In my last month of university, I experienced heartbreak and needed an escape so I turned to exercise. I was going to my school’s gym five times a week to distract myself.
I joined a gym in 2016 when I graduated and took three strength training classes a week. I even bought some dumbbells, resistance bands and some stability balls so that I could workout at home as well. Watching my body become more toned was one aspect. But the feeling of confidence I felt after facing rejection helped me gain a sense of self worth.
After a year of consistent fitness, friends asked me to join them in a 5KM run supporting women’s mental health. It was nerve-wracking to sign up because I didn’t consider myself a runner. Coming second last in my elementary school cross country race would be a testament to that.
Training for my first 5KM race was challenging because I didn’t give myself enough time. Instead of sprinting the 5KM, I paced myself by walking 2KM and running the rest. The feeling of running those three kilometres for a cause turned me into the runner I am today. It filled me with hope that I could run a 5KM in the future.
Every run I did after my first race, I got closer to my goal. I found a community online, downloaded an app, and the made the goal of running two times a week. I then signed up for a 5KM race in May for stroke prevention as a goal.
The 5KM race in May arrived and I trained to my best ability. I only walked five minutes out of my thirty six minute run and my family was there cheering me on. I felt like a runner there because I am one.
Running for me is a reminder that you can change. I am no longer connected to the eleven year old who came in second last place in cross country. I’m the woman who ran three 5KM races in the past two years.
Do you run?
Tell me your best advice for future races.