Building the Stamina

My half marathon goal was set at a time when I was at a high in my running ‘career.’  I use the word career lightly because I am still particularly new when it comes to running.  I am not a pro by any means.  I have come quite far from my first real race running experience in high school.  I ran in university, sometimes dragging unwilling roomies with me on the neighbourhood hills. I ran through the woods with my roomie Jay and got frustrated when he schooled me with his speedy feet. I ran when I moved to Jasper, sometimes on the treadmill and sometimes on trail around Lac Beauvert.  I ran when I moved home for four months trying to figure out what to do after university, making 8pm winter night runs my snowy friend.

When I moved to Toronto, I didn’t really know that many people.  I met up with my big sister Andreea from my sorority and we reconnected.  Aside from the overall excitement of actually realizing that I knew a few people in the huge city (being the small town girl that I am) much to might delight, she mentioned joining a running group.  Having already run solo for the longest time, the idea of sharing one of my passions with someone else was awesome! (as corny as that sounds.)  We joined a women’s only Learn to Run clinic through the Running Room downtown and the rest is history.

At first I was skeptical about the whole clinic idea.  I mean it’s easy to run, right? Step 1: Put shoes on feet. Step 2: Move feet faster than walking pace.  (At least that’s how I always thought of it…) However, after a quick introduction to running in my clinic I realized it was much more than that.  For the first time I was learning how to build a running base that used the right techniques and introduced me to ways in which I could really use my body to maximize my overall performance.

If you had told me that I would ever be running 5k I would have laughed.  If you told me I would be running at 10k I would have laughed and then asked if you were crazy.

I ran three times a week minimum.  At first I did 2 minute running stints in between 1 minute intervals of walking.  I thought I’d never be able to run for 10 minutes, let alone complete a race.  As I am sure you can imagine though, my bad attitude quickly changed; I met people who felt the same way as me at first, and made it to half marathons and marathons.  I wanted to be like them.

I ran my first race with my friend Kim.  I met her through the Running Room.  We ran the Nike 10k from Rosedale.  Man I thought I was going to die.  We had trained, but the race started with a huge hill.  Kim kept pushing me through some of the hardest parts.  Her positive attitude helped me, since mine can waiver at times when I am running slowly like a turtle up a hill 😉  I was glad to have her there.  My first race was over an hour. I had wanted to get under an hour, which I realize at the time was quite the lofty goal.

I learned a lot from that first race:

1-  Train more

2-  Train with more hills

3- Run with someone who helps you improve your own attitude

4- Don’t beat yourself up about your time, be happy that you finished

5-You may not be the best runner, but you’re doing much better than the old you that used to just sit on the couch and watch Ironman’s on TV.

I did it.

I finished.

I wasn’t fast, but I had a place in a race.  I had a t-shirt to prove it, and really… what’s better than that? 😉

This led, years later to my very first half marathon. *happy dance* 😀


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