Once I made the decision to train for the half marathon, I turned to my one known source for long distance running – my boyfriend Mike. I had exactly 6 weeks before the end of June when the half marathon clinic started and I hadn’t run more than a handful of times since the 5k clinic ended at the end of November the year before. Mike created a training program to get me up to 8k by clinic time.
For the next few weeks I followed the training plan, each week running a new longer distance. I’ll never forget the feeling when I completed my first 8k run the weekend before the Running Room clinic started. What a sense of accomplishment, of self pride. I hadn’t felt like that in a long time. I did it! It was the beginning of what would be a summer of firsts.
And then the clinic started. Unfortunately, my second go at a clinic was just as disappointing as my first. The talks at the beginning of each class were great, but the running was not enjoyable at all. I ran at the back of the pack, on my own. There was no support, no encouragement from the clinic leader as I had thought there would be. To keep myself from giving up, I quickly registered for the goal race. Thought I’d try motivation by commitment.
Then one hot, humid Sunday morning in July, my biggest motivator Mike brought me with him to his local Running Room run club. Suddenly, my opinion of running groups changed completely. The clinics here were much more organized than the one I had been going to. Of course this one was also about 4 times as big as mine so organization was a must. This clinic had pace leaders who were responsible for leading people who run at similar paces. I was able to find one that I fit right into, and that morning I ran my first really enjoyable 9k. It was a run with great company, with lots of chatter and even some laughs! And when we got back to the store where we started, as slow as we were, the clinic leaders were there standing on the sidewalk, waiting for us with big smiles on their faces and a big high five and shouts of “way to go” and “awesome run” for everyone!
That was just the motivation I needed to keep me going. And it was then that I discovered my love for running. The rest of the summer I was focused on training. I was running 3 nights a week as well as a long run on Sunday mornings and inline skating on Saturdays. But my favourite workout of the week was, and still is, Sunday mornings with that group of ladies and the rest of the friends I have made through that run club. They will never know how motivational and inspiring they are to me.