Monthly Archives: April 2012

The PFF Toronto Yonge Street 10km Experience

I woke up at 615am, before my alarm at 630am on Sunday morning.  I got showered, dressed, picked up Starbucks and headed to meet my colleague Mike (my awesome cheerleader & supporter!) to drive up to the starting point.  It was freezing this morning I must add.  Did I mention I forgot my headphones for my Ipod on my bookshelf?  Let’s just thank Mike and give him a fantastic shout out for lending me his, shall we?

We arrived with plenty of time.  We hung out at Second Cup, met our other coworkers running the race and headed out to our respective corrals (me=purple) and waited for the staggered start.  First was the very fast, then the little less fast, then a little less fast than that and then us in purple.  At 9:09 the purple started.  I was consistent in walking and running.  I must say, I ran more than I have today than I have in the past 8 weeks that I have started this new healthier lifestyle.

The course was right down Yonge Street from north of Eglinton.  I realized that I have a lot of memories in this city so as I walked / ran down the course it was a walk / run down memory lane.  I had an apartment at Yonge & Eglinton, I had an amazing Dr. at Yonge and Davisville and when I first moved to Toronto I lived at Yonge & Wood Street.  I passed the Starbucks I met my mother for the first time at Yonge & College 13 years ago.  See? Many memories.  I was amazed by the kindness of strangers who were out cheering the runners / walkers as they we passed.  I listened to Jay Z, Kanye, Dr. Dre and others to keep me going.  Not even one, I repeat, one Mariah Carey song.  I know, shocking right?

I reached the 4km mark and felt that it wasn’t that horrible.  I wasn’t dying or anything!   I was impressed and proud of the progress I had made.  As I passed the 7km mark (the only reason I know that it was 4km & 7km because I knew ahead of time where the water / Gatorade stations were), I turned the corner on Richmond and a woman police officer extended her hand to give me a high-five.  That moment almost took my breath away, in fact brings tears to my eyes as I write this.  I think the genuine kindness of strangers is what got me most.  They didn’t have to be there, but they were.  The volunteers that made it happen.  The people who clapped for us as we passed.   As I approached John Street there were a bunch of young people holding signs, one said “Looks like you’ve got stamina, call me”, another one that said something like “You’re feet may hurt but you’re doing great, keep going!!”.  Together, these random acts of kindness made me push harder when I felt I had nothing left.  I was thankful for them, the others that were running and trust me, I was feeling the burn and I ran faster and harder in those 10km than I have in the past 8 weeks.

Once I hit Front & Bathurst for the final stretch of the course, I changed the song to “One Moment In Time” by Whitney.  Oh yes, I went there.  I felt it was the perfect song to cross the finish line, you know for my first ever 10km.  I turned onto Fort York and the 9.6km behind me was only a distant, painful memory.  I was so close!  The music, the moment, the pain my body was feeling, all brought tears to well up in my eyes as I used every ounce of energy I had left to get to the finish.  I was so overwhelmed with what I was actually about to accomplish, my heart rate increased and I pushed harder.  There it was, the finish line with a huge clock that read 1:32 and time was ticking.  Those are the only numbers that I saw, 1:32 and I pushed myself to make it under 1:33.  Patrick Roy.  I saw my colleague cheering me on from the side and ran over to him to give him a high-five right before I crossed that finish line….under Patrick Roy.

I honestly can’t believe that I did it, but I never thought I could.  I realized soon afterward that I handled this race similarily to other challenges in my life that I thought I may not get through: I worked hard and pushed myself as hard as I could through the pain, angst and when I felt I couldn’t go anymore.  In the end?  I made it to the other side.  Running a race is a great metaphor for life, isn’t it?  That is why you see it on all those inspirational posters I guess.

What didn’t make sense to me is that I worked so hard, running more than walking and yet my time was 1:32.  I figured that when I walk and do a bit of running when I do 5km, it is between 48 and 51 minutes right now.  Which means I would have finished the race no later than 1 hour and 42 minutes.  I beat my time by only 10 minutes and I thought I worked harder than that, but I was still happy with my results….a. I didn’t finish last and b. I finished – so all is good in the world.

