I can distinctly remember the summer that Jeremy (my at the time boyfriend… now most recently husband ) asked me to go for a run with him. We had just moved to Markham, and it was a beautiful day to be outside. Now, this happened on two separate occasions and let me break down what happened the first time:
The run was simple enough; run from our place straight down Brimley to Steeles, turn around and run straight back. In total, it works out to be 4.6K. We started out strong, half way to Steeles the blister began to form, at Steeles I was frustrated because Jer was running faster than I was. (I may be slightly competitive) At the last leg of the run, feeling tired, sore and just plain angry, I whimpered and looked at Jer and said
I’m not a runner. I play sports, I don’t just run. It’s not my thing.
I walked back home, feeling defeated. The next time Jer asked me to go for a run, I came on my rollerblades, and still complained. After that, he stopped asking and frankly I don’t blame him. I had tried running in the past, and always felt like I was better suited for something else. In fact, it wasn’t until I met the ladies at my bootcamp that running reentered my life, and now has actually made others look at me as *GAASSSP*
Last year a group of us at my bootcamp decided to enter in the Spartan Sprint. I had justified the “running” in the race because it was broken up with obstacles that would give me a “rest”. The barbed wire, hay bails, fire pits… all of that was fine with me, it was the running that was “tripping” me out.
As a teacher, I’m always telling students how important it is to work through peer pressure, but at this particular moment in my life it was BECAUSE of peer pressure that I was able to increase my running endurance. It was because of training for that race, running up ski hills, running on trails, over smaller rolling hills, and having a group trudging forward with me, that I have gotten my stamina where it is today! I finished that race (7K) and I can actually remember saying to myself: “THAT WAS AMAZING! I NEED MORE!”
Needless to say, that race unleashed a demon in me… one that thrives on adventure races and challenging her body and mind to push forward and continue to make progress! Two months later, a team of us completed Tough Mudder, (16K) up and down more ski hills, more obstacles and most difficult: the mental grit.
Because of the intensity of some of the obstacles, and the size of the ski hills, we did stop a lot as a team so I never really felt like I “ran” for the whole distance. So I guess what I am saying is, I STILL never considered myself a “runner”
But on Sunday, I did it.
I ran the whole time, and I ran a long distance.
Sunday, April 7th 2013, Myself and three wonderfully strong women completed our first 16K run: The Angus Glen Spring Ten Miler.
Am I going to say it was easy? No, absolutely not! Once we were past 12K, for me I needed to get out of my head! Part of me was thinking about how exhausted I was, and which body part was sore. But another part of me, the voice I’ve taught to speak LOUDER than my negative thoughts, was telling me to JUST. KEEP. GOING.
So, I took a deep breath and pushed through to cross that finish line!
The best part? Having Jeremy there watching me cross, with a huge smile on his face…waiting to say one phrase to me:
“I thought you weren’t a runner?”
Never underestimate your strength, and your determination. Your mind will quit WAY before your body ever will. I’ve been telling myself for years that running isn’t my thing. Now, I encourage women to give it a try, as they sit and tell me that exact same phrase:
“I’m not a runner”
What does that even mean? There is no definition of a runner.
“There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run” -John Bingham
The ONLY way you get better, is by doing it. Starting small, and working your way up there. Anyone can be a runner, you just have to get out there and do it.