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But… You hate running?
This is what I expected those who know me to say when I told them I started running regularly. And they’d be right. I do hate running. I avoided any sort of long distance running like the plague. I tried training for a Tough Mudder 5 years ago and, yup, still hated it.
So why am I running now?
It started with a song. The song All I Want by Kodaline came on as I was driving and I had this major urge to run. I had a lot on my mind and it felt like running would help me process it and move through the emotions. My thoughts and feelings felt heavy, and I just wanted to let them go.
What was I thinking about? My mom has cancer.
She had just been diagnosed, after over a month of unexplained symptoms. It wasn’t surprising, but still a shock, if that makes sense. No one wants their parent to be diagnosed with cancer, regardless of how obvious that outcome seems.
So, why running?
Well, spring of this year my mom was training to run the Firefighter’s 10 mile road race in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She had done the race multiple times before, and this year she was in charge of training a group of new runners. She kept complaining of back pain to me, and me being the core focused trainer I am, gave her some exercises I thought might help. She saw her doctor, went to physio, did all the right things. The pain just kept returning. Then eventually it was interfering with her breathing, she was getting short of breath with running. So her doctor sent her for an xray, and basically the rest is history. After a series of tests, a multitude of doctors, and many, many “it could be this” reports… She had a definitive diagnosis – Mesothilioma – a cancer in the lining of her lung.
This meant many things, including even if (when!) she does beat this, she likely may never run again. She had missed her opportunity to compete in the Firefighters 10 Mile Road Race in the midst of all her (at the time) unexplained symptoms. I knew without her ever having to say it that this was devastating for her. My heart broke for her. I know how much movement means to her, how her identity was wrapped up in being a runner, how she must be feeling like she is losing a big part of herself.
So that, combined with my new urge to run, brought on by stress, the need for release and a tiny bit by my athlete brain wanting a new challenge, I decided to start running and train for the 10 miler. But I didn’t just throw on some shoes and hit the road. With my history of prolapse, being postpartum (postpartum is forever, remember!) and my difficultly with running in the past, I took the smart route and hired my very own coach, because coaches need coaches. I knew exactly how to schedule and progress myself for strength training, but running? I always hated it, and I’m pretty sure that’s because I always let my athlete brain get in my way. I always went too hard, too fast, and when it was too difficult I gave up and told myself “I’m not a runner“. I knew hiring Holly with Movement Labs would be the key element that would get me over the hump. I knew I needed a coach who could reign in my Athlete Brain, but also keep her engaged and one that I could be open and honest with about my pelvic floor symptoms, and other issues that may arise. Because if you can’t tell your coach “I don’t think I should run today because I’m ovulating and my vagina feels heavy” then what use is the coach anyway? Holly get’s it. She’s a Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism coach with an abundance of other certifications under her belt. Plus, we’ve been “Instagram friends” for a while now, and I know she gets me on a personal level too!
So here I am, I’ve been running consistently for 6 whole weeks! Last week I had the chance to tell my mom about my plans, she immediately teared up when I told her. She knows my history with running and how much this means. I can’t wait to cross the finish line next May and see her there cheering me on!