Sunday morning. 6:15am. Pitch black. 2 degrees Celsius. Most of you are sleeping soundly (regardless of your time zone). I’m 3km into my run about to start a 2km hill with a 4.6% hill grade followed by 2km at a 2% hill grade.
Tuesday night. I meet up with some good friends at a local pub for some after work drinks. Most people are halfway through their first glass of wine or pint of beer. I get an ice water (shocking I know). We chat for about an hour an half or 2 – 3 drinks later. I’m off to meet up with another friend. It’s 7:30pm and we’re running intervals around a track. It’s pitch black again but not quite as cold as Sunday morning.
So why do I do it? Why am I coming home from runs when most of my friends are sanely sleeping? Why am I going out for runs when my friends are all getting together for drinks? For those people who have been following my training over the past 2 years many will already know the answer. A colleague of mine asked me the other day why I run so I figured I’d share my answer again.
A couple of years ago it was suggested to me to join Team in Training benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. At first I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. I’d signed up to complete my first triathlon and to raise funds for life saving cancer research. TNT gave me coaching, support, incredible experiences and amazing friends in exchange.
One of the unique features of the TNT program that I found most galvanizing was the stories people shared about why they had decided to join TNT. Many of my teammates had family or friends who had been directly affected by cancer. Some of my teammates were current patients or survivors themselves.
Over the course of my triathlon training I suffered four shoulder dislocations. At the same time I received an immense amount of support and encouragement from an incredibly wide and inspiring network of family, friends, friends of family, family of friends, friends of friends, people whom I’d never met but for one reason or another felt compelled to support TNT, it’s mission and my campaign.
On the morning of my triathlon, which I ran in honour of one of my best friends whom I only met because she beat cancer, the brother of one of my best friend’s lost a two year battle with cancer. I decided to put off shoulder surgery and start training for a marathon.
Here, 2 years, 1 triathlon, 3 marathons and nearly 8,000km travelled while training and racing, I am now at the beginning of another training season.
There are countless stories that I could share that continually gave me reason to run but it comes down to one simple thing. The days when I wake up and don’t feel like going for a run, there is a great number of people who don’t have the luxury of choosing not to go for a run. They my be undergoing treatment and may not be physically strong enough to go for a run.
Even still there are days when getting out of bed in the darkness, in the rain, sleet or snow does not seem all that appealing. On these days it is particularly important to remind myself why I run and the people I draw inspiration from.
This past year I was introduced to Aimee Mullins.
Before you keep reading, watch this 56 second clip
Aimee is a DBK – double below-the-knee amputee. Tomorrow morning in order for me to go for a run I’ll have to put on my shoes. When Aimee Mullins goes for a run, she has to put on her legs.