As runners, we often turn to each other for inspiration and support while we progress through our personal goals. In February, I asked friends who have inspired my running journey to write a guest blog as an opportunity to share their running story. Vanessa’s February 2016 guest blog discussed her plans and goals for the upcoming running season. As of today, many of her goal races have taken place and I asked if she would write an update because she totally knocked this season out of the park! She is unstoppable, still full of positive energy and still sports a fantastic smile!
And here it is! Vanessa’s update in her own words…
“I know worst case scenario is I can walk 10 Km!”
This was my final thought from the article I wrote back in Feb 2016. Looking back to that day seems like forever ago! I was sick at the thought of signing up for my first 10 km for Maritime Race Weekend in the fall!
The question is, did I do it? No…I did not.
I trained non-stop from that moment on and found myself running my first 10 km that spring at the Bluenose instead and I survived! It was then that I started to realize that I might actually be able to keep this up! So what is a runner who has just overcome her nervousness of the 10 km to do next? She changes her Maritime Race Weekend registration from the 10 km to the Half Marathon!
That day back in May I decided I was going to give it a try. After all, what did I have to lose? I could always drop back to the 10 km last minute if I wasn’t ready, and knowing that RunningFourLove was training for her first half along with me would keep me going!
I began by joining our local running group and started on my Half Marathon training plan! Starting out was no problem, the runs were short and it didn’t take long to get used to. As time went on, it became more of a metal challenge than a physical one. Keeping my brain occupied during all those long Sunday runs was a struggle – especially as I could smell Sunday cooked dinner and BBQ as I ran through the neighbourhood!
It wasn’t long into my training that my go to person for advice, RunningFourLove, became injured and her running season was swept out from under her. Being that this half was her goal first and I was just along for the ride made the decision to continue training for the half a hard one. I didn’t think that I was capable of doing this without her advice or words of encouragement and I didn’t want to bum her out with my constant need for help! But running is in her heart and soul! It was her that convinced me I could do this, so I decided I would do this for her!
As my training went on she continued to push me when I needed to be pushed and it was thoughts of her that got me through a lot of kilometers during those dreaded long slow runs on Sunday afternoons! As the weeks went by and my kilometers increased, finding time to train became harder, especially during weekend getaways with the hubby and vacation with the kiddies! But every time I thought maybe I’ll skip this one or maybe I’ll cut this run short, I would think to myself, she would give anything to be out of her boot cast and running, so I would get up and run it for her!
When race weekend finally arrived I struggled with thoughts of not being ready. Did I do enough hills? Did I do enough speed work? Did I have enough fuel? But at this point, all I could do was go for it!
On Friday night I was excited to run with my hubby and friend Val as they both ran their first ever race at the Sunset 5 km event. This run was about them, running at their pace and joining them across the finish line. Watching the first time racers enjoy their hard earned victory was what my heart needed that night. It took away all my nerves and negative thoughts. The next morning I woke up ready to run!
My first half was both harder and easier than I had ever imagined! The mental game was easy – unlike my long slow runs there was no time to get bored. The race was a beautiful sea side route that looped up through the small community. All along the way, people and volunteers came out to cheer us on! I loved seeing each and every one of them, especially the kids, and I made sure to hi-five as many as I could along the way as a runner’s way of saying “Thanks for coming out!”. My biggest struggle was the heat. Being that I live in Northern Labrador and we had snow during that weekend, made running in the Nova Scotia heat and humidity a little challenging! I knew that this was going to be a struggle for me and I did train in everything from snow to sun, but there is nothing I hate more than running in the heat. Luckily there were far more water and cool down stations than I had thought. So with them and the amount of Gatorade I brought along, I survived.
As I started my last kilometer and could see the finish line in sight, I filled up with tears of pride. I couldn’t believe that I was almost done! All my hard work had paid off! I finished that last kilometer the same as I finished all my long runs – with thoughts of RunningFourLove and how I would run it for her. Then to my surprise there she was, standing in the shoot at the very last turn before the finish line holding out her hand waiting to run with me – fresh out of her boot cast!
It was the best and most emotional 10 seconds of the entire race! I don’t know who cried more, me or her! I went into this race with a goal of simply finishing and I did just that. After a lot of sweat and happy tears, I finished my first half marathon with my hubby, friends and “coach” there to cheer me on!
So what now…..as of today I am 59 lbs lighter than when I started this journey of mine. I am still doing Tae Kwon Do and my running has improved my endurance in Tae Kwon Do tremendously. I will be running another half marathon at the Trapline Race in Goose Bay on Thanksgiving weekend. I plan to run another half at next year’s Bluenose and perhaps sign up for my first full marathon for Maritime Race Weekend 2017!
Who am I kidding? I will be signing up for a full marathon for next year’s Maritime Race Weekend….after all…..I know worst case scenario is I can walk 42.2 kms!
A huge thank you to Vanessa for sharing again. I have read this post a dozen times before posting and it still chokes me up. I am so very proud to have been part of her amazing journey and totally can’t wait to see where she ends up next!