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It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and, honestly, I believe this to be true. This year, I was able to run a 10-kilometre race in about an hour’s time which works out to roughly 6 miles and some change. Although I still have a while to go before I reach the thousand-mile mark, I was extremely proud of myself considering I had only started seriously running a year and a half prior to the race. To be clear, I do not want to use this post to brag about my accomplishments. I do, however, feel that the idea of beginning a journey is fitting since this is my first blog post.
I initially started running as a way to stay healthy. I often didn’t have the time to do a full workout or go to the gym but I could sacrifice 20 minutes a day to run on the treadmill. I ran like this consistently for a whole year, gradually increasing my speed, before I ever stepped outside. I would like to think it was because it was convenient but the truth is that I was worried I wouldn’t have the right form or pace. I had never been very athletic in my life and it was a major adjustment to start “performing” or practicing in front of the people in my subdivision.
This was all actually my mother’s dream. She set a goal in her mind at age [redacted] that she would run 10 kilometres. Me, a perfectly healthy 19-year old, at the time, never dreamed of this. She invited me along one time with her on one of her runs and, surprisingly, I was able to keep up. From then on, we became running buddies, helping each other when the other was feeling tired, pausing when we felt at the point of injury, and cheering each other on when we just needed that last bit of encouragement to finish.
It was also my mom’s idea to run in a 10-kilometre race. Before I knew it, we were signed up and ready to go. We continued practicing, each run becoming a bit easier and each step a bit less painful. Eventually, we drove down to Niagara Falls for the “Run to the Brink!” 10-kilometre run. We were both feeling pretty nervous as it was definitely a bit more intense than the runs around our subdivision. We were certainly not in Kansas anymore.
The Run (A Thousand Mile Journey)
Praying and shivering in the cold morning air, we began the race. To my surprise, the first 5 kilometres were quite easy. It seemed that our training had paid off. However, the next three really took their toll. My mom told me after the race that there was a point where she was getting ready to stop and then she looked up a saw a Tim Hortons. “I can do it for Tims” she thought, thinking of the warm tea that awaited her once the race was over. Whatever works!
I just tried to focus on my music and the beautiful surroundings. We got to run on a nature trail before the Falls started and the scenery was picturesque. Eventually we made it to the ninth kilometre. I started to feel better knowing that there was only 1 kilometre left. “I can do 1 k!” I thought.
When we rounded the last bend and saw the finish line, our names were announced over the loudspeakers and my brother and dad cheered us on to the finish line. It was a like a scene from a movie! My mom and I high-fived each other, despite being exhausted, and received medals and complimentary water and muffins (in which I generously partook). We had done it!
If you asked me back in high school if I ever thought I would run 10 kilometres I would have laughed out loud. As I said before, I was not the athletic type. To think that none of this would have ever happened had I not stepped on the treadmill that very first time was mind-blowing. But it took a year and a half to be able to work up the courage and stamina to do the race and countless accumulated hours of running, inside and out. Truly, this journey was one of a thousand miles and it is a testament that nothing good comes without hard work and you never know where that first step is going to take you.