I started running during the summer of 2009. My twin sister, Tammy, had moved to Ottawa the previous year and we had celebrated being reunited after 10 years apart with all our favorite indulgences. One day, we looked at our weight gain and realized something had to be done about it.
We had watched friends run in the Ottawa Race Weekend and thought joining a Run Club could be the answer. We signed up for a Learn to Run training program at the Slater Street Running Room. Our goal race in August was a 3K run around the experimental farm in Ottawa. I was never an athletic person growing up, so to me, 3K sounded like a monumental distance.
After tackling 3K and feeling like a superstar, I wanted to see if I could do a 5K. After 5K, it was 10K. A year after that first 3K race, I was about 25 pounds lighter and completed my first half marathon at the Canada Army Run. After many 5K, 10K and half marathon races, my sister and I both took the plunge and completed our first full marathon in 2013 at the Ottawa Race Weekend. Since then, we have completed four more.
In between all those races, Tammy and I started instructing Running Room training programs together. We were known as “the dynamic duo” and our goal was to keep the programs fun. Perhaps it was our carefree Newfoundland roots that helped, but we certainly hoped that goal was achieved as we saw many of our Learn to Run members follow us all the way to the Half Marathon program. I am happy to say that many of those first Learn to Run folks are some of my favourite people to run with today.
While my sister remains my number one running buddy, I’m instructing training programs on my own these days. The Learn to Run program is still my favourite. The joy on people’s faces as they run their first 10 minutes straight is absolutely infectious. It wasn’t too long ago that I was in their shoes. I hope that sharing my own running journey allows the group to see they are capable of achieving their own goals. I can honestly say that running has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I’ve found confidence. I’ve found a healthy lifestyle. I’ve met great people.
Currently, I am part of Team Awesome, a group of enthusiastic runners (and social media fanatics) who will be participating in the 2018 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. We share updates about our training and race weekend plans, as well as support other runners along the way. For me, it’s another chance to change someone’s mind when I hear the words “I’m not a runner,” and say: “Yes, you are!”
Photo: Tanya (centre, in purple toque) with Run Club members.