Thursday, March 25, 2010

Am I a Runner Yet? As it was in the beginning...

Am I a runner yet? Since I was in grade school I always wanted to run, I always wanted to be great and always thought that since I wasn't exactly the most coordinated person I could aleast run, but somehow that never worked out for me. In grade 11 I ran a 1500m in door and came dead last. At that moment I decided that I am just not a runner. This would also be a good time to mention that my perfect brother and my dad are indeed runners. Everything my brother touches turns to gold... seriously he doesn't even train and he is out there running like he has ran every day for 10 years. And my dad well he has ran his whole life completing several marathons. It is just a natural thing for them so why not me?
In March 2008, I hurt my back so badly that I thought I was surely doing to die. After many trips to the ER, they finally figured out that I had 2 slipped discs and would need surgery. At a very young 26 years old I had back surgery. At this time I was told that I would never be able to lift anything over 10 lbs... darn there goes my chance of being a body builder.... kidding! Seriously, it was major, I was way to young for this. The doctors recommended swimming but I have never been a really big fan of swimming. I was fearful of hurting my back again and knew that I had to be careful.
When my dad, who is definitely a runner, turned 47 he announced to me and my brother that for his 50th birthday he would like us to run the Detroit Marathon with him. OMG... I thought hahaha, funny, but I was really thinking... I wish. I had been out to cheer my dad on several times at the Detroit Free Press Marathon and would get the overwhelming feeling that I want to do this, but then I went home, back to life, school and work and it was never more than a thought. But my dad giving everything for his kids, I thought I can do this for him; it may take me 24 hours and it may even mean I end up in ICU, but what kind of daughter would I be if I didn't try? And secretly I was excited to embark on the challenge, knowing full well that it would be an up hill battle.
A year ago I joined a 5k clinic at the Running Room in London. I remember that first night me and my bestie, Meagen ran for about 20 mins doing a 5 min run and then a 1 min walk break. It almost killed me. Yeah sure I tried to look all calm and collected but I really thought my heart was gonna jump out of my chest. Boy oh boy, almost 8 years without gym class, 2 University degrees and working like a dog the entire time sure did absolutely nothing for my cardio fitness level. That night we went to Costco, ate a giant hot dog and could barely walk to the car afterwards.
But we persevered, we did our first 5k race in 37mins 3 weeks later. I almost threw up at the finish line. My dad ran this 5k with me too, actually I think I looked back once or twice and I swear he was walking, but he was proud and he probably knew it was just the beginning; after all I am his daughter!
A few weeks later Meagen and I ran another 5k coming in at 5 mins faster than our first 5k race. We were thrilled, progress was being made and fast. I was already hooked.
I wanted more. After finishing up the 5k clinic I decided to go for the 10k clinic. This came with more training, better gear and more of a commitment. Our instructor was amazing and I was so grateful to have her cheering us on and motivating us to stick with it. We also started to develop friendships. I mean come on, if you can sweat and heavily breath all over another person while running for many kilometers at least 3 times a week, it must be real! The friends I have made are to be cherished and although my dad always says he likes running because he can do it on his own (true!), I like having my friends there and I look forward to our runs, even if it means complaining the whole way along!
After a very steamy goal 10k race in Niagara On the Lake which wasn't anywhere near any water at all, in fact it was on a stinky farm with no shade, it was 40 degrees and we sweltered. My dad tagged along on this one too! I was disappointed with my time at this race but it was 40 degrees! My dad, who likes the heat... ewww, jogged alongside with me, carrying 2 cups of water so I would have some when I need it.
At this point I thought... nope not a runner yet... I wanted more and a friend said lets do the Disney Half Marathon... yeah ok, that will never happen I am just pretending I am a runner! Two weeks later I mailed in my application and a cheque. I was doing it. With no clinic to train for the Disney Half Marathon we did it by ourselves. This is where my running buddies come in, they did it with us, they got me to Disney and if it wasn't for them I would have likely been picked up by the bus that picks up the people that cannot maintain the minimum pace.
Whilst training for the Disney Half we also did a Relay for the Detroit Marathon which was awesome. I ran the leg that went through the tunnel which was really cool! We had shirts made and our team of 4 included my brother and my 2 friends that completed Disney with me. We were called "You, Me, Her and Him" It was great fun, the only sad part was my dad was supposed to run the full as per usual, but he got sick and had to skip it but he was there cheering us on... as per usual!
During this time we also ran the Detroit Zoo Race, my brother with little to no training won 2nd place in his age division... told you... perfect! Lol! We also ran the Turkey Trot also in Detroit and the Running Room's Resolution Run on New Years Eve here in London, again with my dad and my brother and of course my fearless running companions.
Then came Disney. So it may have been more like Antarctica than Florida, it may have been raining, snowing and hailing but it was incredible. 21.1k and I did it. It took me 2hrs and 36 magical minutes running from Epcot through Magic Kingdom and back to Epcot it was insane. The whole time I couldn't believe I was doing it! Moments after I crossed the finish line I called my dad. I think I was more surprised than he was that I finsihed, yes it hurt, yes it stung but I did it! It also touched me to know several of my running friends were tracking me online. I actually had to text one them for my official time but I still asked myself: Am I a runner now?"
Back in London it was time to really start training with the half marathon clinic. We have 2 amazing instructors that really keep us motivated and make us believe in ourselves. Hills, speed work, tempo runs we do it all. It is hard to believe that we are almost at the end of this clinic, how fast the time flies. April 11th, 2010 will be my second half marathon "Run for Retina" I am hoping for a PB! My dad will be there and of course all my running friends I will keep you posted on my progress and hopefully as a friend just said about her blog, the blog will keep me accountable and maybe inspire others!
I think I am embarking on the Marathon Clinic next... even though I ask myself: "Am I a Runner Yet?!"

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