In the last post I mentioned that I ran/trained with friends. Back when I first started running , I thought it would be a one-off half marathon and I would go back to my carefree days of beer-league softball, golf and couch potato channel surfing.
If you had told me in 2002 that I would not only have run that half but gone on to run a couple of fulls, start coaching others to run, and planning an Ironman I would have told you, you were insane. Well to be honest I still say the Ironman thing is insane but that is no reason not to do something anymore.
Along the way I have had the distinct honour and pleasure of running with lots of truly inspirational people and have formed some fabulous friendships. One friend is Joyce - my first true and oldest running pal. She was the only person I think that noticed I was even in that first half marathon clinic.
In my first half marathon clinic I was the slowest person in the clinic for a number of reasons but mostly due to some plantar fascietis issues. The clinic group would head out for the workouts on clinic night and the long runs on Sundays and I would watch them quickly disappear off in the distance and then settle in for a run where I would beat myself up for being so slow and would almost always turn the wrong way and get lost leading to me having to run longer than planned distances because I was trying to find my way back to the store. The one good thing about this was I got to learn downtown Vancouver and got over my fear of asking for directions.
Then one Sunday as I was settling in for another long lonely run one of the ladies turned around, saw me and started to jog back to me. When she got to me she introduced herself and said she would run with me. I told her that it was okay if she wanted to go with them since I was quite slow and did not want to hold her back. Joyce said oh no I am relieved that you are here they are way too fast for me. Was she just being kind - I will never know but I was truly grateful for the companionship and conversation.
We had a lot of fun getting lost together in the trails during the training for that first race and I cannot think of a better person to have run my very first half marathon than with Joyce. This is the same lady who I like to say "tricked" me into running my first full as well. As I was working through my foot issues she continued to progress to running full marathons, being a group leader for clinics and eventually even changed careers to become the assistant manager at the Running Room.
Without "Joycie" I know I would have never finished that first race, definately never would have done a full marathon, been invited to run with the gals when I came back from injury and I most certainly would not be where I am now - starting to implement a 2-year plan for Ironman. So I guess you could say it kind of is all her fault...
Thanks for turning around that day Joycie you showed me that running is not just about finishing but it is about supporting each other and can even be fun!