Thursday, May 26, 2011

2nd Annual IWK 5K - In Memory of Jessica

  As William Arthur Ward once said:  "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."   

The IWK 5K - In Memory of Jessica is my way of expressing gratitude for the kindness and love we received from the staff at the IWK 3 years ago.  As I walked through the halls today putting posters up for this year's event,  I stopped in the Ronald McDonald family room.  I remember too easily what it felt like sitting there worried every day.  Worried and stressed hoping my babies were going to be ok.   All I could really do is HOPE and pray that someone above was taking care of them, and that someone inside the NICU would fix all of their problems and that they would get through another day without to many downs, hoping I could hold them that day, and hoping that I could take them home with me someday...Someday never comes. 

Although I would have preferred to be anywhere then the NICU at the time...I also can't imagine being cared for anywhere else.  The care we received at the IWK...I will remember for the rest of my life.  Our primary nurses touched our hearts, and I will ALWAYS be grateful for them for loving my girls like their own, and supporting us along the way. 

I truly believe that it takes someone really special to work at this hospital.  The staff go above and beyond their duties to be there for the patients and their families...  And I am so grateful that this hospital is in my city.
"The IWK Health Centre Foundation exists to ensure patients receive excellent care, both inside the IWK and in their home communities, by funding the equipment, programs, and people that government does not."

The IWK 5K - In Memory of Jessica means SO much to me, for so many reasons.   This event lets me be open about losing my daughter.  Jessica passed away June 12, 2008, and every year around this time, I feel the ache, the hole...and always requestion whether or not we gave up too soon.  Whether or not we made the right decision.  But this event helps.  Running also helps, so it helps me to see other people get as much enjoyment out of running as I do. It helps to be busy, it helps to do something for someone else.  And it helps to have so many family and friends support the event.  Although every year I hope to recruit more people who have a connection to the hospital...I must say, last year it was such an overwhelming amazing feeling to look out towards the hundred participants, and know almost every one of them.    Last year we raised $4300 thanks to everyone who took part, and I'm hoping for even more this year. 

The IWK  is a highly specialized Maritime hospital for children, women and youth.  3 years ago, I never thought we would need this hospital as much as we did.  You never know, when you or someone you know may need the IWK services. 

Please come run or walk with us, June 5th, 2011 at DeWolfe Park in Bedford, NS, and feel good about yourself for exercising, and feel great that you are helping to make a child's experience at the IWK more comfortable and less invasive by helping to provide the best medical care, and helping to purchase necessary equipment that the government doesn't fund.

All proceeds after race cost (which are very minimal thanks to our sponsors), will be given to the IWK.  So if you give every year anyways, come join us and have some fun by taking part in the event, or if you are away and would like to donate, please follow the attached link:

The direct link for registration is here:

Every donation makes a difference, please help support this year's IWK 5K - In Memory of Jessica. 

"With you, Anything is Possible" - IWK Health Centre Foundation Motto

Special thanks to this year's sponsors:  Coconut Creek, The Medicine Shop, Quad Graphics, Oaklawn Farm Zoo, Serenity Spa, Brewdebaker's, Swiss Chalet, Jack Astor's, Aplaydia, Subway, Atlantic Superstore, Irving, Worr Construction, Kent Building Supplies, The Great Canadian Bagel, Daisy Doo's hairclips, Home Hardware. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

confessions of a runner mom

I am an adrenaline junkie.  I thought it was running, and I think it mostly is, but after getting back into spin class...listening to blaring music, like Sandstorm by Darube and Rob Zombie, listening to the instructor yelling out instructions for the next drill, as sweat is running down my entire body, and my breathing is heavy and I'm feeling a little dizzy....HOTT I know, I wonder if it is the actual running or the adrenaline from a great high intensity workout. 

Running makes me a better person.  it makes me a better mom, which means I haven't been such a great mom lately.  I feel very snappy and annoyed, and then feel bad for being so impatient.  I'm whining one day to Emily...and she says "Mommy what's wrong", and I tell her my leg hurts, so she goes on to tell me "so don't run Mommy if you're leg hurts" ...genius 4 year old, makes sense, but somehow I have to decide if the feeling I get from running, the way it clears my head and acts as Prozac overweighs the pain I get in my leg.  So then I tell Emily that I LOVE to run and it makes me feel so great....and how does she answer..." well wait until your leg is better Mommy, and then you can run."  Wow.  Coming from a 4 1/2 year old life in perspective. 

