In 2009, my brother told me that if I did the Valley Harvest 5k, that he would pay my entrance fee. I was fairly overweight, but had been exercising, and thought pft! 5k...that's nothing! Well, I ran maybe half of a kilometre, and thought I was dying. I ended up walking the rest. And from that moment I made a decision to learn to run. I joined a class with the Running Room in Bedford, NS, and my journey to becoming a runner was born.
In all honesty, it took me a really long time to be able to call myself a runner. I felt like a fraud, because I was painfully slow, and couldn't manage to run more than 5k - that is, with walking breaks every ten minutes or so. But, after many 5k races and a couple of 10s, I signed up for my first half marathon which was set to take place in 2011. I had also made a decision that in the year I turned 30 I would run a full marathon.
Unfortunately, I really hurt myself running the half. I have arthritis in both of my knees, but significantly more so in my left one. Running, oddly enough, started as a way to suppress the pain I'd been experiencing related to my arthritis. For the most part it worked, but leading up to the half, I returned to school, and as a result, my training gradually became less and less. I did complete all 21.1k, at very slow time, which I cannot remember. But afterwards, I had an on and off relationship with it, until finally about a year or so ago I decided it was too painful to continue.
Here's perhaps the real confession - I tried to convince myself that I hated it. The truth is, I really missed it. I missed the satisfaction of completing a run - not necessarily a race - and the sense of accomplishment from doing so. I missed having a group of fellow runners to encourage me, and push me, and support me along the way. And alas, I have found it once again.
Five weeks ago I began slowly building my way back to "runner" status. A couple of friends asked to join me upon hearing I was going to start, and since then we have been takin' to the streets three days a week. We started by running a minute and walking three, repeating the intervals multiple times. But today was a real win - I hit a new personal best.
Before today, the longest I had ever run straight was 12 minutes. Maybe that seems impressive, maybe it doesn't. But this morning, in nearly 20° temperatures, with the sun beating down on us, I surpassed it. I, along with my two running pals, somehow managed to run for a solid 20 minutes straight - no breaks. That is a pretty big jump from the struggle of 'one on, one off' that we started from only a few weeks ago! I feel good - healthy. I feel that sense of pride and accomplishment I had years before. And I gotta say, it feels great to, once again, be able to say, that I am a RUNNER!
|Post run selfie!|
(Photo credit: MaCris Gurierrez Cottle)