Bittersweet Run

Tonight’s run was extremely bittersweet for me, as it was the last Tuesday run for the Ladies of the Trails until spring.

I have talked about this group a few times, of course it has become one of my favorite nights of the week, and introduced me to the wonderful world of trails. Not only has it pushed my comfort zone, but I have had such a wonderful time out there running with the peoples I have met and getting off the road.

I have had to push myself to keep up with the group, I have had some spectacular falls, epic bruises, and great conversations with some of the most amazing people. I have experienced running trails unknown in the dark, learned to relax and trust my body running downhill and can almost make it over a suspension bridge without wanting to cry or pee myself in fear.

I have been introduced to people that have made my life a lot richer, and consider them part of my trail running family. I ran my first trail race in September, and will be running my first 50k Ultra in October 2014 with one of the ladies I have met.

So as sad as I am Tuesdays are done until spring, I am also extremely glad that I don’t have to worry too much about falling in the dark on trails for a while and can focus on my next goal race.

Jennifer, Solana, Chloe, Chantelle, Candice, Nikki, Dianna, Cathy, Alexa, Melanie, Suzanna, Melissa and everyone else I have had the joy to meet – thank you!!! You all rock 🙂

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Rubber Ducky Half

There is nothing that screws with the mind more than a double loop race. Running the first lap, and seeing the markers for the second are enough to make you want to cry silently. Especially when you are not 100% feeling the race.

Rubber Ducky Half is 2 loops around Burnaby Lake, which is a flat trail-ish run that isn’t that bad, but wouldn’t be one I’d want to do all the time. I crashed at Melissa’s the night before, and we headed out early and met up with Tina and Bea at the start.

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My goal was to run the best race I could, as this was going to be my first solo half race, as well as the longest solo run I had ever done. Both were weighing on my mind, and I tried to not let it bother me. Met up with some other running friends before the race, snapped a few pics, and away we went.

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A friend was volunteering that day, so as we rounded to start he was clapping and cheering (never underestimate the volunteers cheering. They are the best part of the race when you need an extra push) and I put my head down and went. Loop 1 was hard on the mind, I felt slow and sluggish and wasn’t sure I would make it through that first lap. My stomach started acting up around 8k and I debated DNF after the first lap.

I came out of the woods saw where the 7 milers went to the finish and went straight for my 2nd lap. I got a high 5 and head bop from my friend and encouragement and my comment was “I feel like puking”. And then I came upon my “crew” Kendall and Molly standing on a hill with signs and cupcakes cheering for me. I yelled I love you and pushed past.

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I gu’d again at 14k, and had a hard time keeping it down. My body was really not happy and wanted to throw up, which was unusual for me. All I could think of was trail running with Jared when he threatened to puke on me, which made me smile and push on.

The biggest faux pas I did with this race is my play list. I had set my play list for 2:31 and my last 2 songs were Shine by Collective Soul and then 4 Minutes by Madonna. I knew when I hit Shine as long as I pushed it I would get around my Surrey PR, if not better. One of 2 things happened. I hit 19k and that song came on, and I knew there was no way I was doing the last 2.1k in 7 minutes so I stopped, took a selfie and cried a bit.

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And then the faux pas happened. Madonna’s song didn’t come on. I had messed up on what I thought was the order and still had songs left!! I could still make sub 2:30!!! I was slow, and tired and pushing it as best I could. Came out of the woods to the last stretch, pushed past my friend and headed to the home stretch. Kendall and Molly were screaming and I dug deep, sprinting the last bit to the finish line.

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I crossed with my garmin saying 2:27:46 which put me 30 seconds behind my PR but I was so happy that I didn’t care. I got my medal, hugs and Melissa’s boyfriend Tristan gave me a recovery shake. I have them most awesome friends.

I knew Tina and Melissa were still out there, so we wandered over to where Addison was, and waited. My plan was to run them both in, as it was one time I could do that for my friends. Tina came first, and Bea’s husband got one of my favorite shots of us from afar.

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Tina is such a strong, independent woman and I am beyond lucky to have her in my life as a friend. She was cramping and sore and being there to cross with her was a moment I will never forget.

Melissa rolled her ankle on the course so her hope of PR’ing didn’t happen. But she ran a strong finish and didn’t give up. I had told her that I would be there to cross the line with her as well so as soon as we saw her, I ran down and brought her in. I love that girl to death, and she holds a special spot in my heart for how big a heart she has.

And then we ate cupcakes!!!!

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Turns out my official time was 2:27:19…. 3 seconds off my Surrey Half time and 4 seconds from a PR. Frustrating to see I was so close when I know if I hadn’t given up at 19k. But for my first solo half it’s awesome. And as one friend said, it’s a PR for a trail run.

