Community How My Little Goals led to Big Goals led to my Second...

    How My Little Goals led to Big Goals led to my Second Marathon


    We sometimes have far fetched goals that seem, from the outside, as impossible as climbing the CN Tower. Where I am now in my health and fitness from where I was, was one such goal. So much so I could never have dreamed. I set small goals. Those small goals opened the door and introduced me to the stairs, difficult—but possible.  

    Six years ago my big goal was to lose 200 pounds. I wanted to regain my ability to walk more than a few blocks without struggling. As part of my journey, I began walking, 2-3 days a week. Short distances at first—8 blocks a day with 30 minute breaks half way between. It was hard to get motivated. After one year I lost heart because I stopped seeing results and could not motivate myself to walk further.

    One year later, I resolved to try again, got into a weight management program, and joined a walking group. With the support from friends and family and health care workers, I was able to stay motivated. I started slowly, walking only four laps around a local hockey arena. I did this two days a week. I added one lap each day, in about three months I was easily walking 27 laps, equal to over 7 kilometres. In this time frame I had also lost around 80 pounds which made the walking easier.

    By the time spring came around and I was able to walk outside I was walking 5-10K a day, every day. At this point I could not really get anymore fit through walking. By now I was below 300 pounds. Where to go from here? I had accomplished my first  goal. I met a friend who got me to try racing. They were difficult. I had to mostly walk them. It took me 96 minutes to do 10K. I could have gotten discouraged. The support and enthusiasm from my friend kept that from happening. At that moment, I resolved to run another 10K.

    Like my walking, I needed to start slowly. I needed a way to regulate my speed and timing. I joined a gym. I used the treadmill to work on intervals. 1 min running at 8 kph 2 min walking at 5.6 kph. It was hard. I needed the whole two minutes for recovery. But, when that got easier, I increased my running speed to 8.8 kph. When that got easy, I decreased my walking time. After about a month, I decided to see how far I could run without stopping at 8kph. I made it to .8 km and my legs felt great. I went to 1.6K and still good. I made it to 2.4K and still ok. I stopped there for fear of overdoing it. From there I worked on increasing my distance and speed. After two months I ran my first 5K outside in 32.5 minutes.

    I had signed up for my second 10K. It was only three months after I started learning to run. I was running 5K well enough by 2.5 months. I decided that I would run 5K and walk if I had to. It would still be an improvement. The day came. It was a small race, only around 10 people in the 10K distance. All but one were ahead of me. By the 5K mark, I was a couple of minutes ahead of that person. I knew if I started walking they would catch up. I went to 6K, starting to hurt. The competitive side of me did not want to be last, but on the turn arounds, I saw that person, still running—they did not give up, I would not give up. 7K, hurting more, I wanted to stop and walk, but one more kilometre. 8 km, so close, maybe just one more. 9K, I started walking but how could I walk the last km, having come so far? I started running again. I finished with a 65 minutes and nine seconds time.

    That winter I spent my time training to run 10K on a regular basis. I wanted to be able to run 10K where it would not push me to my limit. My friend who was out of town, supported me online. I do not know what possessed me, but I decided to run my first half marathon in April. Again, I had only ever run half that distance. This time, however, I had the support of my friend running with me. That support, and the atmosphere of race day, helped a lot. 2 hours 10 minutes. My legs hurt. I spent a lot of time recovering, I realize that it is not wise to push oneself that hard. I think I needed to do it, though, as a test of my determination.

    With the help of many new running friends, I accomplished a lot that summer and fall. I ran a 10K pb of 54:36. I walked 40K for four days straight to support the friend whose enthusiasm got me running. I even ran a second half marathon in 2:08.

    With all of those accomplishments in walking and running, where should I go from there? The most logical step of course was to train for and run a marathon. Run a marathon? Running a half marathon seemed like the ultimate accomplishment for me. With the support of my running friends, I began training. It was hard, of course. I will share a secret with all of you: the training for a marathon was hard, but in terms of soreness, and motivation, learning to walk when I first started my journey was harder. All of the hard work I had done previously had provided a base for me that I did not have when I first began walking.

    I ran my first marathon on April 29, 2017. I will admit, I did walk a good portion of the second half, and I hit the wall hard. I made some technical mistakes, starting out too fast, and not carb loading enough. I did however finish in under 5 hours. 4:53:52 to be exact. I may have had to walk at times, but I did not give up. All of my journey led to this moment. All the pain, all the times when I wanted to give up but didn’t. All of it, were steps in a journey. I could not have climbed the last flight of stairs without starting the first. In May, one year after my first marathon I will be running my second. I will be racing the Ottawa Marathon. I am excited to continue to share my journey during the Ottawa race weekend. I hope to inspire many as I attempt to better my first time. And always keep finding new finish lines.