We all start somewhere, right? Sometimes the path is super obvious or we’re pulled from a deep place in our soul to venture onto it and sometimes we have to push ourselves to take that first step. Either way, somehow, some way, we end up on a journey not knowing how it might change us or give us the tools to help other change.
Here’s my story about becoming a runner….
I started running when I was 19 I think... because I was gaining weight in college (because I drank too much and ate like shit 😳) and it seemed like a simple, easy way to drop some pounds.
For 9 years, I ran alone.
No running friends, no training partners, no laughs, no guidance, no coaching, no community...just. me.
In 2005 I joined a running club and my running life changed. Actually my entire life did.
I joined a Learn to Run 10k group.
Why did I join a LTR when I'd been a runner for 9 years?
Because I wanted to learn more about the sport I'd fallen in love with and I wanted to be better.
That was one of the BEST things I've ever done for myself 😍
Since then, my running buddies have become my dearest friends and I've made some of the best memories out of running adventures!
Running has saved me from myself more times than I can count but it was also a big part of the equation that led to me being the most physically broken I have ever been in my life.
Now you’re asking yourself; “isn’t she trying to convince me that I should become a runner?? Why is she telling me this?”
Here’s the story and then I’ll get to part about why I’m sharing this with you.
I’m going to do my very best to keep this short and sweet. In 2005 I ran my first half marathon, it hurt. My bunions screamed at me for most of those 21.1 km. I chalked it up to being a first timer thing and did nothing to change my runners or even investigate my options.
During the summer of 2006 I started to suffer from low back pain; I had fallen curling that previous winter so made that connection to the pain but I simply grinned through it without investigation. Again.
That year and the following I did little running, it was a trigger for my grief from losing my first husband so I avoided it until I couldn’t anymore. The pull from my soul was growing stronger and I knew how much I missed the sound of my feet striking the ground and my heartbeat in my ears.
2009 was the year triathlon entered my life - it was glorious, so I thought. The intense hours of running, cycling and swimming took their toll on my injured back. The pain began to rule my life. Did I listen to it? Did I take the advice of my coaches and health care practitioners and take time away to rest and rehabilitate? No. Did I do more of the strength training, yoga and core conditioning that was being suggested to me? No. Why not? Because it was extra time that would ‘take away’ from the ‘real ‘ training.
For three more years I trained, I was injured. I trained, I was in constant pain. I trained, my hormonal imbalances intensified. My health deteriorated at a noticeable rate and I ignored every single symptom, sign and screaming beg for mercy my body put out.
2012. Banff, AB, Canada. Melissa’s Road Race 22km race. I was prepared. This was going to be my first sub 2 hour half marathon. Every part of my being was convinced this was the day. Until it wasn’t. You know it’s bad (correction - you should know it’s bad…) when a volunteer is sent out onto the course in a Gator with the intention of bringing you in for medical because you’ve been reported to the organizers as ‘being in really bad shape’. Yeah. THAT happened. I’m sure you can guess what my reaction was? “I’m fine”.
That day was the single most physically painful day of my existence. I knew I shouldn’t have been there from the moment I reached the first aid station at Mile 1 and asked if they had Advil or ice.
The topper of the day was coming across the finish line, in tears, hunched over, suffering with every step to see my husband Kevin waiting for me. I expected kindness, empathy, hugs. He yelled at me. And I love him dearly for it to this day. That moment, I woke up and knew I had to do things differently. He helped me to see that.
This is what suffering looks like. Don’t do this to yourself - ever.
The next three years was a series of two steps forward, ten steps back. I could not run for most of it. My everything was wrapped up in running and triathlon. It was what I knew, what I loved, my social circle was all runners and triathletes. I felt my dreams evaporating. It was a pretty dark time for me and anyone who had to share mexistencece with me.
And then things shifted, massively. My health completely turned around, my pain disappeared 100% and my skies got brighter. In 2016 I got to run my ‘Comeback Half’ at the Calgary Marathon. My body was actually ready for that, my mind, my spirit, every part of me was ready and excited for whatever came my way that day.
Until the unthinkable happened. My left glute seized around km 12.
WOW here I was again, in pain.
HOW could this be happening? I’d worked SO hard. I did everything right. I was healthy and my Comeback was going to be ripped out of my hands. I quickly reverted to that course in Banff that day and my spirit started to crumble.
Enter, Gratitude. In a moment where I was feeling completely defeated and drowning in my own self pity. I took a bit of my own advice. I searched for my gratitude. It had saved me so many times before, it had to be the answer on that day, there was nothing else.
So, I found my smile. I thanked God for allowing me to run as far as I had that day. I praised the blue sky and bright sun. I thanked all the volunteers and spectators cheering us on. I hobbled at times, I walked at times, I even cried a little but through it all, I gave gratitude.
THAT day changed me as a runner, as a human. It reminded me WHY
I love to run.
I was reminded that this journey called life is a privilege every single day. I was reminded that I am not just a runner but that I get to be a runner. I was reminded; yet again, that I was given one body to take care of and cherish and respect and that nothing is more important that my health and well being.
Learning from our own mistakes and poor judgement can be a painful process; looking yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you’ve screwed up and now need to do better is not an easy exercise. Sometimes it is brutally necessary; as it was with me and surely you too at one time or another.
Want to know what’s way easier? Learning from someone else’s painful lessons! Allowing them to lead you down a healthier path lined with experience and guidance.
So here’s the part of the story when I get to encourage you to take that first step to being a runner but don’t do it the way I did it, be smarter than that. Take all of my painful experiences and put them in your toolbox, everytime you think ‘naaaahhhhh I don’t really need that rest day’ or ‘that glute work is boring, I’d rather just run’, pull out one of my awful life experiences I’ve shared with you and get to work…or rest whichever is on the chopping block.
I am beyond thrilled to be able to take my experiences as a human and runner and my knowledge as a Fitness Professional and combine them into a fantastic Learn to Run Clinic! Ultimately, one of my BIG goals in life is to help more people get moving. What better way than by using my LOVE for running as the conduit?
So friends, here you go! If you’re local to Kimberley, BC, you are in luck because we will be running together twice a week as a group. If you are an online friend or follower, you’re in luck too because; again as my goal of getting more people moving, this clinic is being offered as a Virtual Runner program too! All the same bells and whistles except you don’t get us in person.
I’d love you to join us, start writing your own story of how running will change you, because it will and you will love who you become.
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Heya I'm Robyn!
I'm Certified Personal Trainer, Runner, Skier, Cyclist, Lifter of Heavy Things, Foodie, Outdoor & Mountain Lover and Simplifier of Nutrition and Wellness!!
I've been told that I have a way of making nutrition and fitness feel simple and not scary at all. I’m here to help you develop your healthy (er) and fit (er) lifestyle through simplified nutrition and functional fitness!
My Goal is to teach you how to improve your overall health and build a better life!
Thanks for being here - let’s get this party started!!