Whistler is a very active place. People make full use of the mountains; in winter they ski and snowboard, and in summer they bike and hike. There are trails made specifically for walkers/runners/cyclists so that no one has to travel at the side of the motorway.
Frequently walking past all these active people started to make me feel lazy. I wanted to start doing something. A few years ago I started running for a brief spell, then I moved to England for university and stopped. Since I had done it before, and it didn’t require the purchase of any expensive equipment (aside from proper shoes), I decided to take up running again, only ‘for real’ this time.
This is the first pair of proper running shoes I’ve owned, and wow, it really makes a difference. It’s a bit of an upfront cost, but it’s definitely worth investing in a pair of proper runners that are designed to support your feet and ankles.
I started out with no real plan. I just jogged/ran for as long as I could and then slowed down to a walk until I felt able to go faster again. If you follow me on Instagram (@njmarcus), you may have noticed that a lot of my photos lately have been around Lost Lake. This area is perfect for running because there are no vehicles, just cyclists, walkers and runners. Plus, it’s a beautiful area.
I have to go running first thing, otherwise I won’t go. It’s never a good idea to head out on an empty stomach, but at the same time it’s unwise to exercise with a full stomach. I’ve found that, for me, the perfect thing is a small glass of fresh smoothie. I blend a banana, a handful of strawberries, some orange juice and soy milk. Or a few slices of peach, or fresh mango, or apple, or grapes. Or whatever I have in the fridge that morning.
I like to set off about half an hour after I’ve had my smoothie, so in that in-between time I get dressed into my running gear, and set out my clothes for the day so when I get home I can just hop in the shower then get ready.
After about three or four weeks of just running, somewhat aimlessly, I decided I needed more structure, and maybe something to aim for. I’ve said (mainly to myself) for quite a while that I want to run a marathon some day, but it’s gone no further than me thinking that. To be honest, it’s something I’ve thought would be awesome to do, but at the same time I knew I could never actually do.
I read quite a few health and fitness blogs, and I read Katie’s post about surprising her sister by turning up to run a half marathon with her. Then I flicked through some other posts on her blog, and saw all these other people posting their accomplishments and achievements, and something in me just clicked and I thought maybe I could do this. But not on my own.
I mulled it over while I ran by the lake that morning, and by the time I got back, I decided to look into races I could possibly enter. The first one I found was the Whistler Half Marathon, which is happening this weekend. Uh, yeah, I’m not quite ready for that. I knew that for any type of race, no matter how short, I needed time to prepare and train. So anyway, I searched and searched, and finally found a 5k in Ireland in October. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, but I’m going to be back home for the whole of October (to be my big sister’s Maid of Honour, woo!), and so I pitched it to my family to see if anyone would run it with me, and virtually train with me. Turns out my family are an easily led bunch ;) Even my dad agreed to run.
5 kilometres may seem like nothing to some people, but to me it is huge. I’ve never done something like this before, so while I am excited, I am pretty nervous.
Since the decision has been made, I’ve started the Couch to 5k training program, which promises to have me ready to run 5k in nine weeks. I’m at the end of week one, so I have a long way to go, but I am so happy to be actively (excuse the pun) doing something about this dream. Right now I feel like I am walking more than I am running, but as the saying goes, you don’t have to go fast, you just have to go.