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February 3, 2011

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A goal is a dream with a deadline.

February 3, 2011

February is a new month and I have a new goal.

Over the last few years, I have really begun to get to know myself better.

I know, some of you are thinking “How can she not know herself?” But really, I didn’t know myself.  I just did things, I didn’t pay attention to why I did things, or how to motivate myself to do things.  I just floated along, doing things, seemingly with no reason.

Finally, with time, and by using the skills I learned in my WeightWatchers meetings, I’ve come to learn why I do the things I do, and how to motivate myself to do the things I want to do.

One of the things that has become clear to me is that I require accountability.  accountability is what motivates me.  If I don’t have a deadline, or a goal, I will procrastinate.  Whether it be at work, or with my training, I am a master procrastinator.  As I write this post, I am sitting with my feet up on the coffee table, on top of the paper I should be using to write my flip chart for tomorrow night’s WeightWatchers meeting.  Yes, I even procrastinate in things I enjoy.

When it comes to my training, it dawned on my last year that if I am not registered for a race, I will come up with every excuse in the book not to train.  The answer to that was easy…. make sure to sign up for races to motivate training.

This year I was confronted with a new challenge.  The clinic night for my marathon training group now falls on a night I can not attend. I had to come up with a way to get the additional training runs I need , without the scheduled work outs and support of a group.   I had to figure out how to motivate myself.

So what did I do?

Well, step one: I registered for the marathon.  Step 2: I joined a gym 2 blocks from my office. Step 3: I put my work outs in my schedule. As for step 4, this blog post is step 4.

Step 4 is to set a goal each month for the number of kilometers I want to run that month and broadcast it in this blog.

Last month I ran 97.5km.  I wanted to go over 100km, but being sick for the last 2 weeks of the month killed that.

This month, my goal is 170km running & twice a week on the bike at the gym.

So there you have it… I am now accountable to all of you. Feel free to question me through out the month and ask me about my progress towards my goal.

What are your goals this month? what is your dream with a deadline? what do you want to achieve?




If you want to win something, run 100 meters.

January 30, 2011

If you want to EXPERIENCE something, run a marathon.

It’s with that quote in mind that I start on a new year in my running career. A year in which I plan to win & experience.

I love running here on Vancouver Island.  You start the year fresh on January 1st with the Resolution Run at Running Room, and then it’s straight in to the Island Race Series.  8 race, every second Sunday from January to April. The races vary in length, there are a couple 8Ks, a couple 10Ks, a half marathon & 1 each of a 5, 12, and 15K race.   One day I’d like to compete in the full series, but this year there is only time for 4 races in my schedule.

So far I have run 2 of those races & I’ve won.  Okay, maybe I didn’t come first, but I won. For the first time in the 3 years I have been running these races, I placed in the top 10 in my age group.   In the Pioneer 8K on January 9th, I set a new 8K PB. I came in at 40:04, well over 3 minutes faster than last year & good enough for 5th place in my age group.  Then, in the Cobble Hill 10K on January 23rd, I came in a 49:48, knocking over 2 minutes off of my previous 10K PB, my first sub 50 minute 10K & good enough for 6th place in my age group.

In my time running, I have collected a few medals.  But there is a difference.  When you run a half marathon or a marathon, you get a medal. Everyone who crosses that finish line gets a medal. Hundreds/Thousands of people get that medal. In the Island Series you have to earn your reward.  10 people get acknowledged. You have to compete against the rest of your age group.  So yeah, they may only be ribbons, but man, do they ever come with a sense of acheivement. An acheivement  that is different than the one that comes with the (half)marathon medals.

After getting these two ribbons, I was really tempted to run the entire series & see how many races I could place in, but unfortunately the rest of the races don’t fit in with my training schedule. And I’ve set myself another goal.


I’ve registered for my second marathon.

I’m not sure how it came about. Was it peer pressure? Was it Jealousy? Was it insanity?


