by Stefanie Novakowski
I love running. During a regular week, I run for a total of three or four hours, even after a few years of marathon training and intensive hiking forced me to ease off for the sake of my knees. But if you told this to anyone who knew me in high school or even in the first few years of university, they’d be shocked. I was the student who dropped Phys.Ed. after grade 10 because it was lowering my average. So, how did I go from avoiding exercise at all costs to running a marathon? It all comes down to why I run.
I run for my 10-year-old self, who never got over the embarrassment of being unable to complete a one-mile challenge without having to walk part of the way.
I run for my 17-year-old self, whose half-hearted attempts to train for rugby by running during lunch faltered after realizing just how much I sweat during cardio.
I run for my 19-year-old self, whose year in residence and three years working in a cafeteria might have led to gaining a little more than the “freshman fifteen.”
I run for my 22-year-old self, who was too cheap to pay for a gym membership and decided if I was going to live in Vancouver, I may as well get used to running outdoors, rain or shine.
I run for my 23-year-old self, who experienced the joy of racing with hundreds of other runners during my first 10K.
I run for my 25-year-old self, whose marathon training removed all remaining embarrassment over being a sweaty, red-faced, barely-limping-along mess in public.
Finally, I run for my 27-year-old self, who craves the amazing peace of mind that comes from running through a rainforest on a spring day. I know that when I need a complete mental break or a way to jumpstart my brain, all I have to do is put on some running shoes and head out the door.