It's been about 4 weeks since I've injured my leg, with at least 2 full weeks of resting and 2 weeks of "trying" to run on it medicated.   Not the smartest thing I know, but I desperately needed to get out for a run, for myself and for everyone around me.  The frustrating part is that I still don't know what is wrong with my leg.  Is it a stress fracture, is it tendinitous, or compartmental syndrome?   I've been to physiotherapy, and massage therapy, had an xray (which I heard rarely shows a stress fracture), and have been doing all of my exercises recommended.  Trust me, I am the good client who does everything I am told if that means I can be out running sooner.  And I am also not someone to stop for just a little bit of pain or soreness, I'm not a wimp physically (only emotionally my sister in law would say;) and I'd say I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but when I start to limp and start compensating, by changing my gait, I know I need to stop. I want to run every other day for the rest of my life, not everyday for only 1 year. 

I am suppose to run a marathon on my birthday, May 8th.  I was really looking forward to this.  Non runners think I'm ridiculous to want to run 42.2K on my birthday, but I think it would be very cool and would love to run with my family cheering me along the course, go out for a huge mother's day brunch, spend the afternoon with my family and go out for drinks to celebrate that night.  AWESOME.  But it's not looking so good right now.  How much time can you really take off from the training....and still run the marathon?   I've ran my longest run, 32K a couple weeks ago when I was on Advil, and it was a great run, but I was feeling it the next couple days afterwards.  I see my doctor on Wednesday and hopefully I'll get in for a bone scan shortly after that.  I guess that will be my decision maker...if it is a stress fracture.  6-8 weeks to heal...2 already over with.   Boo. 

For now, I will stick with sweating it out in spin class and Jillian Michaels yoga meltdown...and try to get my eating back down to a normal person's intake and not a marathon trainer's appetite.  Which is much harder then I thought it would be.  I thought once I stopped running so much, that I would be less hungry, well I am...but I think I am eating to fill the void. 

Sunday was my second spin class...probably shouldn't have done two in a row when I just started because my butt from the seat was still sore from the Saturday's workout.  Otherwise, another fantastic workout.  For anyone who has been wanting to try it, I say go for it!  Today's instructor was even better, she made me feel awesome because she kept telling us how awesome we were, and was constantly correcting our form and getting us to engage our core, drop our shoulders down, stick your butt out...and PUSH it as hard as we could.  Spin class really is YOUR ride, you make it as hard or easy as you want, you put as much or little into it.  I GIVer...of course.  I'm half interested in trying a triathlon someday.  maybe a sprint triathlon to start as I haven't swam laps in years. 

So to all of you folks lazin' around on your couch watching TV or playing on the computer, procrastinating about getting out for some exercise, get off your butts and go for a run if you can...because someone (like me) is just dying to get out in this beautiful weather and run...You'll thank me when you're done:)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

For the Love of Running

My first goal was a 10K race, the HBC run in 2007.  I wanted to run it under an hour, but more importantly I wanted to lose the baby weight after Emily.  I loved the training.  I remember getting up early mornings in the summer taking my ipod and heading out for my run along the Bedford Hwy.  Nothing felt more refreshing then a nice long run (little did I know at the time that a long run was not a 10K, but more like a 32K).  Then the excitement of race day came, hundreds of people in red tshirts at the Halifax Commons, all happy, excited, nervous to get out and run to support our Canadian Athletes.  The music was energizing, the warm up was fun and the participation was fabulous... Friendly volunteers were everywhere, and me and my bro were ready to go.  I was excited the entire race, this was the first time I felt my adrenaline take off, and it increased even more around the 8K mark where you heard the cool is that?  Then that amazing feeling of crossing the finish line after completing my first race with my brother by my side (he could have totally kicked my butt, but was kind enough to stick with me for the run).  First time crossing the finish line feels SO big.  It was 10K, but to me at the time it felt like a marathon. 

HBC 10K 2007

There is something very addictive about running.  Once you start, you don't want to stop.  It makes you feel THAT good.  And so the addiction began.  Sunday morning runs became the routine.  Sunday mornings are MY time.  Some people run for health benefits, the mental benefits, the social benefits... I run for it all. 
After running another 10K, I signed up for a Half Marathon in the Valley and started my own training.  Running through the finish line for my first Half Marathon was awesome, and for someone who has never ran a full marathon at the time, I felt like I had. 

