Past and present thoughts

Note to readers: This is sort of a long post, but it’s straight from the heart!
[ updated Jan. 2017 ]

 

Achilles, Equinus

Where do I start? This has been an amazing and eye opening journey of life, full of struggles and toils, along with a bunch of blessings too. I have to say that I am thankful for all of the things that came my way, as they have helped to shape me into a better person overall.  For now, I would like to focus on what has shaped me as a runner, mentally and physically. Thinking back about my weight gain in general, a lot of my issues started in 2011. I was trying hard to get my act together physically and emotionally, and it just wasn’t happening. I was struggling at work, at home, and at church. It seemed like nothing was falling into place like it should be. I kept thinking that it “couldn’t get any worse” and yet I didn’t feel like myself. I kept putting on weight and not doing anything about it. Try as I did, I couldn’t get past the binge eating and laziness. Constant reminders from my coworkers that I needed to make a change in my life came daily, but to no avail. I continued on my road to self destruction via food. Some of the triggers were related to the fact that my father was having health issues and seeing his health deteriorate was killing me inside. I was going to see him every weekend to try to help him out and I could tell by the look on his face that he was wishing that I would lose the weight. He never came right out and said it to me, but I felt it. I could feel the concern in his voice.I remembered how my mother had always looked so lovely when she went to any event, and I started to realize that she would be so disappointed in me if she were still alive.

Fast forward to December 2011.

My father, at age 92 was diagnosed with cancer in his neck, and wanted to start radiation and chemo treatments. He moved in with my sister to get through that period of time. I wanted so much for the cancer to just disappear but it seemed to have other plans. I continued the stress eating and on Jan 1st 2012, I had my AHA moment when I looked in the mirror, and didn’t avert my eyes as I was used to doing. I stared at myself and made a note of all the things about my body that I did not like. I decided right there and then that I would never find myself in the predicament as I did the day of the wedding. That week I joined a Weight Watchers class that was meeting at the hospital where I work.

In my younger years I used to run. I loved running because it was a way to escape my thoughts and just be in motion. I would run in the morning, and at night. Anytime I could basically. I wasn’t fast, and I didn’t really care, I just wanted to experience the wind on my face and the feeling that I got from a good 5-10 mile run.  Of course back then I was about 110lbs and had a solid physique, as I was very athletic. Big change from where I was in Jan 2012.

Come Feb, Husband and I started going to the University gym, to work out. I was more interested in running that doing the machines, but I couldn’t go a tenth of a mile without having to stop to sit down. Slowly, I worked my way around that track, a little at a time. When the snow was gone, I started going to the cemetery and walking/running there. By the end of March I could run almost a mile with minimal walking. I signed up for the Healthy High 1 mile fun-run on April 20th 2012. That would be my first race in over 25+ years. I was the only adult without children doing the 1 miler. Everyone else was in the 5K or 10K race.  I did finish, although a bunch of little kids passed me along the way.  I was very happy that my family was there at the finish line to congratulate me. I had accomplished my first goal.

 

From that point on, I signed up for a couple of races, and as I continued in the WW program and continued my running, my weight continued to melt off. I was traveling to Bingham and spending my weekends with dad, as his treatments hadn’t worked and the cancer had returned with a vengeance. I knew his time on earth was limited and I wanted to spend every minute that I could easing his transition out of this world, to the next. I would run there, in my hometown, as it was exactly a mile from my parents home to my dads new apartment. Dad knew that if I didn’t return in an hour, to come pick me up, hahaa… he never had to.    🙂

On June 1st, (which was my parents anniversary) my father checked into the Veterans Hospice center in Augusta ME. That was a very sad day. He had gotten to the point that the cancer was really affecting his swallowing, and it was just a matter of time. Mentally I made notes of the wonderful things that I loved about my dad. I tucked them away into my heart, so I would never forget them. My father died 4 days later, with my sister and I holding his hands. It was very peaceful. I remember thinking how afraid I was that I would go back to my old routines of eating constantly and not exercising. But I remembered how proud my father was of my running and weight loss, and my decision to continue a healthier lifestyle was made. I know he would proud.

