Don’t Judge A Book By A Cover

Have you ever sat down and wanted to say something to someone, anyone, to be completely honest and upfront over how you are really feeling, and know they are not going to look at you like you are growing a foreign object out of the center of your forehead? To know that they are listening, actually hearing what you have to say, with no predetermined speech forming in their minds on what they think you want to hear? To know that at the end of saying what you need to, that person might just stand up, say nothing at all, but reach over, and hug you? And that in the end, that person still sees you the same way they did before, not as a lesser person?

If you don’t, the I envy you more than you could ever imagine. I don’t know what it is like to have that confidence in yourself, to have that knowledge people see the real you, and accept you for all your short comings. I don’t know what it’s like to be able to honestly say when asked how I am doing that I am having a really shitty day emotionally and I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know how to let people see when I struggle without feeling ashamed and weak, like I am less of a person to them.

I often say to people I have no clue why anyone likes me. Mostly because a lot of the time I don’t always like myself. I look in the mirror and the face that stares back at me is unfamiliar. My eyes are the same shade of blue that they have always been, but my features seem that of a stranger. I don’t know who I am. I don’t understand why I feel the way I do some days, and I wish to hell I could figure it out.

I don’t know how to accept that I am good enough the way I am. I feel that I should be doing more, achieving more, doing something more profound with my life than what I am. I don’t know how to accept that I am just fine being me. Probably because in the background of all this I don’t fully know what being me is all about.

I still struggle with the acceptance that people can like me just the way I am. I always feel that I do or say the wrong things and people don’t really like me. I call it the “fat girl syndrome” because when I was heavier I used to try so hard to be accepted. I feel dumb when I don’t know things that everyone else seems to know, and asking someone when I don’t know what they are talking about makes me feel stupid.

I am used to being a doormat, letting people treat me like crap, take advantage of me, and toss me away when I no longer had any use in their lives. And you know what? It hurts. It hurts to feel that you are useless and unwanted and have no place in someone’s life. It sucks thinking that unless you are always the one giving and giving there’s no relationship with a person. It sucks not feeling comfortable asking someone to help you, or do something because you are afraid they are not going to want to be seen with you. It hurts to think that someone only thinks of me as being good enough to fuck.

I try to hard. I know that. I try to hard and push myself more than I enjoy a lot of times with my running and what races I sign up for. I am too hard on myself at work, when I make mistakes and I do not give myself enough credit that I am capable of making the right decisions when it comes to what I know is right. I cave when I don’t want to, letting others dictate the direction of our friendship. I get mad at myself and cry a lot, because I don’t understand why I can’t see myself as being worth more.

I feel lately that my surroundings are a never ending spiral and I keep twisting and turning, never knowing which way is up. I am struggling to control my eating, some days barely getting in the proper amount of food required to give myself the energy I need. I take things to heart way more than I should, and am not capable of saying to someone “you hurt me. I don’t need you in my life, I deserve better than this.”

I am tired of having what I do, and what I eat criticized. I am sick of coworkers and family saying to me “should you be eating that?” “Wow, that was a pretty big meal you ate, are you sure you should have eaten all that food?” Being under, or at least feeling like I am under scrutiny over what I eat is the worst feeling ever. I hate eating in front of people. I am so self conscious over what I eat and who I eat with that there are times I just choose to not eat because it is the easier option.

I worry constantly that the size I am and my life is a dream that I am going to wake up from any minute. That the person in the mirror, the one I don’t recognize is really a figment of my imagination and all that I have gone through these last years was a dream. There are nights that I want to cry, not knowing how to accept how my life has changed. How I have changed, and how the people around me have changed in how they view me.

I have a hard time understanding how someone can tell me they are inspired by me. Or when someone tells me they are proud of me, I don’t know how to accept it. I always think I am not accomplishing enough, and that so many people out there are so much better at so many things, what is so great about me, inspiring about me? I am just a person who fucked up, gained weight and had to have surgery to help me get it off.

I see myself as a failure because I couldn’t get the weight off without surgery. I once asked a male friend if he thought less of me for having weight loss surgery, and he said no. To this day, I still have a hard time accepting that because I think less of myself for having it. I wish I was strong enough that I could have achieved what I did on my own. I wish I was ok with the path I took, and one day I hope I can find peace with myself for all that I feel I fail at. I hope I can learn to accept that I am ok the way I am, and I don’t need to be anything more or anything less.

I struggle. I don’t let people see it. Writing this has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, as will be posting this for others to read. It’s not easy admitting you struggle, or you feel like less of a person for it.

Seek the Peak – I Wasn’t Last!

Ever heard of Seek the Peak before? Probably not, and if you have… Well you might think I was crazy for signing up for it. Hell! Even one of the volunteers today, when I thanked him for being out there said he always wanted to see what crazy runners looked like.