The peer pressure has been present for a while. There have been a few people that have wanted me to run the marathon in Vancouver on May 1st, but I was managing to do a pretty good job staning my ground and saying no.  May 1st is a bad day for me to run a marathon, since the busiest day of the year at my job is April 30th.And to top it off, with April 30th landing on a Saturday this year, that means the deadline will be bumped to Monday, May 2nd. So that means I will have to be back at work bright & early, Monday morning, after running a marathon!

The jealousy was what broke me.  It was so hard watching all my running friends chatting on Twitter about their plans to run the BMO Vancouver Marathon. I felt left out. I felt like that kid on the playground that nobody wanted to play with. I felt like all the cool kids were doing the cools things & I was the lonely loser watching from the sidelines. I love running, but more than that I love racing & challenging myself, and the marathon is the ultimate challenge for a runner.  I had to do it. I had to go play with all my friends!

The insanity comes with the territory when you are talking about distance running. You have to have a bit of insanity in you to want to commit the time & energy it takes to get your body ready for the challenge of the marathon.The insanity isn’t in what happens on race day, the insanity is in the hours of work that go in to getting ready for race day!

I’m really looking forward to training for this marathon. I have a frame of reference this time. I’ve done it once & I have an idea of what to expect. I also know how much more work I have to to put in this time around to improve on my time from last time. It’s going to be an intense 3 months, and I hope to bring you all along for the ride with regular updates.

91 days & counting.


Happy training all!


The impact of a few simple words…

January 7, 2011

I woke up this morning to the upbeat calypso song that is my Blackberry alarm clock.

As I fumbled to shut it off and hit snooze for 5 minutes, I saw on the screen that I had a Facebook notification.  I’m not quite sure how, but in my half asleep state I managed to open it up, and start reading.

What I found was the following amazing message from an old friend:

“Just have to take a moment again and let you know how freakin’ inspirational you are!
You’ve done so well Kirsty. And I’m so proud that you post all your successes!!
I want to tell you this everytime we pass each other but I never get the chance. It’s like I am star struck by your success and words are torn from my mouth!!
I am so proud of you! Keep chasing whatever has captivated you to chase your dreams, because it has done you well.”

I can’t tell you how perfect the timing was on this message. 2011 hasn’t had the best start for me, but that’s a topic for another post.

Sometimes, I find that, since I have been at my goal weight & active for so long, people aren’t as excited or supportive as they were when all this was new.  It is a rare occassion that I see/meet someone who knew the old me, so I don’t get that “WOW, you’ve lost so much weight, you look amazing” very often anymore. I have to admit, I’ve been missing it.

You don’t realize at the time, when you just starting this whole process, how much people’s words can motivate you!  When we are on our journey and someone says “You look great”, more often than not, the first words out of out mouths are “But I’ve got so far to go!”.

For those of you who are still on your weight loss journey, I want you to stop and thank those people when they acknowledge your progress! You will miss it when it stops!

For the rest of us, those who have lost the weight, and even those who never had the weight to lose at all, this is what I want you to do; I want you to take some time over this weekend and tell someone how they inspire you.  Pick up the phone & call them, or write them a heartfelt email.

I’m about to do just that. I’m going to write a letter to my WeightWatchers leader and thank her for her support along my journey. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today!

You can not cross the finish line, unless you start.

January 5, 2011

Every journey has a starting point.

There is a place & time where you take that first step.

I took my first step on January 2nd, 2007.

That was the day I walked in to my first WeightWatchers meeting (this time around).

I say this time around, because this was my second time joining.  I had once joined back in 2005, and had some real success. But life got in the way, and I put it all back on.

I remember walking in to that meeting for the first time, like it was yesterday.  It had taken me months to muster up the courage, but I finally picked a date and decided that was the day I was going to join.  It didn’t even dawn on me that ‘everyone’ would be joining at the same time!   I had chosen January 2nd because I knew it was time to make a change, but with having Thanksgiving in October, my Birthday in November & Christmas in December, I decided that I would join on my first day back to work after Christmas vacation.

That meant January 2nd was the day.

It didn’t even cross my mind that this was “New Years Resolution” time. I had made a resolution years ago to stop making resolutions. All I knew was that this was the right time for me.

