Saturday, April 21, 2007

Running as therapy...

I've been running for a few years now and while I've had my fair share of injuries, both running and non-running ones, I've also experienced some wonderful "highs" over the past several months. Ironically, my greatest moment in running came last weekend, while injured.

I can clearly recall the first time I was able to run for a mile without stopping. After that, running for 30 minutes was a milestone, then 60 minutes, and who can forget completing his first race? But last week, I experienced a thrill so great, that I don't know if I will ever be able to top it again, but just the chance that I might, keeps me in love with this sport.

Our Running Club met last Sunday morning for our usual 8:30 jaunt. Due to a back problem, I was resigned to a slow limp while the others had 50 minutes of running on their agendas - the longest run yet for the Club.

My walking route and the route chosen by the runners took us in different directions. I wanted to be back at the finish area in time to watch them come in, so I walked out for 25 minutes and turned around and made my way back, not sure what I might find as the others began to run in. The course they selected was hilly, and the weather was cold and extremely windy - conditions that would take the good out of any runner.

A few minutes after getting back to where we had all started, I could see the first two runners in the group coming toward the finish, then a couple more behind them, and few more behind those two. Everyone made it in, reaching the 50-minute goal and when these people finish a run, they're like children on Christmas morning, eagerly sharing their experiences amongst each other, smiles as broad as can be.

As I made my way through the group high-fiving them for their efforts and results, I came across Bev, and before I could ask her how she found it, she held up her watch to my face, showing off the 53:09 it displayed, and excitedly asked me "Can you believe it?"

Nothing this group does surprises me. Our Club's mantra has been "never, ever give up" and while each one of us has faced a bad day or two, we've always bounced back the next time with a strong effort. Club members have gone from questionning their ability to run for 2 minutes without stopping, to becoming a little agitated when we're only scheduled to run an easy 15.

Our Running Club has provided me with my greatest running moments to date. I've received many emails from each of them marveling at individual and collective accomplishments. Next Sunday marks the first ever race for most of them, a 5-K, and they're all ready for it - should be a special day.

And yes Bev, I can believe it.

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