Over the course of the last few years, I have taken up running (if you know me at all or follow me on social media, this is not news). For many years prior to becoming a runner, I found a fitness routine through walking and practicing yoga (although I was never a totally committed yogi, I did have spurts of commitment along the way). Generally, I enjoyed lacing up my runners and going for a brisk walk down Wellington Crescent. I also consistently used walking as my mode of transportation to/from work, school, etc.
I always WANTED to be a runner but running was just so frigging hard. I never really knew how to start and whenever I did start, I wound up hating it. So I stuck to walking (which is fantastic exercise in its own right!). Then in 2013, when Juliette was nearing the age of two, a few of my girlfriends took up running and were killing it at some local races. They all had young kids at home, just as I did (do) and here they were making time for themselves and their health by lacing up and hitting the pavement. I felt so inspired! And I wanted to get in on the action, too. So that fall, along with some of those gal pals, I signed up for a 10K at the WFPS Run.
All us girls cheered each other on during training and kept each other motivated along the way with upbeat text messages and kudos. It was so fun! When I finished that 10k run, I felt so proud of myself. I also felt motivated to keep moving. The following year, I ran the WFPS 10k again while I was about ten weeks pregnant. That following May, I had Miles and running took a backseat.
Okay, fast forward to 2016. After some on and off spurts of running, Jason and I relayed the Winnipeg Police Half Marathon in May and then, after some strong encouragement from a dear friend, I registered for my first half at the Manitoba Marathon.
Real talk: I was undertrained. It was a hot/muggy day. I felt awful. It took me two hours and thirty one minutes to run it… but I finished! And as soon as it was over I knew I wanted to do it again. That’s what a race finish line will do to you!
Since then, I have run three more half marathons each with increasingly faster finishing times. Last year I finished the season with a 2:04:43 at the WFPS Half Marathon just three weeks after running Seawheeze, the lululemon half, in Vancouver. I would say that 2018 is the year I felt I became a bonafide runner. It’s the year I actually started enjoying running and began to feel strong out there while pounding pavement.
My mantra became, “you’re stronger than you think you are.” I would repeat that line in my head over and over during long-run training days, speed workouts, and especially on race day.
Through my relationship with running, I’ve learned I really AM stronger than I think I am, both mentally and physically. I was never and “athletic” kid growing up and therefore never felt comfortable in the realm of sport. It intimidated me, and I felt out of place. Truthfully, I’ve always felt a little out of place in a lot of places…
What running has given me is a new sense of confidence that previously wasn’t there. The fact that I can lace up my shoes and run ten miles on a Sunday, as I did this weekend, is so gratifying to me. My body can push through fatigue and discomfort and become stronger for it. My mind helps to keep pushing me along which helps me build my mental strength and resilience.
I am stronger than I think I am.
The voice that tells me it’s too hard or too fast or that I can’t do it is slowly but surely being silenced by the voice that tells me, “You are stronger than you think you are. You are strong.”
And I believe her.