During this morning’s run, my mind was wandering (as it often does when I’m running) and I got to thinking about my first “real” run. What do I mean by that?
Well, prior to the run in question, running was something I did as a last resort when I couldn’t fit a cardio class into my schedule. When that happened, I’d head out on a short 5 kilometre route around my neighbourhood and would usually walk for about half of it. I made no effort to improve my distance or speed. The idea was to just get through it so I could say I got in a workout that day.
Then, in May of last year, Josh and some of his co-workers signed up for a half marathon in Whitby. On race day, I went with him to cheer him on, spent about an hour and a half reading a book at Tim Hortons then went to the finish line to greet him there. I was so proud of him when he crossed the finish line although nothing about the expression on his face sparked any desire within me to ever attempt such a feat:
After a barbecue at his co-worker’s house, Josh came back to my place and took a well-deserved nap. Since I had missed my morning workout to go to Whitby with him, I decided to go for a quick run/walk while he slept.
I set out to do my usual 5K route, but this time it was different. When I got to the point where I’d usually start walking, I decided to keep going. I thought to myself, “if all of those people – many of whom are not runners or even regular exercisers — could finish a half-marathon, there was no reason why I shouldn’t be able to run 5 kilometres without stopping.” And that’s exactly what I did.
So what changed? Was I any more fit at that moment than the previous times I’d gone out for a run? Nope. The only thing that changed was my mindset. I committed to finishing that run and once I decided to do it, nothing was going to stop me.
I remember getting home and being so excited to tell Josh I’d finally run 5K without stopping to walk. I felt good about myself and that motivated me to continue improving. A month later, I signed up for a 10K and spent the next two months gradually increasing my distance until I could run 10 kilometres without stopping.
After the 10K, I continued running for a few months but then it got cold outside and I stopped. Now that it’s summer again, I’m once again enjoying the challenge of increasing my distance a little bit more every week. And I owe it all to that one little run… (and to Josh for being a badass and running a half-marathon!)
Question for runners: What was a turning point for you on your journey to becoming a runner?