See that smile on my face? That's why I run. A lot of people think I’m crazy when they find out I’ve run up to 50km but it’s all relative. I have friends that train to do a 5km and I have friends that run 100 miles. It’s getting out there and doing it that matters. And it helps if you like doing it!
I started running when I was 23, when my boyfriend at the time had signed up to do the Manitoba Marathon. It intrigued me so I signed up for the half marathon and started pounding the pavement, running part of the perimeter highway in Winnipeg to get my kilometers in. I loved and hated it but I had a goal to complete my first half marathon. I wasn’t a fast runner but was surprised how emotional crossing the finish line was. And when I did, I said I’m never doing that again!
I still ran short distances on and off when I moved to Calgary and Edmonton. I signed up for a gym membership and met with a personal trainer who warned me that running wasn’t good for a woman my age (I was 35!). Since I wasn’t in love with it I used it as an excuse to quit.
In the middle of winter in 2010 a good friend of mine invited me out to her running group, which she promised was fun and social. And it was (one reason why I still run)! There were walkers and runners and ultrarunners. One day I was asked to fill in for an injured runner for a leg of the Death Race. If they were asking me I knew they were desperate. Since I love helping people and it was downhill I agreed. That’s when I discovered trail running! How did I not know about this? Out running in nature, breathing fresh air and completely zenning out while being aware of rocks and roots on the trail (best reason why I run). I was hooked! I did another leg the following year and then for Sinister 7. At home I signed up for the Five Peaks races. I still wasn’t a fast runner but I discovered I could do distance. Soon I was running 25kms on hilly terrain at the Blackfoot Ultra and then I ran the Skyline trail, the Grizzly Ultra 50km and the Blackfoot Ultra 50km. And don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy! Spending a chunk of every weekend doing a long run, some minor injuries, various weather conditions and finding the motivation were all challenging. But never, ever, did I regret any of my runs. Getting out the door was sometimes hard but I always felt better after I warmed up and was always glad I had done it. And when you’re spending that much time with a running buddy, you get to know EVERYTHING about them!
The year I signed up to do my first 80km, my metatarsals started dropping which caused Morton’s Neuroma (pain and numbness). I was told to stop running and the worst thing was they couldn’t give me an idea of if and when I could run again. Running was all I did, I didn’t like anything else. After about a year of doing nothing I got depressed. Running was my life and also my social life. Eventually I tried biking and aquacise. It wasn’t the same but at least it was something. I finally resumed running this year. I may never do another 50km but now I’m grateful for each run I get.
While I was injured, I heard a doctor acquaintance of mine talking about these stubborn injured athletes. These patients who were told to give up their sport, would beg and plead with them that there must be something else that could be done for them. These doctors were frustrated by how these patients just don’t get it. They’re done, it’s over, simple as that. And sure, maybe it was for some or all of them but what these doctors don’t understand is that it isn’t just a sport to them. It’s their life! It’s difficult to understand if you haven’t been there and I thought about how I would try to explain it to them. So here is why I run. I run for exercise, for weight loss, for better health. I run to meditate, think better and improve my memory. I run because it doesn’t require a lot of equipment, it’s not expensive and you can do it anywhere. I run for the outdoors, fresh air and scenery. I run for community and my social life. I run for more energy, for stress relief, to commit to goals and increase my confidence.
And so my question to you is, why aren't you running?