It’s a Friday night, only 2 days away from Miss World Canada, and I couldn’t be more excited. These last few months of dedicated preparation have quite honestly been incredible. The nerves and anticipation are kicking in but my grandma always told me that a little bit of nerves was a good thing.
I did a workout earlier this evening which always involves running, and I got to thinking about how much I missed running in races. Since I was very little, I have always loved long-distance and cross country running. It was something that came naturally to me and it’s always easy to love something you can actually excel at. So, running became my “thing” outside of competitive Irish Dancing. I joined the cross- country teams in both elementary and high school and successfully competed in OFSAA. It was a hobby, it was a passion, and it was a release. It was my way of taking some time out of my day to recalibrate and release any worry or anxiety.
I am a competitive person, but in a positive way. I constantly compete with myself to be the best that I can be. When I finished Irish Dancing after 18 years, I channeled that competitive energy into my academics and getting the best possible grades I knew I was capable of achieving. When I graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University, I wanted to direct this energy elsewhere. This “elsewhere” ended up being being into training for half marathons. Running a half marathon was always a goal of mine but I knew it was not something I could not just “wake up and do”. It was something I was going to have to take the time and energy to train towards. So that’s is exactly what I did.
In my final year and semester of undergraduate study I set out to run in my first half marathon race. I found a training schedule online that involved running a certain distance every day, and I went to work. While balancing 6 university courses, working at a physiotherapy clinic part time and volunteering at a special needs program, I knew it would be difficult but it was something I set my mind to. After 5 months of training, I completed my first half marathon in just over 2 hours. I vividly remember seeing my mom at the 18th km mark, waving and yelling her supportive chants, and I was able to push the pain aside and get to the finish line completing all 21km.
Finishing my first half-marathon is a hard feeling to describe. It was a wave of emotions that hit me all at once, primarily a great sense of pride. Although running 21km is a physical feat, it is also a mental one. I could have convinced myself to stop and walk up the one hill, or to pack it in when I could feel my toes starting to bleed but I pushed myself instead; I didn’t walk and I didn’t stop. It is truly incredible what our minds can tell our bodies to. The feeling of accomplishment (and likely adrenaline) motivated me to start training for my next race.
In just over a year, I competed in 4 half marathons. In 2018 it was the Mississauga Half Marathon and ScotiaBank Half Marathon. In 2019 I raced in the Toronto Half- Marathon and Oakville Half Marathon. Each one being a completely different, and memorable experience. Whether it be an unexpected knee injury, or a heavy rainstorm, I didn’t let any obstacle get in my way. Running these races was something I set my mind on completing, so I stayed determined and motivated to do so.
I had aspirations of competing in my 5th half marathon this year, with the goal of travelling outside of Ontario; a scenic location in Canada or somewhere totally new and exciting in a different country. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, I was unable to live out my goals this year, however I am nonetheless grateful for my health and ability to still go for daily runs on my own. I am taking this opportunity to continue to train and focus on running so when the time to register for my 5th half- marathon presents itself, I will be ready to go! Stay tuned, I could surprise you all and register for a FULL MARATHON 🙂
Have a lovely evening everyone!