Joseph M Bourque 10/20/1919 – 6/5/2012

I didn’t get to do any more formal races over that summer, as you can imagine, I was quite busy tending to my father’s estate.  I looked online for virtual races and saw that there were all kinds of them! So at that point, I started signing up and the rest is history.  I started this journey at 285 lbs and now have reached 220. I’ll take that.  I do have a goal set to get under 200 lbs, and I figure anything else I lose over that, is gravy.

11-16-14

So what’s next for Weez? I am still recovering from an Achilles injury that happened just before my first marathon back in October 2014. I let it go for about a year and a half, and continued to run. Eventually, the pain got to the point that I was ready to be over with it. I had a Haglunds resection with reattachment of my Achilles to my heel. I will tell you that it was a rough healing period and recovery is slow. I am almost 6 months post-op now, and just this past week I started running again, a mile at a time, a couple times a week. I have to go slow to let my Achilles adapt to the running again. Time will tell how it will go, but as long as I am careful, I should be good to go.  There is a chance that I will need another surgery, but I am going to try to wait a year and see if the niggle will disappear on its’ own. The one race I want to do for this summer is my favorite race, The Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth. Since it’s a relatively short race compared to my half’s and full marathon, I should be able to run it by August without issue. It’s all about playing it smart!

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Thank you to all of my fellow running friends, who continue to inspire me daily. There are so many of you now, that I wouldn’t know where to begin to list you all.  Some are local, some just “down the road” here in Maine, and many are online via facebook and/or Team Wicked Bonkproof. A couple people come to mind that have played definite roles in my running life.

Thank you especially to Jen B from “Running with the girls“. You don’t have any idea of how much your friendship has meant to me. Just being able to ask you questions and bounce things off of you has made my running journey so much more fun. You are someone I look for at each race, and find that if you aren’t there, I am disappointed. I hope to someday be able to keep up with you for a run, and to share in that bubbly enthusiasm that just oozes out of you all the time! 😉
 

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Isaac Marnik, I dont know where to start. You offered to help me prepare for my first marathon. You certainly didnt have to get up at the crack of dawn to drive to Bangor and slog along the roads with me, but you did. You endured lots of whining and fussing on my part, and the barky and yappy dogs in my house. Those long weekend runs, were an experience for sure… the newness was fun in a way, but very challenging. I don’t know if I would have made it through those first 18-20 milers without you by my side to make sure I wasn’t giving up when times got really tough. You continue to be an inspiration to me, and to many, many others. I am so grateful for your friendship.

 

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I also have to mention the one person who has believed in me from the start, and even though he is my running coach, he is also a dad, a husband, and an elite runner for Skechers Performance. In the beginning when I couldn’t run from one telephone pole to the next, he would answer my frantic texts and phone calls. I felt as though I was wasting his time since he was also coaching many fantastic runners. Why would he want to listen to my whining?  Yet.. he did, and he still does. Caleb Masland is so much more than a coach. When I was searching for direction in reaching my running goals, I found Coach Caleb. If you are looking for someone to help you achieve your running dreams, he is your best bet. He helped me accomplish the dream that I had from age 16, to run a marathon. I will forever be grateful that the dream came true, thanks to hard work, and expert coaching.

 

 

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I have had to take some time on this next thank you note. This guy has been so supportive since we met. He is a fantastic ankle/foot doctor of Podiatry and I have to say that one of the main reasons that I was able to run my marathon, is because of his expertise in running and Podiatric medicine. Always ready to give helpful advice, but being stern when he needs to.  Dennis is the type of person that can see right through you. He knows if you are on the level or not, and yes he called me on it more than once! Those that know him, know what lives within his heart. An amazing soul, and wise beyond his years.  I struggle to think of how to describe his spirit.. the words that come to mind are: intuitive, insightful and perceptive.  If you are in the New Hampshire area, and need of medical advice for your foot, or ankle, he’s your guy. He’s also a Tri-Athlete, avid Skier, and  an Ultra-runner… he runs UP mountains for fun..  who does that??!!  Thank you Dennis!

 

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And before I forget, thank you to the wonderful vendors who have sent me items to review. I will continue to make myself available for any and all products sent to me. I consider it an honor to be able to work with you all.
Who knows what the future will bring?  BRING IT ON!!!
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