Valley Half Marathon 2007

Shortly after this run I became pregnant again.  I continued running for the fitness for shorter runs up until March 2008.   I found out I was pregnant with twin girls and had a very high risk pregnancy with Twin twin transfusion syndrome and needed a cerclage to hold the babies in and then bedrest.  My running was over.  Although the excitement of twins was really better then my running high, until it just became too stressful, and I wished I had something to relax me.   

Once the girls were born, I didn't have time for running, I barely had time for Emily.  My day and night was spent in the NICU.  Being busy kepted me focused on what I wanted to focus on, bringing my twin girls home.  So I managed ok...until our life completely changed.  One Sunday, Keith and I were trying to figure out how we were going to arrange the cribs, and about life home with all 3 girls...and then Monday we find out we will never have 3 girls at home.  How does that happen so fast?  How can you have your life planned out right in front of you, your family of 5 that you always wanted, twin girls you've always wanted...and then within seconds taken away?  Or the better question, how to move on after losing your baby? 

Everyone's different, everyone copes differently.  I went to bereavement classes at the IWK for several months after Jessica passed away, I was still busy going to the hospital everyday for another 2 1/2 months, until Alyssa was discharged home, and I wrote on this blog.  The counselling helped, but once Alyssa was home, I felt lost again.  She was home, and I wasn't as busy as I was when travelling to the hospital daily.  I had too much time to think, and too much time to be depressed.  So somewhere along the way, I got back into running, and I think it kind of saved me.

I ran one race that summer with my Dad, the Bedford 5K to Beat Lung Cancer.  I picked this race because it was in Bedford, but also because the director had a good story, and passion for organizing the event, which means alot to me when choosing a fun run.  This was my Dad's first 5K run, he did awesome.  I'm not sure when exactly he started running that year or why...maybe I was making him crazy with my stress and he found running just as good for the head as I did, either way, he continued on.  And has since ran 3 half marathon races, with his 4th coming up this weekend, and trained for at least 2 others.  And I am SO proud of my Dad for sticking with the running, even after injuries... and loving it (although he jokingly says how much he loves the social aspect and the feeling afterwards, it's just the running part he doesn't like, funny.)  I'm sure if he didn't enjoy it as much as all of us runners do, he wouldn't be out every Sunday morning, rain, or shine running for 1-2hours.  It makes me excited to see other people get excited about running, especially my family and friends.

Bedford 5K to |Beat Lung Cancer 2008

That fall, I started running more.  Days I could run on the treadmill, and evenings and weekends outside, nothing big, just small runs to get me started, to help with the depression and feelings of self pity.  The best way for me to keep busy, was to sign up for races and then train.  So I did.  I ran a half marathon in Fredericton one year from when the girls were born, then ran the Bluenose 10K a couple weeks later, then started training for another half for the fall in the Valley, then as soon as that was done, trained for another half, then another, then took the ultimate plunge and started training for a full marathon.  The feelings and emotions and physical training that goes into a full marathon deserves a post of it's own.  Lets just say, I've never felt more proud of myself, and for that brief moment crossing the finish line, there wasn't anything that I couldn't do, because I felt on top of the world.  That amazing feeling, whether it's from a 5K or a full Marathon...I hope everyone I love can feel that someday. 

Valley Harvest Full Marathon 10-10-10

Fredericton Half Marathon 2009
Shortly after that finished, my running slowed down a bit and I could feel myself dragging, and feeling "blah" so I started training for the half marathon that I ran today.  And one day while in the IWK, I started thinking about organizing my own event, something to help remember Jessica, something that would mean alot to me...and keep me busy, hence "The IWK 5K - In Memory of Jessica".  So now I can't stop, or maybe I just don't want to stop.  I'm actually afraid to stop.  I'm scared that I will become that person I was over 2 years ago, the one I didn't recognize, the one that I couldn't control emotionally, mentally, socially.  I LOVE to run, I love talking about running, I love seeing other people run, and sharing the same love for it that I do...but as much as I love it, and love planning for my event...I think I need it as much as I love it, and I'm ok with that :)

Navy 10K 2007

Santa Shuffle 5K 2008

Santa Shuffle 5K 2009

IWK 5K - In Memory of Jessica, cheque presentation at the IWK Telethon 2010

Hypothermic Half Marathon 2010
Resolution 5K 2010