You know if someone had come to me 14 years ago and asked if I ever would become a runner, I would have laughed right in his/her face. Me? Then, I was a mother of 2 grade-school children, I barely had time to take care of myself. Being a full time mom, I was the chauffeur, I was the cook, I was the cleaner, you name it, I was wearing all hats in my household. Why would someone that busy decide to pick up running then? Sometimes, I looked back and couldn’t figure it out myself. Fourteen years is a long time. It is basically the years it takes a child to go from his/her kindergarten years to graduate Grade 12. That’s 14 years! What had I accomplished??? Today, I look back and I can very humbly tell you this: I still have a long way to go! I had gone from a sedentary housemother to someone who thinks about running daily, not a moment goes by without a running thought crossing my mind.
You might ask then, how did I get started? I was out of shape, I was not confident, I was lacking energy, I felt inferior to Moms who had a career. There was something missing. One morning, after I dropped my kids at school, I decided once and for all to should join a gym. But which one? Since my university days, that was the very last time I stepped foot into a gym. I circled around the neighborhood a couple of times, and said, ”ok, this is it!” I had my big loose sweats on over my black leggings.With a number of deep breaths, I got out and walked into the gym’s guest services desk.The manager came out,and invited me to discuss a few of my fitness goals and to fill in a basic questionnaire. I looked around and kind of felt awkward. All around me were ladies who had been working out, I totally felt out of place. I kind of made excuses and said I would come back another time.The sales kept pushing for a trial pass. Okay, since it was free, why not? I went home, thought about it and figured I had nothing to lose.The following morning, I called the gym and told them I would come in for a free trial. The sales who met me greeted me and with this clamper-looking thing. She told me to remove my sweats, so they could measure fat/body weight ratio. I reluctantly agreed, but didn’t like what I saw! Boy, I once had a figure!
Ignoring all the negative image I saw in the mirror, I signed up for basic aerobic classes, of course, I stood at the back of the class, and kind of followed along. Months passed, I was slowly seeing improvement. I was down 2 sizes, then a year later, I probably lost 10 pounds (New clothes, woo!). That kept me motivated. I started making friends, and would go off for lunches after class. I felt like a new person. I felt energetic! But… two years into aerobic daily classes, I got bored of the same routine. I told my gym buddies that I would pick up running. They laughed and bet I had too much fun to leave them! That afternoon, I went shopping for running clothes, I showed them off at the gym. I jogged-walked on the treadmill @4m.p.h.! Hey, I was proud of I what I was doing! The next 2 months, I continued taking my classes and jog-walked. Until my husband signed up the whole family for the Sun Run.
The Vancouver Sun Run, a local 10k race that draws about 40-45K participants yearly is usually the starting point for any runner. We registered for the walk group. The gun went off, I walked with the kids to about the 7K mark, and then I started ”running” my last 3K. It was so exhilarating! I did feel like a runner!
From that “inaugural” 10K, I signed up for subsequent 10K races. The Squamish 10K being my real running race, I ran the whole distance. Although I placed almost dead-last, I did not give up. I felt great that I had accomplished something I had never done before!
That Spring of 1999 began my running career. I did a couple of 8Ks, 10Ks, then onto my first half-marathon…. then full marathon! If you have read my TSFM Ambassador bio, I said, ”never be afraid to take that FIRST step, for you never know where it will lead you.” Almost exactly 14 years later, I have run over 120 races, completed 42 halfs, and 40 fulls. With hard work, determination, and perseverance, I have carved a ”little success” for myself. I had been on podiums ranging from 5Ks to fulls. Therefore, let me honestly tell you this, try to realize your own potential, fulfill your dreams, and make them a reality!
To the beginner runners, there s a whole new world out there waiting for you to explore! To the veterans, take on greater challenges and enjoy better success and accomplishments!
Before I close, I offer you this quote: Do not look for approval except for the consciousness of doing your best. –Andrew Carnegie-