Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The hardest part is to take the first steps....

When I mentioned to a friend of mine recently that I had just signed up to run the Ottawa Race Week-end half-marathon on May 30th, she looked at me and simply said: "Are you crazy?" The obvious answer was yes. I am crazy. Absolutely nuts. In more ways than one. But not when it comes to my decision to run the race. I must also assure you that when I filled in the registration form and paid my $55 to enter the race, I was sober and not under the influence of any other doubtful substances.

I'm sure I could come up with a couple of good reasons for doing it: That running makes me feel good, keeps me healthy, toned and beautiful. There are also the shallow ones: the free t-shirt, the medal, the supporters on the sideline that cheer enthusiastically as you pass by, sweaty and panting and give you the extra boost of energy you needed to push on and keep going. I also can't wait to buy myself a cute running skirt to wear on race day. Any reason to shop and buy new outfits is a great reason to sign up for a half-marathon...isn't it? Now that would be a crazy reason to sign up.

The truth is, while some of the above reasons are definitely a great benefit to signing up, there is only one reason that matters to me. I signed up because I wanted to prove to myself that I could follow through with a commitment that scares the shit out of me. Simple as that, and yet very complicated.

The half-marathon is my Everest. There is something holy in an event which not only requires physical endurance but also a lot of mental and emotional strength. I need both of these very much right now. And for me, the grueling part is going to be the weeks of training that precede the event. It will require time, discipline, effort and most of all a shift in thinking patterns: excuses are no longer acceptable, fear can no longer take over and prevent me from achievement. I have now committed and must ignore the excuses I've been coming up with for years to put exercise and health last on my to-do list ("it's too cold, too hot, the kids need me, I have to work, I'm too tired, blah, blah, blah"). My thoughts have been my sabotage mechanism but this is no longer acceptable. I needed a huge challenge to change my life and there it is. I cannot go back now.

As I struggle to live with anxiety, I cannot stay the status quo. As my mom battles breast cancer again, I cannot sit on the couch and ignore my health, lest I be willing to have a date with cancer too. 

I know that when I make it to the starting line of the half-marathon, I will be almost there. I know that when I cross the finish line, I will have climbed my Everest and this achievement will propel me to greater things. It all begins with the first few steps. During the training and along the way on race day, there will be many of my friends cheering me on. Friends who believe in me, even when I've bailed before on my commitment. And I'm lucky that I will be running the half-marathon with the person who believes in me the most: my husband Tyler.

Here's to first steps.


  1. YOU GO, GIRL!
    You are courageous for committing to this (and maybe, yes, a little crazy) but I totally believe that you can do it. I will be one of the friends at the sidelines cheering you on..count on it! You may have inspired me to sign up for something, too...

  2. you're the best and will won the race !

  3. and I LOOOOOOOVE the picture !

  4. You are not crazy you are amazing! I am so proud of you for even contemplating this, you are a winner in my eyes. Always : )

  5. Good luck Em, I am so certain you can do it. You will come out on the other side feeling amazing and accomplished. I have no doubt that this event will change you in more than just a retail shopping for new Lulu, or physical way. You can do anything you put your mind to and all things that are worth doing come with hard work and determination. I am on the sidelines as we speak cheering you on!

    Love you,

  6. Great challenge. Half marathon is a big mountain, but I'm pretty sure after this challenge you will raise your challenge to try the Full-Marathon ;-)

  7. Em, you are an amazing and strong woman. I know you will follow this through and beyond! I will be cheering you on all the way to the finish line!!!