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Saturday, September 24, 2011

One of Life's Proud Moments

Despite all that's going on I am still finding moments for life and commitments I have made and following through with them.  This past Sunday was an event I had committed to back in the spring by registering for the Army Run 1/2 Marathon!  I had every excuse in the book to drop out, to sell my race bib this year.

I used the heat as an excuse not to get out and run often and far enough (wasn't it stinkin' hot this year?).  Then almost 3 weeks prior to Race Day life was turned upside down with Mum's hospitalization.  I didn't let any of those excuses hold me back or stop me ... I spent the week leading up to race day freaking out, worried about how prepared I wasn't and so on.  As Nike says: "Just Do It" and that's what I intended to do.  My goal was just to cross the finish line, I didn't care how I did it, or how long it would take!

This is what Freakin' Dark O'Clock looks like!

I woke up Sunday morning at Freakin' Dark O'Clock!  Not my favourite time of the day.  With my bag packed the night before, and running clothes set out, I made a fantastic protein smoothie for breakfast and set out for what I was considering to be the craziest day of my life!

Can't you tell I LOVE mornings?  Ready to head to Amy's
See the nervous smiles?

I met up with my friends Amy and Marline.  Amy was supposed to walk the 1/2 marathon (21.1 K) but she sadly declared when I saw her at the end of August that she was "broken again" but that she would be my "Race Day Bitch" aka: chauffeur, photographer, Sherpa, water boy and more!  I couldn't turn that down.  Amy was going to take care of both Marline and I that day, Marline was doing her first race ever, the 5K event and I was doing the 1/2 marathon (did I mention that's 21.1K?). 

Marline and I in our Army Run swag.  Black = 1/2 marathon, White = 5K

The morning started off cold, pretty darned cold!  I started the morning in a sweater but I gave it to Amy once I went to find my starting corral.  I didn't want to be burdened and I knew as soon as I got started I would be warm enough.  By the end of my race, it was a perfect day, sunny and 20c the conditions couldn't of been better!

Injured Soldiers at the start line

The 5K race started at 8am.  There was lots of ceremony to the event, the Governor General's Band was there to lead us through O'Canada, there were MC's, lots of press and more.  The start the race with the injured soldiers who get a head start.  That was one of the most emotional things I have ever witnessed!  You saw all kinds of injured soldiers some in chairs, some with one prosthetic leg, some with two.  There were wheelchairs, crutches, canes and more.  It was truly moving to see all these men and women whose life have been changed forever serving our country.  Marline used to serve in the military and she was doing the race with a friend of hers who was injured while in the service, she's in a back brace.  Amy and I both had tears rolling down our faces.  Then the 5K runners were off!

5K runners waiting to start

Not long after they took off, I had time for a quick visit to the porta-potty and I had to go find my corral.  I had initially pegged myself as finishing in 2hr 30min.  I knew after the summer I had that this wasn't a reality, I figured I would be more in the 3hr range.  The next thing I knew the Howlizter Cannon went off and it was time to get moving!  I turned my music on as I crossed the start line and off I went to conquer 21.1 K as best as I could!

Getting a high-five from Marline at the 18K mark

The course took us past Parliament Hill, The Supreme Court, National Library & Archives Canada, National War Museum, across the river and into the province of Quebec for a jog through downtown Hull, back across the Alexandria Bridge, past the National Art Gallery, National Mint, 24 Sussex Drive (the PM's house) and up to Rideau Hall then back towards the Rideau Center, down once side of the Rideau Canal across it and back up the other side to the finish line.

My initial goal was to run as long as I could, I figured somewhere between 5-8K the do the rest of the distance at a run/walk (10 min/1 min).  I even surprised myself and RAN THE FIRST 14 KM!  Well over half of the distance!

Mark who already ran the 1/2 marathon talking me through the last 2K to the finish line

I knew a couple of other people who were running the 1/2 Marathon that day.  My buddy Mark from Taekwon-do passed me when I was at the 3K mark and he was at the 6K mark.  Carrie from work passed when I was at the 14K mark and she at the 16K mark.  It really was a bolster to see friends running too!  I had the best surprise when I hit the 19K mark and I was starting to run out of steam and my body was starting to protest.  Mark who had already ran the 1/2 marathon was waiting for me and asked me if I'd like him to run the last few KMs with me.  I certainly didn't turn down the offer.  Mark was amazing, he kept up this continuous pep-talk to keep my moving and my spirits up when I was nearing the end of my endurance.  Because of Mark I finished, and I finished strong!


