In 2012 if you had told me I would finish a marathon I would have laughed. I had just moved back to Newfoundland, my family was getting settled into a new community and I was building my Massage Therapy practice.
In June 2012 something changed. A relative of mine - smart, popular, beautiful, good job and a new husband and an avid runner was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. Fighting for her life, her running club decided to run Newfoundland’s biggest road race the Tely1o in her honor – they had t-shirts made in her favorite colour and the words “Kelda This Run is For You” written on the front, they encouraged family and friends to participate.
In June 2012, I was in no shape to run 10 miles. I was too busy making excuses why every diet I tried didn’t work. Here I was with the ability to run hidden under my excess weight and I was squandering it while my cousin was going from surgery to surgery struggling to be alive. It broke my heart. No more watching from the sidelines, no more lying to myself. No more excuses.
Over the next year I began to change my life. I dropped nearly 90 pounds – I was going to do that run for my cousin. I bought some sneakers and I taught myself how to run.
July 2014 I ran the Tely10. As I came around the corner on Gower Street I saw people wearing my cousin’s pink shirts and I crossed the finish line holding back tears.
Less than one week after the Tely10 I registered for my first ½ marathon, the Huffin Puffin in September 2014. 1 month after that I was in Niagara Falls to run my second ½ marathon. Feburary 2015 I ran the Hypothermic Half, my 3rd ½ marathon. Then I got a coach.
In July 2015, I did my second Tely10. In September during my 4th ½ marathon I had some trouble. My heels rubbed pretty badly I finished with blood running down the back of my shoes.
The following weekend was my longest run, I taped my feet, tossed some powder in my smart wool socks and took off. By the time I got back from that 32K my feet had some of the worst blisters I had ever experienced. Knowing I had a full day on my feet the next am, I listened to the internet and popped my blisters, BIG MISTAKE! By Wednesday the blisters had become infected and I was taking antibiotics. 10 days until Toronto.
(gulp - I am going to do this?)
The morning of STWM I taped my feet, applied moleskin and put powder in my double walled running socks, laced up my sneakers and ‘locked’ them using the top hole, and headed to the starting line. I knew I was going to hurt.
(this is the message husband wrote for me on the "wall")
10K in, I could feel the heat in my shoes. By 17K it was getting bad, my blisters had new blisters of their own. 18K I looked up and saw my family; my husband, daughter and sister- they could see I was hurting. My daughter traveled a couple feet with me, when my moody 16 year beauty told me she was proud of me and all the pain I was feeling got pushed out of my head, I took a deep breath and resolved to keep going.
(Kiddo and sister E at the 18K mark - and looks they found more Newfoundlanders)
In my efforts to keep moving, I turned off my brain and began thinking only of those people who would give just about anything to have the opportunity to do a marathon and who may never have the chance. I was not going to quit no matter what.
The crowds started to dwindle and there were periods I was on my own. Just when the pain was starting to bubble back up I heard yelling I was passing the part of the route that begins the last 10KM of the marathon, but I was now going against the bulk of the crowd who were heading to the finished. I remember a man, slightly older, holding a sign with ‘touch here for power’ seeing me come around the turn and cross the street so I could touch his sign, he called me by name and a few more “Angels” followed suit. I needed that man at just that moment. His smile once again made me forget about myself and instead focus on what was driving me.
About here a race marshal handed me a map and mumbled something about Boston Pizza and having to make a certain landmark in five minutes or I would not be back before the roads opened up again. My brain was turned off and I didn’t really pay attention to what he was saying, it was taking too much out of me to ignore my feet. This is where I look up and see a red shirt with wings riding a bike. He has water and he is going to stay with me for a while. I have an Angel named Mig. Unfortunately I did not make it to the landmark in time and Mig got word that the roads are opening back up and he needs to get off the road.
I can count on one hand how many times I have been in downtown Toronto, and the map I had in my pocket was very vague. After what seemed like a million minutes since I saw Mig I could not find the road I was travelling on the map and I hurt a lot. So I texted my husband and told him I was lost, he may have slightly panicked and put me on the phone with someone from the race who helped me get back on route. I texted husband again and told him to find the Dream Team and tell them I was still out here and needed them.
On the opposite side of the street I saw a red shirt coming in my direction, I called out to him and he informed me there was a group waiting for me just around the corner. I was 3K away from the finish line, and two lovely ladies, Ashley and Kayla walked me in. I was exhausted and in some of the worst pain I have ever felt, I’m sure I was speaking jibberish at this point, but those girls stayed positive, their excitement kept me going until I heard and saw my husband and I ran over the finish line.
(do you see that- I'm still smiling)
Words cannot begin to express my gratitude to Bonnie's Dream Team. Thank you Mig. Thank you Kayla. Thank you Ashley. Thank you gentleman with the ’push for power’ sign. Thank you Bonnie! Your encouragement came when I needed it the most and I’m not sure I could have pushed through the pain without you.
(My ANGELS - members of Bonnie's Dream Team with me at the finish line)
(Back at the hotel room - I'm still smiling - I finished a marathon)
Now as much as I would like to insert a picture of my mangled heels, and the crystalized blood that came out of my socks that day or even the blood I can't get out of my sneakers, I realize that not everyone has a strong stomach.... so instead I will share a picture of how I finished off my week in Toronto... with very little complaining I might add!!
DUCK TAPE! (sorry you can see the broken baby toe - but its still cute)
Later this month I start training for the Hypothermic 1/2 Marathon again (my soon to be fifth 1/2)
** & I'm going to start sucking less at blogging...