Running… What? It’s Not My Thing

All throughout middle and high school I thought that running is “just not my thing”. I remember those school days when during our phys ed class we did laps around the school. I always looked for ways to cut the corners around and make it shorter, without knowing that our teacher was following us, ha-ha-ha. She gave us extra laps to do and we were totally dreading that distance that took my breath away and my legs felt like they were made of steel. Even though it felt good after those runs, I wasn’t motivated to do them again.

Only did I know that one year I decided to pick up a couple of new things that I liked the least and stick to them for a while seeing where that will take me. One of them was running. Being stay at home mom for a while that was a year my son first time went to school. It was an exciting time for him and for me to support his transition to school, but at the same time, I had a bit more free time during the day. Knowing that running wasn’t my favorite thing, I found a group of women who could introduce running to me and share their love and passion.

I remember my first run as it was yesterday… It was a beautiful spring day when the sun was out, leaves were already green and birds were chirping. I met a couple of ladies from the group and we started running. They were very welcoming and learned that I haven’t run before. They started running slowly, but at the same time light and casually having a conversation on their way. I started running with them, but after a while was trying to catch my breath, not even thinking of talking on my way. Aw, how can they chat in such a relaxed way while running?  I had to mix walk and run, but did full 5 km with them! That made me so proud of myself because it seemed like a long distance for a first run.

After a while, I got better and was able to run for longer periods and walk less. I really enjoyed the social aspect of it too and learned so much about running shoes, different trails, and other things that inspired people to get better at running. As a small running group, we decided to register for a race together.

First Race – The North Face Endurance Challenge

Probably the race name didn’t register well in mind, and I thought it’s going to be just a scenic 10 km run at the beautiful Blue Mountains in Collingwood. I definitely trained for it with regular runs and hill repeat training which was new to me. I was feeling stronger running up the hill, didn’t think about also training for running down the hill (just a note to self).

North Face Endurance RunOn the race day, I was feeling very excited seeing so many runners at the start line. So much enjoyed the opening foreword, cheering, and the whole energy at the beginning of the race! It was totally amazing! Once the race started, a few surprises were on my way. The race started with a looooong uphill that was a few kilometers and I was not prepared for it at all.  It took lots of effort to get up to the top of the mountain. It really required a lot of endurance. I realized that “endurance” and “challenge” were the keywords in the race name that didn’t click my mind when I signed up for it. It was definitely an experience and the view from the top of the Blue mountain was totally stunning before the steep and long downhill! There were definitely a few lessons learned and I was happy I did it.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Check out the course to know how technical it is, what the elevation is and train accordingly.
  • No coffee on race morning to start with the lowest cortisol level, because it will naturally go up with excitement at the start line.
  • Hydrate well before the race.
  • Warm up your body before the start to get muscles and joints ready to move.

What motivates my running?

Group Trail RunningI often ask myself a question if I am running away from or towards something that I want. There are plenty of reasons to run away from things like daily problems, relationship issues, work overload, or even body pain or tension. Trust me there’s nothing wrong when you run away from these things, I did that so many times and found that I can clear my mind, reset my energy, enjoying outdoor nature, or to socialize with friends and laugh about simple things. I found that once I know why I’m running, it motivates me to get out and do it.

Running is not something you have achieved once and forgotten about, it is a lifestyle with all its ups and downs, glory and wall kicking moments. What I value the most is probably the opportunity to get better at my running technique and my pace, tackling my thoughts when it’s not so easy, and keeping it fun and engaging by connecting and lifting other beginner runners on their running journeys. What seems impossible at the beginning, like running your first 5 km, or your first race, improving your run time, etc. can become real for you once you pursue it and find likely minded people to support you.

Stay true to your running journey!

P.S. If you live in Milton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington or Mississauga you can join two amazing running group that I became part of – Milton Running Group and The Burly Trail Runners. Check them out and I hope to meet you for a group run. 😉