by Kim Giesbrecht
My love of running began when I was a child. I loved running races with my friends at school. When I was in grade 7, our gym teacher started a 50 Mile Club, where we were given a certain number of weeks to run 50 miles in order to earn a badge. I had never run a few miles at a time, as I enjoyed sprinting, but I decided to sign up. I was soon running 3 miles a day and loving it. I earned the badge and was hooked on running.
For the next six years, I ran 3-5 miles daily, seven days per week. It helped me to relax and to sleep better. I can be obsessive though, and it took its toll on my body. I did not realize that rest days are important, and by the age of 19, I had so much pain in my knees and other areas of my body that I had to quit running.
From age 19 to age 34, I did aerobics (teaching through the MFLDA for many years) and a lot of walking. On March 14, 2003 at the age 34, I decided to go for a run and see how my knees felt. It was a sunny spring day, and sunshine gives me joy and always pulls me outside. I started running and it felt great! The aerobics that I had been doing for years had kept up my cardiovascular endurance, and before I knew it, I had run 11 miles!!! I could not believe it!! I was ecstatic!! Throughout the run, “I followed the sun”, running loops around town, eager to be in the sunniest areas as I ran. An analogy quickly formed in my mind. (I am a believer in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is my Lord and Saviour). I ran towards the sun just as I “run” each day for the Son, through the love and power of the Son, and because of the Son (His gift on the cross). Each time I turned a corner that brought me into a longer stretch of sunshine, I was energized. It felt amazing!!
At the end of the run, I decided to sign up for my first Half Marathon, which was held in Winnipeg, MB on Father’s Day. I bought running shoes at the Running Room, as well as John Stanton’s book, “Running – Start to Finish”. I followed his training schedule for completing a half marathon, and was excited to complete the race in 1 hour and 57 min. I was hooked! I signed up for the full marathon in Winnipeg the following year.
This led to years of training for many half marathons and four full marathons. I loved running in Winnipeg, Fargo and Vancouver. I also organized the first half marathon in my hometown of Winkler, MB in 2006. I worked on that committee for the next seven years. I loved seeing the enthusiasm of the runners, and the help it provided for our local food cupboard (our chosen charity to support through the funds raised). It was a privilege to be part of something that inspired and helped so many people.
I continued to run several times a week, loving the outdoors, the challenge of hard runs, and the freedom I felt as I ran. Over the years I experienced several running-related injuries. My knees had started giving me trouble in high school and I was diagnosed with Chondromalacia of the patella. At age 34 when I began running again, my knees began to hurt a lot. I started wearing knee braces and I began taking a good quality calcium supplement. This made a tremendous difference, and I enjoyed many years of running.
Over the past year, I have developed back issues and have had to cut back a lot on my running. This saddens me greatly, but I still enjoy sunny days of bike rides, training clients outside when the weather permits (I became a personal trainer in 2017 with CanFitPro), teaching workouts in the park, and going on as many walks as possible.
I am grateful for the inspiration of John Stanton, the knowledgeable staff at the Running Room, and the years of running that I have enjoyed. I am thankful for every day that I can enjoy a workout, especially when it is in the sunshine. I continue to “run to the sun, for the Son and through the Son”.
May you too find what brings you joy and sunshine.