Sunday, February 6, 2011

For the Love of Running

My first goal was a 10K race, the HBC run in 2007.  I wanted to run it under an hour, but more importantly I wanted to lose the baby weight after Emily.  I loved the training.  I remember getting up early mornings in the summer taking my ipod and heading out for my run along the Bedford Hwy.  Nothing felt more refreshing then a nice long run (little did I know at the time that a long run was not a 10K, but more like a 32K).  Then the excitement of race day came, hundreds of people in red tshirts at the Halifax Commons, all happy, excited, nervous to get out and run to support our Canadian Athletes.  The music was energizing, the warm up was fun and the participation was fabulous... Friendly volunteers were everywhere, and me and my bro were ready to go.  I was excited the entire race, this was the first time I felt my adrenaline take off, and it increased even more around the 8K mark where you heard the cool is that?  Then that amazing feeling of crossing the finish line after completing my first race with my brother by my side (he could have totally kicked my butt, but was kind enough to stick with me for the run).  First time crossing the finish line feels SO big.  It was 10K, but to me at the time it felt like a marathon. 

HBC 10K 2007

There is something very addictive about running.  Once you start, you don't want to stop.  It makes you feel THAT good.  And so the addiction began.  Sunday morning runs became the routine.  Sunday mornings are MY time.  Some people run for health benefits, the mental benefits, the social benefits... I run for it all. 
After running another 10K, I signed up for a Half Marathon in the Valley and started my own training.  Running through the finish line for my first Half Marathon was awesome, and for someone who has never ran a full marathon at the time, I felt like I had. 

Valley Half Marathon 2007

Shortly after this run I became pregnant again.  I continued running for the fitness for shorter runs up until March 2008.   I found out I was pregnant with twin girls and had a very high risk pregnancy with Twin twin transfusion syndrome and needed a cerclage to hold the babies in and then bedrest.  My running was over.  Although the excitement of twins was really better then my running high, until it just became too stressful, and I wished I had something to relax me.   

Once the girls were born, I didn't have time for running, I barely had time for Emily.  My day and night was spent in the NICU.  Being busy kepted me focused on what I wanted to focus on, bringing my twin girls home.  So I managed ok...until our life completely changed.  One Sunday, Keith and I were trying to figure out how we were going to arrange the cribs, and about life home with all 3 girls...and then Monday we find out we will never have 3 girls at home.  How does that happen so fast?  How can you have your life planned out right in front of you, your family of 5 that you always wanted, twin girls you've always wanted...and then within seconds taken away?  Or the better question, how to move on after losing your baby? 

Everyone's different, everyone copes differently.  I went to bereavement classes at the IWK for several months after Jessica passed away, I was still busy going to the hospital everyday for another 2 1/2 months, until Alyssa was discharged home, and I wrote on this blog.  The counselling helped, but once Alyssa was home, I felt lost again.  She was home, and I wasn't as busy as I was when travelling to the hospital daily.  I had too much time to think, and too much time to be depressed.  So somewhere along the way, I got back into running, and I think it kind of saved me.

I ran one race that summer with my Dad, the Bedford 5K to Beat Lung Cancer.  I picked this race because it was in Bedford, but also because the director had a good story, and passion for organizing the event, which means alot to me when choosing a fun run.  This was my Dad's first 5K run, he did awesome.  I'm not sure when exactly he started running that year or why...maybe I was making him crazy with my stress and he found running just as good for the head as I did, either way, he continued on.  And has since ran 3 half marathon races, with his 4th coming up this weekend, and trained for at least 2 others.  And I am SO proud of my Dad for sticking with the running, even after injuries... and loving it (although he jokingly says how much he loves the social aspect and the feeling afterwards, it's just the running part he doesn't like, funny.)  I'm sure if he didn't enjoy it as much as all of us runners do, he wouldn't be out every Sunday morning, rain, or shine running for 1-2hours.  It makes me excited to see other people get excited about running, especially my family and friends.

Bedford 5K to |Beat Lung Cancer 2008

That fall, I started running more.  Days I could run on the treadmill, and evenings and weekends outside, nothing big, just small runs to get me started, to help with the depression and feelings of self pity.  The best way for me to keep busy, was to sign up for races and then train.  So I did.  I ran a half marathon in Fredericton one year from when the girls were born, then ran the Bluenose 10K a couple weeks later, then started training for another half for the fall in the Valley, then as soon as that was done, trained for another half, then another, then took the ultimate plunge and started training for a full marathon.  The feelings and emotions and physical training that goes into a full marathon deserves a post of it's own.  Lets just say, I've never felt more proud of myself, and for that brief moment crossing the finish line, there wasn't anything that I couldn't do, because I felt on top of the world.  That amazing feeling, whether it's from a 5K or a full Marathon...I hope everyone I love can feel that someday. 

Valley Harvest Full Marathon 10-10-10

Fredericton Half Marathon 2009
Shortly after that finished, my running slowed down a bit and I could feel myself dragging, and feeling "blah" so I started training for the half marathon that I ran today.  And one day while in the IWK, I started thinking about organizing my own event, something to help remember Jessica, something that would mean alot to me...and keep me busy, hence "The IWK 5K - In Memory of Jessica".  So now I can't stop, or maybe I just don't want to stop.  I'm actually afraid to stop.  I'm scared that I will become that person I was over 2 years ago, the one I didn't recognize, the one that I couldn't control emotionally, mentally, socially.  I LOVE to run, I love talking about running, I love seeing other people run, and sharing the same love for it that I do...but as much as I love it, and love planning for my event...I think I need it as much as I love it, and I'm ok with that :)

Navy 10K 2007

Santa Shuffle 5K 2008

Santa Shuffle 5K 2009

IWK 5K - In Memory of Jessica, cheque presentation at the IWK Telethon 2010

Hypothermic Half Marathon 2010
Resolution 5K 2010