Tales from a sort-of runner

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to write a short anecdote about my recent running experience! Let me start with this disclaimer, I have never been a runner, and I still don’t entirely consider myself a runner now. I have never been able to run fast (and I still can’t) and it has taken me a long time to realize that it is not about the speed. I will let you know something embarrassing – I used to be picked last in gym class. I wish I could say it didn’t matter to me, but that’s something that actually stuck with me for a long time. I’m not sure if it was all about athletic ability or maybe popularity or a combination of both, but the label of “not athletic” stuck, especially when it came to my self-confidence. I am sure that a lot of that shame was in my head, I don’t even know for sure if it happened more than once. My friends from that time may not even remember, but that message, while damaging, has also been a great source of motivation on my journey towards health and wellness. 

Running has always been something I have struggled with. I am not kidding when I say that before I actually started training, I could barely run three minutes without stopping. It is still something I struggle with, I don’t ever feel comfortable while running. When I was in University, I had a fitness instructor who always said “make the uncomfortable you’re comfortable” and I think that is an accurate way to describe my current relationship with running. Somehow, I have just found the ability to keep pushing and not give up. Obviously this has become somewhat easier as I train and increase my distance, but it’s never easy. Running is very, very mental, and it hurts. The satisfaction I get when finishing a run however, makes it all worth it. 

What I love about running:

It’s free!

You can do it outside!

Anyone can do it! 

You don’t need any equipment!

It’s a mental workout!

You don’t need a coach!

You can go run at any time of the day!

 

Back in January I decided I was going to run my first ever 10k. Up until 3 weeks before the race, I didn’t think I could run the distance. Until I just did. Now, the distance isn’t daunting. I really want to inspire anyone who thinks that they can’t run. Believe me when I say, I was you, 4 months ago. It was a slow process, but slowly, I worked my way up, and somehow, I did it. I used this running plan, and it was amazing and easy to follow. 

The day of the race I woke up at 5:30am, nervous and excited. The day to prove myself was here. The Sporting Life 10k is a relatively easy course, and approximately 27,000 people participate each year, making it one of the biggest in North America. The course goes right down Yonge Street, Toronto’s busiest, and it is neat to see the whole street packed with runners. The environment was awesome and there was so much energy in the air. My fiancé and I started in the 4th wave, and at 8:40am, we were off! We flew through the first 5k (it is mostly downhill) and I recorded a personal best 5k time, under 30 minutes! However, things got a little more challenging after that. It was hot, and I had been used to training in cooler weather. I started to struggle around 7k and had to take a 30 second walk break, and then another again at 9k. Once I reached that point, I knew the end was near and gave it my all. We sprinted the last 500m and man did it feel amazing to cross that finish line, beating my personal best time by 2 minutes! There were so many spectators cheering us on which really helped. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do it again next year (hopefully even faster!)

Where does this leave me now? Well, my head is feeling pretty big, and I figure if I can run 10k, I can probably run 21k right? Yikes…

So there it is, I’m going to do it, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront half marathon on October 19. I might be crazy, but in the end, the race is only with myself, and it is all about finishing to the best of my ability. Plus, it sure does feel nice to say “HA!” to that voice in my head reminding me I was picked last in gym class. 

You can do it too, lace up your sneakers and get moving! Whether your goal is a half marathon, 10k, 5k or running 1k without stopping, it is possible if you set your mind to it, I promise.

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