The only thing was, that year, I got sick over Christmas and was unable to go to work that day, and therefore unable to attend the lunch hour meeting around the corner from my office.  But, I had made up my mind. January 2nd was the day I was joining WeightWatchers. So, even though it took me ALL DAY, I got showered & dressed, and drove across town to the 5:30pm meeting.

I walked in there, embarrassed & ashamed that I was here again. Feeling like a failure after having put back on all the weight. I was wearing my old “fat jeans” which had once again become my everyday jeans.  I was sure everyone was judging me and secretly laughing at me.

When I walked through those doors, I got the warmest welcome. It was like being greeted by old friends that hadn’t seen you in years.  That could have been because the staff working that meeting were the same staff that work the meeting I had intended to sign up at, the same meeting I had attended 18 months earlier.

I really hope that this week, when I am working my WeightWatchers meetings, I can give the new members walking in to my meeting room the same sense of comfort that Charlotte & Carol gave me 4 years ago.

I can’t tell you how much that one decision has changed my life.  I can simply tell you that I wouldn’t be the strong, confident, fit woman I am today, if I hadn’t made that decision to walk in to that meeting room 4 years ago.

I wear a ring on my right hand that says “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.  For me, that one step was joining WeightWatchers.

Whatever that step is for you, I wholeheartedly encourage you to take it, and start a new & exciting journey.

It maybe hard work at time, but it will be worth it in the end!



On Running, Birthdays & Cupcakes!

November 17, 2010

I took up running on October 15th, 2007.

Yes, I remember the exact date.  I remember because it was SUCH a big deal.  You see, I am a lazy person by nature. I would absolutely rather be sitting on the couch eating cupcakes, than out going for a run in the dark & cold & rain.  But on October 15, 2007 I laced up a brand new pair of running shoes and ventured out to my local Running Room store.

I had made the decision to get active, and to do it at the Running Room for a variety of reasons. Mostly because I hate indoor exercise,  because I needed the group support and because I had come to the realization that the rest of the weight I was trying to lose wasn’t going to go away if I was sitting on the couch.

I remember that first night at my “learn To Run” clinic clear as day.  The instructors were nauseatingly chipper & energetic and way too optimistic about how awesome this was going to be.  They made us write down our goal for the clinic. I wrote, in capital letters: TO NOT DIE.  So after a half hour ‘classroom’ session, we headed outside in the dark to ‘run’.  The plan was run ONE minute, walk TWO minutes, repeat.


That first minute almost killed me.  “People do this for FUN???” I thought to myself.

Well, I came back the next week, and the week after that, and before you know it, I was even getting up on Sunday mornings to go out for a run!

That first year, my Birthday fell on a Saturday, and I had absolutely no interest in heading out for a run on a Saturday. Sleeping late was much more appealing.

Fast forward 11 months. I had just run in the Royal Victoria Marathon 8K road race! It was the first time I ever ran without taking a walking break  and it was the day that I made the decision that I wanted to take my running to the next level & train for a half marathon.  I was even excited to celebrate my birthday by having a ‘running party’ with my running friends. My new found fitness was such a big deal, I wanted to celebrate turning 32 by going for a 10K run. Too bad that I got in an unfortunate car accident just a couple weeks before my birthday, and was taken out of the game for a few weeks!  That meant no running to Celebrate my 32nd birthday.  Oh well, it turned out to be one of my worst birthdays ever anyway!  I’m glad that year is history! Anyway, there’s always next year, right?


Well, that was the plan until I was taken out of the game yet again in early November the following year, but this time it wasn’t an ‘unfortunate accident’. It was a full fledged running injury! Turns out that I ended up taking my plan to run a ‘half marathon’ in 2009 all the way through to running a full marathon in 2009!  A full marathon that I victoriously finished in 4:21:58, feeling amazing! However, a few weeks later, I learned the all important lesson that you really need to take some time off and let your body recover from the marathon before running again.

It was in November 2009 that I got my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish) in a race.  You see, as some of you know, about 3 weeks after finishing my first marathon, I decided to run a half marathon. That was not the smartest thing I’ve ever done & I ended up dropping out at the 8K mark.