Seek the Peak is crazy. It’s 16km of roads and trails with a 4100 foot gain that takes you from Ambleside Park up to Grouse Mountain, up the Grouse Grind and then you have another little 3k up and down jaunt you do. I am not going to lie, it’s tough. And hellish. Something that both mentally and physically can knock you on your ass. Some people complete this whole course in under 1:30. I can’t even complete the Grind portion in that!!

My goal today, my ONLY goal was not to be last. I am not Speedy McSpeederson, I am ok with that. But I wanted to not be the last person on the course. So I looked at the solo times for last year, and figured as long as I was under 3:50 I was good! I could do that right? Of course I could.

I got up at 4:30am, cursed and muttered, almost losing my last contact which would have been a disaster. I headed out to get Jen so we could hit the mountain for 6:30 and catch a shuttle bus down to the start. It was rainy out, and I figured a long sleeve was the way to go, as I tend to run cold.

We met up with Candice, Hilary, Dave, Lisa and Cory at the start. And yes, for at least 30 minutes Jen, Candice, Hilary and I were in the bathroom just to stay dry. I mean why get wet when you don’t have to?

Jen and I stuck together for the first 10k, until we got to the Grind. Everyone else was way ahead, and I appreciated her hanging back with me for that relaxing first bit. We chatted, took it easy, and I had to (again) make an off course pee break. It’s starting to become a theme with me and trails lately.

All was good mentally for me until we hit the roadway up to the grind. We passed my car, and I wanted to crawl in it. I won’t lie, I was NOT looking forward to the climb up the grind. I’d been shitting bricks over it for a few weeks wondering why I signed up for this. But I kept trudging away, one foot in front of the other.

Jen pushed on at the Grind and I just kept moving. Left foot, right foot, very minimal swearing (and for those that know me, running and hills that’s unheard of) but lots of mental struggles. I had people pass me, I passed people and at times really wanted to just throw in the towel. I did say over and over I would never do this again. I would never be this stupid to do this stupid idiotic race.

One lady said to me, after she told me it was her 7th year in a row doing the climb, that we all know someone who had breast cancer. And that what would I rather do? Sit in a chair having chemotherapy or do this race to help raise money. I understood what she meant, and it was a valid point. But at that moment, once she passed me, I muttered under my breath “I never want to do this race again.”

By the time I got to the top of the grind I was about 3 hours into the race. I knew I still had a hell of a climb coming up from what friends told me, and I knew that really the worst was over. I plugged away, running the parts I could and walking when I needed to. I was bagged. When I got to the part where the climb started, the volunteers jokingly said for $20 they would let me skip the hill and go to the finish. I thought about it and then said nope. I’m not someone who gives up. So I kept on going.

Luckily it was at this point I saw Cory coming down the hill. We hooted, cheered, high 5’ed each other and Cory told me he had already quit 3 times. I was proud he didn’t give up, signing up last minute and under trained he ROCKED that race. I kept going, chatting with a lady who I was pacing myself up the hill with. Thankfully she was there because on the way down I started going in the wrong direction. Whoops!

I ran the hills the best I could, taking it easy with the steepness and knowing my knees were not going to be happy with me. As I got near the bottom, I saw Wendy, a lady I had met on the grind who was struggling. I ran across, hugged her and said that yeah the climb sucked but she was going to finish. I hope it helped her out.

When I came back to the volunteer who said I could bypass for $20 I asked him if I got that for not giving up. He laughed and told me no way in hell, so I said worth a try, and kept on moving. I ran, albeit slowly the rest of the way, and was so happy to see the finish and Jen waiting for me! She got some awesome shots of me crossing the line.

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What was really cool and unexpected was we got medals. Apparently this was the first year? We popped into the lodge, grabbed a quick snack to go and left. All I wanted to do was get into dry clothes and go home.

In the end my time was 3:33:40 and I was not the last person across. My time for the grind portion was 1:32:36 which made me so proud!!! My best time on fresh legs is 1:23:33 so this was incredible. Jen held up a sweater so I could strip on the side of the road and get my wet pants off and away we went.

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Everyone who completed this race did amazing. It’s one that is not for the faint of heart, and no matter your time, completing it is the most amazing thing ever. My ONLY complaint is…. How the hell did I get mud all the way up to my knees AGAIN?

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Whidbey Island Half Marathon

Not all races are created equal. Some are definitely a lot more challenging mentally, some physically. I guess up to this point I have been fortunate to choose what I would now consider relatively easy courses for my half marathons. Today? Well, I have never hated running as bad as I did today. I actually stopped at one point and said out loud “what the fuck am I doing?”

I like hills, I love the challenge and naturally I am a pretty strong climber. But lately I have been experiencing tight calves, and expected today to be rough. Especially having to drive 2+ hrs home afterwards in a standard after a course with what I assumed to be “rolling hills”.

I knew the weather was going to be nice and this was going to be a challenge, but I didn’t expect this much of one. My first 5k were good, I felt strong, happy, and confident I could do this in the 2:25-2:30 time range I set for myself.

