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Posts Tagged ‘half marathon’

A week ago I completed my Cardiolite Exercise Test at the cardiology lab. My heart rate was a little elevated so I reached the 85% of max a little sooner than I usually do. No worries… it stands to reason after having two interventions in as many months, not to mention running on a 14% incline is nothing to sneeze at.

On the weekend things took an interesting turn. On Halloween I was taken to the ER at Hamilton General with similar symptoms as before when I had a 90% blockage. Let me say that the ER is a very strange and unusual place on Halloween especially when there is a full moon and a time change causing the nurses to have to work 13-hour shifts amidst the craziness. On Sunday I was transferred to the cardiac ward and scheduled for an angiogram to see what was causing symptoms that the doctors believed to be unstable angina. At first I shrugged off the discomfort and figured it was from running so soon after coronary intervention.

This brings us to Monday evening post-angio. There was nothing wrong from a cardiac perspective and anxiety had also been ruled out as well. The two places where I have stents are “widely patent” which in layman’s terms means that they are clear and blood flow is really good. The one bit of scarring that has caused a blockage they can’t do anything about is “well collateralized” which means I have new arteries handling the blood flow. That’s a good thing. So what was causing this pain? It turns out, or so we suspect, that I was experiencing a well-known side-effect to a blood thinning medication called Brilinta (ticagrelor) although there was some differences of opinion between my doctors. I started on this medication three weeks prior by the same doctor who I ended up reporting because he didn’t take my heart condition seriously. This certainly didn’t help my confidence levels that the medicine was the right one for me. On Tuesday morning I discontinued the Brilinta against the wishes of the doctor on the cardiac floor at Hamilton General. Instead I took a loading dose of the blood thinner that I was on up until early October. With that, the pain has completely vanished and I feel better than I have in months.

Once again there were issues with having to be aware of my condition and voice concerns to a doctor from the cardiac ward. He was going to prescribe a medication to help with the symptoms rather than remove the medication that was triggering the issue. The thing is what he wanted me to take lowers heart rate considerably. As a runner, my resting HR already sits around 50 bpm and if it were to be lowered further that could be actually a bit dangerous. When I spoke up the doctor realized his mistake and agreed. This puts me back at the realization that so many people would have just done what the doctor said without question. Being educated about my disease and advocating for myself has proven to be such a vital thing.

I came home after that, on Tuesday, and called my cardiologist, Dr. J.’s office. His assistant spoke to him about my refusal to take the Brilinta, my return to the other blood thinner, as well as the results of my Cardiolite Exercise Test. Yesterday morning when I was having tea with a dear friend I got that call that he felt going off the Brilinta was a wise choice. She also relayed that I had done very well on the treadmill, my heart is stable and I can resume running, cycling and most things at the gym in a few weeks. The only reason I can’t return immediately is that they did the angio on Monday via my femoral artery and I need a bit of time to heal. I can also resume weight training in late November or early December.

I have a few tidbits of running news.

I’ve signed up for the 5K distance at the Mercedes 10K race in Oakville on April 24, 2016. My husband Bryan will be running the 10K and it we will so some of our weekday runs together.

The other bit of running news is wonderful and it involves another Spring race… but I can’t share the details just yet. As soon as I am able to make things public I’ll post my news. What I can say is that a tremendous and exciting opportunity to make a difference has sprung out of the heart health hurdles I’ve had to jump these past months. I’m going to take this wee bit of down time to make a realistic training plan with the mind and there may be some shoe shopping… oh and my running playlist could use an update.

It’s all part of moving forward with strength, courage, and strong spirit… i mua.

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I have never been so happy to have put a year in the rear-view mirror as I have been with 2014. What a year! It started out with broken toes that weren’t quite healed and the roller coaster continued from there with the heart issues, bronchitis verging on pneumonia, and this last few weeks… the bloody flu. On top of that I was still grieving the loss of my Mom and there was quite a bit of anxiety that came to light after the heart procedure. Despite all of this, it was a good year with many firsts including my daughter’s first time at school and joining a gym.

