It’s about the journey…not the finish lines

On March 5, my life would change drastically but I hadn’t realized it yet. My hip and back began to hurt. On March 20, it was obvious to the physiotherapist my doctor sent me to that there was a severe injury. Physio believes I have a hip labral tear in my left hip. I was put off work the next day by my doctor and referred to a surgeon. I saw the surgeon April 5, who assumes the injury is exactly that but only a MRI can detect it. In Canada, that means a wait possibly of 3-6 months. So now I’ve been off work since March 21 and on bed rest, while trying to manage the pain and still at least eat healthy while I’m pretty much bedridden. During this time I’ve been writing in a journal, listening to podcasts, reading motivational books for athletes, working on thesis when able, using Headspace’s app for mindfulness, and reading for fun when able. This has led to a lot of learning.

I made this huge life changing decision last week and only shared with a few people. It isn’t an easy one to make but it’s the right one. I’ve spent many moments since making this decision questioning if it’s the right one and wondering if I’ll be able to stick to it. I wasn’t sure when I’d share this publicly but the podcast I listened today featuring Jax Mariash opened up the door to share as well as reassured me that I’m making a smart choice for myself.

We already know my 2018 race season is over. My surgeon hopes to get my back for 2019 but over the past 6 weeks of bed rest and missing out on training, I’ve learned a lot of myself and some mistakes I’ve made in training and racing, that may have caused and/or contributed to my injury. In this podcast, Jax talks about a hectic race season where her body just began to crash. Her kidneys were failing and numerous other problems. After race season, it bounced back and they never found a reason why. She believes it was from not having proper recovery and back to back races and said she learned that year that you got to take care of your system. The host of the podcast, Margaret, piped in and shared that as runners and OCR athletes, we can get into this pattern of feeling really accomplished so all we do is “racing racing racing”. Racing fills up every weekend or every other weekend. she said “It’s like you race, you go home, you recover, you barely train again and then you’re at again”. After 2 years of this, Margaret suffered an ankle injury and she said it was like her body saying you need to slow down and you’re not going to do it on your own so we’re going to do it for you.

Back to Jax: she said the media always asked her “what’s next?” With her own ego combined with media expectations, she thought “shit I gotta come with a really intense schedule” and she got caught up in it instead of really listening to herself, even after her body was shutting down. She made it through season but at the end, her body was done. She took a long break and today she looks at it like this: “Do you remember the results or the journey? It’s the people you meet. The adventures your travel. The epic journeys people have come from. That’s the shit that matters. Be appreciative of the surroundings and what you get to do. Take a few moments, look around, and take it all in and put it into your memory bank”. Is it about crossing that finish line over and over again or is about how your journey to get there?

Back to me. I’ve had to time to think back to my past few years. I began to change my life and then I got hooked to racing. I’ve got swept away by that finish line feeling. The quantity of races medals, Personal Bests, and finish lines overtook me and blinded me to what’s really important.

From Jim Afremow’s book “A Champion’s Comeback”

It’s not about the racing. It’s about the every day. It’s about the places that the races can take me and the people I meet along the way. It’s about the workouts and being with my amazing team. It’s about the views I’ve seen during the races and the mountains I’ve climbed that I never used to. It’s about the time I spent with my four legged running partner. It’s about being healthy. It’s about planning just a few races to have fun and to see how my year of training has got me.

Spartan’s motto “I’ll see you at the finish line”? You will but it won’t be until 2020. My decision is that no matter what happens this year, and no matter when or if I can return to training and running in 2019, I will not be signing up for any races. Maybe I’ll travel to some with my team to cheer them on and be in that atmosphere. I’ll definitely attend local ones to cheer on friends and teammates. Maybe even volunteer. But my new plan is to be patient. To listen to my body. Once we finally pinpoint the exact injury and have a solution, I’ll take the time necessary and the steps set out by my surgeon and physiotherapist to fix the injury and heal. I’ll take any negative news with the positivity. The reality is we don’t know the severity or the exact injury and there is always the slim possibility that running or obstacle course racing may not be in my cards again. That maybe I need to focus on other goals – like kettlebells and walking. Hopefully I can get back to it all but I’m not going to jump right back in and return to my current situation.

This is about learning from the situation and applying it to my comeback, not about getting it over with and repeating same mistakes. Will I miss racing? Hell yes I will. But by taking a year off, whether that means next year or even 2020, I’ll learn how to plan the right balance of racing in my life. I want one full year of just training only before I return to race season and that might mean one year off or five years off racing. When I look back at my best 5 years, the moments I enjoy most are the daily workouts and challenges with my team, with Ginny, and with myself.