I went for a celebratory brunch with my fabulous cheering section and had a grilled cheese sandwich and my first order of sweet potato fries in 2 months.  Needless to say, I felt sick afterwards and do not feel the need to have them again for a very long time.  I received so many messages from friends, colleagues all congratulating me on a job well done.  I was told by some how inspirational they felt I was…including people I would never expect.  I was grateful.  One even told me that they are entering their own 10km because of what I did on Sunday.  Astounding.

Pictures are a bit small, but you get the point!

 

My Very Own Cheering Section! (Ignore my bad hair)

On Monday, it was brought to my attention I should be looking at my Chip time, not my clock time.  I pulled up my results and lo and behold: 1:22:42.7.  See?  I worked my ass off and that time reflects that…..yay me and yay to chip time!  I sure wish it meant potato chip time, Doritos Cool Ranch if we are being technical.

One thing off of my bucket list.  I really never thought that 8.5 weeks ago that I would see myself run in a 10km race, but I also didn’t think 8.5 weeks ago that I would have lost 19.5lbs at this point…but I am happy to say I have done both!  At this point, today, I am almost a 1/3 of the way to my weight loss goal of 65lbs.  Who would have thunk it?

Thank you again to everyone who donated to my cause, Virgin Unite and believed in me.  Just so you are aware I reached $575 of my $500 goal because of you.  Last, but certainly not least, my fabulous girlfriend made me a trophy.  Yes, that is correct….a trophy!  The ceremony was held in a parking lot in Bloor West Village and it was magnificent.  I have never received a trophy before so I will let it speak for itself…although if she was able to speak she would say “Heading over to Jilly’s see you soon!).

So now that the race and celebrations are complete, I need to figure out where I will run now that I can stand and sit without immense pain for the first time since Sunday.  No Pain No Gain, right? Right!

Blog Soon, PFF

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First 10KM Eve

Ok, so in a little over 12 hours I will be meeting my colleague to head on up to the race, starting just north of Yonge & Eglinton.  Race time for the Purple Corral people is 9:09am.  The Purple Corral is for the people that think they will finish the 10km in over an hour and ten minutes.  That is me! Me for sure!

I am on the verge of tears right now as I sit in my apartment and eat my bowl of pasta.  I am not even close to be ready for this.  I may cry because I am scared and I am stepping completely out of my comfort zone in a huge way.  I may cry due to all the insecurities inside.  All kidding aside, I will be embarrassed and humiliated if I come in last.  “Of course the fat girl is last. She is so slow” or “She is so disgusting she is so big” or even worse, “Are you kidding me? What makes her think that she can race? So pathetic.”.  That is what I am dreading.  I really don’t feel like I deserve to be there with all of the fit and beautiful people who know what they are doing and have prepared for this.  The ones that wont break a sweat because 10km is a walk in the park to them.

Regardless of my actually getting up to run / walk this 10km, it is hard for me to imagine feeling so completely alone on that road while surrounded by thousands of others, who will be passing me over and over… but that is where I will be…well me, Jay Z, Kanye, Mariah & of course, Whiney.

My co-worker who is a pro at these things (by ‘these things’ I mean marathons, races, daily 10 – 20km just cause well, he likes to do them daily) has been incredible to me.  He has been my biggest cheerleader through all of it and actually believes I can do this.  Last night, he sent me the most amazing text that literally brought tears to my eyes.  He basically told me that he was proud of me and once he finishes the race, he would come back to find me and finish the race with me.  What?  I had close to the same reaction when I was moved to front row for Oprah on Monday: Disbelief, tears and pure appreciation.  For this super nice guy to a. be proud of me for committing to my first 10km and b. to say he would come back to find me after he was finished to finish with me……I have no words, just gratitude.  One of the nicest things I could ever imagine.  Like really, who does that?  Apparently he does.  That, plus my girlfriends are taking me out to brunch afterward  to celebrate my success (meaning I need to actually cross the finish line) where I will have a grilled cheese sandwich.  Oh yeah, grilled cheese.  Yum.  Oh, and all of the kind messages and donations for Virgin Unite I have received.  Why is it so easy for everyone else to believe in me, but I find it to be next to impossible?  I am a tough crowd perhaps.

