My alarm went off at 5 am, which pretty much means one of a few things: an airport pickup; a crazy long day hike in the Icefields Parkway; or, a race.
In this case, today was race day! The Calgary Marathon, to be precise.
Only the Calgary Marathon could celebrate its birthday with over 15000 people. After all, it’s Canada’s longest running marathon, and I’m sure people flocked from near, far and wide just to run it. My friend Shari and I knew we couldn’t miss the event, so we signed up for the Jugo Juice 10k. At 7 am, the two of us, joined by a supportive Robbie, headed over to the Stampede Grounds. As we arrived, the energy from the ultra marathoners (50k), marathoners and half marathoners as they crossed the starting line was amazing. Spectators cheered and whistled. It had been a long time since I ran at the Calgary Marathon, and I forgot how the air of positivity and determination is infectious. We were pumped!
At 7:30, we were off. Shari and I ran together for a bit before I charged ahead with a goal to cross the finish line in under an hour. Sometimes it’s easy to get into such a state of perseverance that you forget to stop and appreciate what’s around. But the weather was sunny and gorgeous, so it was difficult not to notice the historic feel of Inglewood; the changes in the Bow River as we ran near the zoo; the evolution of Bridgeland; the downtown skyline from Memorial Drive; and the growing sense of community in the East Village. It dawned on me once again: Calgary is a great city, and a very pretty one… when it’s not -40 degrees Celsius in mid-winter!
As I write this, my right knee is doing something wonky. There’s a weird pain that may or may not be IT band related (…when it comes to my body, I just don’t know anymore). But this 10k race was special for me, and completing it is worth the discomfort.
In August 2012, during an obstacle in the Spartan Race, I fell off a wall and tore a few ligaments in my left foot. I remember the incident clearly, and against the advice of the medics, I hobbled my way through the rest of the course and received my Spartan medal. Perhaps not my smartest moment, and I’ve been recovering and taking it easy ever since. I did a 5k run/walk last year for the CIBC Run for the Cure, and even afterwards, I told myself that I wasn’t ready to train for anything above 5k.
The mind and inner voices play some interesting games, and I’ve been carrying that injury STORY with me for years now.
I realized earlier this year that I had an interesting fear of getting back into running. I made excuses constantly- it’s too cold, it’s too wet, or I’m going to do an indoor cardio workout instead. Where did this fear come from? Probably from the possibility of re-injury. Maybe a fear of failure. Perhaps the fear was irrational, but it was real. However, once I acknowledged the fear, something became clear to me: I needed to face it, and just get back into it, so I signed up for the race. NBD. No Big Deal. No backing out now!
And not only did I complete it, but I finished in under an hour (a chip time of 58:31). That injury’s got nothin’ on me now! I felt the flood of joy and elation after crossing the finish line, grateful that my legs held up and my foot didn’t scream in agony. Grateful that Robbie was there at the finish line to greet me. Grateful that I have awesome people in my life like Shari who are equally as crazy to get up über early just to run a race. And grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime event (“you’re only 50 once!”) with many fellow runners in the city I’ve called home for over 5 years.