In elementary school, I was one of those kids who hated gym class.
Sports and I did not agree. I felt embarrassed and pudgy.
Fast-forward 20 years and here I am, about to run my first race. When I think about the upcoming Marathon by the Sea, and my first 5-miler (8 k), I get excited and just a little scared. I’m really going to do it!
Here is why this event means a lot to me:
About three years ago, I went through a very tough time, personally. A lot of change and a lot of upheaval. Inspired by some friends, I started to run. Just a little at first. Run two minutes, walk one minute, and repeat.
It was so hard at first. I would come home and lay on the floor, nauseous. It’s because I was so out of shape. I don’t think I had ever really been in shape my whole life.
But I kept going. I printed out a 5-km training plan from the internet, and within a couple months, I could run 15 minutes without stopping, walk one minute, and run another 13 minutes.
That was 2009, and since then I have kept it up. Nothing crazy, but just a couple runs a week. I shed some pounds, and became much more aware of my health. It lifted my spirit and boosted my confidence.
I decided to get a gym membership and kept going. More classes, more strength, more endurance. Then I hit the pavement more. This summer, I’ve been averaging 20-kilometres a week.
I never considered myself serious enough to enter a race, but this year I thought, what the heck. I think I could do it. So I lengthened my distance a bit, and last Sunday, ran the 8-km route for Sunday’s race without a hitch.
The feeling of knowing I can do this is incredibly uplifting. How does something so physical mean something so much more? Any runner will tell you – there’s more to it than the physical strenuousness, getting in the zone, feeling the burn.
It’s smelling sweet blossoms, or the salty ocean breeze. It’s the feeling of using every ounce of strength to get up a hill, then ride the wind back down.
Now, I’ll get that feeling with hundreds of other people. Crossing a finish line.
It’s like a badge for me: April, you got through this bit. Now, you can do anything.