As I have mentioned in years past, I don’t believe in doing the whole New Year’s resolution bit. I came to this conclusion several years ago. I feel that it sets me up for failure and when something I had resolved to do wasn’t realized I would beat myself up emotionally. Instead I like to look at the year as a book consisting of 365 blank pages for me to fill with the things that keep me healthy, happy, and fulfilled.  I prefer to choose milestones and make general plans with no set timelines punctuated with events such as running and camping trips. This year is no different and here are some of the things I’d like to accomplish throughout the year.

I’m committed to  spending less time online, plugged in and on the phone especially with social media. Those of you who follow me here and on twitter may have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet since October and lately I’ve been less active on Facebook as well. Yes, I am ignoring you.  Instead of being consumed with social media, I’m spending more time with my children, husband and friends. I have been teaching my four year old little girl how to knit, sew, and cook. Next up… snowshoeing (if we ever get any snow). I will continue to walk back and forth to the school twice a day with the children. I could simply let my son walk his little sister as he is very responsible, but I choose to add the 15K to my fitness every week. I’m fortunate that being a writer allows that freedom and it is a great time to chat with my teenage boy. In the Fall he is off to high school and walking with Mom would just be uncool.

I mentioned in earlier posts that I am rebuilding my running base. I’m still working on that although I’ve been slightly sidelined by the flu. While progress has been slow, I’m still moving forward. My goal race is the Toronto Yonge Street 10K on April 19th. I’m very excited and I’m hoping to make it a personal record for 10K. Of course, I’ll be training smart and coupling that with workouts at the gym. The goal is to run another half marathon too. I’m not sure which one yet but I’m leaning towards the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon in June or the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in the Fall… or both. I would like to do another trail race too. That reminds me, I need to do some running shoe shopping.

I hope to cross a few things off my list this year such as the climbing lesson and belay certification that was put on the back burner when I first broke my toes. It didn’t end up being in the cards for 2014 but perhaps I’ll tackle it in 2015. And… I still want to try zip lining. Did I mention I am terrified of gravity? Boxing is still on my milestone list, as are many other things. What I tackle will depend on time. Our family plans to return to Le P’tit Train du Nord for a cycling and camping trip. Unfortunately between what was going on with me and Bryan’s travel with work, we didn’t make it back to the trail in 2014 but I’d love to revisit the area this year… without the rain.

Over the holidays I had the chance to spend some time with one of my dearest friends, Sandi. It’s hard to believe we’ve been friends for over 25 years (where did the time go?) and the last few years we haven’t been able to see each other as much as we would have liked. The weekend before Christmas we talked about making a point of seeing each other more often. Our boys (and husbands) get along famously plus we have similar interests which is great. We both love cycling so there will likely be some bike rides together in the Spring and Summer. Who knows, maybe I can even talk her into running a race with me or maybe not… lol.

While I still want to lose a bit more weight, I haven’t set an actual number because I’m more about the complete picture… body, mind, and spirit. I haven’t let the scale define me in years and will continue with that mindset. I’m more focused on being active, hydrating properly, and eating healthy. Speaking of food… my goals with nutrition remain the same as in previous years— I will continue to eat foods that are kind to my body in order to keep the side effects of diabetes and heart issues at bay. I appreciate being able to use nutrition and fitness in place of diabetes medications. I don’t diet, I simply eat according to my goals and to ensure I have balanced intake of nutrients. This is important for our whole family. Children, as you know, learn by example.

Eating fresh and local whenever possible is something I strive to continue although it’s nearly impossible at this time of year. In 2014 I started relying on our local farmers’ market and farm stands for produce. I would venture out on Friday and our menu for the week would revolve around what I came home with that afternoon. I plan to continue that throughout 2015 as I found the quality was often better than the grocery store and the produce seemed to last longer before spoiling. It’s a great for the children to learn more about where our food comes from and I like to support our local farms. I’m going to get back into growing sprouts and making my own yogurt. Both are really easy to do and will be good skills to pass onto the children. I have even done both on wilderness camping trips. I also love that this way of eating means avoiding some of the unnecessary things that are added to our food. Sure, it takes a bit more effort but that is nominal in comparison to the benefits.

