Posts Tagged ‘running’

We Run for Those Who Can’t

October 14, 2012

Back in the beginning of September, I received a shocking email from a neighbour. A little five year old girl from our community had been having severe abdominal pain one day so her parents took her in to CHEO. I’m sure no one could have prepared those loving parents for what they were about to hear. Their daughter was   unexpectedly and shockingly diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer.

Reading the email of this news, I sat at my kitchen table sobbing. Not understanding how the world could be so cruel. Imagining myself in that desperate situation.

Friends close the family were struggling to find some way to help, when someone came across the website for the Sears Great Canadian Run. The event is a 60 or 100 km relay from Ottawa to Montebello. Teams of up to 20 do everything they can to fundraise leading up to the event, with all money going towards children’s cancer research.

Not knowing the family at all, but incredibly moved by the story – having children of your own certainly makes these awful situations hit a little close to home- I was happy to sign up for the team.

The big day was this past weekend… and all I can say is WOW.

The event was incredible. A lot of fun and very well organized. And the most amazing part?  With just 32 teams in our little city, We raised around $250,000 towards research into curing children’s cancer! Just 32 teams! Imagine what we could do with an even bigger crowd!

My team, named Gabriella’s Groupies in honour of our little inspiration, completed 100 kms (with 8 run by yours truly). There were some stiff joints, sore muscles, and some chilly bodies. But mostly? Mostly there was a lot of fun and cheering and camraderie and support. Support for our fellow runners and support for the cause. Love for those who are fighting the “C” word right now, and love for those who have tragically lost their battles.

And you guys? There were some people RUNNING SOLO OR IN PAIRS. So yeah, do the math – that’s 50 or 1oo kms EACH! Talk about inspirational!

One of the 50km runners coming into an exchange point.

There was an awards ceremony at the end of the long day and I think it was said best by one of of the speakers. Sure, the runners may have been uncomfortable at times, pushing themselves through the kilometres. But compared to a young child dealing with cancer every. single. day…. well, a few kilometres is nothing.

Next year, I hope to see YOU out there too!

(oh – and p.s: Donations are still being accepted for this event until November 13. Donate here!)

Race to the Finish Line

June 24, 2012

I won a medal!!

Ok, so it’s not gold, not silver, not even bronze.

It’s a finishing medal, because I FINISHED A FREAKIN’ HALF MARATHON! In 2 hours and 27 minutes.

Waiting at the start line for the race to begin

I began with the 2:15 pace bunny, and for the first couple of kms I thought perhaps I was short changing myself by running with this pace group. It was easy! Running along with the pack, I was happy, my stride was good, my cardio was in check.

I was excited as I neared the 5 km mark – my parents were there cheering with my boys. I was excited to high five them and I received the nice boost of  adrenaline I was looking for.

Sometime after that point, everything became a lot more difficult. My legs felt heavy. Somehow the energy I enjoyed for those first five kms had drained out of my body. Having only completed a quarter of the race, it was time for the mind games to begin. I would not be giving up yet!

“C’mon, Andrea, you can do this!”

As the race progressed, I had to adjust my goals.

I made the conscious decision to slip back from my pace group – clearly that speed was not sustainable for me, at least not on that day.

Around kilometre 8, something really weird started to happen. I started to shiver. I felt cold.

I knew that this was not right. I’d ran at least 8 kms close to three times a week for the previous four months. This distance was not typically difficult for me.

It was a warm day, and I was running in a race. I should not be shivering!  In truth, these symptoms started to really freak me out.

Maybe it was the adrenaline. Maybe it was the fact that I couldn’t sleep the night before (nerves!) Maybe it was the fact that I was fighting a sinus infection… I will never know.

Pretty soon, it became purely about the journey. Thoughts of finishing times became a distant memory. I just wanted to cross that finish line. “It doesn’t matter what time I finish in, I just need to finish!”

My strategy?

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Life’s kind of like that sometimes isn’t it?

One small step over and over eventually led me to that blessed finish line. Familiar faces cheering in the crowd along with friendly strangers waving encouraging signs pushed me along.

The last couple of kms were painful. I could see runners dashing to the finish line on the other side of the canal. It was so close yet it felt so, so far away.

Leading up to the race I was certain that I would be a finish line crier. Scratch that – that’s not intense enough.  I was fully prepared to be a finish line bawler.

