I mean seriously. Am I out of my mind?
I guess I should rewind a bit and give you a little bit of background on how I got to this (crazy) point and what started this whole adventure. Thinking back to 2009, if you had suggested that I might one day complete a distance race of ANY sort, I would have laughed out loud. I was reasonably fit, having spent the past 2 years teaching fitness classes day in and day out, but distance races?
Those are for the ultra-fit, bleeding-nipples, ragged bodied people that are somehow missing the “pain” gene.
Enter Stage Right: Matt.
I had known Matt for about 2 years before we ever started dating. We conveniently waited until he had moved 3 provinces away and joined the Military to discover that we were soulmates. It’s funny how things work out sometimes isn’t it…
Matt (and his entire family of three brothers, mother and father) is way into distance running. Matt completed his first marathon at the age of 16, and pretty much hasn’t stopped ever since. He ran for his University track team, and completed several more marathons before finally achieving his ultimate goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon in Summer 2012! *Footnote* Stay tuned for MUCH more detail to come on Matt’s journey to Boston and the road that it has taken us down!
Matt’s father Roy is a runner too, but his distance racing took him down a different meandering path. Inspired by Matt’s uncle and his girlfriend, Roy completed the Lake Placid IronMan in July 2010. Oh…and did I mention that Roy has suffered from an eye condition for years and is considered legally blind? Yea. The man isn’t “impressive”. He’s a super-human.
The IronMan was my very first distance race experience. I fell in love with the atmosphere of the race, the support from the crowd, the sheer energy and athleticism and determination that seeped off of the athletes and seemed to infect everyone there. I’m getting goosebumps writing about it. I am such a nerd.
That day in July, as the sun went down and we stood on the course cheering for Roy and the other athletes, for the very first time, the thought danced across my mind. I have to do one of these. And then we went home, and life carried on. That tingle of inspiration dulled, as most things are, by the monotony of day to day life.
Fast forward to September 2010. I’m standing at the Start line of my very first half marathon, with Matt and his entire family. I know what your thinking. “You said you WEREN’T a distance athlete”. I’m not. Really, take a look at my times, and you’ll see that I’m not 😉
It was the 2010 Army Run Half Marathon in Ottawa, Ontario. I had barely trained. A couple of long runs, a couple of short runs, and one 10K training race. I was sick with terror.
When I crossed the finish line of that Army Half Marathon, I felt like I could fly. I was on top of the world. My legs and hips and back hurt like a mother, but none of that mattered. I was elated with possibility, “I’m going to do a full marathon next!”, “I’m going to do a triathlon!”.
I went on to complete two more half marathons over the next 2 years, the Mississauga Half Marathon in May of 2011 and most recently the Manitoba Half Marathon in June of 2012. I achieved a new personal best by 10 minutes in the Manitoba Half Marathon. I was so beyond over-joyed. I was starting to feel less like a Group Exercise instructor that had somehow snuck onto the course, and more like a runner that belonged there.
The triathlon goal has always been in the back of my mind. Matt’s brothers Neil and Scott are great triathletes, and I’ve been lucky enough to watch a couple of their races over the years. Every time I watch them race, that spark of inspiration that was planted on that cool July evening in Lake Placid glows a little bit brighter.
The time is now. I’ve put it off long enough.
LET’S DO THIS.