I’ve neglected training the mental athlete in me and that will also become a part of my routine. I’m not going to just be a runner or a racer. I’m going to be a champion. I can’t wait until the first race again but it will come when I’m ready physically and mentally, with the blessing of my surgeon and my trainer. I’m going to start planning races with my trainer instead of booking them all on my own and telling him my goals after I’ve already committed. I’m going to learn to focus on the journey and on the memories – not the number of medals I can get in a year or on the idea that I need to have personal bests every single race. As Dr. Jim Afremow’s book says – “This is where I need to be to get my game back”.

I’m going to get back to loving the feeling of living and not just living for the moment of short glory from racing.

I’ve listened to the Obstacle Order podcasts too and they, and many guests they’ve had, have helped so much. Most memorable is Yancy Culp – OCR athlete who had to take time off racing while treating cancer. He said what got him through every day was asking each morning “What big rock am I going to move today?” This decision has been the heaviest weight and the biggest rock I’ve ever lifted and moved. And I’m proud of myself and no matter how many people might say “Why not just one race?” I’m going to remember how hard this rock was to move and not fall into that. Just one can easily become ten. Before I can race again, I need to learn to be that girl who crosses the finish line and doesn’t care that she crossed a finish line or that she was in a race but that she had an amazing journey to get to the starting line, and enjoyed every moment to the finish line, not just the finish line itself.

From Jim Afremow’s book “A Champion’s Comeback”

“The most important workout is tomorrow’s”©️Riley Nadoroznick (my trainer)

I’d give anything to be lacing up my shoes to be running with her tomorrow . 💔

I haven’t posted in awhile. Been in a funk. I have been wanting to write but didn’t have the heart, the energy, or the words of what I wanted to say. This post isn’t about sympathy. It’s about a lesson learned as well as maybe to do two other things – to let others struggling know they aren’t the only ones and to let those who are able to run or walk but don’t due to stress, work, funks, exhaustion… to just do it and not complain about it. It could be so much worse. You might get told one day you can’t. Maybe for a week. A month. Maybe forever. If you have now, don’t waste ever take it for granted.

I’m here in hell. I haven’t walk, worked out, or ran in 3 weeks. An injury (I thought from shovelling March 5&6 but could have been from a run I did before shovelling, or from kettlebell workout I did 2 days after shovelling, or one that had been worsening for some time and I didn’t know) has left me in extreme pain and limited mobility. I kept working (I am a teacher and a mixture of guilt, stubbornness and a bit of denial of how terrible I felt) and my first idea was to try massage. Unfortunately, it got worse. So I went to my family doctor who prescribed anti-inflammatory and immediately sent me to physio. Saw physio last Tuesday (March 20). Physio thinks I actually have a hip labral tear and a back injury. She also believes it may have been one that started before shovelling and that just worsened it.

I think back to Sunday, March 4. I had gone for a 7k run in the afternoon of the day the large amount of snow started to fall. I could have skipped it. I could have done the treadmill. I could have freaking snowshoed – I have new ones I haven’t even tried yet! But I’m so strict on myself and my routines that I do fixate on that damn schedule I make for myself based off of recommendations. I let myself ignore that the training plan can be modified or skipped if necessary. Snow was up to my ankles or deeper. Today should have been one of this skipped or modified workouts. But it was long run Sunday and my stubborn self fixated on that so… I ran.

I thought it was awesome to be that runner who braved the elements and did her run anyway anyhow. But what I forgot in my superwoman moment was that running in snow so deep that made me run in a bad form – sort of like a wide leg hop run? If you’re a runner you probably know what I mean! So – was it worth risking an injury by running in it? Then, I’d probably say yes. Now – I know it was the worst decision. You never regret until it’s too late. Lesson learned and hopefully if you’re like me, you’ll remember this story and my hard lesson learned if you’re ever stuck with a decision of running in bad weather that will affect your form. My Conviction Fitness trainer has said to me before – “the most important workout is tomorrow’s”. I wish I’d listen to his advice that week. I wouldn’t have ran in that deep snow. I wouldn’t have shovelled for 6 hours straight. I wouldn’t have gone to a kettlebell workout exhausted and already sore from shovelling.