Hobbies have come to the forefront lately. I’ve been teaching myself to knit plus I’ve started to do needlework and sketching again. I find that activities like this help me reduce stress and give me a way to unwind. Hobbies are much like running or the gym in that regard—being immersed in the task at hand takes the focus off whatever stress there is.

Work-wise, I completed my last client website and redefined my business. I’m still in the process of finishing my third cookbook manuscript. It’s due in March but I’m in good shape with it other than needing to take some more photos. My fourth cookbook proposal is on the table too. I’ll tell you more about that once I sign a publishing contract. I can tell you that it is going to be an amazing project and I am very excited about it. I’m also working on telling the story of my personal journey and, although I feel somewhat vulnerable, look forward to sharing that with my readers. Once again, I’ll be writing some freelance articles for a variety of publications. The outdoorsy project for families and kids that was to launch in 2014 should come to fruition later in the year.

2015 is all about forward momentum. It will be interesting to see how this year unfolds and what adventures my family and I get up to. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy New Year!

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Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it. – Michael J. Fox

Thursday morning…

After a two week bout of bronchitis, which I am still not 100% rid of, I sit at my desk while writing a note to Canada Running Series. As the tears roll down my cheeks I request that my registration be transferred from a full marathon to a half marathon. These aren’t tears of sadness, but of relief. I’ve been struggling with this decision for quite some time. I put a lot of pressure on myself not to let anyone down. I was going to run this marathon even if it took me seven hours. I made promises to Canada Running Series and myself.

So, if I wanted to run a marathon so badly, why the change?

The crux of the matter is that I have lost a lot of my running base because of being off with broken toes and the problems with my heart. Two weeks after the heart procedure my cardiologist said to hang on to the dream of running the full at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this October and a few weeks after that, I was running again. I got carried away with the excitement of making it through such an ordeal that I accepted the opportunity to run the full as one of the Digital Champions for STWM.  I was alive and felt great. My speed workouts were more effective. I felt energized and ready to tackle the marathon.

feet in training

moving forward

When I brought those Saturday morning long runs back in the mix it was a struggle. I could no longer run the distances I had become accustomed to the year before. The high heat and humidity were definitely factors that made the runs exceedingly more difficult. I convinced myself that maybe it was a mental block because I couldn’t seem to get past where I was before I had the heart problems. But if I am being honest with myself, that’s not all it was—what I had to accept is that my base has suffered. I was off for a few months with the toes and then a few more with the heart blockage, so it is my reality. Not to mention, my body has been through some trauma and I’m dealing with the side effects of being on a blood thinner (things like anemia and bruising).

Bronchitis meant more time away from building that base but it also gave me pause to really think about what I want to do… what I need to do. Time has become a factor. There are a mere 13 weeks until race day. This means I would only get one 32K training run in. For most first-timers that wouldn’t be a problem however being diabetic throws a wrench into things for me. I would like to have a few more of those long runs in a training plan so that I can learn how my body reacts to fueling. Not having a good handle on that can result in not being able to finish. The bottom line is that I could run the 42.2K but training without the solid base would open me up to injury or disappointment.

It just isn’t training time. It is also time with family. I’m a Mom first. My partner, Bryan, will be away on business for much of August and September. In August, he’ll be home on weekends but in September he’ll be at a huge tradeshow in another country. We won’t have a lot of time to spend together and training for the full will reduce that even further. This happens every other year and, in hindsight, I should have considered it when deciding to run a full.

Don’t mistake these reasons for excuses because they are not. I’m still going to be running and training. The only change will be the length of time I am putting in on those weekend long distance runs. This is acceptance of where I am at with body, mind, and spirit. It is the realization that this has been a really rough year and that I need to be gentle with my spirit while moving forward. I am at peace with the path I have chosen.

The goal remains the same—the timeline has merely shifted. I still consider myself as being in training for a marathon… I’m just taking a more scenic route to get there. I plan to become a stronger runner, build my core strength and flexibility, and listen to my body. I will run a few half marathons and perhaps Around the Bay 30K, then revisit the idea of a full marathon sometime in 2015.

