Last year I made a pledge that 2015 would be different and that I would finish each race knowing that I had done everything that I could do to run the best race possible. As 2015 is coming to a close, I’m happy to report that my year of running redemption was a success. In 2015, I ran 18 races, the most number of races I’ve ever run in a single year. I actually thought I was cutting back, but I guess all of those race challenges add up. I trained smarter and ran personal best times in the 5k (by over 2 minutes), 8k (by 7 minutes), 10k (by 6 minutes), 15k (by 18 minutes), half marathon (3 times for a total of 12 minutes!), 30k (by 1 hour 8 minutes) and the full marathon (by almost 30 minutes).
A big change for me was recognizing that I didn’t have the discipline to run on my own throughout the winter. I was tired of losing my running fitness during the winter months so I sucked it up and started running with the Beaches Running Room. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Through the Beaches Running Room I’ve met many other supportive, inspiring runners (many who I am now proud to call my friend). I was also introduced to running in the Beaches neighbourhood, which is hillier and more challenging than the flat terrain of Brampton that I was used to. My running group got me through the winter, from crazy ice storms that made us look like we were covered in ice armour, to -30 and -40 degree weather, to searching for water fountains during heat waves and slogging it out for long runs during extreme heat alerts, they got me through a lot. My running group even makes hill training fun (as fun as hills can be anyway!). I love cheering for each other as we go up and down the hills and when I’ve been the last runner to get to the last hill, my running group has clapped and cheered for me and I’ve had runners join me to conquer the last hill and keep me company. It’s been a great experience and I’ve improved a lot because of it (the regular pub nights with my group also don’t hurt!).
Another big change for me was becoming a 2015 #STWM digital champion. When I first applied, I thought that I would just promote the race (one of my favourite races), post about my training on social media and try to motivate others who were training too. Instead, I received amazing support and made new running friends who continue to inspire me every day.
The world has gotten a lot smaller because of social media and I honestly believe that runners are some of the best people in the world. To sum up 2015, I finally crushed it! I’m looking forward to more in 2016.