Journeys and Destinations

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You could train. You could get really fit and you could race!

-Philip, August 2010

At the time those words sounded absurd. I had been running 5 kilometres once a week. Laps around Queen’s Park Circle just up the street from where I live. My strategy with the laps so close to home? I could bail at any time. Moreover, should the run go very badly I passed no less than two hospitals on the return to my apartment. Four if you include a cancer hospital and the Hospital for Sick Kids.

Philip was a cross country running star in his youth. His older brother Anthony trained as an Olympic-calibre speedskater. Athletics are the norm in their household and athleticism is clearly in their genes. I on the other was blessed with stubby legs, asthmatic lungs, and a propensity to hang on to fat that would rival Glenn Close’s attachment to Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction. Perhaps even more vital, I had no desire to train, get really fit and race.

But when the prospect of running in the 2010 Goodlife Half Marathon teamed with my upcoming 39th birthday, I found myself training. Midlife crises are a b*tch, aren’t they?

I had no idea what I was doing. To this day I still haven’t seriously followed any training guides. I didn’t run fartleks. I ran long runs on a treadmill. I didn’t taper. I didn’t know what tapering was. And I only had 17 days between registering and racing; what tapering???? But come race day, armed with my Visa rewards card in the event that I wanted to flag a cab and yes, bail, I took to the start line.

Three years have gone by. Now I run 4 times a week. I strength train 5 days a week. I don’t eat after 5 p.m. I’m in bed at 9 and I’m up at 5. I’m not exactly certain how I got here. But I like where I am. Sometimes life really isn’t about the destination as much as it’s about the journey.

Unless of course the destination is the next finish line!

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