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Athlete of the Day

Faye Flatt from Ontario

My original goal was to complete the 1000K challenge but after successfully achieving that, I set a new goal of 2020K, after my husband saw others and suggested it. Initially, I wasn’t convinced I could do it but he did the math and convinced me I could.

Did you walk, jog or run this challenge?

To complete this challenge, I primarily walked, with the exception of January and February when I donned my snowshoes and hit the acreage behind our house.

How did you start running and why?

I don’t classify myself as a runner, although if I am out by myself, I do like to mix short jogs into my walk to increase my run time and gain cardio strength.

How often do you walk and run?

It doesn’t matter if it is raining, snowing or sunny and hot, my husband and I enjoy daily walks or hikes and snowshoeing. We started about 5 years ago, walking 3 KM and gradually doubled that to 6 KM a day! Bear sightings have curtailed extending that distance any further!

What was your greatest obstacle while aiming to reach 1000KM?

My greatest obstacle was the weather! I prefer the outdoors to inside and Northwestern Ontario winters can be brutally cold and summers brutally hot and humid! On those days, my husband was the motivator!

How do you stay motivated and find the time to walk and run?

Exercising is not an option for me … it is a necessity … not only for my physical well-being and health but for my mental as well. I was born with a somewhat rare type of Muscular Dystrophy called Facioscapulohumeral (FSHD), which primarily affects the muscles in the shoulders and face. This limits or restricts the ability to raise arms overhead, smile or close eyes completely. Some of the larger trunk muscles in the legs can be affected as well and lead to some patients requiring a wheelchair. My mother was affected and I saw her gradual deterioration until she was wheelchair-bound in her 70’s. I did not feel much of the effects of FSH until I was in my 40’s but watching her I knew one day I likely would, especially as my children were grown and life had become sedentary with an office job.

About 8 years ago, I found I could not balance on one foot long enough to take my socks off, and I was only able to raise my arms overhead to the height of my shoulders. That was my AH-HA moment, and I decided I was worth the fight!

I hired a trainer to help me work the compromised muscles in a gym with the equipment I needed. Working out once a week with my trainer plus two or three days on my own, I slowly regained my overall core strength and stamina to where I was able to participate in 5K events … even completing the “Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard” run! (Google it, you’d be amazed!).

Although mobility was my motivation, the bonus was an 80 lb weight loss that I have maintained through 5:2 Intermittent Fasting. In the last few years, I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was and that I can do so much more!

What advice would you give someone to stay focused on reaching 1000KM in 2020?

Think back to when and why you decided to start this challenge. What has changed either in your goals or motivation to reach your goal and what caused it?

Often, as we get closer to our goals, they change. Sometimes that change spurts us on to finish and set new goals, and other times, it causes obstacles, mental or physical, that slow us down. Looking back at the when and why reminds us where we were and where you are and how much closer your goal is than you may have thought.

Years ago when I was a new mother and felt I had no clue what I was doing, I told myself “I’m not as good as I’m going to be but I’m better than I was before”. This has helped me many times over the years to help me look back and see how far I’ve come and that I can continue to where I want to be!

2012 vs 2018

Faye is well on her way to reaching her 2020 goal of 2020KM! You can follow her progress here.

Great work Faye and thank you for sharing a part of your story with us!

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2 thoughts on “Faye Flatt – Canadian Athlete”

  1. Thanks, for sharing your story! My family has MD, too, and my mom always told us to keep moving so that we don’t freeze up! I’m so glad you are on the road to regaining your mobility!!

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