When I shared the news of my transfer with my friend Kim, a marathon runner, her words summed it up perfectly…

Everybody seems to want to rush through the entire running bucket list. The marathon isn’t going anywhere—it will still be there when you’re ready.

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As I embark on some serious training for the 2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, I realize that many of the people who read this blog or follow me on twitter may not realize why I chose such a name.

So often in my life I have felt or been made to feel that things are impossible and had people encourage me to give up. In 2012 I first mentioned my want to run a half marathon and was greeted with “why would you bother?” and “you are just setting yourself up for failure” from someone I was close to. After my heart issue that same person said “we were just waiting for you to have to give up this silly running business” and ” I hope you realize now that you can’t do this”. It is a lack of support that I had grown accustomed to but the difference is that I am a runner now. Running has made me realize that the only limits I have are the ones I place upon myself.

Why the name Finding My Inner Possible?

This is a phrase that reflects my getting in touch with that part inside of me that makes what I strive for… well… possible. My Mom always called this “intestinal fortitude”. From the outside my dreams, goals, and aspirations may seem, to some people, way beyond my limits but I have the belief and inner strength that I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it.  Inner possible is about how having a positive mindset and drawing on inner strength can help me to believe in myself when others don’t and to realize my full potential.

We all have an inner possible. I encourage you to find yours and embrace it. If you are training for your first race, whether it is a 5K or 100 miler, please feel free to train virtually alongside of me via twitter and use #innerpossible so we can encourage each other. I’d love to see how you use your inner possible to do things you once thought you never could.

If you want to connect on twitter just follow me @innerpossible.

Life is short… go out and embrace it!

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The other day I was chatting with a friend and we were discussing what our goals are. We chatted about the races we’ve chosen for 2014 and what motivates us. She and I have been on somewhat parallel journeys so it was great to talk with someone who gets the struggles I deal with.  And… we talked about the setbacks we have both experienced lately. Our conversation made me sit back and take pause. That’s not always a bad thing and I feel that it is good to re-evaluate my goals from time to time so I don’t lose sight of the bigger picture—a healthy life.

Setbacks happen and it is very important that I don’t beat myself up about a few steps backwards. It happens to all of us at one time or another. On November 9th, 2013, as many of you know, I broke two of the toes on my left foot when I accidentally kicked a dumbbell that was sitting against the big oak desk in my office. This meant that running, and pretty much any other exercise that involved my toes, came to a screeching halt. This time off from running hit me like a ton of bricks and I took it really hard. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t exercise or that I was concerned about diabetes. You see, I use running as my way of thinking things through and dealing with the negatives in my life. 2013 started with the death of my Mom and the time off finally forced me to work through some of the grief. I gained a little weight and started to self-deprecate. I had worked so hard. I was within 15 lbs of my goal and then I lost momentum. How could I let this happen? I could make all sorts of excuses but the bottom line is that I just gave up caring about myself because I was wallowing. The good thing is that it was a short-lived hiccup and I am back on track.

My motivation for running hasn’t changed very much. It’s still about having fun while working on fitness and enjoying activities that we can do as a family. Running is my insulin and my way to keep ill effects of living with diabetes at bay. It’s also a social outlet for me which caught me somewhat by surprise. I have met so many wonderful runners who encourage and inspire. This is something I try to pay forward. Being a Digital Champion for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K is just one way I am doing that. Giving back in other ways is important to me as well and I love fundraising for a good cause.

I also thought about the commitment and drive to improve. I like to dream big and sometimes I will chose a distance and think that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. That was certainly how it felt when I started training for my first half. During that time I discovered something… training isn’t a chore to me but rather something I embrace. I enjoy the process immensely—I love a long run on a Saturday morning and the way it makes me feel. It also makes me happy to see how I progress week after week and month after month. Being off with the broken toes reinforced how much I missed being in training for a long distance event. Every long run last winter and spring was a new milestone and on those runs I was able to gain clarity or perspective about things other than running. Accomplishing those goals gave me courage to make some wonderful changes in my life. My feelings about being a distance runner remain the same… I enjoy the process and it helps me grow as a runner and as a person. It’s a win win for me.