But that didn’t happen. There were some rough areas on the course, hard packed gravol that hurt my body, and there were chunks of the path that felt like potholes on a road. My body was not happy with those. My Gu’s did not want to go down. I was struggling to get those in, and at 14k I debated skipping my last scheduled Gu, but smarter heads prevailed. I was not deviating from my training plan. I walked on my walk breaks even if it was on a downhill. I walked a bit more on my non walk breaks but I am ok with that.

At 17k my calves seized. I had compression sleeves on but…. No dice. I came to the conclusion my electrolytes are not where they should be for summer running and the amount I sweat, and I need to invest in salt pills. Did I also mention that 17k happened to be at a hilly flipping part of the course??

I’ll be honest. I almost threw in the towel. I came close to DNF. I considered it and that is NOT me. But I didn’t. I crossed the finish line. Garmin said 2:32:17. Gun time was 2:33:58 but the website says I was at the start right at gun, so I am sticking with my Garmin. I paid $18 and got an amazing massage afterwards which helped.

I do have to say though, besides the shirts being kind of ugly….. This race was amazing. The cost was great, the medals are cute, the scenery was gorgeous, although hilly, the volunteers outstanding, and the water/aid stations????? TOP NOTCH!!!

I have never been at a race that I could have not packed water and would have been fine. They were frequent and always full of water or Gatorade. The volunteers were friendly, encouraging and I have to say this was one of my favorite races when you take everything into account. Although I struggled, I would do this one again. And for the inclines I was only 5 minutes off my personal best, which is still amazing.

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Sweat

I sweat. I also swear but that’s not what this is about. I am disgusting and gross and smelly and soaked with sweat after any form of exercise. I am not one of those girls who can wear cute clothes, go for a run and afterwards look great.

My face is red, I have salt stains down my face, around my mouth tastes salty, my hair is soaked, my sweaty band is soaked, my clothes are nasty and I probably smell like I haven’t taken a bath in a week. Ok maybe not that bad, but I smell like a runner.

I have tried, with no avail to find a deodorant that might ease the pit stains or wet marks. It doesn’t work. And my brand new first time wearing it lulu shirt today post 10k?? Yep yellow pitstains on it.

And you know what? Fuck it. So I sweat, so I stink. Whether it’s a 5k or a half marathon, I will never come out of it smelling like a bucket of roses. I have learned to adapt and wear stuff to keep the sweat out of my contacts. I hydrate with electrolytes to prevent cramping and yes, I eat straight salt packets to replenish my sodium.

My name is Brandi. And I sweat. (And yes, I swear too)

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2014 to Date

It feels like just yesterday I was getting ready for Christmas…..

Not that I should be getting ready for my rematch with the Chilly Chase 15k run next Sunday….

Or that I am on my 2nd week of teaching the Learn to Run Clinic with the Burnaby Running Room.

I have a month until my first half marathon of 2014, which I am slightly nervous over.

Work is busy, and recently I started training on our new claims system that will be apparently more efficient.

Last night though, I had a great evening. I went running with Krista Nikki, Kirill and Morgan in West Vancouver. Traffic sucked big time trying to get out there, and the weather was cold, but the company made it worthwhile. We got copies is our posters for the West Van Run

We also had CUPCAKES post run. It was Krista’s idea and what a fantastic one it was.

It was nice to have both Krista and Nikki let me set the pace, and get the chance to be out running with them both.

Conversation was great, and it felt good just enjoying a run with no time pressure. Next time though, I hope traffic doesn’t suck!!

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Bucket List

Yes, I have a bucket list. Some things I have slowly started to check off…. And some might never see the light of day.

So thanks to Krista here’s my current bucket list in random order:

1. Pace Bunny a 2:30 half
2. Teach a Running Room Clinic
3. Complete Baker Lake 50k alive and upright
4. Go zip lining
5. Run over every bridge connecting 2 cities in the lower mainland that is safe to run over
6. Become a Half Fanatic
7. Run a half marathon sub 2:15
8. Go to a Duke Blue Devils vs North Carolina TarHeels game at Cameron Stadium (NCAA Basketballl game of course)
9. Visit another continent besides North America
10. Meet Trevor Linden
11. Get my CIP designation
12. Go to Holland and get a pair of wooden shoes

I know some seem completely random but I am sure I have more… These are just the ones I know of. Number 6 would be the most epic, amazing, died and gone to heaven moment ever for me.

FOMO at it’s Finest

FOMO = Fear of Missing Out

I have a massive case of FOMO, to the point I actually have managed to find back door registration links that were not supposed to be live yet, to ensure I was signed up and got the shirt…. And may have caused some slight panic….

But my biggest FOMO is Baker Lake Ultra which registration is open, and thanks to my friend Suzanne, we are both registered and running.

This is a huge goal race for me, my creme de la creme for 2014 and the furthest distance I have even thought of doing.

Scared? Yeppers. Excited? Beyond.
Especially knowing that I have such amazing support in my friends.

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