But back to that day at my first physio appointment. My therapist was shocked that I was working and adamantly encouraged me to take time off as I could be hurting myself even more. She also sent me back to my family doctor to discuss this time off as she can’t actually do the doctor note for work. Upon her suggestion, my doctor also ordered X-rays (though physio was sure that wouldn’t show the injury she expected, she was wanting to eliminate a fracture in hip). Pain meds were prescribed as this appointment showed him a side of me he’s never seen – he said he’s never seen me not smile even when sick or when I dislocated my finger. My doctor also referred me to a surgeon as urgent but the surgeon told my physician they don’t treat urgent referrals any differently. And it could be 3 months before I see him – for just a freaking diagnosis and plan. My doctor wasn’t happy. He has now referred to a special hip surgeon as only he can order an mri for it. He does treat cases based on urgency and is reviewing my case now.

I had physio again today. Though she can’t do as much as they normally do, she’s working on helping the muscle spasms by loosening the muscles around injury (not working the injury itself) very carefully with some finger pressure techniques. Taught how to do some at home. She said the muscles are extremely tight from trying to protect the injury which is causing some of my extreme pain.

The most positive news I’ve heard in some time was today when she said that it is actually better that I’m now being referred to this 2nd surgeon as only this doctor treats hip injuries like mine. If I’d waited 3 months to see the other one, he would have actually sent me to see the 2nd one himself as well – wasting all that time. She knows him and will email him as well hoping to help make my case even more a priority. I saw this surgeon’s website and he highly respects physiotherapists and says they should be able to do referrals to surgeons too. Something my province is trying to change. Hopefully her email helps. I hate being stuck in limbo. Freaking about the missed steps (typically 15000-25000 for me), the runs, the spartan workouts, the Kettlebell workouts, the adventures, the time with my fur baby running partner and just all the life I’ve been missing.

I went from 3 Spartan SGX workouts a week with the best team ever, 3-4 runs a week of about 25-30km weekly, multiple walks and hikes, bike rides (mostly in spring and summer), and 3 Kettlebell workouts a week – to literally nothing. Life isn’t meant to be alone from the world and stuck in bed on multiple pain meds just to function a little while waiting for the phone to ring and counting how many days you’ve already waited.

So when you don’t think you can get out there mentally but you can physically – do it. Don’t let the barrier from being physical be your excuses. Do it for me. Do it for others who can’t. Do it for you. And enjoy every single freaking moment of it. You can’t guarantee to get that run or walk or adventure you missed back if something ever happens that leaves you on the sidelines.

Life is meant to be lived hard and to be lived to the fullest. Get out there and do just that.

As for me, no idea when surgeon will call. I’m doing my best to stay positive but I can’t lie – each day hurts the heart and soul a little bit more. I have amazing family, friends, teammates, and trainer. I’ll let myself cry. But I’ll also keep my smile. I’ll get through this perhaps with some heavy leaning on friends and family. But I will get through it. This too shall pass and I will tie up those shoes again, remember this experience, and make sure that I’m always thinking about the most important workout – tomorrow’s.

My running partner is currently now my medicine for the heart and soul. Waiting by me patiently with unconditional love. Together we wait for the first day, regardless of when, to take the first walk (I want to say run but I know it will have to be a walk first) together after this injury.

Not hardcore, but determined with goals

Where I live is getting hit with one heck of a cold spell. We are into day 7 of an extreme cold warning.

It’s really hard to be motivated when the air you breath hurts you and even hurts to just be outside. But I’ve let excuses get me to a spot I never want to return to again.

I decided to skip my long run on Sunday and do it Monday instead as my body was hurting from just returning to training and doing 2 weekend outdoor workouts back to back instead of just one.

I sort of regret it as Christmas Day is when the cold spell hit even worse then on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day was low key so after an early turkey dinner lunch to accommodate my sister in law’s 2pm shift for her nursing job, my boyfriend and I went home. I bundled myself and Ginny up and off we went.

My goal for my long run this week was 10k. At -40, I knew it may not be that long but thought I’d manage 8k. By 4K, I could tell that no matter how bundle we were, both Ginny and I were not going to make it past 6k. Even that 6th kilometre was painful for us.

So Tuesday, we bundled up again in another frigid day and did a short 4K to make my 10k goal.

I normally don’t run Tuesday’s but thought it would be a way to get in some kilometres since I couldn’t go past 5 or 6k in a run at -40 right now. Sure, I could use a treadmill, but I hate that treadmill even more than this cold weather.

