My Running Journey: Or How I learned to Stop Thinking & Just Do It

One of the things I’d always wanted to try in life but never got around to trying until recently was running a marathon. Typically in my adult life thus far I’ve spent more time than I should indoors either studying or playing video games. Those Warcraft raids won’t finish themselves after all. However, as I get older I find myself wishing to spend more time outdoors. Part of that is realising my day job involves sitting down for 40 hours a week staring at a screen while most of my hobbies also involve sitting down and staring at a screen. So I figure something has to give. So one day I sat down with myself and told myself the same old routine isn’t going to cut it anymore. I needed to set some fitness goals for myself and stick to them.  I picked some “easy” goals based on things I was already doing and figured I’d see how they go over the summer. I used to be big into cycling when I was younger but got out of it when I moved back to Nova Scotia and went to university. Recently though I’ve gotten back into cycling with the goal of doing 100km rides by the end of the summer. In this post, I’ll focus mainly on my running goals and tell you about my cycling journey another time.

 

I’d always wanted to run a marathon and in 2016 I ran the 5k bluenose for the first time. I trained for three months before hand after never having run in my life. I think the most I ran was around 4km before the race. When I finished the race I was a hot mess. Being terribly out of shape I was a write-off the rest of the day. In 2017 I wanted to run the Bluenose again. However, I wanted to set a goal for myself that was challenging to meet but within the realm of possibility. So I signed up to run the 10km Bluenose. Seeing how the race was in May 2017 and this was November 2016 I was concerned with how I would train with winter coming and the race being in the middle of spring. So I asked the folks at the gym I wasn’t attending often enough what they thought. How do you train to run over the winter? And their advice was “Sorry, you just have to run in the snow.” After thinking it over and realising they were right I sucked it up and prepared to run in the snow. This was the time of year when it was dark at 4:30 pm so it was important to me to find a route that was well lit and well-travelled. I was jumped a few years back after dark so I’ve been nervous about long walks after dark ever since. Once you’ve done your first 5km in – 23 degree Celsius cold it gets easier to run in the winter. I found a route that was roughly 2.2 km one way from my neighbourhood with two big hills on a long well-lit street and ran that three times a week. By the time April and the spring thaw came I was very comfortable with that distance and was ready to start expanding my runs. I’d asked for advice on Facebook on how to train for your first 10km and the feedback I got was to get used to doing 5km then slowly expand your distance a bit at a time before you do a full 10km. In mid-April, I’d expanded the distance I was running and spent a few weeks getting comfortable running 6 km. near the end of April when it was no longer dark early in the evening I’d found another longer route and expanded my distance to 8 km. I found this route very comfortable and got used to running that a few times before I ran my first 10 km a week before the race.

 

So In May, I ran my first 10 km. And I was very pleased with the results. Today as of this writing all five times I have finished a 10 km run it was an hour and twenty minutes.  This makes me good that I can do this and I’m happy that my time is consistent.  During my last attempt, it was about 27 degrees Celsius outside and I thought my time was going to be terrible because I thought I was going slower than usual. But I still did my run in one hour nineteen minutes.  So that got me thinking that if the weather wasn’t so hot I would have shaved several minutes off of my final time. My original goal was to run my first half marathon during the 2018 Bluenose. But since I was doing so well this year when I signed up for the remainder of the Mountain Equipment Coop Races in the Halifax region I thought I would challenge myself. I signed up to the 10km Salt Marsh run as my ‘warm-up’ race.  And in the end of September I’m going to a 15km and the final MEC race I signed up for is at the end of October just after my birthday so I figured running a half marathon is a good way to celebrate.  I’m not completely certain it isn’t too soon to run a half-marathon. But I have plenty of time to train and get used to it. I’m looking forward to the experience and will make that the topic of a future blog. In the meantime, the point of this post is to show how if you are serious about wanting to do something you can absolutely pull it off. It takes hard work, dedication and perseverance and the goal must be realistic. But you can do anything you set mind to.

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