This year I plan to tackle the full marathon. It scares me because being diabetic adds some other challenges especially when it comes to things like fuelling, hypoglycaemia, and foot injuries. This adventure brings a good kind of fear too. It’s the kind of apprehension that gives me the butterflies but makes me feel really alive. This distance will be a huge challenge for me and the fact I am even going to try is very exciting. Training will be tough and time consuming but there is something about it that simply calls to me. I have an amazing circle of support and hold onto the belief that I can realize my dream of crossing the finish line after running 42.2K. I may not be speedy but I have spirit and I will cross a finish line in the footsteps of so many people that have inspired me to try.

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This is my guest post as it appeared today on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (Canada Running Series) blog.

TORONTO. January 11th 2014. Digital Champion Laurie Ann March works hard to balance her hectic life with her love of running. She will tell you that she treats being active as a priority and with good reason. Laurie changed her lifestyle drastically in order to successfully lose 180 lbs. Laurie’s family has joined her on her running journey and she believes that being active is a great way to spend quality time together. Connect with Laurie on Twitter @innerpossible.

Running: A Family Affair
By Laurie Ann March

after the race

family & friends

When I made the decision that I was going to train and run my first 5K race I expected that I’d be doing this on my own. My husband Bryan and I bought a treadmill in late 2011 so I could work towards becoming a runner. What happened surprised me. Bryan, who for years insisted that runners never smile and running fun did not belong in the same conversation, announced that he would run the race as well. I almost fell off the treadmill in shock. What happened to “over my dead body” or “when hell freezes over”? Our eleven year old son, Tobias, voiced that he wanted to run the race too and the next thing I knew we were a family of runners. The whole family was outfitted with good quality footwear and training began. As the weather improved we purchased a running stroller for Kaia, our eighteen month old little girl, and started running outside.

You are probably wondering about the stroller—it has been a wonderful thing and Kaia loves to ride in it. The key, as we quickly learned, is to make sure she had a few toys, a snack, and something to drink. Making sure she is comfortably dressed for the conditions is important too. It is adorable to hear her cheering Bryan on. “Faster Daddy! Faster!” she often exclaims. After a run we take a detour to the park. This allows us some time to stretch while she has fun on the playground. One can’t put on running clothes in our house without her getting excited and she gets a little bit upset if one of us is merely going for a jaunt on the treadmill. Well, downright grumpy might be more accurate. If the weather is inclement we run at the indoor track and she loves that too. Bryan usually finishes a bit before I do so he releases Kaia from the stroller. She’s older now and runs just over one kilometre around the track. She loves it. She will be turning four in June so the stroller will be retired soon. When that time comes Bryan and I will have to take turns going on our runs or consider hiring a sitter. Of course, we’ll still take her out on her own little adventures.

There are many benefits to being a running family. It keeps us fit. It gets the kids outside and reduces their screen time. It creates an environment of support which spills over into other aspects of our lives. Running as a family is a wonderful way to combine training with spending time together. Bryan, Tobias, and I run at different paces so we usually do our warm-up together and then go off on our separate runs, then meeting at the end. Tobias will run with me from time-to-time but if there is a race coming up and he needs to push his limits he goes with his Dad. Bryan travels extensively with his career so it is a perfect time for them to have those guy to guy chats.

my little runner

my little runner

Last spring I trained for my first half marathon, Tobias wasn’t able to run as far as I was going so I set out on my own one Saturday morning. About 15K into my run I heard a familiar voice shout “Hi Mom” and there he was on his bicycle. He told me that he was amazed at how far I ran and that it took him awhile to catch up. Next thing I knew Bryan, who was recovering from a nasty chest cold, was there on his bike with Kaia in tow. This gave me just that little spark I needed to keep going. One summer day Bryan watched Kaia while Tobias and I hit the trails near our home. We decided to go without a pre-set plan and be spontaneously adventurous. There are some beautiful side trails that weave in and out along the Grand River so we would just turn at a whim and see where we end up. At one point we were forced to turn around because the brambles were so thick that it was becoming extremely difficult not to mention a little hard on the legs. We do this from time to time and those runs really bring out my inner child.

