May 31, 2013
On The Run
I grew up loving dance. Taking any classes I could from the time I was about 2yrs old, until, well, I’m still taking ballet now whenever I can. I’ve always had a great deal of flexibility, turnout, a decent amount of strength . . . but lacked a fair bit cardiovascularly speaking. More than a fair bit, really.
I remember dreading having to do a run every year in P.E. One where we had to do a certain number of laps around the 400m track . . . I can’t remember how many – and probably not even ‘that’ many, but I was NOT a fan. And though typically rather competitive by nature, I really only cared about not coming in last when it came to that run.
Somewhere over 10yrs ago, a friend and I started dong a walk/run program together. We wanted to work our way up to some sort of distance or time, though I can’t recall now (have I mentioned how bad my memory is these days??). We met a few times at a track near home, and would run 30seconds, then walk 4 1/2 mins, etc. Slowly building up the running time and shortening the walk.
But, we didn’t get very far, before she got pregnant. My brief foray into running came to a grinding halt. Of course, it didn’t have to, but I’ve never had much motivation (or perhaps found it too boring?) to go on my own. A few other times in my life I considered picking up my running shoes again, and that was also always fairly short lived.
* * * * *
After Elias died and I was searching out others ‘like me’ through blogs, I discovered a blog by Matt Logelin. From there, I heard of the Liz Logelin Foundation. A charity formed by Matt in honour of his wife Liz, who died the day after giving birth to their first child. A charity to help widowed parents fill financial needs, and to just give them overall hope in their time of deep grief and despair.
Suffering the loss of your love, soul mate, best friend and co-parent is hard enough – believe me – without having to worry about financial burdens that can come from the loss. Times have not always been easy for me financially, I worry a lot and watch every penny I spend, but I feel very fortunate that I have never faced the possibility of losing a roof over my girls’ heads, or food on their plates. There are many who are not so fortunate.
The LLF is a charity that is very close to my heart, I know people whose lives have changed because of it, and I’ve seen first hand the positive impact it makes.
That is why, two years ago I decided to participate in the Run, Walk, Hope to help raise money for the LLF. My Dad joined me, and together we did a 5k in their ‘Walk Around The World’ option (the actual event takes place in Minnesota). I decided to create a fundraiser with that run, and was beyond excited to have raised over $200, and then my amazing Brother-In-Law matched the amount!
I hadn’t prepared for that run at all, but I did fairly well, and it was just great to be out there with my Dad, and running for a cause that I cared about and raising some good money along the way.
Back around January this year, I figured maybe with a little more ‘training’ under my belt, I could run that 5k a little better, as I knew the event was scheduled for early June. And I figured maybe I could get into this running thing a bit more and finally improve my cardio a bit. One of my best friends (and all around amazing and favourite people), Sian, had also started running around that time.
Then, I learned the Run, Walk Hope had added a 10k option . . .
I know that for the charity, no matter how far I go it’s all the same (for registration fees and therefor the donation), but I do enjoy a challenge now and then.
As we started to improve our times on our 5k runs (though I know I slow her down!) and challenged ourselves to go a little further, we figured maybe we could pull off the 10k.
Unfortunately, as I got so busy getting the new location of my store reno’d, my old location packed, moved, and a new grand re-opening (all good, but still crazy busy!) I didn’t have much time for anything, let alone running.
Things are just now settling back down at the store (and I LOVE the new location!), and though she can kick my ass even more now, Sian has been wonderfully patient as I’m trying to get back into it, and hopefully still be ready to try a 10k by June 8th!
* * * * *
A great deal of running is a mental challenge for me. Sure, my knees don’t seem to be made for it (or my hips, or ankles, or much else for that matter!) but getting through what I think I’m capable of (or not) can be tough (having a great, motivating running partner sure helps though! especially when she can run WAY faster without me…..). I NEVER imagined I would even attempt a 10k at this point in my life (if at all. ever). I know for many it’s not much, but for me it’s a fair bit. I like to think Elias would be pretty damn impressed. And happy about the cause I’m running for. And, I’m pretty proud too.
There aren’t a great deal of flat, smooth areas to run around here (not to mention my fear of bears and cougars!), and it’s pretty impossible to find a route without at least a few decent elevations to climb. Though there are points in a run where I’ll feel pretty good and as if I could keep going no problem, there are many times in a run – in particular when facing an incline of any kind – where I really struggle. Just knowing they are coming is tough for me. I want to stop and walk (or just quit entirely), think I can’t run it, etc. I find myself just wishing that I could run nice, long, flat, smooth stretches all the time. SO much easier.
But then, that’s not really life either, is it?! Though you get the odd, nice smooth stretch for a bit here and there, much of this life is bumpy, rough terrain, and there sure are hills to climb. Sometimes very steep hills. And, seeing them looming in the distance is daunting.
And, as with running, getting through those rough stretches and up those hills takes strength, and builds it – even if, at times, you feel as if you don’t have any, you need to slow down or even walk, you still move forward. It makes the smooth parts that much more enjoyable. And, in time, those hills get a little easier to face. Muscles, heart, breath, and mind – all work together to get you through. A few of the hills on our route that I used to dread and needed to walk up, I can now run up without stopping. Some still challenge me, but I know I can face them, and bit by bit I will get stronger.
Not unlike facing life as a widowed parent. Hope is a crucial part of surviving this road.
I’m happy to have my registration fees going towards a great charity like the Liz Logelin Foundation, that helps give that kind of hope to other widowed parents. And, again this year I’ve decided to do my run as a fundraiser for anyone else who wishes to donate towards my run for the LLF and help provide that kind of hope. I know the kind of difference it will make . . . .
Yesterday I took my tax return and treated myself to a new pair of runners to help me get through the next week of training and beyond (I still have to find a way to add 2 more kilometres to my run!) as I’m pretty sure my ‘old’ runners were the ones I had bought with my first attempts at running over 10yrs ago. And, while I am usually greatly adverse to wearing ANY bright colours, let alone pink – the ones that fit me best (and of course weren’t on sale =p) just happened to be fluorescent pink! Almost identical to Sian’s, but she swears they help her go faster. I’m still not sure how I feel about wearing them, but at least you can’t miss us!
(and for whatever reason, I can’t get the photo of the shoes to upload, so I’ll have to try again later . . . perhaps in an ‘after’ shot if I end up making it through the 10k!)
I’m sure at times you’d be equal parts proud and mad at me – mad for not taking things a ‘little’ easier sometimes. But still, the proud would edge out the mad. At times when I struggle through a run, I think of all you went through. Your surgeries, radiation, chemo, and more. As well as what I’ve been through since you’ve been gone. With that, I know that I can push through a little knee pain, ankle ache or cramp.
And, I know when I run the 10k, no matter how much of it I end up walking (likely dependent on how much my ankle heals in the next few days!) you’ll be cheering me on.
P.S. I Love You