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Sunday, May 29, 2011

5 KM Marathon Complete!!

UPDATE: Since this was my first race I didn't understand all the stats. It turns out I DID beat my goal of 48 minutes! When I look at my chip time from the start line to the finish line it took me 45:09.5!!!!!!

Okay, so it's not technically a marathon but I did it! I finished the 5 km race in 53 minutes and 30 seconds! This was the first time I've run in any event like this. I've done the CIBC Run for the Cure before but I was happy to just walk it.

Here we are before the race began

Me, Tiana, Chantal

Tiana's with her parents Phil and Lisette.

Part of the immense crowd of 5km participants.

The race started of really slowly. It took us 8 minutes to get to through the start line. It was amazing to hear everyone cheering on and it encouraged us to run as soon as there was room to. There were five of us who went to the race together. We ran the first couple minutes and then three of our group walked while Tiana and I kept running. It was nice to have a partner, and I think we ran together for the first 22 minutes. After that I went ahead and kept with my walk/jog routine.

I listened to my music for a while, but as I got to a bridge there were hundreds of cheering spectators. I felt so encouraged by the cheers that weren't just for loved ones, but for strangers as well. I almost broke into tears a few times. I was never so thankful to hit the water station and that's when the people really started to cheer. I was down to my last kilometer.

People cheered me on by name and it threw me off until I remembered my bib has my name on it! I pushed hard the last 750 meters but I knew I had to be smart so I still walked off and on, but I made it through the finish line running! On the other side of the finish line we were handed medals for completing the race.

Here are my race results:

Place: 6599th
Time: 53:30.8
Pace: 10:43
Gender Place: 3966/4584

My race shirt and medal.

Self portrait after completing the race. A very proud moment.

All in all I'm really proud of myself for accomplishing my first "marathon" and for being confident enough in myself to go ahead on my own to try and meet my goal. Yesterday I said I'd wanted to complete in 48 minutes, I didn't think about how slowly the beginning of the race would go. Still, I know I pushed myself further than I've ever pushed before and  that in itself speaks volumes.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

New Beginnings

A lot has happened since my last post. I've wanted to get back into writing, but as usual I get in my own way. Where to begin? Well, I guess I need to go back to February. My contract ended and I joined the ranks of the unemployed. At first it was great, like the vacation I could never afford to take. I was busier in the first couple of weeks than when I was working. That slowed down of course and I started the frantic search for another job. I had 3 or 4 interviews but nothing panned out. Then I hit a wall. I slumped down, way down into the depths of depression. I stopped looking for a job because it just made me feel worse.

Slowly I started to realize I needed a change. I needed a break. I was losing my mind and an opportunity came up to go to a Women's Inspirational Conference. I really wanted to go but didn't think I could afford it. In the end God and some really amazing women made it possible. I was off to Oakville for a night. The road trip was long, but it felt great to get away. There were four of us and a baby. We had a great dinner at Boston Pizza, and then relaxed in the hotel room for the evening. I must admit at first I didn't know what to do or how to just be. I'm so used to always having to do something. My roomie and I chatted for a few hours and I went to bed reading my bible. (Something I always want to do, but never do in reality.)

The next morning I woke early, read a little more in my bible and worked out in the exercise room at the hotel. It was great! The conference was at The Meeting House. Their worship team is AMAZING! The main speaker was Melinda Estabrooks from Full Circle. She was truly amazing, all of the speakers were, but Melinda really touched my heart. She shared her life with us and I found myself really connecting with her as we've been through similar events in our lives.

I realized some things while I was there. I'm really happy with the life I have now. I have an amazing husband that loves me and I have three beautiful, healthy children who drive me crazy. Of course, there are things in my life now I'd like to improve, but ultimately I'm happy. It would seem my past is still haunting me. I thought I'd let go of the past, but I realized I've just been stuffing it down. Sometimes we need to stuff it down until we are capable of really dealing with those emotions and hurts. I don't want to get too deep into it because it's stuff I have to work through on my own privately. The reason I'm getting into any of this is because all of this has led me to where I am right here and now.

The conference was on April 30th. I came home a changed woman. I read my bible every day. I am relying on my Father more. It's funny how everything links together. Our pastor recently spoke about the difference between convinced and convicted. I've spent many years knowing God exists but that's pretty much as far as it's gone. I must say since the conference I've certainly felt convicted! I got ahead of myself again...

When I got back from the conference I decided to go to the EI office to look into their starting your own business program. While I was there I picked up some information about their Second Career program. Later that night while speaking to a friend of mine she encouraged me to look at going back to school. I told her I hadn't really looked into anything and I had no idea what I would do. She suggested computer programming to which I shuddered and said no way. The one thing I did know from my previous job was that I didn't really want to do computer support any longer but I wanted to help people. Being the wonderful friend that she is...she sent me a bunch of links to courses at Algonquin. One of which was the Social Services Worker program. As I read the program and what it entails I was overcome with emotion and I knew I had to look into this further. I later found out a related degree was needed to take the intensive program. I looked at the two year program but was worried how that would affect my family.

I knew part of the Second Career program was to look at at least three colleges so I spoke with Everest and Willis Colleges. When I picture the future I don't see myself working with kids or the elderly. I see myself working with everyone in between and when I think about my past - what I've lived through - I truly believe it's been preparing me for this moment right here - right now.

The first step is to attend a Second Career info session to determine eligibility and suitability. I knew I was eligible, but when I sat down with the career counselor it looked as though my new dream would fail before it even began. You see they use a point system to determine your "suitability". Basically they want to determine if you're marketable as you are of if you need more education. She asked me the questions and I didn't get enough points. I almost started to ball. She explained that the longer I'm on EI the more points I'd get and then from out of the blue she asked me one more many years have I been doing this type of work. I told her I've been doing customer support for more than 10 years and all of a sudden I had enough points! I'm suitable! You reading this may not believe in God, but for me that was truly a moment I swear God nudged her and said "Psst, ask her this one more question..."

Monday I have another session to attend where they go over the workbook to explain how it should be filled out. Once my workbook is completed I meet with a counselor and if they recommend me for the program we send the application off. I'm excited and terrified!

If I'm approved for the Second Career program my schooling will be paid for and I'll be given a living allowance. I've decided my first choice is Everest College because the program they offer is different from the rest and more what I feel called to do. I'll be taking the Addictions and Community Services program. Ultimately, this may lead to me becoming an addictions counselor.

In other news - I'm participating in the Ottawa Race Weekend tomorrow! I'm doing the 5 km. I've been jogging 2-3 times/week. It takes me about 32 minutes for 3.37 km. I alternate walking and jogging. I predict I will finish the race in 48 minutes. That will be my goal. I  may get out today and do the full 5 km. Wish me luck!! I'll let you know how I did! Now I'm off to pick a playlist!

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