Like everyone there is always a beginning, a story. This is my story, the long road that has led me to today, a runner.
When I was young I was very active, most would say I climbed the walls. I grew up in Cambridge with my best friend Tobey R, like everyone who grew up in the 80’s we spent most of our time outside. We would ride our bikes, skip on the driveway, and make leaf mazes in the backyard. Sometimes at dusk the neighborhood kids would gather for a game of hide and seek, it would span over the yards of several houses and included hiding places like up in a tree. The tree was my favorite even though I got caught every time… and I could never beat the person back to home. Tobey and I played on most of the sports teams together in elementary school including the cross-country team. Tobey was fast, far faster than I no matter how hard I tried to keep up. We used to dream of being in the Olympics, Tobey as a runner and as for me…. I didn’t care what it was for I liked everything. Around grade 6 I was no longer interested in running. As I moved on to secondary school I continued with sports, and tried to make the track team. It was determined I was much better at throwing events than I was at running, and I was introduced to Field Hockey, and fell in love. At first I was a forward, but soon found my home in the net as goalie. I couldn’t run fast enough or long enough to play the field I think, at any rate, the goalie didn’t have to run so it worked out well for me. From grades 7-12 Field Hockey and Shot Put were my events of choice, with a little volleyball during the off seasons.
Heading into my final year of High School I was a far different path that the one we used to dream of when walking ( what seemed at the time the very long walk) to school. I started to suffer from Major Depression, started smoking to get back at the world. Yes I know the world really didn’t care but it was what it was. A way to show I was having a hard time, I don’t know anymore. By the spring of grade 12 my depression landed me in hospital for a short while, where I was forced to sit and make some pretty hard choices. I could decide to continue to be unhappy with everything and everyone, or I could make a change, see the positive, find my-self worth, and work towards becoming the person I really wanted to be. I decided to make the change, but by then I was a solid smoker eventually leading to smoking 1.5 packs a day. I got out of hospital, started to make new friends one of whom became my boyfriend for 3 years. During that year I had to decide what I wanted to do for a living. I had wanted to be a police officer for some time, but I loved to cook and thought being a chef would also be a great choice. It was a hard decision, but I decided I wanted to go into policing. I went off to college eventually landing my first full-time security job.
By this time I smoked heavily, worked shifts and was starting to gain weight. I didn’t exercise short of constant foot patrols at work. I quickly became unhealthy, and was told I needed to quit smoking if I wanted to live very long. On New Year’s Eve (Dec 31 2000) just before midnight, I had my last cigarette. While the first couple of weeks were a struggle, I did it, I quit! I have never turned back… headed into my 15th year smoke free now.
Eventually I added a second security job which quickly led to a third security job. My life was changing fast, I became a workaholic and loved every minute of it. After a while three jobs became two. I had lost the extra weight, I felt great, I was happy, but I was still no runner! I spent some time in the gym over these years, and could manage 30 min on a treadmill, but I had no interested in running outside. After a while the workouts faded away as usual… like the typical New Year’s Resolution. But in these years I met my now husband Brian, my best friend Nancy W, and many other wonderful people along the way. Brian and I married in 2007 and I downsized to one full-time job. I was ready, I wanted a family. But the slowdown cause weight gain, then came along our son. Not so long after that came our daughter. Both packing on the extra weight. I got a treadmill, tried to follow a carb free diet… it lasted about three weeks. I eventually was inspired to try Herbal Magic weight loss system. I loved my coaches, I loved the program, and after several months I lost 55 inches over my whole body. I went from wearing a size 16 pant to an 8! I was healthy and happy, but like all good things it didn’t last. It was entirely my fault, I still like junk food too much and have difficulty with the off switch. I bumped up to a size 14 and decided it was time to act again. In the fall of 2013 I ran the Colour Me Rad run with friends from work. I hadn’t trained for it, but I did ok. We guessed my time was somewhere around 38-40 minutes. Of course I hurt from head to toe after that. But I kept thinking, hey I didn’t do so bad maybe I should start running.
Finally in the spring of 2014 Tobey now a personal trainer, convinced Nancy and I to join her 10 week fit challenge. We accepted. I tried to keep up, but her work outs were killing me. Sooo much pain in those early days. I decided to go back on the Herbal Magic System as well, but this time a change. While I was too sore to do one of Tobey’s workouts I decided to give the old treadmill another try. First time on, 30 min steady no problems. Heck even my legs were feeling better. By the end of the first week I took to the great outdoors. There I was out for a run, but nowhere to go. I did a loop I had regularly walked when the kids were small. Before I knew it I had run the whole thing without stopping. If you asked me that day if I would ever consider myself a runner, or if I would ever consider running more than that 3km I would have told you no, this is enough. Well here I am, less than a year later HOOKED on running! I never did finish that 10 week challenge; I found I much preferred to be out running, than trying to keep up with one of Tobey’s grueling workouts. I signed up for a 5km race in June, about 6 weeks after my first run. On June 15 2014 I completed the 5km Waterloo Classic with a chip time of 00:32:21 at a 6:39 min/km pace. I was excited and signed up for several more races. Needless to say I was now a runner.
As for Nancy, she kept up with the healthy eating, seeing her personal trainer, and Tobey’s workouts for a while. She even started running too, along with a few friends from work. Nancy had this idea that the few of us new runners should have a challenge, something we could stick to but still be difficult. She challenged us to run 100 kms in 10 weeks. I reached that goal in 7 weeks, and just kept right on going. Until right about that 10 week mark when I suffered my first injury.
Right from the start I didn’t use a program, I didn’t follow any set routine. I put on my shoes headed out the door and pushed myself to keep on going. The whole time I thought it would be like everything else, I would start and never finish. But I got bit by the running bug. Now even when I am too tired or just don’t feel like running, it’s all I think about and I can’t turn back now!