I’ve been a runner now for a little over 3 years, my first race being the 2010 Goodlife Fitness Half Marathon and my most recent race being pretty much 3 years to the date that I started running was the 2013 Niagara Ultra 50K — my very first Ultramarathon. This story was published a couple of years ago by Running Room Magazine and is included below:
The fact that I went from having my tennis season cut short in the summer of 2009 because of a weight-related foot injury to running a 30K race last weekend is something that I am truly proud of.
To run this distance you have to be fit. Losing 60 lbs certainly helped; but there’s SO MUCH MORE to it. The training that’s involved. It could be -20 in the windchill. It won’t matter. I’m still going to run. My boyfriend carries earmuffs for me when we go for walks, he can’t believe it when I say I don’t feel the cold anymore. You get numbed after running for a couple of hours before the sun has a chance to rise.
It’s all been worth it though. I like being fit. I never thought I’d become a runner. This was something I did as a one-off at the end of June last year, purely because I wanted to get a workout in when I was visiting friends in Kitchener. That was a 5K jog. A few weeks later I asked that same friend if we could go for another 5K jog. Always the same rule — if one of us has to stop or slow down, we both do.
The next month another close friend of mine was entered in a team race that involved each runner doing 3 legs of about 10K each in a distance that would span about 240K in the course of about 36 hours. I almost puked with nerves when he sprung on me at the very last moment that our 5K run was now going to be a 10K. I hadn’t run 10K’s since I was 20 years old back in the summer of 1992!!! Wouldn’t you know it but this same friend would, in 6 weeks time, ask me to compete with him in the Half Marathon (21.1K). I had 3 weeks to train.
The Half Marathon was such a rush! At this distance we’re talking about severely honed athletes. None of this recreational jog stuff. This was about people with about 5% body fat effortlessly doing windsprints to warm up before the start. Heady stuff. And I loved every moment of it. Even when I forgot that the finish was NOT at College (Queen’s Park) but a full subway stop further at Wellesley (Queen’s Park CIRCLE!).
After the Half, did I stop running? NO. My casual summer fling with running had become a serious long-term relationship. I couldn’t sleep from the runners’ high that I kept feeling and ended up, in the middle of the night, booking a room at the Sheraton in Hamilton and signing myself up for my first 30K race. A logical stepping stone for the marathon that I will be in come May.
The Hamilton race had it all. A runner screaming in agony at the 25K mark as he desperately tried to stretch out a quad that refused to work anymore. Another runner on the ground a mere metres away from the finish line. And me, sprinting passed several runners as I gunned it to the finish line while the people in the stands erupted. Were they cheering for me? Not specifically. They were cheering for all of us. Because when you run, you cheer eachother on. You encourage eachother. It’s a sport and it can be competitive. But mostly it’s about competing with yourself. Pushing yourself to better yourself.
Cheering for eachother. Encouraging eachother. And giving it your all to be better. It’s running. And it’s life.
Thank you to everyone who has cheered me on and trained with me. Hopefully I can cheer you on too!