October’s health and fitness feature is not surprisingly about last Sunday’s Okanagan Marathon. They say runners can dissect a boring 30 minute run into days of conversations if they have a listening ear and needless to say post-marathon talks can last months... or at least until the next race or training cycle begins.
As a lifelong athlete, I’ve always been a big believer in the power of sport. Mad shared a quote the other day about flipping to the sports section of a newspaper first because it showcases accomplishments rather than the failures that most often end up on the front page. And it’s true. If you’re ever looking for a boost of positivity, head to the end of a race. The cheers, determination, and pure joy as people cross the finish line are enough to turn anyone’s day around.
This is exactly what running brings to my life, dedication and happiness. I find it extremely fulfilling to train hard for a race and then watch all the early mornings and tough workouts come together on race day. As Oprah said, “running is the greatest metaphor for life” and she’s right, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
Last week, I ran my third full marathon after training in less than ideal conditions. During my four months of marathon training, I worked a full-time internship and part-time job and then moved across the country to start a new full-time job while studying for a Master’s degree and settling in a new province. Balancing all of these things while chasing a big marathon PR (personal record) was not easy but funny enough exactly what I needed and reminded me that when you value something or someone enough, you will always make the time.
Lining up bright and early last Sunday morning, I was full of emotions. Grateful to have made it to the start line injury free, confident in my training, relieved at the perfect marathon weather, excited to see my hard work come together, proud to have trained so hard during such a hectic time in my life, and of course a few nervous butterflies were fluttering around. I ran the first 10 miles with my head – smart and easy, the second 10 miles with my legs – pushing myself to increase my pace, and the final 6.2 with my heart – giving everything I had left in me. I crossed the finish line in 3:38:01 which was an almost 16 minute PR for me from the Ottawa Marathon in May and a 22 minute improvement from my first marathon exactly one year ago today in Toronto.
A finish line is just the start of something new and I’m looking forward to spending the next few months running some shorter races and then kicking off marathon #4 training at the start of 2018. I have some big goals to chase and I couldn’t be more excited!