Very important disclaimer

Please be advised that the contents of this blog are opinions only (my opinion, the opinions of my family and the opinions of anyone else directly or indirectly involed in this blog). This is not an accredited training blog, nor is it an accredited anything blog. If you (and you) do anything that this blog says, or don't do anything that this site says not to do, and you get injured, sick or killed, you cannot blame me or my family or blame anyone else directly or indirectly involved in this blog. By reading anything on this blog (including this message) you are saying that you are a person who makes thier own choices in life and does not hold the writer of this blog, the writers family or any one else that may be directly or indirectly involved in the production or writing of this blog, responsible for your stupid and irresponsible behaviors, injuries, sicknesses or deaths. With that said, please enjoy my fun blog.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Guest blogger story…

In the midst of a somewhat trying day, this story shows up in my inbox. I won’t reveal the writer, some of you will know tho, and if you do know, go up to this person and say ‘thank you, thank you for sharing this story’. My story is similar and different, like most people who run, but overall, this story bonds us as runners, as we see ourselves in so much of this.

Why do you run? It seems like a simple enough question, at least until I really started thinking about it. Then I realized that I have many answers and that throughout my running “career” the answer has changed many times.

I’ve been running for about ten years now off and on. The off is usually due to injury, but it’s been more on than off lately. And, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have amazing people to run with and motivate me. But, at the end of the day when I’d rather curl up on the couch with a glass of wine, or in the early morning when I’d rather be curled up in bed next to my husband, why do I still head out the door and run?

In high school I started running for exercise and because it was something my mom had always talked about loving. I wasn’t consistent and I wasn’t fast, but it was the first time I ran for the sake of running.

In the first and second year of university I ran because I had gotten fat in first year. I had packed on the freshman 40 and was trying desperately to lose it. It didn’t really work but sometime during my attempt to lose weight I realized that I liked those runs and that’s when it really began.

When I realized I actually liked running was the same time my first real running buddy came along. We ran through wind, rain, snow, exams, and the big questions and decisions that start showing up in your early 20s. We even ran our first 10km race together. Things were going really well and we set our sights on the Ottawa half marathon. We started training and had a plan all laid out – we even registered for the race. Then I went on an incredible, but gruelling hike of the Grand Canyon which destroyed my hip flexor. After trying to struggle through some training unsuccessfully, the first attempt at the half marathon was called off. My friend and I kept running together for another year discussing world events, boys, and what on earth we were going to do with our lives while we also learned about hills, tempo runs, and intervals. Then my friend graduated and went to Africa to volunteer.

That summer I met another friend at work and we started running together a couple of times a week. Things were back on track. Nagging injuries had been fixed, I wasn’t fat anymore, and I was motivated with a new person to talk to while running. Too bad it only lasted for a summer...

The final year of university I needed a new running buddy. I recruited my roommate and best friend and coaxed her into doing her first 10km. Then about four months into our running I ended up with a fractured foot and multiple stress fractures from running. This led to six months off and people began to realize that I’m a lot friendlier and happier when I am running.

During my 6 months off from running I graduated from university, travelled for six weeks and moved to Edmonton where I knew absolutely no one. I was ready to start running again and I was looking for a buddy. A guy at work started running with me and it was great. It was competitive and I was pushed and motivated by him. Then I started dating him and he pretty much stopped running the day we started dating. We’re married now and I still can’t get him to run.

While in Edmonton I decided to start training for my second half marathon attempt. Things were going really well and I was committed to getting my runs in, maybe a little too committed. One afternoon I was supposed to get a run in but everybody from work was going out for drinks. I decided to still go for the run and then meet them afterwards, still sweaty from running. Bad decision. That afternoon in bright daylight, on a busy path where people walk their dogs after work, I was attacked by a man in a uniform. It was supposed to be a great run. I had new shoes, and a new iPod, and it was a beautiful June day. I said hi to a man I thought was a Fireman as I stepped onto the trail and started my run. About 3km into my run I heard footsteps coming behind me and I moved over so that the person could pass me but the footsteps moved over too and they got faster. That’s the instant I knew that something very bad was going to happen to me. The uniformed man tackled me from behind and sent me flying onto the gravel pathway. I don’t think I yelled, but I fought. I fought with everything I had and when he took off I started chasing him. I was catching up to him too. But, then I thought that he might have a weapon and I stopped chasing him. The police never found the asshole who attacked me, but he picked the wrong person to mess with and I hope that someday he will get the punishment he deserves.Thank you.

This was almost the quitting point for me. Some guy stole my freedom. He took away my ability to run off my stress and enjoy the outdoors on a beautiful pathway system. I’ve never been a treadmill runner and I didn’t want to start. I didn’t quit. I’d joined a Running Room clinic to train for the Victoria half marathon and I honestly believe that if I hadn’t already been in that clinic when I was attacked I would have quit running.

Once my physical injuries from the attack had healed I was back running and I was on a mission. I told myself that I had to finish that half marathon to prove that the guy who attacked me hadn’t won, that he hadn’t taken from me something that I loved so much. So I did hills, and tempo runs, and speedwork like my life depended on it, or at least my freedom. In the end, the half marathon attempt was unsuccessful. A hiking injury on the West Coast Trail ended half marathon attempt number two.

A couple of months after my hiking injury had healed I was transferred to Calgary and looking for people to run with. Another friend, who I’d worked with a couple of years before, turned out to be living just a short drive from me. I had a running buddy again and I started the half marathon pitch. Once I roped her in we signed up for a Running Room clinic and finally made it to the start line for the race. It was perfect. I was finally going to run a half marathon on my 26th birthday, in Vancouver, with my soon to be husband cheering me on. And it was great, and I finished it, and I had finally proven that that guy in Edmonton hadn’t stopped me.

Now I’m running for me. I’m not running because my mom raves about it, or to lose weight, or to prove that some asshole can’t stop me. Yes, running is good for you, and it is a great stress reliever, and it does keep my jeans from getting too tight. But right now I run for the friendship and conversation I find in group runs, for the sense of accomplishment I get after finishing a hard workout, for the calm that comes over me while I’m running, and for the personal satisfaction I get from being able to honestly say “Yes, I’m a runner.” I’m sure my reasons for running will change again, but for now I’m running for the most selfish of reasons and I’m loving it.

Thank you…

1 comment:

  1. It's never easy, is it? But then it always comes down to "I do it because I do it."