This is the 10th story in a series previewing the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea.
For Jacqueline Boucher, running has provided her many gifts, from fitness to inspiration to major goal setting. In some ways though, the most rewarding aspect was peace of mind, assisting her through some tough times and helping her celebrate the best moments of all, specifically the birth of her daughter last summer. Jacqueline is back running, training for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea, looking for a specific goal time in the half marathon. Here is Jacqueline’s Running Whys story.
by Jacqueline Boucher
When I was approached to write about why I run, the answer truly stumped me. I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and playing sports but my running “career” is relatively new. I began running in May 2013, when a friend asked me to start training with her and I said yes. Looking back on it now, I can say that running began to fill in the gap that I felt was missing in my life.
The background to that statement is that I was 28 years old, married for several years, had graduated from law school five years earlier and was beginning to establish my own legal practice after having moved to Saint John in early 2012. Sounds great, right? Well, to me, at that point, my only focus was on the fact that my husband and I had been trying to have our first child for approximately 18 months.
We were in the middle of fertility testing and had just found out that my husband would be sent on a tasking with the air force to Ontario for three months. To me, every morning I woke up not pregnant was a disappointment.
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I needed a challenge, something to occupy my time, and the endorphins would help too. All of that led me to say yes to my friend when she asked me to train for a half marathon with her.
We started off slow in May of 2013 with a 16-week training plan. The goal was to complete a half marathon in October 2013. We started off with a 3km run and it seemed endless. After a few weeks, my friend ended up injuring her knee so I had to carry on training alone. This is when running became a meditation for me.
My husband and I continued to pursue fertility treatment but that was no longer consuming my every thought. I had a goal and while that did not completely heal the hurt and anger I was feeling, it certainly gave me something else to think about.
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I became a better wife, lawyer and person because of it. I was less stressed out and felt really good about my body (which had recently only been a source of disappointment) for the first time I can remember in my adult life.
When race day finally came around, I was ready, and am proud to say I completed my first half-marathon in just over two hours on Thanksgiving weekend in October 2013. Two weeks later, my husband and I were over the moon to find out we were expecting a baby in July 2014.
Needless to say, running moved off my schedule during most of my pregnancy and after a very rough delivery our daughter, Brynn, was born on July 10, 2014. It took me several months to even begin to feel human again after my pregnancy and I did not have a typical maternity leave. Due to the nature of my work, I only took about 10 weeks off and, thankfully, my husband was able to spend nine full months bonding with our daughter.
It was a full year after completing my first half marathon that I got out for my first post-baby run. It was rough and then the winter of all winters struck New Brunswick. Running on a treadmill could not get me off the couch the way that running outside did, so running was again, on hold until early in 2015.
At that point, I knew I had to sign up for a race “or else.” So, I signed up for a 13km run in April 2015, and set goals of completing a half marathon by May, and then doing the Marathon by the Sea in August. It was a long, hard, winter, but I finally was able to put sneakers to the pavement by March and so far, I have completed both of my first two 2015 goals with my sweet daughter cheering me on both times.
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Marathon by the Sea will be the first time that I cannot say that I just want to finish the race. This will be my third half marathon and I have a time in mind that I want to finish the race by (although I am keeping that time to myself!).
Running has given me strength to get through a dark period in my life. It is not always easy to balance home life, work, and fitness. I try to remind myself of how good it feels when it’s over and that inspires me to try and get outside.
I have never really had huge aspirations of completing races. I want to be an inspiration for my daughter and to be able to show her that she can do whatever she puts your mind to and that there are many facets to life to be proud of and the biggest part of that is simply putting one foot in front of the other.