That's right, the woman who decided to be a goalie in high school because she HATED RUNNING has now two lovely half marathon medals to her name.
That's me, people. Yes, it really is. And you know what? I have to keep looking at this picture to remind myself that it WAS me, it IS me and I am a half marathon runner.
It's an intensely humbling and emotionally indescribable feeling to train for, run in and complete a run of that distance.
When I set out to do this originally, it was for myself. It was to give myself a challenge. It was because it was something I didn't think I could do.
We had just gotten home after being away for over 6 years I was eager to try something that living a nomadic lifestyle does not really allow you to do. Training for a long distance run seems liked one of those things.
It was with the encouragement of some good friends that I decided to train for my first 10km.
I stalked the Scotiabank Marathon website for weeks before finally just entering and clicking 'register'. And then it was done.
The Running Room clinic helped me learn how to run, how to train, what type of runner I was and was going to be.
And I completed that first half with such pride, exhilaration and a LOT of adrenaline.
I wrote earlier about the second time around here, how it felt different. How it felt like I was training to do the same thing again and yet it was going to be something completely different.
Sunday proved me right (and you know how much I like to be right). It was different, in so many ways.
It rained the entire time. And it was totally fine. Because in that moment, the only thing you are focused on is doing what you did in training. Pacing yourself for specific KMs, watching the clock to find out when to drink water, when to suck back some energy gels, when you'll get that 1 min break for every 10 min.
I started late. And I didn't care. Because I knew, all that mattered to me was my chip time. So there weren't enough porta potties - so WHAT? I knew what was going to happen, I would just start late, like the hundreds of others stuck in the line, and then I'd not worry about the race time anyway because my chip would define where I really ended up in the race.
There was a big ass hill in the middle of it. I'm talking BIG ... ASS. Prospect Point in Stanley Park is not for the faint of heart, even if you're walking. So guess what Internet, that's just what I did - I WALKED most of it. Because I knew, that at 13km, I had a long way to get to 21km and there was no point in wearing my legs out over an hour before I was set to finish the race.
It made me a half marathon runner. After I finished the first one, I knew technically I was a half marathon runner. I had completed a distance that not many, although a good number of people have achieved. For me, it was the second one that made it all that more real. It was no longer this challenge I set for myself. It was now just a reality. Not only am I a runner, but I am a long distance runner.
And that's sometimes hard to get my head around. Because 10 years ago, I smoked ate McDonalds and mostly didn't really care about physical exercise. Maybe it's because I was in my 20s or maybe it's because I just wasn't a runner then. Which is what makes it all the more surreal to write that I am.
And probably, if you are a runner, you may not actually think this is a big deal, because you've been stating that you ARE a runner for a long time. But I do know that we have it in common.
That feeling you get when your not quite sure you can go on, when the next 4km seem like an eternity, when you wonder why you decided to do this in the first place and when each step becomes like a marathon itself. When you start to second guess whether this was the right choice.
And then comes that second chance. The person shouting your name on the sidelines. The water station. The turn in the road. Maybe even the finish line. And you realised you made it. Your there. You did it.
And you're just as surprised and excited as everyone else is to watch you cross it. Because even though you knew you would get there, even though you were confident your training was going to get you through, you still lived through those moments that made you realise this was a feat. This was a challenge. And whether it was your 2nd time or you 222nd time, there's always going to be a point where you wonder if you can.
And then you do. And you can't stop smiling for the rest of the day.
Start running. It will change your life.