After I wrote my last column about running (or, more accurately, thinking about running), people were so nice to me — and of course, that didn’t surprise me one bit.
Right away, Heart Strong Fitness owner/operator Sarah Wright emailed me to tell me about a running clinic they’re putting on and offered to let me join them and chronicle my experiences.
And co-workers came up to me and told me about their running and asked all about the race I’m planning to run (it’s the Army Run in Ottawa in case anyone is interested. It raises money for Soldier On, a charity that I believe in 1,000 per cent, and everyone I’ve talked to about the run says it’s the most amazing experience). Even though I didn’t consider myself “a runner,” other people did right away. That was exciting and did make me feel more hopeful about my chances of becoming a runner (at least until I actually started running).
I felt very intimidated all day last Tuesday as I thought about going to Sarah’s running clinic that evening. I was afraid I’d be the slowest one there. I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it through the workout. But I was also really excited. It felt like I was taking a real step towards becoming a person who can run a half marathon. I thought it would be nice to meet other people who are pushing themselves to run more. And Sarah was so positive in her emails.
So, despite feeling woefully unprepared, I made it to the running clinic. Everyone was so friendly and their enthusiasm and energy was contagious.
But I had a hard time getting through the “warm-up jog.” What does that say about my “ability” as a runner? It was pretty discouraging. But one of the benefits of being in a group like is that you can’t give up on yourself. You just keep going, no matter how hard it is.
We jogged from the Heart Strong Fitness clinic to Southgate Middle School, where we were going to do a track workout. The plan for our workout was to do one warm-up lap around the track, then run one lap as fast as we could, walk one lap, run one lap as fast as we could and then walk one lap. Our goal was to do the fast lap in two minutes and 30 seconds or less. The good news is we all made it under the goal time. That felt great. The slightly nauseous feeling and struggle to breathe? Not quite so great. It was hard. And I know that 400 metres is not far. Especially when my goal is 21.1 kilometres. I have a long, long way to go. But now, I feel a bit more like I can do it. I made it through the running clinic even though I had such strong misgivings and had to walk a bit on the jog back to the clinic. And I’ll make it through the next one, even though it will get harder.
And now, thanks to Sarah, I have goals to reach when I go running by myself. I have a pace I need to maintain. And I have people who believe I can do it and are convinced that soon, I’ll see myself as a runner. I’m so grateful for that.
This experience is just one example of the amazing kindness and warmth I’ve experienced since joining the Mirror in mid-December. And it’s also an example of why it is so hard to be leaving the paper and the community so soon after coming here.
The people here are incredible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself saying “the people are just so, so nice” since I got here. From my wonderful co-workers who instantly welcomed me into their amazing team, to the people I’ve interviewed and photographed who have been so generous with their time and so friendly, this community is full of great people who are leaving a strong impression on me.
I’ve been offered a job in Quesnel and while I’ll miss my actual work at the paper, the beautiful surroundings here, the gym and all the opportunities there are to get outside and get active, shop or enjoy a coffee, it’s the people that are making it the hardest to leave Campbell River.
I feel very lucky to have been able to join the Mirror team, and as excited as I am for this new opportunity, I am sad to be leaving this group. Thank you for welcoming me to Campbell River so warmly and for giving me so many wonderful memories to take with me to Quesnel.