I'm a runner........

A year ago I did not consider myself a runner.  In fact I wasn’t athletic at all.  I had quit yoga, stopped going to the gym and aside from the occasional bike ride and daily walks with my dog I was pretty much a couch potato.  I had plenty of excuses…………too busy, too tired, too stressed……..but honestly, I had just lost some of my enthusiasm and I was lazy.  I knew something had to change and I knew for me, that meant having an end result to focus on.  I also knew that I wanted to complete a marathon before my 50th birthday and this was only 18 months away.  So I made a decision.  I was going to run the Disney Marathon in 2015.  Awesome…..decision made…….but still, no action.  Then sometime in March I saw a post from a friend saying she had just signed up for the Disney marathon - really?  already?  So I asked her a few questions, found out this race always sells out fast and if I was serious, I’d better register now.  I told Carl and Stephanie (my husband and daughter) that I was thinking of doing this and Stephanie told me she’d join me.  So I registered us both for the race and got to work. 

Our first run happened shortly after that.  It was brutal.  We ran about 3 km - actually, in all fairness, Steph ran, I was in a daze.  I had a hard time breathing, my legs ached and for a minute I thought, “what am I doing?  this is insane.  there’s no way I’ll be able to do this 14 more times………” and I had to have a heart to heart talk with myself.  Of course, this was tough…….I hadn’t run for years but I had months to prepare and if I was committed, I’d improve.  We’d take our dog out with us and she’d run so fast, Stephanie was being pulled along, that is until we started doing 5km runs.  Then she, like her master was needing to be dragged behind Stephanie just to keep up.  It did get easier though and I think I knew this was all real when I went to a retreat and not only did I take my running gear but I actually got up early and went for a run alone one morning.  Hey, I’m a runner.  

Then we started doing longer runs, first there were the 8K’s, then 12, then 15, 20, 25 and so on.  These long runs tested me and I used all the tools in my tool box to get through them.  I would use Belief Re-patterning to get over the challenges and always kept the end result in mind.  I used mantras, visualization, reward systems (when I get to that tree/sign/road I can walk) and music to make the miles go by.  The end of each run always provided me with an amazing feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment and I held onto that when the middle challenged me.  We ran in sunshine, wind, snow, on paths, ice, gravel.  We were on track and all was good in the world.  

Then about 4 weeks before the actual event on our 29K run, both Stephanie and I got injured.  She had to end the run and I kept going only to realize when I got home that I had injured my achilles on my right foot.  No big deal, I thought, I’d just ice it and take it easy.  The next day it wasn’t better, in fact my other ankle was now swollen and so sore I could barely walk.  Injuries were not in my plan and I was bummed.  I checked with some of my running friends and asked about what my options were.  Should I do the cross trainer?  Maybe just walk?  Run through the pain?  I needed to do something but what?  Every single person I asked said REST.  No running, no walking, no cross training.  Just ice, rest and heal.  I figured I’d be ready to go in a week, maybe two.  This was not the case.  I didn’t feel healthy enough to run again until less than a week before the actual marathon.  I ran 5K on our new treadmill and although I didn’t feel 100% healed, I was confident I could finish the race. 

The emotions I felt leading up to the event were all over the place.  This whole race thing was new to me.  I’d never participated in more than a 5K run before (okay, I did do a 60K walk over two days but this felt different) and there were 26,000 people running the marathon.  It was crazy.  The energy was intense and powerful, the people were for the most part really friendly, excited and like us, eager to get started.  We waited in our corral - the last to leave - while 16 other groups went ahead of us.  It was 4:15 am when we arrived at the race event.  It was 6:00 am before we actually started to run.  Stephanie and I held hands as we crossed the start line and we were off…………

Now remember, this was a Disney run and so much of it was magical.  There were photo opportunities all along the race with every character you can imagine.  We ran through The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot.  We experienced cold, rain, sunshine, wind.  There were so many amazing volunteers and spectators along the route, cheering us on and in some cases making us laugh.  One of my favourite signs read “This seemed like a good idea 6 months ago”…….one of the most touching said “We are more inspired by the last 100 than the first 100” and the one that made me laugh out loud, “You’ve done stupider things than this when you’ve been drunk”.  There were highs and lows but never once did we doubt we would finish.  At times I was inspired by Stephanie and just followed behind her as she set the pace.  At times I knew I had to keep moving and would check behind periodically to make sure she was still with me.  At the 26 mile mark the emotions were so powerful.  For a short stretch there are few people except runners and as I looked around at the people beside, behind and in front of me, I suspect we were all feeling the same thing…….we have .2 more miles to go and we are really going to finish.  

Crossing the finish line was a little surreal.  Just as we started holding hands, we ended the same way.  We’d done it.  Months of training and encouraging each other had all come to this point.  We had achieved what we wanted to.  We’d completed the race injury free and it felt amazing.  When they place the medal over my neck I was so proud of myself.  I'd completed my first marathon before age 50 and I’d done it with one of my favourite people in the whole world.  This was a feel good moment for me!!!  And just one more reminder that I can do anything I want, if I want it enough and am willing to do the work……….hmmmmm I wonder where my next race will be.  Oh yeah, I’ll be doing this again.  

Word of the week - Connected