All this shows me is that there are still incredibly kind and caring people who surround me and the only reason I will be able to roll out of bed, start and get to the finish line tomorrow is because of them.  Completely and utterly grateful, but still scared shitless.

So, I am off to bed shortly and will wake up at 6:45am.  I will go to Starbucks, have an espresso and an oatmeal, perhaps a banana and head on out.  My pedicure is booked at 3:30pm tomorrow – looking forward to treating my tootsies after the trauma.

Blog soon,

PFF

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Oprah, Toronto & Me.

Oprah Winfrey is my hero.  If you know me, you already are aware of this.  If you don’t know me and you read my blog on the regular, you are also aware of this.  If you are reading my blog for the first time then you should know something about me, Oprah is my hero.  There, now that this is covered we can move forward.

Monday, April 16th was the day that Oprah’s Lifeclass The Tour arrived in Toronto at the MTCC.  I remained calm leading up to the show until last Tuesday, when I found out there was a special VIP pass for a meet and greet with Oprah herself.  How could I not be aware of such a thing?  I mean come on, anyone who knows me knows that my ultimate dream of all time would be to thank Oprah for the difference she has made in my life in person.  In all honesty, I don’t think without Oprah and the Oprah Winfrey Show I would even be here.  She literally saved my life, so to have the ability to thank her for that in person, would be immeasurable.  I reached out, tried to see how to get these VIP passes with no luck.  On Saturday I did find someone on Craigslist selling 3 VIP passes for $3000 a piece.  Unfortunately I am not in a place where I can drop $3k easily on a ticket – but really, how can you put a price on your dream?  I emailed them and made a realistic offer, needless to say that I didn’t hear back.  I also found a Twitter contest from @canadiantire on April 3 that wanted to hear about your favourite Oprah moment in order to win passes for a meet and greet. How did I not know about this contest? Well, first I don’t follow Canadian Tire on Twitter, and second, how random is that connection anyway?   The contest was open less than 12 hours, so I don’t feel completely shitty that I missed out on it but I truly believe that if I entered, I could have won.  I have more memorable favourite moments from the Oprah show than probably anyone of the 43,000 plus followers Canadian Tire has and could list them chronologically if need be…but I digress.

Regardless, after all of my research and contacts, I came up with nothing.  Then Sunday evening presented a minor glitch, the friend that had planned on coming with me had no choice but to cancel due to an emergency.  :(.  I asked a girlfriend who I had been chatting with who just happened to be off the next day, so she was able to come with me.  I made sure she knew that I got the $60 seats, they weren’t great and we would probably be in the last row.  She was still happy to join, it was Oprah after all.

So the day of, people started lining up at 3am (there were two tapings that day and mine wasn’t until the afternoon).  The doors opened for the PM show at 3:15pm according to the ticket and we were there for 3pm.  We decided not to go to the end of the line, (which ended close to where the line began) but rather sit on a perch and wait right by the front of the line.  When the doors actually opened at 4pm, we laughed, we chatted and my friend prayed.  We had a visit from a butterfly.  Actually, the same one kept coming back.  I have a separate story about butterflies…when my birth mother’s mother passed away, I was with her holding her hand as she took her last breath in 2003.  As I left the hospital and sat in my car getting ready to leave a butterfly flew into my car, fluttered around and flew out the window.  I was astounded but I have always felt whenever a butterfly shows up, even the yellow ones that flitter around me, it is my grandmother trying to tell me something or letting me know that she is there.  My friend told me that she had asked for an answer that her prayer was heard and along came the butterfly again, right in the moment she asked.  I didn’t even ask what she prayed for.

If you know me, you already know that I am a very panicked and stressed person the majority of the time but I felt calm about this.  I didn’t worry about lining up at dawn, I didn’t worry about making sure I was in line with enough time and I sure didn’t worry watching over 8500 people enter the building before me.  We were caught up in our own conversation and after an hour and a half of letting people in, I turned around and there was no more line up.  Everyone had gone in, except for us.  We already accepted we would be last.

We eventually reached our seats, which were so far back that we literally couldn’t even see the stage, or the person on it.  It was much different being in an audience of 8500 as opposed to 328 in her studio audience in Chicago a couple of years ago.  We were seated back and to the side, in front of a wall. I couldn’t see anything, well the large screen in front of me I guess was pretty visible but I instantly felt sad.  I started to question why I didn’t line up, why I wasn’t lucky enough to get a hook up to meet O herself and perhaps I wasn’t ok as I thought I was with sitting in the back. 