I couldn't believe it as the finish line came into sight and I saw 2:55:10 on the clock!  I was going to cross the line in UNDER 3 hours!  2:49:42.6 was my official time when you take into account the time difference between the gun going off and when I actually crossed the start line.

Receiving my medal at the finish line from a Canadian Soldier

Nice touch, dog tags for medals!

 Looking amazingly happy and fresh after running 21.1KM (are you tired of hearing that?  I'm not!)

This was one of the most amazing, empowering, and positive moments in my life!  Right now I feel like I could do anything!  I'd like to think that one of my strengths is how when I put my mind to accomplishing something I WILL accomplish it no matter how hard the challenge is.

Cooling down after the race... got one of those cool silver blankies too!  Made a great super-hero cape!

I went from this fat, unhealthy 200+ pound girl in 2007 who the only time you would of seen her running was out of a burning building, to running a 1/2 Marathon 21.1 K!!!

You can do truly amazing things when you're stubborn!


Freddysmama (Kirstin) said...

Dani, what an inspiration.

Congratulations on your run and bigger congratulations on being the girl who CAN run a half marathon.

Very, very well done.


valerie said...

Wow, Dani! That's awesome and inspirational. You've certainly come a long way. Congrats on finishing under your time and sticking with it!

Christine said...

Congratulations, Dani!! Way to go!!!

Mouse said...

wow babes way to go ... SOOOO proud you did it and with lots of wonderful friends to help you when the going got tuff ... I used to love running but now the body won't let me and I've to do it all in my head 5 miles everyday heheheh .... love mouse xxxx

Judith said...


Lesleyanne said...

Wow Dani congratulations. A great post. You did great.

Lonneke said...

You rock! Excellent job done.

Beauty Bonnet said...

congratulations on your run! way to go, 21k!!! fantastic! so inspiring.

Karen said...

Awesome job!

Oma said...

Awesome Dani! Glad your Mom is feeling better. My daughter is a runner too and she has done either a half or full in Ottawa. Her hubby comes from Ottawa. Here is her blog:

She has inspired a lot of women & men to reach their weight loss goals.

Vonna said...

That is amazing Dani, I never had a doubt you'd finish less than strong :)

Doris said...

wow Dani 21 Km. amazing!! congratulations!!

Barbi said...

What an awesome day! You're an inspiration to this 200+ girl! :)

Teresa said...

Great Job. You should be very proud of yourself.
Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches

Bette said...

What a wonderful inspiration you are to me! Next time I don't want to do something, I'll remember this.

Valerie said...

Oh, Dani! Congratulations! What an empowering story! YOU ROCK!!

I can only imagine how inspiring it must have been to see the wounded warriors running alongside of you!

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story! YOU GO GIRL!

Anonymous said...

You are a true inspiration Dani! Thanks to your example I ran my first 10K this year (and beat the time I set out!)!!!
I think your last line should be "You can do truly amazing things when you are dedicated!" Because you definitely are!
1/2 marathon is awesome as is you beating your set time! Way to go!!

Stacey in NS

mdgtjulie said...

Oh, Dani, well done. You did an amazing job. Big grats to you. I'm sure your mom is so proud of you. Maybe it will lift her spirits to hear of your accomplishment. I'm impressed. My asthma won't let me do anything!!!

Felicity said...

Congratulations, Danni, on a job well done!!! Hugs

Melanie said...

Yay!!!!! ROCKING IT!!!

Shelleen said...

Congrats on the weight loss and the marathon.

Lynn said...

You go girl!! Congrats!

Silverlotus said...

Congratulations! You really are an inspiration.

Carol said...

I'm so proud of you, Dani!! Congratulations on a great run!!

Blu said...

Kudos to you Dani!
It's just inspiring to hear about.

Brigitte said...

Oh my, WOW!!!!!! What an awesome post. *You* are awesome.
And good to read in a previous post that your mother is doing better.

Sally said...

Wow Dani you are one amazing lady and a true inspiration:) Congratulations!

ollie1976 said...

Awesome job Dani!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lucy said...


Aussie Stitcher said...

Dani, that is a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I am so proud of you!

geeky Heather said...

Dani, you rock. In stereo!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Dani! That is truly an admirable effort ! Ann

Suzanne said...

Congratulations! You should be very proud of yourself.