Fitness from a Young Age
When I was younger, I did competitive gymnastics at a provincial level for almost 16 years. I trained 30 hours a week 52 weeks a year, so I was constantly exercising. But it was a sport I loved so I never really thought about it with the same negative connotation we associate with “exercise” nowadays. Since quitting, I dabbled in different things from time to time, not really committing to anything with the intensity of my gymnastics days.
When I lived in PEI I discovered hot yoga and fell in love. I would be at the studio 4-5 days a week and found myself getting stronger and finding my flexibility returning. I loved (and still love) all the health and mobility benefits that yoga offers. Put that in a 100 degree heated room with 100% humidity and I’m there!! I absolutely love getting my sweat on. Sadly when we moved back to Moncton, there was no hot yoga studio accessible to us so we set off in search of something different.
I am NOT a Runner - But I'll Give it a Try
Every spring and summer I would give running the ol’ high school try. The weather was nice and going out for a run was a great way to spend time outside soaking up the rays. I was by no means a “runner” though. My distances maxed out at 6-7km and I never envisioned myself ever being able to go further than that. I don't know if it was because I didn’t think I could do it, or that I didn’t have the attention span to stay out that long. Running was monotonous for me and I get bored easily.
Sean decided he wanted to run a marathon WAY before I ever even considered it. One year he declared he was adding it to his bucket list and I looked at him and told him I had zero interest in running for that long. Count me in for a half marathon…maybe. Running for upwards of 4 hours sounded boring and excruciating and I just couldn’t picture myself ever having the desire to do it.
That summer passed and we did a little training based on things we’d read online and I managed to put in my furthest distance ever - 19km. It took me over 2 hours and I remember the feeling of hitting the 20km mark and having to literally sit down on the spot where I took my last step and rest before I could make my legs drag me home. When I got home I ate an entire pizza and had several beers to celebrate. Nope, I wasn't cut out for marathons.
A New Routine and a Running Family
Fast forward a year. We had been slowly changing our eating habits and were committed to adopting a healthier lifestyle that was sustainable. It was shortly after that we found an amazing HIIT-style boot camp fitness center and were quickly addicted. We lost inches and pounds and found ourselves feeling the effects of the changes we’d made. After about a year of hitting the mats 4-5 days a week, we discovered that some of our friends from the gym had run marathons in the past and were looking for training partners. Obviously, Sean jumped at the opportunity. After all, I wasn’t interested. Or was I?
Oh Yeah, I Was Pregnant
This is the perfect time to mention that I was also pregnant at this point. I found out I was pregnant in late January and continued to work out and planned to do so as long as possible. I was fortunate enough to ease into pregnancy and didn’t notice much change in my body right away. When spring came along I naturally decided to try my hand at running yet again. It was around June when Sean started training with our new friends for his first marathon. I remember the feeling of going out with them one day for a short distance and coming home in tears because I couldn’t keep up. But I am nothing if not determined. Something about watching him going out 5 days a week and coming home pumped about his new pace was infectious. Maybe…just maybe I could do that too.
So I decide to join the group. One of our friends ran 10:1 intervals and at a slower pace than Sean was running and said she’d love the company on Sunday mornings if I ever felt up to it. What was the harm? So out I go with them one Sunday morning in July. 6 months pregnant and still feeling awesome. It was that 13km run on that sunny July morning with great company that got me hooked. If I could do that at 6 months pregnant I could run a marathon. Too bad baby girl was due 3 weeks before the marathon they were all training for. This is where my determination kicked into high gear. Maybe, just maybe I could run a 1/2 marathon before she got here….