When my foot made contact with that finish line mat, I had a  gentle welling of tears, but I didn’t have anything left in me for a full on cry. In training we were told not to “leave anything on the course” and no one can ever accuse me of breaking that rule.

I proceeded down the chute, picking up my post race recovery snacks, before finally reaching the place where I would receive my medal.

“Hi Andrea! How are you feeling?” asked the lady with the stack of medals.

“Great!” I replied. “I have earned this medal with every step…”

I bowed my head so that she could place the medal around my neck.

And that’s when it happened.

The flood gates opened.

Finally realizing that I had seen this goal through to completion, my body felt the relief and my mind felt the accomplishment.

The tears flowed freely as I walked away.

This accomplishment is not one I will ever forget. I am proud of my efforts in training as well as my determination to finish on race day. I look forward to many more sporting events and challenges in the future… just maybe not another half marathon. :)

Let the Music Move You

May 12, 2012

T- 14 days until the big race

… AND I AM PUMPED!

What a journey this has been!

It’s taken true dedication and commitment – pounding the pavement three times a week, through the cold, through the pouring rain, and once in this mostly chilly spring through 29 degree heat!  Through running up hills to build strength and around a track to gain speed.  After nights with not nearly enough sleep, I’ve dragged my butt out there because I want so badly to cross that finish line! I’ve known full well that the only way I’m going to get there is to prepare. To force my body to adapt to running for 21.1 kms.

And you know the coolest part? It really has adapted amazingly.

Our long run the first week of training was 7kms. I remember talking to myself and mentally preparing myself for it. Seven kms seemed like such a long way.

Fast forward 14 weeks. Last week I ran 18kms. (yes, at once!) Tomorrow I am all set for a full 20kms!

For the longest run I’ve ever tackled, I’ve got my new running wear laid out,  my shoes ready to be stepped into and a new playlist on the ipod.

I’ve written before about my love of words and how I take real inspiration from them. Looking through my playlist, I see that I’ve subconsciously filled it with songs that are filled with words that will keep me going and keep me motivated.

There are songs that inspire me to “stand up and fight!

Songs that make me remember how fortunate I am, “I run for hope. I run to feel. I run for the truth of all that is real…I run for life.”

And songs that remind me that “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Of course, there are definitely songs included that are devoid of any inspirational wisdom. They are there merely to keep my legs pumping and the adrenaline flowing. You know, ones with lyrics like, ” Now pu-pu-pu-pu-pu-pump it up and Back it up like a tonka trunk!:)

I’m so excited for this accomplishment! See you at the finish line!

Journey to 21k

February 28, 2012

May 27, 2012 will mark a celebratory day for me. I will be one of 11, 000 people lined up downtown, anticipation and excitement running through our veins as we wait for the starting gun. That day I will scratch an item off my bucket list.

I will run a half marathon!

This is a huge challenge for me. The longest distance I’ve ever run previously was 10k… and it was tricky. I set off on this adventure knowing that it would be difficult at times but have looked forward to pushing myself and feeling the excitement and exhilaration of reaching my goal when I cross that finish line. (I am totally going to be one of those finish line criers. I do not look forward to seeing my finishing picture which will most definitely feature me in the middle of an ugly cry.)

Back when I had Logan, I remember feeling like I could conquer anything. After delivering my sweet baby at home in my own bed, I knew I would be able to look back on that day during any difficult physical or emotional challenge and summon the strength to keep going. I set those memories aside with plans to pull them out again when I started to train for my 21k.

And now here I am. Logan’s birth does still inspire me, but I’ve discovered something else that pulls me along.

Gratitude

When I think about it, I realize how fortunate am. I have a healthy body. The only thing that can stop me from training for this race is me. All I have to do is slip on my running shoes… and just do it. Even when it’s cold. Even when I’m tired. Even when I just don’t feel like it.

There are people in this world and in my life that would give anything to run a race/climb a mountain/{insert amazing challenge here}. Unfortunate circumstances prevent them from doing some of the things they would like to do, in the manner they would like to do them.

How fortunate am I? I can do anything. Anything.

Wow. What an amazingly powerful thought.

Words are very significant to me. When I was in labour with Logan, mantras to remind me that I am capable, repeated in my head. Now words are helping me with this challenge too.

Thank you for my strong legs that can run.

Thank you for my strong heart and lungs.

Thank you for my healthy body.

Because I only get one chance at this beautiful thing called life. And I only get one body. I want to appreciate them every step of the way.

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