Do you see the stage?  I know, me either.  Please note the wall in front, just behind that big screen.

So we sat here for about 10 minutes.  In that 10 minutes I was able to post “Maybe one day” on my Facebook…dripping in all hope lost and disappointment.  I wanted to go get Pizza and eat my feelings.  My friend said I could go ahead but she was going to stay put.  I decided now would not be the time to eat my feelings and ruin the progress I have made.  We noticed some people leaving their seats and saw others taking those seats just to the right of the people in the picture above and we felt that they were mean to just take them.  Literally, 3 minutes after I posted “Maybe one day” a representative from the Lifeclass took a few of us and asked us to follow the others who we had just watched.  We crossed all the way over to the right side of the room and headed towards the stage.  We weren’t told what was happening, but it seemed that we were moving on up….the group of people who were asked stopped and we stood there for a minute, unsure of what was happening.  We asked the girl leading us what was happening and she told us “we are putting you in better seats”.  Still confused, I didn’t want to question.  We passed hundreds of rows of people, thousands of people easily.  People who paid more to be there, people who had waited all day in line.  My friend heard someone say “those are the two girls that were sitting out front!”….I guess my pink coat drew some more unwanted attention, but at this point I was ok with it.

As people filed into the empty seats as they passed them, grabbing and holding on to the first opportunity they had – we kept going…and going….and going….until there was nowhere left to go but onto the stage.  Literally, there were two seats, second row with one seat in front of us.  I asked a different representative who just happened to be standing right there if we could add one chair so we could both sit in the front row and he said “of course, whatever will make you happy”.  Happy?  Try ecstatic!  It was honestly unbelievable.  I started to cry.  I mean, out of 8500 people for them to choose a few to head to the front and we just happened to be two of them….it was impossible to imagine that for something that meant so much to me, to be blessed in such an incredible way.  

After we calmed down a little bit, I just had to ask my friend what she prayed for when we were outside.  She told me that she had asked for the path to be cleared in order to get to where we needed to get to.  Wow, is all I can say.  It worked alright, the path was cleared all the way to the front.  Insanity is the best way to describe it.  The next thing I asked the friendly volunteer was “Are we able to sit here for the rest of the night?” and he replied, “Of course you can, they are your seats!”.  Unreal.  I wasn’t moving anywhere from that seat, no matter what.   

From the earlier taping, Oprah hugged people, talked to audience members during the breaks and I really thought it might be possible to finally have my ultimate dream come true! With the same calm I felt waiting outside, I just knew inside that it most likely wouldn’t happen.  It came close though, at the end of taping she took off her heels, put on her kitten heels and started down the stairs to the floor from the stage.  People started to swarm and she turned around and left.  So close, but again, I guess it just wasn’t my time.  I thought about my entry for “The Truth Project” on OWN and thought maybe, perhaps….who knows…..

Editor’s Note: Regarding my submission for the Truth Project on OWN, I heard back from the Producer who feels that my truth is “Inspirational”.  Wow.  I was asked to talk to him about it and I totally feel I choked, because at certain times I am a much better writer than speaker and just couldn’t get the words out right.  What an incredible opportunity regardless!  I will know in the beginning of May either way if I will be a part of this incredible documentary series and all I can do is pray and hope to see a butterfly.  If you are interested in submitting your OWN truth, your  OWN inspirational story then for sure visit The Truth Project Facebook page for details: http://www.facebook.com/#!/TheTruthProject.OWN and email them!

On a side note, I made my goal of raising $500 for Virgin Unite!  Thank you to all who donated, your generous donations are very much appreciated and I promise to do my best this Sunday, even if it means coming in last.  A sneak peek for next week’s weight update, I weighed myself yesterday and I am at 19lbs lost in almost 8 weeks…I really hope this number stays the same for weigh in on Monday morning.

Blog soon, PFF

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BSR, 5/5 Achieved & One Week To Race!

