I grew up running. I’ve always lived my life at a fast (and borderline-frenzied-in-my-worst-moments) pace. As a kid, I had tons of energy that was always itching to be released. I guess not much has changed after 29 years.
As soon as they could, my awesome parents got me involved in any sport that allowed me to hyperactively sprint or jump in circles for a solid hour. Soccer and basketball were my first ventures, starting at around 4 years old. In fact, my mom even helped to START a basketball program in my home town so my siblings and I could play every winter! One summer my mom encouraged me to try tee-ball instead of my usual summer soccer playing just to see if I’d like it (my mom played softball quite competitively in her twenties so I think she was probably hoping I’d find a fondness for the sport as well). Thing is, I was 8 years old and hyper as anything, so tee-ball BORED the bejeezus out of me. Suffice to say that was my first and ONLY season of tee-ball. (Until I played on my high school team, I guess. But that was only to supplement the time I had to spare between playing rep soccer and running city track.) No offense to you softball/baseball lovers out there, but for a kid that was literally bouncing up and down with pent up energy, being sidelined and standing around in the field during tee-ball was like torture.
I needed to RUN! I needed to let ‘er RIP!
I continued on with my basketball and soccer playing, though, and then in grade 3 I was of age to run on my school’s cross country team. This was the beginning of my love affair with running. My cross country coach’s name was Mr. McAnany. He was tirelessly dedicated to teaching us kids how to run and how to LOVE running. He was encouraging, supportive, and fun. Every time I sprinted across a finish line in elementary school, he was there yelling encouragement ‘til his voice went hoarse. To this day he still teaches elementary school and is STILL instilling a love for running (and more generally, being active) in young kids. My sister Danielle and several close friends of mine are now helping to carry the torch for a new generation of incredible teachers who are emphasizing the importance of health and fitness for kids today. THANK YOU – we need you guys!
But I digress. On this cross country team in grade 3 was someone I would form a lifelong friendship with; it was yet another person who would help to influence my love of being active. My best friend Catherine and I bonded over our love of running, and then many more things throughout the years. From grade 3 through until, well, today our pace has remained oddly identical. In high school, no matter how hard we pushed ourselves to really smoke each other in races, we LITERALLY would take turns crossing the line within seconds of each other. It was always a bit of a joke between us and others on our track team. Even now, living across the country from each other (she is in British Columbia and I’m in Ontario) and training completely separately in our own little worlds for years, our half marathon times are nearly identical! Her PB: 1hr, 46mins, 5secs. My PB: 1hr, 46mins, 57secs. (Yes, I am beyond tempted to do another half sometime soon so I can beat her.) Cath and I have always been each other’s biggest competition and most intense rivals. We have also been each other’s support and motivation. Most importantly, we have always rooted for each other.
I no longer run much because of chronic foot injuries. (But thank YOU CrossFit, my motivating fiancé, and my current training partners for keeping me fit regardless!) Cath, though… She’s a machine. Despite several knee issues, including many instances of dislocating knee caps and a few surgeries, she continues doing what she loves. She recently ran a full marathon and then, a couple months after that, participated in an 80km relay race/ultra marathon out in BC. (NOTE: At my request, she fact checked this, and in one of her edits she mentioned being concerned that if I didn’t clarify that she “only” did the relay and not the full ultra marathon herself, people would get the wrong impression. Haha, I know, she’s SUCH a slacker.) Go Cath!
I have been touched by countless inspiring people in my life, including my parents, my siblings (all of them are incredible athletes in their own rights), my best friends, coaches, and teachers. I’ve been lucky. I have been so lucky that I now know my job is to at least try to inspire others and pass on this gift I’ve been given – the gift of LOVING exercise. The gift of LOVING fitness.
So, here’s my call out to you, readers – Why do YOU love exercise and being fit? Who has inspired you? What has inspired you? Email me your story! Send it here: email@example.com. Include the Subject Line: Why I LOVE Being Fit! I will publish the most inspiring, motivating stories on my homepage within the next couple weeks.
Send those submissions my way ASAP, and train hard in the meantime!