A favourite memory is from my first 10K event—a very hilly trail run that took place one night in October. I am diabetic and I had a serious blood sugar crash around the 5K mark. I almost walked off the course because I had taken too much time to deal with that and wasn’t feeling well at all. Emotionally this run was taking its toll. The water stations had been taken down and the paramedic was sweeping the course behind me but I was determined to finish even if I was dead last. Just then, Tobias ran up to me and said that we were going to cross the finish line together. He had received permission to get back on the course to run with me and had a medal around his neck. I knew there were no finishing medals for this race and he told me he won first place for his age group. I was so proud of him for doing his best and I would have been even if he hadn’t been given an award. He told me that he was proud of me too. I fought back the tears because I was extremely moved that he came out to run with me. It made my night and turned what was a rough experience for me into one I will always cherish. It was in that moment I realized how running has brought us closer as a family.

What we have discovered is that introducing the kids to running was much easier than I could have imagined. By making it a part of our lifestyle and keeping it fun, our children seem to have embraced running and it has truly become a family affair. So, whether you are a seasoned runner about to enter into parenthood or you are a new runner trying to figure out how to balance training with a busy family life, perhaps you can find some inspiration from our little running family.

Do you run as a family? How do you get your kids and partner to share in your love of running?

Connect with the Toronto Yonge Street 10K Digital Champions team here!

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Are you comfortable?

first half marathon

first half marathon

Do you have a nice warm beverage and perhaps a snack?

I only ask because this is going to be another long post.

I’ve done something, that if you had told me a year ago I would do, I would have said “impossible” or laughed hysterically. If you had told me a decade ago that I’d do this, I might have thought you had bats in your belfry and recommended that you seek some professional help. Yet here I am today, sharing the journey of my first half marathon with you. Back in October when I made the decision to sign up for the 10th Anniversary Mississauga Marathon it seemed so very far away and there were times where I felt like I had bitten off more than I could chew. 21.1K seemed daunting, to say the least. However, I had a dream to complete a half marathon and yesterday I finally made that a reality.

I trained hard. I gave up leisurely weekends for long distance training runs. I managed to train without injury. I watched my nutrition carefully. I kept logs of what I ate and how it affected my training and my blood sugar. I dealt with dehydration and low sodium levels and life getting in the way. A week before the race I had to abort a long run because of hypoglycemia. Being diabetic sucks. That rattled me big time and I almost threw in the towel. I wanted to give up and I was in tears over what happened that day. Yet, with stubborn determination and some pretty terrific people supporting me, I picked myself up, dusted off, and made it to Mississauga for race day on Sunday May 5, 2013.

gathering of friends

gathering of friends

After attaching the timing chip to my right running shoe and gathering everything I thought I needed for the race, I scanned the hotel room one last time. My husband Bryan, who was also running his first half, and I arrived at a parking lot near the start line a few minutes after 6 am. We started making our way to link up with our friends as well as some people Bryan and I had become acquainted with on dailymile during training. We took a group photo, visited the port-a-potty, and then made our separate ways to the start line. It was a fabulously sunny day and I, to my surprise, wasn’t really nervous. Odd that.

It’s hard to find words to describe the vibe of everyone being gathered at the start with the common goal of wanting to do our best in the race. Here I was standing with close to 3400 other participants in the biggest and longest race I had ever been to. There was such a positive energy about the place. I couldn’t get over the sheer number of people. I couldn’t even see the beginning of the start line through the throng. We paid our respects to Boston, the Mississauga Mayor said a few words, and the next thing I knew the gun went off and the race had started. Getting to the actual start after the race began took just over three minutes. I couldn’t help but think of it like a major highway during rush hour. Stop and go!

My friend Carla had been offering to run with me for weeks and I told her “I’ve got this, so go at your own pace.” However, she insisted and we were off and running. It was one of the sweetest things someone has done for me and I appreciated the company. Like a typical rookie, I got caught up in the excitement and went out too fast for my first 4K or so. That made the last few that much more difficult but I’ll get to that later.