Wednesday we managed a short walk with me wearing my 20lb weighted vest.

I was crosssing fingers and toes that by weekend hit and my training group was facing our outdoor workout, the weather would improve even if a little. Nope. We can sign up for either a Friday or Saturday workout but are allowed to do both if we feel up to it. I signed up for both and decided to see how it went. Friday’s evening one had us facing the coldest temperature we’ve seen yet at -45. It was not easy at all. I layered right.

But working out in multiple layers is not easy. It restricts you a lot! I normally wear runners with cleats on them for these workouts but at -40, I needed the warm boots. Running in heavy boots also adds to the workout. I actually had a (minor luckily) asthma attack midway through. I began to panic worrying I was going to have to stop or I was going to slow everyone down but then I just slowed myself down, stopped for a moment. I slowed my breathing down, dug out my inhaler, first puff, second puff. I could feel it help almost immediately. I waited a few moments and kept working at slowing down my breathing and regaining control. I did. With that, I had another decision to make. Stop or keep going. I wasn’t feeling that severe exhaustion or chest pain of a severe attack so I made the decision to push but go slowly. And I did! I had to be careful to not let breathing to get out of control so I worked at keeping my body working at the right level that I was pushing as hard as I can but without crossing the line of another attack.

I finished the workout.

So this morning came and I could slightly feel the affects of my asthma due to the cold air. The core temperature was extreme at -36 before even the windchill which made it feel like -40. But I had a tea, took emergency inhaler in morning and my daily one before I left. I had time to relax this morning with reading a book for my thesis. And by 9, I felt great.

I went to the workout. It was tough but more so because of the layers. I need them but they sure make it hard! But I was warm and I was healthy and I was strong. And I finished today’s workout too…without asthma attacks.

Asthma used to be an excuse of why I couldn’t do these things I do now. Now I push through and work with my doctor to make it work with me and not me work around it. I’ve learned when an attack means slow down or when it means stop. Working out has actually made the attacks less. That was the first one I’ve had since a a minor one due to humidity in the summer. I used to have them weekly, sometimes daily. Last night, it was the cold air that triggered it. I couldn’t have done anything to stop it. But I read the signals early instead of waiting until too late and treated it right away and followed my body signals to slow down.

I was told I was hardcore today. I’m anything but hardcore. I am mentally battling myself about being out there. I’m whining in my head when the hill sucks to run up with boots. But I have goals in my life now. One is not going back to the person who used to say “Oh sorry asthma attack. Have to stop now.” Or “nope sorry, can’t do that because my asthma may act up”. I am not hardcore, I am determined with goals.

Bring on 2018.

Sometimes the easiest races are the hardest

Fall flew by and I failed at writing anything. Even though I was on a sick leave due to complications from a dental surgery all of October!

After my first Spartan Beast race in Sun Peaks, BC at the end of September that earned me my first Trifecta (I wish I would have written about it right after as what an experience!), my life became a blur of dental appointments, pain and pain meds. It was one of the worst pain I’ve had in my life. I was on a liquid smooth diet and so much pain for 3 weeks. I couldn’t talk or eat well.

But fortunately that’s in the past! However, that one long painful experience has seemed to bring some bad luck to me. I’ve managed to get second degree burns from spilling tea and dislocating a pinky from slipping on ice just days before my second Spartan Beast race in Florida! Luckily I was able to still do the race.

Sun Peaks was a highlight of my 2017. It was 3 mountains and almost 10 hours of racing. I felt fantastic through all of it! It was over 2000 ft of maximum elevation and was 26 kilometres long. After finally crossing that finish line, teammates who had done several Beasts said this was the hardest one they’ve ever encountered.

So heading into Florida, it should have been a piece of cake after Sun Peaks. However, I went into it knowing I shouldn’t be racing with second degree burns. I went into it mentally exhausted by all the little accidents I had been having. The weather ended up being wet and rainy – making my apprehension of obstacles due to my little bad luck streak intensify. This race was flat flat flat. It was only 59 feet of maximum elevation. It should have been a laugh to complete especially as someone who has fallen in love with running.

But each time I reached an obstacle, the little voice in me said “What if?” What if I slipped? What if I got my arm wet? What if I bumped my arm too much? What if landed wrong? What if, what if, what if. My self doubts overpowered this race.

