After taking part in The Brickyard Beast on Sunday I was thinking about my running and how it all started. In the winter of 2007 I was working for F.K. Warren Ltd. in Halifax, NS and the company had a staff membership for the gym in the Delta Hotel. I didn’t have my own gym membership because I felt intimidated by the men in the weight rooms and was unsure of what to do. Running was the easiest way for me to get exercise and all I had to get was the right pair of sneakers.
I had always been active as a kid and played Ringette for almost 20 years but running was a different thing all together than being on skates. One day on my lunch break I went to the gym and just started running on the treadmill. I can’t remember how long I ran for to start with but I am sure it wasn’t long. I would continue to do this on my lunch breaks. I never ran outside though because I didn’t want anyone to see me running and it wasn’t nice weather.
I had no idea what my form should be like for running or what kind of training I should be doing. I didn’t know anything about speed, pace or interval training. I just ran. My body and joints didn’t hurt while doing it so I figured I must be doing something right.
As May 2007 approached I decided that I would register to run the 10k in the Bluenose Marathon. I had never ran a race before and the thought of it scared me but I would try it. The day came and my grandmother, Nan as I like to call her had come from Port Williams, NS to cheer me on and support me. When I woke that morning it was pouring down rain and the roads had pools of water in them. It was cold and just miserable. I hummed and hawed and finally decided that I wasn’t going to run.
Those of you reading this that know me now know that rain isn’t going to stop me from running no matter what the reason I am running for – fun or race. I get out there. But at the time I had maybe only ever done a half a dozen runs outside and the rest had been on the treadmill. I didn’t have the gear for outside running and looking back now I was probably also just scared. I didn’t know what I was up against. Could I run a race?
I continued to run a few times a week. As the weather started to get nicer I would head outside to run but if it rained I didn’t go.
In February 2008 I met Warren in Halifax while he was on a course for the military. He was active and was doing a lot of cycling but wasn’t doing a lot of running. Warren left Halifax in April 2008 and the Bluenose run was coming up again in May. I had been thinking about signing up again for it since I was more prepared for running outside but I was going to wait until closer to the day to register; in case there was rain in the forecast.
Warren finished his course in April and headed back to Victoria, BC. He knew I was thinking of running the race again and one day while at work I got a registration email from the Bluenose Marathon that said I was registered for the 10k race. WHAT! How could that be? I didn’t sign up. Following that email was one from Warren letting me know that he had. That meant to me that I could not back out of the run even if it was pouring rain, hail and crazy winds. I was running!
I was working for Doctors Nova Scotia at the time and there are a few runners in the office. I asked Kerry, who organizes and leads the Kids’ Run Club through Doctors Nova Scotia if she could help me with speed work and things that would help my running. She told me about fartlek training and I remember laughing hearing the word. I also started running with Samantha, who I worked with and she introduced me to Sandi and Jackie who run as well. I was learning more about running.
Race day came and I had asked Warren the day before what I should eat for breakfast? He had told me rice and eggs…not a huge bowl of it but just enough to fill me and give me some carbs and protein for running. Looking back now and remembering how I felt that day while running, rice and eggs were not right for me and but I have now figured out that toast with peanut butter and a banana work best for me on race day.
I was nervous but the day was a beautiful one. The sun was shining and I was hoping for the best. I got into the corral and waited for the start. I could see my Nan close by and I was happy for her being there. 3,2,1 and I was off. I remember being hot as I was running because I had so many layers on. Looking back now you can tell I was a ‘newbie’ runner. I got a side stitch while running and tried to run through it but had to stop and walk a couple of times. I remember seeing Theresa, one of my instructors from CompuCollege cheering me on and that helped to motivate me.
I had set a time of 50 minutes in my head to finish the race in but didn’t know about pace or had a watch that told me my pace or distance while running. I was just running. I crossed the finish line at 51:35 and I could barely breathe. I can remember the volunteers trying to move me through the corral to get my timing chip off me but I just needed water and to stop. I made my way through and got my phone from my Nan. I had told Warren I would call him as soon as I was done. When I spoke to him I started to cry. I was so proud of myself for running the run and also that he had signed me up. It was a great moment and one I won’t forget.
I have come a long way since 2008. I have run many races ranging in distance from 5k to half marathons and even done a few duathlons. I go to the gym regularly and I am not intimated by the men in the weight room. I meet a group regularly on Wednesday nights and do speed and interval training. I know my pace when I run and have a Garmin 410 that tells me that and how far I have run. I enjoy just going out to run for me as a way to clear my head and for exercise. I also enjoy running as a quicker way to explore new towns, cities or areas. I run for me.
Why do you run? What got you started?