A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me: “what makes you feel strong?”
The context was of an overall nature; not just strength but more of an overall strength of person. It surprised me a bit how little I had to think about my answer to this question. All of the sudden, it just sort of flowed out of me; My instant answer was ‘training’.
It got me thinking about how things in my life had evolved to a place where training has become a top priority. I have always been involved in sports; right from a young age it has always had a place in my life. As I have grown up though it has taken on a totally different meaning in my life. After a knee injury left me unable to play a sport I loved anymore (soccer), I realized I was going to the gym and I no longer knew what to do when I got there- not only did I not have a team to train with I didn’t have a set workout. Soon enough, I stopped going to the gym, and I quickly started to feel uncomfortable. As a university student, I wasn’t eating well and gaining weight; I was also losing self-esteem and feeling weak in general. Every so often, I would get out for a run. Even though it was tough, I did notice a significant change in the way that I felt after I would get home. My legs were sore, but I felt better about myself overall. Over time, I began to notice a significant difference between the days I chose to run versus the ones when I didn’t. Running became a way to release from my stress of studying and paper writing; I began to schedule it in to my days and soon I found myself looking forward to my workouts. I was also eating better and just feeling less stressed and more in control in general.
Post-degree and living in Victoria, BC., I started training for my first half marathon. It was the toughest things I had done, but I managed to complete it in 1hrs and 44 minutes. I had pushed my body to a new limit and the feeling of accomplishment I felt after training and finishing the race was a high that was all my own. I was hooked! My training took on a new tone of competition; training for a race gave me something to be accountable for. If I wasn’t training, I for sure wasn’t going to finish my next race. Overall I noticed a new found feeling of strength of mind and body that helped me cope with my always busy schedule. Before I knew it half-marathon training became training for full marathons, and I began dedicating more of my time to it.
When my younger brother passed away in 2010, I moved back to Edmonton to be with my family. My world had been turned upside down and I found myself turning to running to cope with my day to day. Running became my own form of therapy. Going into a run I could be feeling any number of emotions, but by the end I found myself with a clear head, positive frame of mind and a sense of strength. That was when a good friend and training partner suggested that we train together for Ironman as a potential fundraiser for my brothers fund; I was all in.
Again my training had evolved and I was running, swimming and cycling as well. The competition factor was back, with our sights set on Ironman, but a new tone was set with triathlon training. I was trying to make a life in Edmonton with a new full time job and still trying to train twice a day!
Eventually, I ended up deciding against doing Ironman in 2011- knowing that if I was going to compete in this competition I needed to feel ready. I had no work/life/training balance and I was starting to resent something that had become something really important to me. So, I scaled back my training and the love grew once again. Over the past 2 years, I have competed in sprint, Olympic and the half Ironman distance. On Sunday August 26, I registered for the 2013 Ironman Canada. I couldn’t be more excited! I am in a place where I am surrounded by inspiring motivated athletes at Blitz Conditioning, and I feel strong and ready to take on this new challenge. It is going to be a long road, but it starts now. At the end of the day I know that this is what I need in my life; it makes me feel strong, confident, happy and ready to take on life and all that it can throw at you.
This is why I train.