In Molly’s words – The Running Whys

molly

Molly celebrates as she crosses the finish line of the 2013 Hypothermic Half Marathon in Saint John.

As I neared the top, I heard Dad say: “It’s your race now.” I knew that was code for: “Time to relax. You’re going to reach your time goal.” The final metres were downhill. I crossed the line with my arms in the air. The rest of my family and my fiancé were waiting there. Because of their support, and my decision to finally believe in myself, the “last person on Earth to ever like running” had completed her first half-marathon in 2:27.

Molly is another one of those eager Saint John Streakers I talked about yesterday, one who took on the December running challenge and another who also happened to work at Brunswick News when I was there.  We seemed to develop into an avid running crew! Molly, like many, has used running for fitness reasons, hoping to lose weight after earning her degree and in less than one year, did remarkable job. Definitely, many can identify with that goal. As has been the case with other runners in this series, Molly also understands the many benefits fitness and running provide. And for her, those benefits are personal and powerful motivators.

Here is her story.

Enjoy.

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by Molly Cormier

On the morning of January 1, 2013, I woke up feeling different than I usually did on the first day of a new year.

I didn’t feel guilty about any decisions I had made in the past year. I didn’t feel overwhelmed with the prospect of trying to change my life in the year to come. I didn’t feel the need to make any resolutions.

I felt happy, relaxed and satisfied with the path I was already on.

This self-confidence was the gift that healthy living had brought into my life, but it had been a long-time coming. In 2010, I graduated university. Though I was proud of my degree, I left campus significantly heavier than in high school and with a diagnosis of depression and anxiety.

In early 2011, I signed up for the Fredericton Running Room’s Learn To Run clinic in an effort to strengthen my mental health. It worked. That May, I shocked myself by running my first 5K.

I had caught the running bug, and it was time to focus on my physical health. Fuelled by a desire to go faster and farther, I started a weight-loss program that summer. Nine months later, I was 55 pounds lighter.

That’s why 2013 dawned bright for me. My physical and mental health were better than they had ever been. Running had kept the weight from returning, and I was already halfway through a half-marathon training program.

My family – my mother, father, sister and brother-in-law – had all decided to toe the line at the Hypothermic Half Marathon in Saint John in late February. I couldn’t say no to joining them.

Throughout the winter, I trained in some adverse conditions on the streets of the Port City. All of my runs were done outside except for a small handful when the temperature dipped past -30 degrees Celsius and I reluctantly found a treadmill.

There were plenty of doubts, skipped runs and terrible performances, but the bitter temperatures and icy footing gave me an even greater sense of pride as I went a little farther each week.

Two weeks before race day, I ran my final long training run on very snowy streets. I woke up the next day with a painful IT band injury. After a couple of weeks of tapering and nail-biting, race day arrived.

I was unsure if I could walk a mile, let alone run over 13 of them.

When the clock started beside the Cape Spencer lighthouse on the edge of the Bay of Fundy, I simply started putting one foot in front of the other. I was running a half-marathon, something I never thought to be possible for someone who had always described herself as “the last person on Earth to ever like running.”

I decided that running a half-marathon on an injured leg in the dead of winter would just have to be another one of those things I proved myself wrong about.

I am blessed to have had a strong support network during my healthy-living journey. My father sacrificed his own race experience that day to run by my side and make sure I stayed upright. We chatted, sang some Top 40 tunes, and climbed the punishing hills that led into the city.

Soon we were entering the city, crossing the causeway and approaching Crown Street with only three kilometres left.

I spent the race ignoring my watch. Because of my injury, I just wanted to finish. I thought it might take me three hours, but after feeling stronger than expected in the second half of the race, I had confessed to Dad that I would love to finish under 2:30.

We approached the north-end hill that climbed up to Rockwood Park where the finish awaited.

“This is why you trained on all those hills this winter. It was all for this,” Dad said.

hypohalf

Molly and her father navigate the 21.1 kilometre course during the 2013 Hypothermic Half marathon last February.

Up we went. I was sure I was going to pass out. No, I was sure I was going to die. I continued putting one foot in front of the other. My IT band was screaming.

As I neared the top, I heard Dad say: “It’s your race now.” I knew that was code for: “Time to relax. You’re going to reach your time goal.”

The final metres were downhill. I crossed the line with my arms in the air.

The rest of my family and my fiancé were waiting there. Because of their support, and my decision to finally believe in myself, the “last person on Earth to ever like running” had completed her first half-marathon in 2:27.

My 2013 running highlight really opened my eyes to the fact that many things I had previously thought impossible might actually be attainable. For that reason I have decided to keep surprising myself, and will attempt to complete my first marathon in 2014. If you want to follow along with my training journey, please visit my running blog at http://afreshstartformolly.wordpress.com/.

 Editor’s Note: The 2014 Hypothermic half marathon is slated for Feb. 23 in Saint John.
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