I have never considered myself a runner.
Growing up I played all the sports I could get my hands on in the small city of Yellowknife; soccer, volleyball, and hockey. And all at varying levels and some in highly competitive realms. Yet despite being so active, I always dreaded anytime we were meant to run. Beep tests, dryland training, all of it… it filled me with unending dread. When I was 10 years old I got pushed into a wall during a soccer game, and have since lived with a somewhat displaced ribcage that causes me pain every time I choose to run.
Xrays, multiple doctors, and full body scans could never entirely figure out the pain in my ribcage, but I knew it always became aggravated by running. This didn’t help an already dreadful activity that seemed to follow me everywhere I went… as I moved up in hockey and became more competitive, I felt myself feeling like I couldn’t physically keep up with everyone else.
Since my competitive hockey days, I’ve been able to work around my rib cage pain and understand how much it can handle. I’ve found what’s worked for me, and I’ve started to see running as a beautiful challenge instead of a painful obstacle. And really, I’m disappointed I didn’t change my perspective sooner.
As the chinooks run through Calgary, I find myself drawn to run outside more often. I find myself slow, and short-distanced compared to those I know. However, this beautiful journey has taught me three very important lessons:
I like feeling strong.
Maybe you’re already a stellar runner, but I can guarantee that any improvement in your time or length will reveal just how strong your body is. I am always amazed at how strong and capable my body can be, even despite the pain I feel while doing it because it shows me in a tangible way that my mental strength can overcome anything. After every run, I feel rushed with not only endorphins but gratitude for my body.
I like having big, tangible goals.
Running is good like that. It’s easy to count, to track, to monitor your speed or distance and get a really good quantifiable number. I love numbers in that way. I enjoy knowing that I am progressing with each run, or that a “bad” run can be broken down and better understood. Running pushes you to go after that loftier goal, to step outside the box and try and push yourself a little harder.
I like connecting with my neighborhood.
Running is a beautiful sport because it allows you to not only get a physical workout but to enjoy your surroundings. And though sometimes I find myself on a treadmill in the winter time, I can’t help but feel beautifully more connected to this world when I get the chance to run outside. Whether that be in winter or summer, I feel intimately more balanced in my health and happiness when I can enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Running helps me to fully appreciate my surroundings, and I am incredibly thankful for that.
Running has been a very on and off relationship in my life. And for right now, I’m enjoying the beautiful flirtation of my feet against pavement. Here’s to more runs ahead of me.
***All photos by the lovely Hannah Brooks – hannahbrooksphotography.com ***