I had started to run many times in my adult life, but it never seemed to take. Most of my children and their spouses love to run and take it very seriously. My youngest daughter lives in Manhattan, NY and she was part of the very small percentage of people to win a lottery position to run the 2020 New York Marathon. Of course, it was cancelled but she has a rain check to run it in 2023.
In one of my attempts to start running I was visiting family in Squamish and I devotedly put on my old running shoes and headed out on a beautiful June morning. I’m sure I ran less than a 1 km loop, and that very slowly, but on the way back a fellow drove by and hollered out his open window, “You go girl!” I told my family about it saying, “I don’t know if he could tell that I was old or pathetic or both, but I really appreciated his support.” However, even with his support that running journey ended after a few days.
We often have fiddle parties at our house where we gather for a night of live fiddle music. Lauren, our pianist and Allison, one of my fellow fiddlers, are both avid runners. I told Allison of my attempts to become a runner and she suggested I join the Learn to Run clinic put on by the Ceevacs. She very kindly sent me an e-mail telling me about the one that began the first week of February, 2020, which happened to be the same week I turned 64! Reluctantly and without much hope I signed up!
I was so delighted with the encouragement and enthusiasm displayed by the coaches. All the other people in the Learn to Run group were so nice and very much like me. I did not feel old or pathetic at all. We were all there to learn and have fun. Of course, it was disappointing when the clinic, like so many things that spring, was cancelled but it was great to receive a weekly e-mail outlining what we could do to keep up our training.
I was running the 2 minute and walking 1 minute stage on the treadmill so I could time it. I don’t have a cell phone and I thought if I tried to look at my watch I would definitely fall. My supportive son bought me a tiny timer by GymBoss, which I think was less than $20.00. With that I was able to take my runs into the beautiful outdoors. We are lucky enough to live on 15 acres and our long driveway is just over .5 km so when I run up and down it I know I have done 1 km. I will never be a long distance runner but I am committed and I now very much enjoy it. I usually run 3 mornings a week and my longest run, which was part of our family fitness challenge, was 4 km! My normal run is 2 km with the odd 3 km thrown in there. I am quite happy to stay at this stage. It is so much more than I ever dreamed I would do.
Some people call me “churchy” or “religious”, neither of which I feel are apt or complimentary. I prefer to think of myself as spiritual. I always run early in the morning and always by myself. I find my early morning run in the beautiful outdoors to be very spiritual. I find it to be a prayerful and edifying way to start the day. There is a lady who devotedly walks slowly along our road, using two poles. One foggy morning as I was coming up our driveway, I saw her walking along in the fog and she looked like an angel coming out of the mist to inspire me.
Sometimes, when I don’t feel like running, I think of others who don’t feel like continuing some journey. Perhaps someone is tiring of caring for a loved one, tired of trying to make a relationship work, at their wits end of searching for a job, feeling done with supporting a cause they once believed in, feeling they can’t do one more treatment that is required, or thinking they can’t face one more difficult situation in their lives. I think of those individuals and make myself run for them. They will never know that I am holding them in my heart but perhaps it will help a bit. I will never know either.
Last June, when Ceevacs held a relay run, my family encouraged me to join. At that point the most I had ever run, without stopping was a bit over 2 km so I signed up for a 2.5 km section of the run. When we clocked out my run on the vehicles odometer it seemed to be 3 km! Using Google Earth path it also seemed to be 3 km. And it started at the intersection of Herd Road and Maple Bay Road…up hill, right at the start! I was quite worried about it but I did it and when I came to the nice couple who were doing the next section I said, triumphantly, “That is the longest run without stopping I have ever done in my life!” They congratulated me and gave me a virtual high five and my husband was there to take a photo!
I am grateful to all the people at Ceevacs and the Learn to Run Clinic who did not push me to be a runner, but rather pulled me along, using their own strength and enthusiasm. I hope I can do the same for others.
Peace and Joy