Despite the frustration I have felt this week, I have pretty much stayed on track. I didn’t give into the Big Mac craving I seemed to have for two full days – with the advice of my boss, in honour of National Grilled Cheese day, I have a grilled cheese instead. It hit the spot! Bad, but not the worst and definitely better than a Big Mac.

In fact, my goal of 5 /5 runs this week came somewhat true. I walked 5km Monday, and again 5km on Tuesday – but then did Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred Wednesday, Thursday and yesterday morning. Jillian made me sweat, pant like a dog and actually made me feel pretty great after the pain she put me through. 27 minutes, but intense even at level two…I wll eventually get to level 3 but I must admit that I love working out and not leaving my house sometimes. Plus, I had to walk to get a manicure yesterday (rather than drive since I still don’t have my car) so I can add and extra 20 minutes walking at a normal pace each way. Good thing because I had breakfast, but then went to a fabulous Communion dinner (Il Cavallino Restaurant in Woodbridge) where I ate two side plates of antipasto (prosicutto, cheese, olives=heaven) and little pillows of heaven (stuffed Gnocchi) in a rose sauce I literally almost died and felt like I was in heaven they were so good. If you are Italian or know Italians and their glorious food then you know that 7 courses are pretty regular whether it be a sunday lunch or a special event. You will never be hungry…this I can guarantee.

Anyway, there were braised short ribs on polenta something or other with perfectly cooked asparagus. I am not a braised beef connoisseur so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard that they fell off the bone….OMG. If the Gnocchi were little pillows of heaven, the braised beef was God himself. I have never tasted something so good. The unfortunate thing is that after two or three forced bites, I was done. What has happened to me??? Instantly I regretted the second plate of antipasto and definitely regretted the 3rd piece of Italian bread (they were small so don’t judge!). I also regretted the third half glass of wine because I couldn’t really see. I had to walk around the block twice to a. Calm down the buzz and b. Feel somewhat normal and get rid of the overly full feeling I had. I was done.

I can’t eat like I used to and I truly thought that I had worked out enough and had a small enough breakfast (oatmeal, 100 calorie fibre one bar and banana) that I could eat what used to be easy for me to tackle. I guess it is a good thing but it pains me so much to wonder, where did my braised beef go? (Imagine sung to the tune of Whitney’s Where Do Broken Hearts Go?)
With race day only a week away I most likely won’t be ready – but again I will do my best but do not be surprised if I come in last.

Woo hoo! One week away! Still need a cute outfit!

Blog soon,
PFF

P.s. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Will Always Love Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu Braised Beef Shortribs!

P.p.s You too can meet God or go to Heaven… you must check out Il Cavallino Restaurant in Woodbridge…http://www.ilcavallinoristorante.com/ you will NOT be disappointed!!!

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My First 10km Race…Pardon?

Ok.  This is just crazy talk.  If the title perplexes you, then you can only imagine what posting it does to me.

First off, where I work is awesome.  I love the people, first and foremost.  I consider myself to be the luckiest person to love their job, love the people and the environment every single day.  So when a very smart, extremely fit colleague asked me today if I wanted to run a 10km with him and a few others, I actually considered it.  I told him that I would probably come in dead last, and he explained that there will be some people who walk the entire 10km or do a mix of it.  I thought about it even more after he told me it would be great “content” for my blog.  Even better than that? The point when he told me that I would get a huge ass medal at the end.  Ding Ding Ding! Sold!!  Wait…what the hell did I just agree to?

So…I signed up.  Seriously.  It’s official, I even have a donation page and everything!!!!http://eventsonline.ca/events/crs_fundraising/pledge_profile.php?id=JME2772204&eventdir=crs_ys10k&charityid=25

Clearly, this is also a shameless plug to somehow convince you to donate and help me reach my goal of $500 for an awesome cause – Virgin Unite!

Editor’s Note: I sincerely thank those who have already donated, I am incredibly grateful for your support!

Believe it or not, I will be participating in the Toronto Yonge Street 10km on Sunday, April 22, 2012.  Start time? 9am!  Apparently an hour later than last year’s start so it must be a sign that I am supposed to do this.  I must say after signing up, I feel a mix of emotions with the main one being fear.  I am scared to embarrass myself which in reality is only my ego taking control of that emotion.  Don’t you just love ego?  With a few other work peeps also doing the 10km, I feel my cheeks flush already with humiliation.  I am the most out of shape one.

