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It was not until 2005 that I discovered that I love to run.
I was running regularly (indoors and out) and weight-training to build muscle when I started to have knee pain in the summer of 2004. I got a foot assessment and fancy new shoes – they didn’t help much. I enrolled in a Learn to Run clinic (through Running Room: www.runningroom.com), but I could barely complete the first session, which was 2 minutes walking/1 min running! So, I broke down and saw a sports medicine doctor, who recommended some physiotherapy and exercises. I was able to start Learn to Run again in January 2005.
To be honest, I was bored and frustrated for the first few weeks – my whole body was capable of moving faster and working harder, except for my knees. I had to force myself not to push too far, too fast. I resolved to follow the program to the letter, never moving beyond the week’s assigned program. For the first half of the clinic, I was consistently at the back of the pack with people that were much older than me and in much worse shape! However, working up from walking to running and diligently doing my stretches and exercises began to pay off, until I was at the front of the pack during the last month of the clinic! I ran my goal race (5K) in March and finished even faster than I expected.
I learned so many things from this experience. First, I learned to actually ENJOY running at 8am on Saturday morning in minus 30 degree celcius weather! This is a major plus when you live in Canada… I learned the importance of taking BREAKS. It is easy for me to forget this – I tend to rush myself faster and harder than is necessary or is healthy for me. I learned that I don’t need to be THE BEST at everything I do! Sometimes personal growth is more important than external competition. Finally, I learned to walk before I could run, literally!
I think running/walking is wonderful exercise for any type. Anyone can start walking or alternating 2 minutes walking/1 minute running. You can move as fast or slow as you are able, you don’t need much equipment (just quality shoes), and it gets you outside alone or with friends, enjoying fresh air, sunshine, and getting to know your neighbourhood. It is meditative - you are truly alone with yourself and away from the stresses of everyday life. Running is passion – it is what children do naturally, because they are free, excited, and full of joy. Don’t we all want to feel this way again?
I admire Cheryl’s determination in pursuing her walking program. Her passion for health inspires me. I enjoy Laura’s blogs, particularly “Extremists Never Win”. She writes exactly what I am thinking and clearly throws herself into everything she does, including running.
I am also a passionate person – sometimes I feel like I have so many thoughts and feelings inside me that I will burst! Exercise, particularly running, is truly an outlet for me. Passion is power, when it is harnessed and used positively. This year, I am working on harnessing my passion and directing it positively – more about this in another blog.
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