If it weren’t for my teammates pulling me through and talking me down every time I had anxiety, I don’t know how I’d have made it through this race. Thank goodness for the bucket carries, sandbag carries, log carries and farmer log carries that I crushed and helped build my confidence!

It is amazing what the mind can do to someone. I have never been the most confident in myself and have always battled self doubt. My family and friends believe in me more than I do. I think my lack of trust in myself and my lack of fighting to do things for me is why I almost ended up diabetic and obese. And unhappy. I had to push through a lot of hard work and mental battles to lose 97.5 lbs. But I did it. So yes, I may have had a bad streak of injuries. Yes, I may be short. Yes, I may not be the strongest yet. But I’ll be so much more if I can learn to let go of doubting myself and begin to believe in myself. I have a lot of goals for 2018. Behind each goal means letting myself know I can do it.

So Florida was not the race I expected it to be. I did cross that finish line in only 4 hours and I improved in many ways as an athlete if I compare stats to Sun Peaks but I lost more of myself on that Florida race.

In Sun Peaks, I never said I can’t do that. Sure, I got help on some obstacles but I did so with confidence and doing as much as I could on that obstacle. In Florida, I immediately froze at almost every obstacle and began questioning what I was doing. Now post race, I know exactly why I am doing these Spartan races. It’s to prove to myself that I can. It’s to work towards being able to do the obstacles I can’t do yet. It’s to learn that I can do anything I set my mind to. It’s to find that confident woman who was grinning ear to ear all the way through a third Sun Peaks mountain climb that was a straight incline that we had to crawl and saying “I’m living life hard and loving it”.

I don’t want be the girl crossing the Spartan finish line with regrets that I didn’t trust in myself more, failing obstacles I know I could have had and that I relied on others to finish a race for me. I don’t want to look at the finish line with relief that I’m finally crossing it. I want to be the girl who crosses a Spartan finish line after a super hard race with a huge smile of pride in myself knowing I did everything I could for myself on that course – knowing I’d do that race again in a heartbeat even though it just took almost 10 hours to complete. But that I had done it on my own strengths and belief in myself.

I hope that I can revisit this post this time next year and tell you how much I could do in 2018…just because I believed in myself.

The Power of Photos

I took a selfie on a long easy walk with Ginny today. It still makes me uneasy taking photos as I used to despise them. After I took the photo, I look at it and I am yet again surprised when I don’t get that depressed feeling while looking at the image staring back at me. Instead, I find myself happy with the image and in shock that the person staring back is me. And it isn’t just about the difference of how I look because of weight loss. I couldn’t pin it exactly what it is besides the size of person that is striking me so. 

Selfie taken on today’s walk

Photos circa 2011-2012

After thinking about it, I looked up some old photos. It is immediately obvious what the difference is in these images. And it isn’t the weight I lost. It is in the smile. The person before would pose for photos (after trying to find my best angle…) and stress about it. I would sometimes avoid photos too. The person I was before would spend hours finding ways to edit it to make it look better. The person I was before would struggle posting photos that I couldn’t even look at without feeling ashamed. The person I was before smiled for photos on the outside but on the inside, I wanted to run away from who I was and looked like in photos. It is so apparent that I am sure even you can see that smile is so different from the one today. 

In those old photos, I was living life forcing smiles to appear on the outside when inside I was depressed and miserable. Today, I smile with ease and the happiness that shows outside is what is inside too. Not everything is perfect but it never will be. What has changed is how I embrace life and take control of it instead of letting life and its problems control me. 

The life I live in my photos today truly represent who I am and how I feel most of the time. Before the photos were attempts to be normal and try to portray a happy life.

Photos have a power. They tell a story but can also hide a story. I cannot wait to continue to upload photos that tell my new truthful story of inspiration, happiness, motivation, and dedication. I am beginning to recognize the girl in today’s photo and feel that strength she so powerfully shines through unedited. 

Life moving faster than I can write! 

Life has been moving so fast that finding time to pause and write has been challenging.

I have overcome new challenges and ran my first Spartan races 3 weeks ago in Red Deer, Alberta. I ran both the Sprint and Super. 

For anyone just beginning to change their life, don’t let the fear of how long it takes affect you. When September rolls around this year, it will have been 4 years since I changed my lifestyle. It feels like forever ago and it feels like a blur. But here I am, almost 4 years later, and still pushing forward. 

On this journey, I have lost 96.5 pounds – lost 1.8 this week to make this total. I weigh 158.4. When I began, I was 254.9 pounds and just found out I was testing pre diabetic. I have now lost 37.8% of the body weight I used to have.

