Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"What does it take?"

I can't believe June is almost over! My month of blogging is coming to an end. Before you know it, it will be time to line up at the start for the Tely 10! It's crazy how fast time goes by these days. I have to be honest. I actually didn't know how I would end out my month of blogging. I knew that I wanted to write at least one more to end the month but had no clue what to actually write about. Well, I had a request so here it goes...

This past Sunday was the Shoppers Drug Mart Run For Women. I had signed up for the 10 K race as did most of my running buddies. I also wanted to get my long run in and I had 18 K in mind. Lucky enough, Connie, Carol Ann, and Colleen were interested in a 15 K long run which was great! All I had to do was show up down at the lake just a little bit earlier than them and run the first 3 K solo. I am up early every morning (thanks to two kitties) so going early to get the extra 3 K in wasn't a problem for me. I got ready, packed a bag so I could change before the 10 K and off I went.

Looking back, I remember being scared the first 16 K run I ever ran. I even had my husband drop me off that morning because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to run the full distance. Now, I love the long distance running.  I would rather sign up for a Half Marathon over a 5 K race. I'm not really sure why I love the long distances, but I do. When I got to the lake, the rain had almost stopped. I started my watch and off I went to run the first 3 K. By the time I got back to the parking lot, the girls were showing up to do the other 5 K with me. It's so much better to run with others. I run a lot by myself so I really enjoy it when I get the chance to run with the girls.

Once my 8 K was done it was time to change and get ready for the 10 K. I didn't really think much about the fact that I would be a little tired for the race. I was supposed to run it, not race it. It was supposed to be a part of my long run. I think however, I kind of got caught up in the whole race feel and ended up pushing myself more than I was planning. I just couldn't help myself I guess. The route was tough this year and it was quite hot but, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger right? I believe that's a lyric in a song so it must be true! LOL

I was asked what it takes to get my mind and body ready for an undertaking of running 8 K and then a 10 K race an hour later. I really don't know if I have an answer as such. To me, it was just my long run broken up in two parts. My mind and body know by now that it will be doing a long run sometime during the weekend. It's something I have worked up to over the past few years. It has taken a lot of time and dedication to get there but it's my favorite run of the week. I've decided to run the Huffin' Puffin Marathon again this year. My runs will only get longer from here as I prepare for the big day. After running the Marathon 2 years ago, I didn't really know if I would ever run another but here I am, doing it again!

It's been great writing the PRC blog this month. All of the wonderful comments were greatly appreciated! I almost backed out after I said I would write them but I'm glad now that I went ahead with it. We all have great stories to tell and we should tell them! I'll leave you now with one of my favorite quotes...

"You've got what it takes, but it will take everything you've got."

Tonia Kennedy 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

" We must have awful homes!"

You are probably wondering where I'm going with a title like that. Well, I have ran in some horrible running conditions from time to time. I won't ever tell you though that when I am sick with a cold that I got it from running outside in the rain, hail, snow, minus 20 temps etc. I don't blame running for anything EVER. I usually blame any pain or sickness on work! I Don't think my Husband believes me most of the time but that's my story and I'm sticking to it! LOL 

Seeing as how we had a really bad winter and sprinter that we all thought would never end, I find this story quite fitting. I have to push myself out the door most week days when it's cold and raining or snowing (or both). Sometimes I just go back to my old faithful treadmill that is always there waiting for me. At least on the treadmill you don't need 3 layers of clothes and two pairs of gloves! On the weekends however running buddies help get me out the door. Everyone is counting on each other to show up so we can all get it done together. 

