Let me introduce my friend, Michelle.
I met this amazing woman in September 1994 when we both moved into the same residence at university. We had an instant connection and started making memories through many fun adventures. She was the maid of honor at my wedding, my study partner through university, she is my Boo Bear’s Godmother, my personal motivator, my ice cream date partner and one of the best friends a girl could ever have. She has seen me at my worse and my best, always supporting me with love. She is courageous, kind, determined, stubborn and soft hearted. She was the reason why I originally thought to try running. She was the one who encouraged me to sign up for my first race. She continues to motivate my running with her “NO EXCUSES – EVER” attitude. As she shares in her guest blog entry below, she was dealt many reasons not to run but always chose to keep putting her sneakers on and moving forward.
Through all this support and inspiration, I have never had the opportunity to run next to her. Distance, time, ice cream dates and life has prevented such a moment. We however, are not giving up. The plan is for us to run together when I race my first ½ marathon this September. Thinking of that finish line with her by my side gives me goose bumps. It will be amazing!
Here is Michelle’s inspiring running story….
“I am a mother of three children (2-year-old twin boys and a 4-year-old daughter) and I work full time. The last couple years have been a little crazy in my world. After being told we were unable to have kids, my husband and I decided to adopt our daughter from China. Two weeks after returning from China we received a surprise. Yep, you guessed it, I was 14 weeks pregnant…with twins! When we told our story, the first reaction we received from people was stunned silence, then laughter. My reaction was to put my sneakers on and go run, and this is exactly what I did.
I started running when I was coaching a summer swim team where I worked as a lifeguard and instructor. I then ran off and on for a few years. After university, I started running (often just to catch the bus) and fell in love with it again. That was over 20 years ago and I still love it.
Running has gotten me through the hardest times of my life. It got me through my mom’s diagnosis, battle with cancer and her death in 2014. Now when I feel like I just can’t make it another kilometer I picture her kicking me in the butt and pushing me to keep going. Over the years running has turned into my therapy. It allows me to be a great mom (Super Mom according to my 4-year-old daughter) and wife.
I use running to keep me fit both physically and mentally. I swear it’s what keeps me sane and lets me keep up with my kids. When life gets crazy busy with work and the kids, I literally book times in my agenda to go run and I will treat that spot like an important doctor or chiro appointment or like a kid’s birthday party. It is what keeps me sane.
During the off season, typically January and February, I drastically slow down my running. I mix it up with cross training, Pilates, Yoga, P90, or Dragon Boat racing. I am hoping to try swimming this year. I generally stay at home to do my cross training because it lets me spend more time with the family plus I can get in extra time to do my workout instead of commuting to the gym. I typically do some sort of routine 4 days a week. Sometimes the kids will do it with me!
Before kids, my husband and I use to run together all the time. Now not so much. I run a lot on my own and don’t mind it as much as I thought I would. Weather I’m running first thing in the morning, the middle of the afternoon or in the evening, it helps me relax and put the day’s events and life in perspective. My husband has been known to kick me out for a run on those days that kids have driven me crazy, when I’m sleep deprived or on the rare occasion when I’m cranky.
I love road races and have not yet tried any obstacle races. My favorite thing about training is mixing up my runs from roads to trails. Love meeting up with my friends at races or having a race date with my husband. We have started to get our three kids involved in running as well. As a family, we’ve done the Blue Nose Family Run and 3k for 3 Fathers. My husband and I try to do at least 2 races a year together. It’s our version of a date.
My music playlist for running varies greatly. It ranges from The Muppets (Mah Na Mah Na), Great Big Sea, Symphony X, Foo Fighters, or Judas Priest. When doing a race typically I listen to Iron Maiden Live Concert. We saw them live in concert and their energy was incredible. When running to the concert album, I often imagine that the crowd is cheering for me and the rhythms and beats are great for me to keep pace too.
When training for a ½ marathon, my diet has more carbs and protein and less wine. I will drink more smoothies and water. Often during this period, I also try to have smaller snacks of fruits and veggies frequently. I’m not a big sweet or fast food eater but the hardest part when I train for a ½ is giving up wine.
The last race I did was Legs for Literacy ½ marathon in October 2015. It was not my first ½ marathon but is was the hardest to prepare for. It was a first for many things for me: I trained on my own, I had to watch what I was eating and stop grazing off the kids unfinished plates, and I had to get the long runs done on my only day off while my 3 kids were in daycare and my husband was working. Didn’t matter what the weather was like! Shorter runs during the week would have to be either very early in the morning (like on the road at 5am running rain or shine) or evenings after 8pm once the kids were in bed. Very few people knew I was actually training for a ½ and I didn’t even tell my husband until 2 months before the race. It was the best race because I ignored everyone who told me I could not do it because I was working and had young kids. Not only did I DO IT, I also got my personal best time since becoming a mother and it was on my own, well, with my husband’s support. That race was the hardest but most memorable race. I ran with a very dear friend and had a smile on the entire time. We had lots of laughs and great conversation.
The day before the Legs for Literacy race, while picking up my race kit I was having doubts. What was I thinking!? The kids had all just been sick and I had locked up my foot 3 weeks prior. As you can imagine my diet, proper sleeping and training were not at their best. As I was leaving the race kit pick up area, I saw a shirt with a saying that just hit me. It is now my motto in life and for my runs.
Never, ever, ever give up.
Eventually you learn that the competition isn’t about the other runners.
It is the voice in your head urging you to quit.
Run – until you’re done.
Running has taught me that I CAN do whatever I put my mind to.
The best piece of advice I can give to new runners is to put one foot forward and enjoy every moment. Running will bring its challenges but will introduce to so many wonderful challenges, people and places.
It will always be there for you.”
Thanks you to Michelle for sharing her amazing running story. You inspire me everyday!