Today marks three years since I started running. I often joke that I’ll never forget my first run because it nearly killed me. The truth it was one of the hardest runs of my life (including the time I raced the 2014 Sporting Life 10k with an IT Band injury!), but I loved it.
Where It Almost Began
To be perfectly honest, three years ago today was not the first time I attempted to start running. When I was in my early 20’s, I moved out of my parent’s house and rented an apartment in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. My apartment was situated one block from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island. On the first Sunday in November of that same year, I woke up early to watch the start of the NYC Marathon. I was so inspired by the tens of thousands of runners crossing the bridge, I decided to try running myself. In the days following the marathon, I would run a total of 4k from my apartment to a park and back. I did this several times a week and quit after a month or so because it was getting too cold to run outdoors. People didn’t actually run outdoors in the Winter, right? Sure, I had a gym membership and would seldom run on a treadmill there, but to me, that was worse than running outdoors. In just a few short weeks, my running career came to an end.
Fast Forward 10 Years
By June 2013, I weighed just north of 180 pounds. Even when I was a gym rat in my 20’s and in really good shape, I never weighed more than 165 pounds. I didn’t feel great about my weight, but I also wasn’t doing anything about it. I suppose I just got comfortable with the idea of having to carry around a few extra pounds. I don’t recall exactly how it happened, but at some point a conversation took place with my buddy Gus and my sister-in-law Andrea where I decided it was time to get in shape. Both were runners and suggested I join them on a run. It was decided; Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 would be the first time I participated in an actual run!
First, Buy All The Stuff
At the time, I believe I owned one or two pairs of sweatpants and perhaps a pair of workout shorts; I certainly didn’t own anything that resembled running attire! I made my way over to SportChek on Yonge Street and purchased my first pair of running shoes (New Balance Minimus), shorts, a technical shirt, and a cap. I also purchased a Nike+ watch. I haven’t event gone out for a run yet and I was a few hundred dollars in the hole! I better enjoy running.
I Think I’m Dying
According to Strava, we started our run at 11:35am. I had a pretty big brunch prior to the run and seem to recall consuming a large omelette. Not understanding anything about running, I figured running on a full stomach would be better than running on an empty one! We pulled in to a parking lot at Pottery Road and Bayview; Gus is a trail runner and often ran through the Crothers Woods Trail. We started our GPS watches and began our run. As soon as we entered the trail, we encountered a deer just ahead of us; my first run was off to a beautiful start!
The Crothers Woods Trail is a stunning place to run. It follows the Lower Don River and offers some of the most spectacular views. I never ran through a trail before, so I had no idea there would be so many obstacles; jumping over tree roots, ducking under fallen trees, and most importantly, not getting too close to the edge of the narrow trail or you’ll fall hundreds of feet!
I was really enjoying this new experience and for the first 3 kilometres; then suddenly, not so much. I don’t know if it was the heat (it was pretty hot that day), the massive omelette, or something else, but I suddenly started to get really light headed and dizzy. I didn’t own a heart rate monitor, but could feel my heart pounding out of my chest. I tried to sit down on a tree stump, but was advised to keep walking; something to do with active recovery. I thought I was dying and just wanted to be done; maybe I could get airlifted from the trail and dropped off at my house. We decided to take it slow and headed back to the car. My heart rate started to settle a bit and I was able to walk/jog back to the start. When we returned to the car, I stopped my watch, exchanged high-fives, and confirmed I wasn’t going to die. My first run was over and I couldn’t wait to do it again! For the record, I ended up running/walking/crawling a total of 6.9 kilometres on that day.
Running Happily Ever After Boston
In the weeks following my first run, I started to get more and more comfortable with the idea of running. My runs were getting longer and I was learning a lot! About 10 months following my first run, I competed in my first race, the 2014 Yonge Street 10K. The experience of running with thousands of other people down Yonge Street was amazing! It didn’t take long for me to set my sights higher. By the end of 2014, I completed three 10k races and the 2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. You can see a full list of my personal best races by clicking the link at the top of the site.
I’ve come a long way since that first run three years ago today. I met so many amazing people on my journey, joined a running crew, worked with several great brands, and had the opportunity to be a Digital Champion for the 2015 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I lost about 32 pounds, feel amazing, and have accomplished so much; however, there is still work to be done.
My focus right now is qualifying for and finishing the Boston Marathon. I did qualify on May 1st, 2013, but may not be accepted due to the rolling admission process which was implemented 2 years ago. I’m hoping to improve my qualifying time on September 11th, 2016 when I race in the Erie Marathon. Boston will happen, it’s just a matter of when!
I started this blog to share my journey as an amateur runner and am grateful for the feedback I’ve received so far from people who are reading these posts. Thank you to those who are reading and I hope you keep coming back!