One run always comes to mind from a long while ago. I remember it was very cold that morning. It had lightly snowed the night before and the wind was also a little high which of course was blowing the snow around. Off I went to meet up with a few girls at Topsail Pond. It was my first time going there for a run. That morning it was the four of us: myself, Tara, Jennifer, and Diane. We were all bundled up kinda like that kid from the Christmas Story movie. As we ran we all chatted about different things. It kind of helps take your mind off the fact that you are running in the freezing cold! A car drove by us that morning and that's when Diane jokingly said, "People must think we have awful homes to be out running in this!" I think of her saying that almost every time I'm out in nasty weather. The people passing by probably do think we are a little insane, maybe they do think we have awful homes! Especially when we are out on days when your eyelashes and hair turn white! LOL 

So, here we are, the first day of summer! I'm very happy that the weather is finally turning nice again. It's so much easier to get out the door when the sun is shining. I had a lovely run down around the park and back this evening. There were so many people out enjoying the nice evening. People passing me tonight probably didn't think I had an awful home for a change. Actually, our homes are the most supportive, truth be told. My alarm clock goes off sometimes on Saturday and Sunday mornings earlier than when I have to work. So, guess who else gets to wake up at that hour on the days he could be sleeping longer. Not to mention mornings I have needed to be dropped off early for races because I have been nervous that I wouldn't get a parking spot. oh, and also understanding of how much time goes into training for races, especially Marathon training when the really long runs mean you are gone most of the morning. The list goes on and on but the support always remains the same... 

"We have the best homes!"

Tonia Kennedy 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I Just Love To Run!

USR half marathon finisher! It was such a beautiful morning for a race. The only slight problem with that was... "WHAT DO I WEAR?" It really is the most difficult decision I make the morning of a race. Especially when we have a temperature of minus 20 one day and plus 20 the next! I may have exaggerated a little there but most understand where I'm coming from. I had a few options ready the night before and made the final decision that morning. Knowing Gina would be at the 4K mark helped a lot as I was planning to leave my sleeves with her. Thanks again Gina! 

One of my favorite parts of a race is seeing everyone at the start line and wishing each other good luck before the gun goes off. The USR start is very nice and well organized. While at the start line I always wonder how the run will go. I had never ran this course before which was why I signed up for the half. I had done the relay two years ago and the 10K last year so I figured I would give it a try. I knew going up the trail towards Mount Pearl was going to be a little tough but I also reminded myself that I would eventually get to turn around and run back to the park. Let me tell you, by the time I got to turn around I was very grateful! LOL

The cool thing I liked about the USR half was once I passed through the park going towards Mount Pearl, I saw other runners heading back to the park to finish. For one split second I was probably shoulder to shoulder with the winner! It doesn't matter that we were going in different directions right? LOL All of the encouragement from other runners while passing each other in that section of the race was pretty great. You kind of need that sometimes and for me it helped a lot.  All in all, it could have been a lot worse. I kept reminding myself about the Hypo Half race I ran this year and how I thought I would freeze to death and then this run didn't seem so hard. 

I try not to put too much pressure on myself to get a specific time in a race. I do give it all I got and try my very best but I never want to cross a finish line and feel disappointed in myself. I never want running to be all about the clock because I'm afraid that if I start to feel like I didn't perform good enough, I won't enjoy it anymore. I know my PB's and quite proud of them but not every race I run will be faster than the last and that's OK with me. I just love to run. I love how much progress I've made and how much stronger I am. I run because I want to, not because I feel like I have to.

Congratulations to everyone who ran this past Sunday! The beautiful medal at the finish made the race totally worth it! The reception after was also very nice and there was CAKE! I love cake and there is no better time to eat it than after running a half marathon. Hmmm... maybe I just love to run so I can eat cake! ;)

Tonia Kennedy

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Where do I "fit in"?

When I joined PRC I had no clue about pace as such. I didn't even own a running watch but I was using a running app on my phone to track my runs. I guess one great benefit of the Learn To Run program is it makes it a little easier to find people to run with at a pace you are comfortable with. Me? I followed some of the fastest people in PRC on my second Saturday coffee run!  Let's go back shall we?

When I showed up for my second run with the PRC gang, I was expecting to see the girls from the first week. When I got there I realized that they weren't there. I was a little disappointed but still looking forward to my run. I remember hoping the route would be the same as the week before because I wasn't familiar with the area. I started out behind some runners and they seemed to be taking the same route as the week before, or so I thought. The runners ahead of me were FAST! I began to realize that I should have probably followed the other group that went another route. Too late for that, I just kept going. 