Once again, I was out of the game and there would be no running to celebrate my birthday!


Okay, let’s fast forward again. To now. To Today. It is November 17th, 2010. It is my birthday.  And today, to celebrate my birthday & to burn off the birthday cupcake I had last night, I am going to run.  Yes folks, for the first time in my ‘running career’ I am going to celebrate the passing of another year with a run with my friends.  The weather is supposed to be crap, but I don’t care. I am excited.   My amazing boyfriend, who hates group running, is coming out with me, and we are going to run!

And speaking of the birthday cupcake I had last night… Let me just say that after swearing off cupcakes back in May, until my Birthday, it was delicious.  My feelings about the PR of that company aside (another blog post to follow another day), they do make an awfully tasty cupcake!  It was absolutely worth the wait.




The Race Course that (almost) Broke me.

November 1, 2010

When you set a goal that is to simply ‘finish’ a half marathon, that seems perfectly reasonable & within your grasp. It should be pretty simple really, especially when it is your 6th half marathon in 6 months.

But when that half marathon is the ONLY race out of over 25 races you’ve started, that you did not finish, that weighs on the back of your mind.

You tell yourself “the only reason I didn’t finish last year was because I was injured” but you don’t listen. All you know is that last year, at the 8k mark, you had to ask a race marshal for a ride to the finish line because you couldn’t take another step. All you know is that after this race, last year, you were out of the game for 8 weeks and that recovery was long and hard.

You distract yourself with friends and fun and hot cocoa, and go to bed.

The next morning you go through the familiar pre-race routine. Eat the right breakfast, pack the right things, lace up the shoes and head to the start line.  At this point you’re on auto pilot. Pin on your number, sip some gatorade, strap on the fuel belt, walk to the start line.

The next thing you know it’s “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO” and you’re off.

Then you come around the first corner, and you see that first hill, and all of a sudden all you can think about is last year, and you start feeling phantom pains in your ankle.  But there’s nothing wrong with your ankle, you haven’t had pain there in MONTHS. That injury is long since healed, and you are in the best shape of your life. So why are you feeling this pain, why is your ankle doing this to you?? Is it the course? Is that what causes the pain? Is the course too much for you? Are you going to drop out again this year?

Soon, you settle in to a rhythm, tunes in your ear, running buddy at your side, one foot in front of the other. You zone out and get in to your groove, counting the markers as each kilometer ticks by. The next thing you know, you’ve passed that point where you dropped out last year, and you are that much closer to conquering this race!

You finally start to have some confidence. You finally start to believe you will conquer this race this year, you’re on the home stretch, finally off of the trails and back on to the road. You pass the 18km marker and you think you’re home free.

You were wrong.

Apparently this is where your will to finish this race will be tested. This hill that leads you to the 19km marker is the hardest hill you have ever run in a race.

I have to tell you, I have never in my life wanted to just quit a race and just sit on the side of the road as badly as I did on this hill.

If it wasn’t for my running partner, beside me, reminding me that we were just a couple kilometers from finishing this race, I would have just sat down on the side of the road and quit.  And that feeling was one shared by many of the runners around us on that hill!! That was one heck of a hill to have at the 19K marker of a half marathon.

Until the hill from hell, I had been entertaining the idea of finishing this race under 2 hours. After the hill from hell, I just wanted to finish.

After a minor break down, I pulled myself together, and started off again, up and over the rest of that hill, then downhill for a bit, before the last up hill stretch of the race. Once the 20km marker was in sight, it was all down hill to the finish, where Jen & I crossed, hand in hand, victoriously, at 2:01:03.

Just after the finish, we were greeted by our speedy friend Rebecca, who we had last seen at the start line. She came with Rice Krispie Squares in hand, and I instantly forgot the agony of that hill, and celebrated with my friends.

It was a hard one, but I finished it.

That was my 6th half marathon in 2010, and my 9th since March of 2009.

Now, who’s going to join me for Half marathon #10?