10 Thoughts I Had While Running a Half Marathon

A new blog series kicks off today! 10 Thoughts I Had While.... will give you a bit of a glimpse into my thought process during certain tasks


Just a little glimpse, some perspective. Today...10 Thoughts I Had While Running a Half Marathon

1. I'm pretty sure I heard Owen go into our bedroom before I even left the house. Man that's early! Colin's not going to like that at all.

2. How are we only to Wharncliffe?!

3.I really need to get some long sleeved shirts that will stay down and not roll when I run.

4. I. Just. Stopped. Traffic. That is so cool! How many people can say that they had a police officer stop traffic so they could run through a major intersection!?

5. Gotta pee gotta pee gotta pee gotta pee. PORTA POTTY!

6. Photographer! Better start running! Smile! Cheese!

7. That is NOT 17km! Wait. Is it? Hot damn I hope so. Oh wait...nope...7km.

8. I freaking love this song (Shut Up And Dance) *wiggles bum and laughs*

9. I got signs!!! They made me signs!

10. That's my husband!!! That's Colin! Oh here comes Owen...*crying*

and a bonus thought: I can't wait to sit down. All I wanted at the end of the race was to get out my running gear and into comfy clothes and a different pair of shoes!

Have you run a long race before? What was going through your brain?


My First Half #fcrr #doinit

It's been two days since I ran my first half marathon. While I'm sure I'm still processing exactly what I just did, I do have a few thoughts that I want to share.

After rehabbing my knee and building strength in my legs for almost seven weeks, I put my training to the test and set out with determination and heart. I wasn't sure what to expect. All I knew is that I had a great playlist, and that my friends and family were waiting for me at the finish line. Right from the first bend, I was at the back of the pack. I'm not going to lie, I wanted to cry right away. I immediately felt defeated and, well, like I was last.

Then my bff Heather drove by and her son, Tyler, was hanging out the window yelling at me and cheering me on. With a big smile on my face, my step picked up a bit and I went on my way. It was exactly the encouragement that I needed in that moment.

I could feel that there was a bike following me about 1.5mi into the course, and met Kathleen my bike pacer. She was lovely and such a great encouragement throughout the race. It was so nice to walk/run with her, especially throughout the University campus.

 I was really happy with my pace for the first 6.2miles, and then my knee started to hurt.

The kind of hurt that throbs in one location and then shoots down through your leg. It did not feel good even a little bit, so I knew that I was in for a long haul of walk/run splits, with more walking than running. It was about that time that I text my husband to let him know that I was in pain and not sure what to do. He was great at telling me that I would finish what I started and could do it.

Kathleen stayed with me until about 10miles then went ahead and I never saw her again. If you ever read this, Kathleen, you are amazing. You talked the whole time about how I inspired you...and you had it totally backwards. You started running in 2012...and now are a triathlete at 54years old. That's incredible. Seriously, incredible. Thank you for sharing your journey with me!

After getting through Gibbons Park for the second time, and getting up that darn hill I could see Central Ave. up ahead. I sent my husband another text to let him know where I was and hobbled along. At this point, I was limping a little and favouring my right leg, but I kept going. One last set of lights and I was practically there.

I round the bend onto Wellington Rd. and then I saw them. Friends. Family. Husband. And kiddo...out Owen came onto the road and started running toward me. I couldn't hold it in anymore and just started bawling. I heard their cheers and saw my best friend jumping. I saw their signs and smiles.

And then I ran.

Hand in hand with my son, I ran to that finish line and we crossed it smiling, together. For as long as I live, I will never forget that feeling and the sound of my best friend yelling YA YOU DID when I picked up the pace.

Running a half marathon is very likely the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Yes, including giving birth. While my thoughts went from why did I decide to do this? to I will finish. Just 4/3/2/1 more miles, I finished.

I finished.
I ran a half marathon!

Up next? Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon in June!

A great big thanks to all of you for supporting me on my training. Your cheers on the Nike app, comments on Instagram and emails filled me with an immense amount of determination. My leggings were sponsored by Evelynn by Nicole Snobelen, who was a dream to work with! To my friends with signs, yelling and hollaring...you made my heart so happy when I saw you. To my husband for pushing me to run when I really didn't want to, and encouraging me every step of the way...I love you so much. 

And Owen. Oh Owen. Thank you. Thank you for holding my hand and telling me to run faster to get to the finish. I love you so, so much, Bear! 


When It's Time to Slow Down #FCRR #doinit

You know that time when you didn't listen to your body? When you looked at your training schedule, and against our better judgment still went to the training run and thought oh well maybe the cold air will clear out my congested lungs and I'll feel great!, only to have to turn back a half mile into your run and call it a day?

That was me this past Sunday at the FCRR Farm Boy training run. To say I was disappointed when I circled back in an understatement, but I am actually quite thankful that it happened. I needed for it to happen.

I got to talking with Shauna, the Community Director, and she put things into incredible perspective for me. She used to run nationally...on scholarship...like, one of those amazing runners that I look up to and admire. She was telling me about the training group she leads and the amazing athletes that she works with on a daily basis. Individuals who run for the fun of it, who just want to have a fantastic experience. Sure, she used to be competitive but now it's about the experience. The fun. The miles run. The distance.