One thing I noticed as I ran behind them was that they kept looking back. One of them always seemed to be checking on me. I knew I wouldn't be lost in Paradise and I was very happy about that LOL. Someone would even run back to check on me from time to time which was nice. When they reached where I had turned around the week before, they kept going! Oh no, I was not prepared for this new route. I had no clue where I was going! I kept following along and when they took a left to run up Paradise Road, I thought that was the end of me! OMG that hill is something else. Up I went, more of a walk than a run and there they were at the top waiting. By the time we ended back at coffee matters, I had another 8K with the group under my belt. They all told me I had done great and I felt great that I didn't quit.

I haven't forgotten that run and how even though I was much slower, I got it done! We all have different paces and abilities and like everything else in life, we can't be afraid to try and find our place. One thing though is that even though most of us run with people who are around the same pace as ourselves, everyone is welcomed on every run in PRC. Don't be afraid of joining in with other runners from time to time. Step outside your comfort zone or take it back a little. You never know what you may be missing out on. I had no idea that on my second run with the club that I was following behind Craig, Tanya and gang. I don't think I've done it since! LOL But one thing is for sure, they all got me through it. 

The Learn To Run group had their 5K Graduation run this weekend past. I want to take this opportunity to say that you all ROCK! This year so far has not been great weather wise for running. To be quite honest, it has really sucked but you did it! Whatever your next goal is, I wish you luck. Keep at it and don't give up if it's something you really want. I've learned a lot from other runners in this club and you will too. Get out there and join in on the different runs. You never know where the roads and trails will take you and what you will accomplish with the help of your PRC running buddies. To quote Helen Keller,  "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

I "fit in" just fine, you will too!

Tonia Kennedy

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Paradise Running Club... Should I join?

I know, I know. Silly question right? Yes, of course it is now. Three years ago though I had no idea what I was doing. I remember it was the middle of December and I was sitting in the living room looking at the website on my laptop. I asked my Husband Jim what he thought of the idea. You see, I live in Kilbride, the Club is in Paradise and I can only make weekend runs. "If you want to try it, go for it." He told me. I still had doubts. let me take you back for a second...

Five years ago, I was at my heaviest of 200 lbs and I felt like I was dying, no joke. After a doctors appointment and blood work, I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid. Once on medication, I also had my weight issue to deal with. It's not easy to start exercising when you don't feel well but I purchased a treadmill and started using it 6 days a week. This is where my running started and over time, the weight came off and I started thinking about running the Tely 10. Most of the time though when I talked of my running people said things like, "But you just run on a treadmill." ( to a lot of people treadmill running doesn't count I guess) Well, problem solved when my treadmill broke and I finally had to hit the streets until it could be fixed. Not running wasn't an option. It took a little getting use to at first and I was nervous running alone but once I had a taste of what I was missing...I needed more.

With doubts about my ability to run with the club members (because I mostly used a treadmill for running), I joined a wonderful group of people for a run one cold Saturday morning in February. I didn't even wait for nice spring or summer weather! I had no idea what I was in for but I tagged along with a great group of girls for 8K that morning. Everyone was welcoming and I loved every minute of it!

I have ran a number of 5K and 10K races to date. 3 Tely 10's, 4 Half Marathons, 2 Cape to Cabot's and l finished my first Marathon almost two years ago! Let me tell you, I would not have done it without the support of the club and the wonderful friends I have found by joining. They sometimes believe in me more than I believe in myself. Fist bumps after runs, cheers as you cross finish lines, and let's not forget the chats over coffee after a run are things that make PRC great!

As I blog this month I may have to take you all back in time with me at least once more. Some of my very first runs with PRC were memorable and I remember them like it was yesterday. I would also like to think that maybe there is someone out there on the fence like I was who may read this and finally join a running club. We all have to start somewhere right? 

PRC... "Should YOU join?"... ABSOLUTELY!!!!

Tonia Kennedy