I was terrified to began as I had tried so many times and failed. But this time I did it differently. I made healthier meals and decided to focus on getting myself moving. I was ashamed to do anything in public and started walking on a treadmill we bought second hand. I also did some Wii activities – wii fit, Zumba, dancing games. In April 2014, I began to run. I couldn’t run 200 metres without gasping. But I kept at it improving slowly. My almost year long dedication to changing my life opened up the conversation with my boyfriend of getting a dog. I always wanted one, and he did too, but we were living pretty much sedentary. My previous lifestyle would not be fair to any dog. At the end of May 2014, we brought home my running partner, Ginny. We have become almost inseparable on most workouts and runs. It was the best decision at this point to keep me going. When winter hit, she needed to get out even in -40 C. She kept me going in my first year of winter running. 

Ginny and I running Wascana Trails August 2017

I began to sign up for 5k events and eventually led up to training for a half marathon in September 2015. 

The weight flew off quickly at the beginning. I lost about 60 pounds when I hit a rock solid plateau. The problem was that I was only running and walking. I realized I needed to do more and that strength training was what I was missing. As well, I had made changes to the calories and some of the food choices in my diet but often used workouts as excuse to pig out on junk after. 

In November 2016, I joined Conviction Fitness in Regina. A Spartan SGX coach and nutrition certified trainer who is also the husband of a friend and colleague. Initially, I was saying I joined only to go once or twice a week to improve my running and continue my weight loss. After one session, I realized how much my body couldn’t do but could learn to do. I began training as a regular Pro paying athlete with Conviction working out 3 times a week with the team as well as doing running and training suggested by trainer. 

I changed my eating habits drastically. I no longer used workouts to eat junk but to eat healthier carbs. I increased protein and healthy fats. And carbs were reserved mainly for post workouts. Sure, I have a cheat day here and there but I have developed such a routine with my diet that even fruit post workout feels like a treat! No longer do I need to have a cheat day every week or come home to order pizza on a bad day. Food has become a part of my success and not a part of the problem. 

Some of my meals…

Since joining Conviction Fitness 8.5 months ago, I have lost almost another 40 pounds. It took me 3 years to lose 60. That says a lot! I haven’t been at a weight this low since around grade 9? Maybe even longer! And my initial reason to join of just improving running? It worked. I keep improving and achieving new Personal Bests. However, I forcefully told everyone “I am only doing this to improve. I am not interested in Spartans at all. Nope. 0 interest. Not happening.” 

Spartan Sprint and Super Weekend Red Deer 2017

In January 2017, I signed up for 3 races. The Spartan Sprint in Red Deer in July and the Calgary Sprint and Super in August. Last month I also signed up for the Super in Red Deer as a friend was running it so thought we could partner up. 

The first day, I walked onto the grounds and wondered what the hell did I get myself into? I see the map and 25 obstacles and began to overthink. I can’t do this! I am not ready. My 9:30 heat came faster than I was ready for but off we went. First up was a through wall, a vertical cargo net, the rolling mud and dunk wall. My body was going for it and my mind began to realize I was more ready than I wanted to believe. Out of the 25 obstacles that day, I only struggled with the walls (inverted, 6 foot, and 7 foot wall. Part of it is needing more upper body strength and another large part is mental), the rope climb, and the evil rig. I almost did the Z wall but fell at last second. Being in open meant I could try again but my grip from first attempt made me shaky and it wasn’t happening. I did burpees and thankfully a friend shared. I had to do burpees for the rig – that thing was insane! Rings at different heights and bars and ropes! I made spear throw for Sprint but missed it next day. I did do walls but with help so at least no burpees. Otherwise everything else seemed easy! The next day for Super only 4 obstacles added – the 4 foot wall, 8 foot wall, the tyrolean traverse, and tire flip. Crushed tire flip and almost made traverse without help but needed help at the end as rope in calves killed. Of course the 4 foot wall I crushed but 8 foot was insane. I got help and did it but terrifying. I realized I am more scared of getting down without landing wrong or slipping than I am of getting up the wall. I ran Sunday’s longer (5km more than the 7.5 Sprint) Super at a way faster pace than the Sprint. It took us 2 hours 29 to finish Sprint and only 3 hours 10 minutes to finish Super. 

