Niagara Falls International Marathon: My Journey to take on 42.2 Kilometres
If you had asked me 2 years ago if I would become an avid running addict, I would have told you that you were crazy! I just gave birth to my son and had zero motivation. I had post-pardum depression, I had 35 pounds to shed and a newborn baby that drained all of my time and energy. Now I’m just 15.5 weeks out of running 42.2 Kilometres (or 26 miles to my American friends) in the Niagara Falls International Marathon on October 27th, 2013.
I had my son, Kaidyn, on March 27th, 2011 and it was on August 1st, 2011 exactly that I decided enough was enough and it was time to get moving. I went out and bought a good pair of running shoes — Asics Gel Nimbus 13. To this day, I swear by those shoes. I began walking with Kaidyn in his stroller after 2 months, so by August 1st when I decided to step out the door, I felt I was ready to do the next step — run. I didn’t realize then that I would be documenting my experience leading up to the Niagara Falls International Marathon just a couple of years later, nor did I know that I would shed all the weight plus an additional 16 pounds, improve my health and fitness and find a natural remedy to overcome post-pardum depression, without any kind of medical intervention. I downloaded the Nike GPS app for iphone – it’s a completely free application in which you enter your stats (height, weight, sex) and from there is tracks calories burned, mileage, your route and your speed. You have the ability to share it on social networking, which I do on Facebook. If you are competitive by nature — like myself haha — you can also race against your friends and try to beat their mileage week by week which is a further push to try and nail the Niagara Falls International Marathon.
Here is a video of the exact shoe that works for my foot specifically that I swear by, right down to the colour – but please have a professional assess your feet and running stride for the best shoe for your specific foot type! Places like your local Running Room will do this for you.
The first thing I did to avoid the temptation to give up and stop running completely, was sign up for the Road 2 Hope Half Marathon on November 6th, 2011. That gave me 3 months to prepare. I slowly increased my mileage from 5KM runs to 10KM runs. I went from running everyday to running 5-6 days a week with one day devoted to Jillian Michaels. For super cheap, I bought 2 DVD’s: Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones and Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism. I bought free weights in 1 lb, 3 lbs, and 5 lbs and got to work. Each DVD is 45 minutes. I learned that strength training is vital to maintaining proper form and increasing speed, stamina and the core strength needed for running. At the time, in preperation for this race, it was more important to me to finish the race than to garner a great time. I finished in 2:08:25. I was beaming! I felt accomplished, I felt like I could conquer the world. It was at that exact moment (without sounding poetic) that I fell in love with running. So here’s my first tip to keep you motivated….sign up NOW for the Niagara Falls International Marathon! By doing this, you will keep yourself accountable to keep moving. When you constantly sign up for races, you are continously staying on top of your game. You can only get better.
Here is my photo after my first race — the Road 2 Hope Half Marathon in November, 2011:
Fast forward to now — I have done 16 5K, 15 10K races, 6 Half Marathons, 1 30K race and the Warrior Dash. I have 34 medals — 25 of which I placed in the top 3 in my age group. My most recent Half Marathon was in a time of 1:43:17 — shaving off a considerable amount of time from my very first Half Marathon due to determination and persistance. I also have it in the back of my head that I am doing this for my son as well…to be the best mom that I can be by staying healthy enough to keep up!
My goal with this series of blogs leading up to the Niagara Falls International Marathon is to not only further motivate myself, but to encourage other runners and new runners that signing up for a full marathon doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. I am not a professional runner, I have NOT been doing this for years, I have lack of time, I have lack of sleep and I sometimes eat things that I shouldn’t, I get injuries, I run too late at night, I suffer from embarrassing running issues that no one ever wants to admit or talk about and I have no idea why Kenyans are so fast and why barefoot running is beneficial. I am just a regular runner looking to achieve something that statistics say that only 4% of the population ever acquires — to run a marathon!
Please follow my journey with me over these next couple of months as I document my personal experience and hopefully motivate you to give running a try! I will also write about my experience at the Niagara Falls International Marathon afterwards. The good, the bad, and the ugly! I will share my mileage, my nutrition (keeps me accountable!), trails and routes that I like and anything else I choose to talk about. I will leave this blog with my favourite running quote, made into a tattoo on my wrist:
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Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you!
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