So here it is, the first ‘Why do you run’ guest blog of 2019. For a couple of months now I wasn’t sure if I would continue with this guest series in 2019 – but it ultimately turned into pure nosiness in that I wanted to find out more about some incredible runners that I follow on Instagram.
This month’s guest blog is Jill, and her Instagram handle is @jillamama. I absolutely love her Instagram account; not only is it documenting her running journey, but it is filled with interesting Canadian facts. Go check her out and say hello.
1.Why did you start running?
I don’t remember why exactly I started to run, though knowing my teenage-self, I suspect it had a lot to do with superficial reasons like losing weight and being in “good shape”. I began very sporadically, doing 10-20 minute runs on the paths near my house, and sometimes on the track at my local YMCA (less than 200m). I soon became obsessed with the habit of exercising and sought out different ways to do it, but running was the one thing that always really stuck. I ran my first race, a 5km, in my first year of University and surprised myself by how much I liked the competition. I continued to run more regularly after that race.
2.What motivates you to keep running?
Now, at a completely different stage in my life, my priorities are not what they once were. Caring for my three kids, aged 5, 3, and 1 is my number one job and I do much better at it when my mind is at peace. Running helps me calm my nerves, feel like I am in control (though I’m totally NOT!), and gives me a strong and centered beginning to my day. When I’m unable to run, I feel like I am missing a piece of myself. I no longer run for superficial reasons, but have a more humbled view of my health and body and hope that if I take care of it, it will take care of me.
3.What is your favourite distance and why?
At this point, I love the half marathon. I have done all distances up to the full marathon and enjoy aspects of them all, but find that I really like the opportunity for speed, endurance and distance that the 21.1km provides. It doesn’t wreck your body to train or race it, and it’s forgiving enough within a race that you can really enjoy it. I do love the really long runs in training for a full though… so maybe a half marathon with some really long training runs would be my sweet spot!
4.Tell me about your most memorable race.
At this time, my most memorable race would be my second marathon. This may be because it was my most recent “big” race, or because I was very mindful to document and live the entire process of the training and race. I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October 2018. I enjoyed the training for this race more than any other running I’ve done. I followed a plan that was largely time-based and so enjoyed my stroller runs (with two of my kids in the double stroller), my easy runs, and my really long runs up to 35km, touring around Ottawa and a couple of times in my hometown of Fredericton. When it was time to the race, I was very much at peace because I had truly cherished the journey. My A goal had been to run 3:20, and though I came in around 3:24, it was exactly where I had really expected to be. The feelings I had within and following the race led me to a lot of soul searching about my motivations for running and racing. Ultimately it led me to where I am now, in a place where I am really going back to the bare-bones of my running and re-discovering my love for it – without the pressure of numbers and pace.
5.What did you learn about yourself training for this race?
Oops, think I answered that above!
6.What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Trust the process, enjoy the journey. Putting all your hopes and dreams into one race can easily blow up in your face, but really enjoying each and every step it takes to get there means that you’ve already ‘won’ even before setting foot on the start line.
Thank you so much for reading how Jill got into running – if you enjoyed this, check out the full 2018 series of ‘Why do you run’.
Till next time, thanks again for reading,
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