A Goal & a Half

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by Meg Freer

I was nearing age 45, pregnant with my third child and, although not overweight, certainly not athletic or a runner in any way. For some reason, pregnancy hormones gave me the crazy desire to run a half marathon someday. I delivered my baby in the hospital and ended up having to stay a few days until my blood pressure went down. I had a beautiful view of Lake Ontario, and on the last Sunday of April I watched a steady stream of people run along the waterfront path all morning. At some point, I realized they were in a race. I didn’t know anything about racing, but I thought to myself that I wanted to do whatever they were doing. When I found out the race was the half marathon event at the annual Limestone Race Weekend, I remembered my prenatal desire to run my own half, and this became my goal.

Sean Scally

Postnatally, I got out there with a jogging stroller and was discouraged that I could only run half a block at a time before having to catch my breath. Still, I persisted and gradually increased the distance. I joined a postnatal fitness class at my training studio, Conquer Training. A friend and I finally ran our first 5K race, at the Limestone Race Weekend. I showed up to my fitness class one day and the trainer told me she was kicking me out of that class and into a “run for endurance” class, which I reluctantly joined. That trainer’s decision turned out to be the catalyst for my running passion.

I did a few other 5K races, then 8K, then 10K. A year after I started running, my mother finally remembered to tell me that my father had run cross-country in high school, so maybe I didn’t come by this new passion entirely by chance. An 18K winter triathlon in Ottawa convinced me I could do a half marathon. Knowing I couldn’t do the long runs on my own, I hooked up with my local Running Room and enjoyed many Sunday morning long runs and followed the increases in distance each week. Most people were training for the Ottawa Race Weekend a month later than my own goal race, so I had to extend some of the runs and get through those final kilometres on my own.

Finally, I felt ready to run the Limestone Race Weekend half marathon and did so with a respectable time of 2:12. I looked up at the hospital windows as I ran by and wondered how many patients were watching us run along the waterfront that morning and whether anyone else would be inspired as I had been. Finding the weekend training time to be a burden for my busy family, I decided to wait a
couple years before running another half, at which time I ran the fall half marathon at The County Marathon, with a gorgeous course through Sandbanks Provincial Park in Picton, Ontario. This time I managed to run steadily and better my previous time.

I run and race year-round in all weather and, depending on the season, I cross-train with cardio-boxing, kayaking, snowshoe running or cross-country skiing. Best of all, my young son, with whom I was pregnant when I first had the crazy notion to run a half marathon, now enjoys running too and has run a few short races of his own, including a few times at the Limestone Mile on Canada Day. I guess the whole thing wasn’t such a crazy idea after all.

 

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