Each race I do gives me insight into my strengths, my weakness’ and makes me appreciate my running friends in ways I didn’t think were possible. Bea and her speed demon legs leaves me in awe with how she is capable of doing what so many can’t, and she has less than 50% lung capacity. My friends who didn’t run but came and cheered and brought me cupcakes, to the people I met and hugged and just cheered along. To the friends that had bad runs and never gave up, I love you all.

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Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is always a hard time of year for me for some pretty personal reasons. Often the holiday hits, and I find myself getting sad, worn out, and often sick. This year, besides being sick and sad, I realized how much I have to be thankful for.

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I have a husband, who despite the fact we don’t always seem to get along, has been there beside me for my whole weight loss, running, healthier lifestyle journey. He has been one of my biggest champions, and always tells me how proud he is of what I have accomplished.

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I have met some of the most amazing people through running, and now trail running that push me further, give me confidence that I can achieve things I never though possible, and make me jump out of my comfort zone with my eyes closed.

I have come to realize that running is not a solo sport, but a team sport where we all encourage and support each other in all we do. I am thankful to have these people in my life. I am beyond thankful for my amazing running partner and friend Kendall, who I swear will cause me to go broke and possibly die during a race. Here’s to an epic year of races and goal setting!!! I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.

My best friends Vicki and Sheri who have been there for so long that I don’t know what I would do without them.

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For my friends that listen when I bitch, and cheer me on with my successes. To the friend who pushes my buttons and brings out the competitive asshole in me, yeah I thank him as well. To my newfound friends from trails that agree to do beyond batshit crazy stuff with me, thank you. For the people who pace me at races, help give advice and who tell me I am stronger than I think I am. For those who say they will chase me during a race to make me run faster, and those who laugh and gasp as I tumble on my ass during a run, thank you.

My life has become richer having you all in it. A year ago, I wasn’t sure I could make it through my first 10k run, and now I am setting goals that I never even knew existed.

Happy Thanksgiving, I love you all!!

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What Keeps Me Going

A few weeks ago, one of the girls I trail run with asked me what my most memorable race to date was. It didn’t take me long before I said BMO – but not for the reasons most people would think.

BMO was my goal race, the race I picked to be my first half. I ran it 18 months after surgery in 2:50:25. I had my best friend Jared fly in with his wife Gail and their daughter Hailey so he could run the race with me. I had my cousin Elaine from Fort Nelson come down and run it as well as some other friends from high school. Except for the last few km, I ran with a friend who I had trained with for the last 3 months. My Dad, Mom and brother Brian flew in to support me across the line along with my cousin Katie and husband Ron.

I crossed the finish line to have my cousin Elaine run up and give me the biggest hug possible. We cried and laughed, and I got my medal placed around my neck and we went to find my family.

And it is this moment right here, that made this race the one that will be forever my favorite.

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Having my Dad wrap his arms around me after that race, tell me he loved me and was so proud of me made every moment leading up to that day worth the sweat, frustration, tears, pain and joy.

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My Dad is probably my biggest cheerleader. He takes the time to text me, message me on FaceBook or call me after almost every run, whether it be a race or just a training run. He tells me constantly how proud he is of me, and that I can do whatever I want. When I finished the Grouse Grind for the first time, I called Dad crying, and said I wasn’t sure I could do it. That it was the toughest thing I had ever done. He told me he was proud of me and knew I could do it.

BMO was the first time I set a goal and did not give up on it. So to have my friends and family there meant the world. But having my Dad there meant more than I can even begin to express. He is the reason I keep pushing myself, that I put myself out there and strive to be the best I can be. I am extremely lucky to have his love and unconditional support no matter what.

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And the best part of all, even when he’s not here, in some way my Dad is always part of my race. This past Sunday, my bib #1954 just happened to be the year he was born.

Dad, I love you to the moon and back. I don’t know what I would do without you. Thank you for believing in me, loving me and always encouraging me.

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Surrey Half Recap

I signed up for the Surrey International World Music Half Marathon a week out of the race on a whim. My good friend Kendall was running it as her first half, and in all her excitement I wanted to be there and run with her so bad. So I randomly decided the week before I was going to sign up. I already had a race booked for Saturday, so I was in for my first ever double run weekend.

I would like to say that I was stoked and beyond excited over this weekend, but in truth I was scared shitless. I was not properly trained, I did not have my mileage in and I was running 2 back to back races which I had never done before. I hate admit how little confidence I have in myself, and my running abilities. I know I am not the fastest runner out there, and since surgery I have improved in my pace, but mentally my confidence wasn’t quite there.

