I never thought I would be one of those people that says, “I’m going for a run, see you in a couple of hours.” For many years I ran for cardio to lose weight, but I never enjoyed the actual process until now. It wasn’t until last year that I can officially claim to be a runner. Running has become an escape; a way to see my surroundings from an organic perspective.
Last year, a girlfriend encouraged me to run a half marathon as I was running 5 times a week, averaging 30km a week. She assured me that all I would have to do, was add one long run a week to what I was already doing. After careful consideration, I decided that I needed a challenge, something to measure my progress against. As fate would have it, the Rock’N’Roll marathon was hosting its inaugural Vancouver event for 2014, and I thought, “how perfect, the first Vancouver Rock’n’Roll would be my first half marathon.” And just like that I stopped listening to the, self-doubting part of my brain.
I had never run the distance of a half-marathon before, it was double the distance that I had run in the past, so understandably I was nervous, and unsure of what to expect. I used the book, “Running: The Complete Guide to Building Your Running Program”, by John Stanton, as my training guide. As I completed each week’s long run my confidence gradually increased.
When the day finally came, I was ready, I knew without a doubt that I would cross the finish line, my goal was two hours and thirty minutes. I started the run off slow, at the beginning I spent a lot of time distracted by my hydration belt. After the first 10km I unloaded the bottles, making it easier to enjoy the last 11km. As I neared the end of the run I felt strong enough to sprint across the finish line. I waved to my cheering family as I ran past to cross the finish line, a different person than when I started two hours fourteen minutes and fourteen seconds before.
During this training process, I would get lost in the rhythm of the run, reflecting on my past, and looking towards my future. I came to the conclusion that in order to better understand who we are, we have to move beyond the perception of our capabilities. If we push beyond what we have done before, we can look back at our old selves, and analyze things about the person we once were.
I have endured, and overcome things I never imagine possible. Those experiences took things from me that I will never get back; but those same experiences left me with the things that can never be taken away, things that make up the very foundation of who I am.
Fundamentally, whether it’s 21.1km, or personal tragedy, when we endure and survive, our expectations of what we can live through changes. We train and prepare ourselves, and every so often we are given or choose opportunities to go beyond the status quo, to enter new territory.
You are forever changed by your greatest attempts, if you run farther than you ever have, you are guaranteed to arrive somewhere new.