Not. The. Pace.

These winter training runs have been difficult, and fitting them into a busy, fulltime work-from-home mom schedule isn't for the faint of heart. Add in two sick kiddos...whew!

When all of the runners came back, we started talking about when you listen to your body. Rest days are meant for resting, not for running. If you're sick, sit out your training run. What I love about this group and #FCRR is that everyone just wants you to finish...it doesn't matter if you are first or if you are last. Your community is there, supporting you and cheering you on, while you do your best.

1 mile
5 miles
13.1 miles

At the end of the day, it's all the same, and all that matters is that I got out there and tried. This training experience has been amazing so far, for so many unexpected reasons.

80 days to go!

Looking to ramp up your training?

I could ramble on for days about how supportive everyone is at the #FCRR training runs. They aren't about racing, and it's not about time. It's not about being a super-athlete. It's about trying your best, putting one foot in front of the other, and enjoying every moment.


Half Marathon Training and Self Doubt #fcrr #doinit

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been in half marathon training mode. I'm trying to run every other day, most times it works out to be three runs a week. I was following the Half Marathon Training app for iPhone and after conquering the Walt Disney World 10km earlier this month, it felt really strange to go back to short runs with 60 sec/90 sec run/walk splits.

Weird as in I didn't like it...not one bit.

So, I set out to make up my own calendar with distances in mind. Time and pace aren't my focus right now; completing the full 13.1mi is.

I had my first scheduled training run yesterday. It was -11C (12F), slightly windy and I was all bundled up and ready to go. It had snowed overnight, with a little freezing rain, but the roads were dry and clear so running should have been nice and easy.
A photo posted by Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei (@sweetstellas) on

Should is the operative word there.

I had my zaggora hot pants on, so I was pretty warm, but they are capris so my calves got pretty cold and then started cramping. I tried to ignore it, and ran in .5mi splits which seemed to help them recover but boy oh boy...did I ever feel like a snail trying to run in peanut butter!

So often this thought crept into my head...

What in the $%ll am I doing thinking that I can run a half marathon? This is insane! What am I thinking!?

When the 2mi marker chimed in my ear, I knew that the end was so close and I started to consider a few things.

I have a six month old baby, who was napping while I was out running.
Of course my pelvis is going to be sore when I run...I have a six month old baby.
I got back to running just 23 days postpartum.
I've run in six events since having Graeme.
I have a six month old baby...and I'm kicking some serious running ass.

My pace may have been slow as molasses in, well, January, but I was out there. My feet were cold and wet...but I was there. My nose was running and I was cold with sweat...but I was there.

And I will be there...every step and every mile of that Half Marathon in April.

When doubt creeps its way into your brain, sometimes you need to consider just how far you've come and how hard you're working toward that goal.


From Tampons to Half Marathons #fcrr #doinit

So something happened on Tuesday night. My friend Jen, of Suburban Hippie Homestead, and I met up with some of the Forest City Road Races runners for Tampon Tuesday.

What is Tampon Tuesday? Well, it's a local networking event where your admission is a feminine hygiene product that gets donated to local shelters, schools, the food bank etc. It's a chance for people that you would never see or chat with about your business, goals, or in our case running the Forest City Road Races, to connect and share.

So, what happened? How did my pack of tampons turn into a half marathon?

While we were listening to Alyssa Jarvis of the London Food Bank talk about the Business Cares Food Drive, it hit me that there is so much more out there that I could be doing with my running. I mean....I finished Insanity, so why not a half marathon?

Then Shauna, the FCRR Community Director, got up there and kinda knocked my socks off. She said a word that I am all too familiar with...


What are we here for if not to run with purpose?

So there...there we have it. Purpose lit a fire under neath my soles and I am determined to run the half marathon at Forest City Road Races in April 2015. Sure, I won't finish first and yes, there is a distinct possibility that I will be last. But I will be there putting one foot in front of the other. I will be there pushing myself.

I will be there with purpose.

Will you?


Two 5km's...One Weekend #fcrr #doinit

Well friends...my 2014 race season has come to a close with the Santa Shuffle in London, Ontario this past weekend.

Dressed as snowmen, we ran in support of the Salvation Army. I was pretty darn happy with my pace, and it was a great training run for WDW10km! The atmosphere was super festive; most everyone was dressed up, there was holiday music playing as we ran the track and hot cocoa waiting for us at the end!

Then of Sunday, I joined up with the Forest City Road Races folks for our first training run!

You may have seen on Facebook and Instagram, I was recently named one of the ambassadors for the 2015 Forest City Road Races! I'm so excited to have found a community where I feel at home. Everyone was super welcoming, and it was actually my first time running without music and for the purpose of enjoying the company of other runners.

It was awesome. We chatted about our reasons for running, why we started and what our goals are. I talked about my weight loss journey, and how I've been working really hard over the past year to lace up and get out there.

We finished our 5km training run at Farm Boy, who greeted us with hot coffee, bananas and energy bars!

And then I started thinking about my goals for 2015. Aside from WDW10km, what do I want to accomplish?

Two words.

Half Marathon.

Stay tuned!