Worst part, I wanted to run this race sub 2:30 so bad. So bad that the thought of taking longer than that was something I did not even want to think of. Worst part, I had someone offhanded tell me that I wouldn’t run it sub 2:30 with doing the race the day before, and that hurt me so bad.

Saturday after my race, I was walking back to my car with Solana when she told me to run my own race and not to let anything hold me back, and that I was stronger than I thought I was. It was the first time someone had ever said that to me bluntly and upfront, and it gave me a lot to think about.

Saturday I spent the night at my best friends house, which was right across the road from the start line. Sunday I got up bright and early thanks to a 5:30 text from Kendall and my Dad messaging me on Facebook. I met up with my running crew at the race, and we were ready to go.

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The weather was cold, windy and raining off and on, so I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle on the road. My left foot was sore from my toes hitting the head of my shoes the day before and I was nothing short of a bundle of nerves. We stood with the 2:30 pace bunny, Kendall, Alanna, Ken and I and we all wished each other luck.

I couldn’t tell you where we ran. I couldn’t tell you how the course was, besides feeling like we were going constantly uphill. We started the race a bit faster than planned, leaving the bunny and Alanna behind (sorry Alanna!!!) and we kept on trucking.

Molly met us at the 6k mark holding her ever so awesome homemade signs cheering us on, and then a bit further down we were met with cheers from Kendall’s parents and other friends of hers. I fed off her energy and excitement of running her first half, and we kept on trucking.

By the time we hit 10k I knew I was in trouble. My foot pain had radiated up to my calf, and my body was struggling to keep going forward. I am sure by this point I was bitching pretty hard because Ken said more than once, “tell us how you really feel.” I had a constant eye on my watch, our pace, where the pace bunny was, and total time.

We cut in through Green Timbers, and my pace quickened as soon as we hit the trails. Any race I have ever ran with Kendall the phrase “let’s pull it back a bit” is said more often than not, and at 15k I knew that I needed to back off.

I knew our time was good, and I knew that sub 2:30 was in my sights, but my body and mind were struggling big time. We were slowing down, and I needed to walk a bit more, and the doubt was creeping in.

At the 19k mark, Alanna was back with us, and I told Kendall and Ken to push on without me. At this point I was not sure I would hit my goal, but knew Kendall could and I did not want to hold her back. Humphrey, another friend of Kendall’s had run back to find us and kept saying we were doing so awesome and were so close to the end. Kendall yelled back “love you!!” and pushed forward. I yelled the same back to her, and felt so proud to know I had the honor to be there for her first half, but sad to not cross the line with her.

Alanna was right there beside me at that point and I told her I didn’t think I could do it, I was hurting so bad and struggling big time. But she didn’t leave my side. We walked our last walk break and had 1 km left, sitting at 2:20. 10 minutes to cross the line, I could walk it right?? We had 2 turns and the finish line was there. 2 turns, 1km and 10 minutes.

I started to cry. Intermittently I could feel the tears coming down my face, and the self doubt sneaking back in. I wanted to stop and walk. I wanted the pain in my foot and leg to stop and I wanted to curl up on the side of the road and sleep. The 2:30 pace bunny was right with me at that point so I knew my window was getting small. We came around a corner, and there stood someone in a bright blue toque with camera calling my name. It was Solana!!!!!

I ran up to her, knowing there was less than half a km left, gave her a huge hug and said, “I am going to get sub 2:30.” And then kept running. Alanna was ahead of me, and the pace bunny was right beside me. I could see the finish and my body was done. I was so defeated, so close and I said, “I want sub 2:30 so so bad and I just don’t think I can do it.”

It was at that moment that I realized how great people are. The pace bunny, whomever she is, told me that she was not leaving my side. The finish line was in sight and she would get me across in my goal. And we ran across that finish line together.

Sub 2:30.. Official time was 2:27:16 which is 22:13 off my previous PR. Alanna ran up and gave me the biggest hug and I cried. The pace bunny hugged me and told me she was proud of me. And then I got one huge assed medal around my neck.

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I found Ken and Kendall for a great photo

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And then we got a great selfie with Molly, Cory, Humphrey, Ken, Kendall and I

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I learned a very important thing this weekend. I AM a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. And that when my body and mind struggle on a race, others will help you when you need it. Someone said to me “who said running isn’t a team sport?” And this weekend proved it to me big time.

For those who believed in me, who cheered me on, who ran with me and who support me through all my crazy assed ideas running, thank you. This race wouldn’t have happened without you all and I love you for it.

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