Countdown to Running a Half-Marathon: Motivation
It was a drab spring day. The early days of spring when the weather is still cool and the trees are still bare, cloudy. At the time I was working a job where my schedule was all over the place. Nights, days, weekends. I never exercised.
I haven't been much of a workout/athletic type person my whole life, excluding one year in 2nd-year university when I taught myself how to be a strong front-crawler in the pool. I actually got quite good at it and was swimming lengths for up to 40 minutes some days. But then summer came, and like many students I went home, started my summer waitressing job, became a beach bum, and gave up on it.
This past March things changed. I was tired of feeling sluggish, weak, and flabby. I had switched doctors a few months before, and although my weight, cholesterol and blood-work were all normal, he kept pushing I do cardio for my overall health. I said, “Doesn’t walking to the subway and hoofing it up the stairs to the bus everyday count?” He said, “Maybe if you were eighty.” I still didn’t listen.
I used to relish in the fact that I could eat what I wanted without ever really thinking about my weight. But after I turned 25, I noticed my body started changing. Just one weekend away at my parent’s house and I would gain 3-5 pounds! Okay, some of it was probably water weight, or a food baby, but still!!
My turning point came one day when I was home alone before an evening shift at work. I was tired of being lazy, watching TV, doing nothing some days. So I put on some running shoes I had for two years that looked as new as the day I bought them and went for a jog outside.
My first day out I jogged/walked 8km there and back. I was pretty proud of myself for achieving the distance. Running it without stopping wasn’t as important to me as the distance. All I could talk about was how far I went. I was psyched and had to try it again.
The next time I wanted to see how long I could jog/run without stopping. So I used a trusty little website my friend told me about, www.mapmyrun.com. You basically map the distance you are going using a map online and it can tell you how many miles or km’s you trek.
I thought 5km or approximately 3-miles was a reasonably achievable distance without stopping. To my surprise I succeeded, stopping only once to see if I was going in the right direction. I think the key was that I went so slow! I remember thinking people can probably walk as fast as I’m going. After about five minutes I didn’t care what I looked like anymore, I was focused on not getting a cramp! I kept saying to myself “slow and steady wins the race!” Cheesy? Maybe. But it worked.
Two weeks after that day I worked up to running my first 10km in an 1hr and 15mins. I have no idea if this is good, still don’t, and don’t really care. Again, I was all obsessed with the distance. I stopped for two minutes when it was time to turn around, at the half-way point.
I was so proud of running my first 10km that I took a picture of myself with my camera as soon as I got in the door. It sounds gross, maybe weird, but I wanted to capture how hard I worked (i.e. how much I sweat!).
When I was past the half-way point during my first 10km, I started to get a little emotional (I can be a very emotional person sometimes). But I remember saying to myself, “I can do it! I can do a half-marathon! I’m doing 10km with barely any training – I can really do it!”
That day after my run I looked up half-marathons in my area. I eventually signed up for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon that is taking place September 27th, 2009 – a day before my 26th birthday. So I guess this is my present to myself!
I think what originally got me motivated to get active was seeing other runners prepare for a race one day. At the time I was working in TV helping to cover the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon in 2008. I was covering the day before the race when all the runners get their running packages and details before the big day. There were dozens of booths set up with fitness gear, and other running/nutrition and fitness information.
It was a great energy there, and afterwards I brought home a pamphlet about that race and told my boyfriend I wanted to do it the following year. I was serious about it, and now almost a year later I’m doing a half-marathon. I decided to go with the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront race because of its terrain, less hills!
I’ve had some hurdles with keeping my training on track over the past couple of months but I know I will finish the race. That’s my goal.
In these next five weeks I’ll be blogging about my experiences training leading up to the big day! Stay tuned!