Did I mention I am running in the same race as the most fabulous Olympian (as in 2008 Summer Games OMG!) yes, read it again, OLYMPIAN…like a real life sports hero.  How about the established marathon runner who logs a 25km run in what seems like every other day?  The roads of Toronto are his bitch.  In all seriousness, these are seriously healthy, fit and fantastic peeps, how can I even try to compete?  The thing is, that is not what this is even about.  Sure, it is a race but I already accept the fact that I wont be in first place.  Heck, I would actually accept coming in last place because that means I’ve run the race.  This isn’t a matter of pride.  This is about becoming a healthier me, and doing things differently this time.  I want to succeed and this, this 10km adds some variety, challenge and excitement to the entire process.  I never thought in a million years that it was possible for me to sign up for any kind of race or fitness event…but looky here!  Less than 10 days away!

I am in Week 7, Day 3 and I have committed myself to a healthier lifestyle.  Even more now than ever before, especially with the events over the past couple of weeks.  Despite the obstacles, I will persevere.

Blog Soon, PFF

p.s. if you are unsure whether or not or how much to donate, remember, it is just like weight loss – every small number adds up to a big one!  You can also donate in other ways, by showing support and belief that I can actually cross the finish line!

p.s.s. I totally have to get a cute outfit for this so I can look fab in a pic at the end (great idea Andrea!)

p.s.s.s. I need someone to take a picture at some point….perhaps at the finish line? hint hint Jennifur?!?!?!

p.s.s.s.s – I don’t even know what p.s.s.s.s. means or stands for anymore I just like it.

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Day 2, Week 7, 2/5 5kms!

Day two of week 7. I ate very well today, went for a run / walk tonight after work, more walking than running but was at a really quick pace.

Sidebar, I feel really bloated and fat today. I ate healthy, tuna on mixed greens for lunch, california rolls for dinner, fruit and veggies throughout the day. The bloated and fat probably is from the turkey overload over the weekend.

This upcoming Monday I want a much better result than the past three weeks. Although I exercised the past two days – I have not traded my earned points for food. I am proud of that.

Fun stuff: I was told today (by a pretty reputable source!) that I may be a great candidate for a new documentary series coming to OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) Canada for a new show called The Truth Project. It is about different Canadians who have a story to tell. Well, I submitted the story I want to tell and will see what happens! Check out the OWN Canada Facebook page if you want more information about the show or want to enter yourself!

You never know who you may inspire!

Blog soon,
PFF

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Back On Track, Start Of Week 7!

So after acting eating like an animal this past weekend, of course I had to have a weigh in today – as I do every Monday.  Today is the first day of week 7.  I almost didn’t weigh myself because I was scared to see a pretty major gain, but felt I couldn’t hide from the truth and I had to face up to my bad behaviour.  Hesitantly, I stepped on and alas! Another loss!  Yay me! Not by much mind you, but I will take what I can get.  Again, like last week where I reached a 5% loss of my starting weight, this week with a small loss, I lost another point of my daily allotment.  One less point of food per day, which is very exciting.

I took today off from work to add to my already long weekend and guess what I did to try and make up for my bad behaviour? If you guessed going for a 5km jog / walk then you guessed correctly!  I went at 8:30am and it felt fantastic coming back and much easier to want to eat healthy for the remainder of the day.

I feel a lot better about today, especially since even after dinner, I still have 2 points left.  I had an INCREDIBLE treat today..yes, that is right….Incredible treat – pizza.  Ristorante Vegetable Pizza to be exact.  First, I haven’t had pizza since my Big Sister training about 5 weeks ago (which was a slice of Pizza Pizza Vegetarian and not even that good)  and this Ristorante Vegetable pizza is only 5 points a quarter! I got to eat 3 slices since I had 19 points left before dinner.  I am a. completely full and b. so happy that I got to have it.  I wont need pizza for a long time now but it was good to get my fix.

Tomorrow, I plan to go for a jog / walk either in the early am or after work – I am going to do my best to focus on as much exercise this week as possible.  My goal? 5 times this week.  Now that I have 1 down, only 4 more to go!

Blog soon,

No Longer Cheating & Back On Track PFF

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