Post Super Sunday
Post Sprint Saturday

I fell in love with Spartan racing that weekend. I have never been one to get dirty or take risks. But seeing myself fighting mental fears and overcoming them felt amazing. Climbing the Stairway to Sparta or the A frame cargo net made my stomach twirl a bit. But I proved that it is possible. 

It started as a joke with 2 friends who took upon the challenge to convince me to get in the mud pits. And it ended with me finding a new passion. 

Conviction Fitness Pickle Squad

It was these 2 with me above along with my colleagues and friends, Samira and Amanda, who inspired me and motivated me to this point. The medals I received this weekend were emotional for me. It was that recognition of coming from where I was in 2013 to running in 2014 to running obstacles today. 

I cannot wait for Calgary this weekend. This trip will be special too as Brad, my boyfriend, is joining me for the trip. I am excited for him to see what I have been doing and why have been doing it. I am excited to see him at the finish line as he is a huge reason why I am able to cross it. 

Never doing a Spartan race? Well 2 down, 2 to go… and heck, let’s add a Beast in Florida in December. Why not end the year of overcoming new challenges with the ultimate challenge? After Red Deer, I instantly knew I’d regret not trying to do a Beast and get my Trifecta. 

2017 has been owned and crushed by this girl! I am still in awe of where I came from and excited to see how much further I can go. 

Left – one of my 1st running events in 2015/Right – Red Deer Spartan Super 2017

Less than 3 weeks until my first Spartan “Aroo!”

I woke up yesterday with the first thought being “Holy crap, my first Spartan race is in 3 weeks”. My heart raced in my chest and I had to take a few deep breaths.

I have to admit as each day passes and the weekend comes closer, I find moments of my heart racing. Am I ready? Will I like it? Will I get hurt? How many flipping burpees will I have to do? As well, I keep thinking of little things I never thought of until now like “Where the heck should I put my inhaler?” and “What clothing should I wear?” I find myself googling tips but there are so many different preferences and opinions.

I begin to think about how I can’t do a pull up yet, or haven’t climbed a rope ever, or that I am 4 foot 11 and the walls are terrifying me (even in some nightmares). I don’t even know the obstacles well enough like many of my teammates I train with do. They can name them and describe them but without experiencing them, I forget many of them as they share their wealth of Spartan knowledge.

However, fortunately, I train with Conviction Fitness in Regina and our team is like a family. One of my best and closest friends (I will call her A) has been helping me through some of my panic. Reminding me to just take it slow and not worry about finishing fast. To enjoy the moments. She has given me tips about visualizing the obstacles as I am out running or doing a workout. A tells me to make sure to attempt all the obstacles, no matter what my mind tells me. Another friend I have made recently on the team, who is an amazing Spartan athlete, reminds me that I will fail some, but it is about overcoming next time. He reminds me that being out there is amazing enough. Just like A, he tells me to try every obstacle even if I don’t think I can.

I am not where many of the athletes I train with are, and that is okay. I am competing for me. But I am so thankful that I am going to this first Spartan Sprint and Super weekend with pretty much my whole team there. My successes in overcoming my new challenges (that are easy to most in the workouts) are equally recognized as huge accomplishments. I am often hearing “You got this” and “Keep going” and “You are amazing” from my team when I am struggling. And though I can’t always respond back – I hear them. Loud and clear.

Mountain of Hope Selfie.jpg
Majority of my Conviction Fitness Family, but missing a few. 

So what am I going to do?


I will continue to persevere. I am going to go to the event, fears and all, and do my best. I am going to take the advice of visualizing the obstacles in the next 3 weeks of my workouts. My challenge is I am not sure I know all of them so I have this new idea of watching some videos of some Sprints and Supers runs and visualizing me doing the obstacles as I watch it.

I am going to go to my first Spartan events in Red Deer and attempt it all. What I fail, I will one day overcome. I will go to another Spartan race and try it again and again. I will do my burpees without complaint, as I could not even do 5 burpees before I began this journey. I will remember what my trainer and teammates see in me and not give up. I will push forward, never quitting. I have only reasons to move ahead, and excuses to hold be back. I will not let those excuses return to hold me back as it was those excuses that led to me becoming extremely overweight, depressed, and pre-diabetic.

I am going to be proud of myself when I cross that finish line no matter the time I ran or how many obstacles I may have failed because as the Spartan saying goes:


However – please feel free to leave me some tips as well! Especially about where the heck to keep an asthma inhaler. Right now, I am thinking ziploc bag in a zippered back pocket of my running shorts.