I had a few issues at the beginning with my iFitness hydration belt. I suspect that it was because I had filled the bottles to the brim with ice cold water which was now warming up and expanding. I’d get the odd squirt in the elbow. It wasn’t bad when it was plain water but the electrolyte/carb drink was sticky. Once I drank a little out of the bottles the problem resolved. It was getting considerably warmer and the route was fairly sunny which made me glad that I had opted to wear sunscreen. My shoes, even though on the older side, felt good and I had made the right clothing choices.

enjoying the journey

enjoying the journey

The day was perfect and the half marathon wound through gorgeous tree-lined neighborhoods and Mississauga’s U of T campus. There was one point where I saw a gorgeous little trail leading off into the woods and I remarked to Carla how much I would love to be running a trail. Some people sat outside of their houses, cheering people on. Suddenly I noticed two shoes, one adult and one child sized, on a board with a sign that said “Lucky Shoes”. At the starting line there had been mention that touching them would bring the runner good luck. I figured it couldn’t hurt, so I paused to touch them. What a quirky little race tradition that is!

There was one hill that seemed to go on and on. I ended up walking most of it. For the most part I felt really good, until I had a mishap at one of the water stations resulting in having my nostrils irrigated. A little bit of an embarrassing moment becoming a human fountain. Apparently drinking and breathing don’t mesh well. I had to make a pit stop at a port-a-potty which cost me a few minutes time. At least I was decently hydrated.

One part of the route near the QEW wasn’t very scenic but that didn’t last long. Next thing I knew we were in Port Credit and I could start to feel the change in the breeze because of the lake. The route continued on towards the lake and the wound its way along the waterfront and some residential streets. The last 4K was difficult albeit quite beautiful along the water. My body was tired and the sun was beating down on me. I pushed on. I knew it was more of a mental thing anyway. When I needed to walk I did because I wanted to reserve a little energy to finish strong. I had come this far and I knew I could go the rest of the way—I just had to keep going. We ran along a ramp area over the water and three swans swam out from under the bridge. People were gathered all along the next part of the route and cheering the runners on. It was amazing and the cheers really helped. When we hit the last 1.5K Carla took off at her own pace so she could photograph me coming across the finish.

approaching the finish line

approaching the finish line

I crossed the finish line and had to choke back the tears. The emotion was pretty overwhelming but in some ways it felt surreal. A volunteer removed the chip from my shoe and I received my finisher’s medal. Those things are much heavier than I realized. Just as I was having the medal put around my neck the music changed and it went into bagpipes with Scotland the Brave. It reminded me of my Mom who passed away in January. She always said that should have been the Scottish national anthem. It made me feel like she was there with me at the finish. Bryan and Carla met me a few moments later. I really don’t have words to explain the feeling of accomplishment that this has given me. I have overcome so much to get here… but I did get here and it was fun! I had an incredible and most memorable day.

Achieving such a milestone wasn’t just a physical challenge for me; it was an emotional one and with that I left a few demons at the start line and that is where they will stay. This whole journey has been profound for me to say the least. Of course, I didn’t do this entirely on my own… the support of my wonderful husband, my sweet children, my in-laws, and my dear friends combined with sensible training assistance from Ray Zahab were all instrumental in getting me to the start line. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you. I’d mention names but it is a long list and you know who you are.

I’m sure you’d like to know what my results were. Here you go…

my finishing medal

my finishing medal

I crossed the 8K timing mat at 01:12:46

My final time was 03:21:32

I placed 2357 out 2382. I was 1288 out of 1306 for my gender and I was 372 out of 376 for my age group.

This is a personal best and a personal distance record.

I had a blast and… I finished upright and smiling.

Mission accomplished!

Will I run another half marathon?

Of course I will, but it won’t be this year because my calendar is pretty full.  There are already a few events I am considering for 2014. I know, I know. I said that I was merely going to do one half marathon and cross it off the list. We can just add that to the comment I made about only running a single 5K race. There are no finish lines.

See you at Mississauga in 2014!

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