori which leads me to the biggest thing I learned this year...

Running is better with friends and I have the greatest running friends.  After doing most of my training solo for the first 6 months, I signed up to be a marathon group leader his summer.  I was looking forward to running with people, to share experiences and stories and km...lots of kms.  I was the 4:45 group leader but usually headed out with Lori, the 4:30 group leader since my group consisted of only one other runner.  It was just what I needed, I loved the experience.  When I had to do my last long run for my marathon, I asked for people to run with me and I had plenty of runners to run with, I only had to do 7k on my own.  This kind of support makes such a difference. 
Vincent, Lisette, Gilles, Leanne, Lynn and I ( and Judy taking the photo)

My friend Barbara can through big time for me this summer, I asked her to run the half marathon portion of my Half Iron Distance Triathlon with me...and she did!  She was instrumental in getting me across the finish line, she kept me going when I was struggling, and there were a few of those portions and she helped me finish before my goal time of 7:30.  This year Barbara and I traveled to Toronto together for her first marathon and my half, she ran my first Half Iron distance tri with me and next we tackle the Goofy together.
Barbara and I running together, another loop done.
Words can not express my gratitude and thank you does not seem enough, you are my running hero and my friend, my life is richer for having you in it Barbara. 

As 2013 closes out, I will have run almost 1100 miles or 1830km, I will have bike almost 900 miles or 1500 km and swam countless laps and km, too many to count.  I am 15 pounds lighter then last year and in a much happier place personally and with my training.  I am looking forward to 2014 and the races I have planned, first up the Goofy on Jan 11 and 12th. This year I proved to myself that I am a runner and triathlete, that I am worthy.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sunday, 8 December 2013

I Believe

Weekend 2 of my long Goofy runs, 19K yesterday, 31K today, 50 K total.  I have a few more of these long run weekends ahead of me.  Life is getting busy, we leave for a well earned vacation on Friday but training programs do not take a vacation.  I got my schedule from my coach and realized I could not do it as it was and made a few changes that she approved and now I have to execute.  Here is the problem, I have my own business with clients who depend on me, I am a co-owner of another start-up business, I have a family so I need to get Christmas organized before I leave, a dog that needs to be walked and a training schedule and coach that expect 100% of my efforts. I am trying to juggle everyone's needs and I truly believe I can get it all done or at least the important parts.  

One thing I am looking forward too is running in the sun and heat, I have a 21K run on Sunday and I will run an hour with Neale and the rest with a runner I met through Facebook who lives in the area.  I have a few small workouts to do on the cruise and 2 long 25K back to back run on the last 2 days we are at sea.  I will have to get to the health club early to get my runs in, almost 3 hours on the treadmill each day but I will get them done.  

I believe in myself, I believe in my dreams and goals and if I try my best, it will be enough, I believe that with all my heart. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Run Ally Run...maybe

So I probably told you I signed up for the Goofy in January 2014 and December is my biggest training month and I am ready...sort of.  This weekend I had 3 runs in a row, 10K Friday, 20K Saturday and 30K on Sunday.  I did the 10K on Friday on the treadmill and felt great, I like running on the treadmill.  I did the 20K outside on Saturday, it was cold -15C but sunny and the roads were OK for the most part.  The last 3K was slippery but OK and my quads were sore after.  I was covered in frost after the run and I had to wear my water bottles inside my jacket to stop them from freezing. 
me after my run Saturday

Today it was warmer but it had snowed and the sidewalks were hard going, one step forward half step back and a killer on the calves and quads.  12 mins into the run I turned over my ankle but I kept on running, it did not hurt too bad at the time.  So I guess my high pain threshold is a curse sometimes because my ankle did not start hurting until the 22k point of the run and now I cant walk on it.  I ran 23.3K today, not quite my scheduled run but given the conditions and my ankle, I am happy with my effort.  Now I have to wait to see how hurt my ankle is so I can figure out what effect it will have on my training plan.  I remembered today why I like running on my treadmill, it is warn, it is not slippery and I have a bathroom near by whenever I need it. 

December is always a busy month in our house, birthdays, Christmas, school stuff and now a vacation the week before Christmas.  The week I am on vacation is also my biggest training week, I can not do the schedule as it is but I am trying to figure out how much is do-able, how much I can shift around and how much I need to change so I can still enjoy my vacation. Life is all about balance, balancing work, family, friends and training and I constantly struggle to maintain the balance.   I am looking forward to this vacation, I really need it so I will do my best to balance it all and have fun....because without the fun, what is the point.