OK OK OK. Here goes: on August 13, I’m going to run my first half-marathon. Yep, for real. I’m doing it. I wrote it here, so now I have to, right?
The truth is, I hate running. Not so much the literal verb of moving your legs with haste. I mean, if I’m chasing a soccer ball or feeling a bit wound-up, a short gallop can be fun. To be more precise, I hate jogging long, long distances until my throat feels raw, toenails turn tender and hips verge on snapping, just for the sake of saying I did it. I really don’t get it. All of my kilometre-crunching friends, colleagues and even my my 62-year-old marathoner dad tell me that running is like a drug. I’ll get hooked, they say. I’ll crave a daily trot, they say. They underestimate my sanity.
Don’t get me wrong; I do love exercise. I grew up playing sports, and wake up early to squat and plank at least a couple mornings per week. I have a weirdo obsession with competition, which is probably why I signed up for this race, Lululemon’s SeaWheeze, in the first place. I’ll be competing with my own free will (and better judgment).
I hope by now I’ve maybe inspired you to tackle your own bucket-list challenge? Probably not. But, I’m going to blog about my progress (or lack thereof) every week, and hopefully some good tips I learn along the way, just in case it makes you want to hit the pavement too (if you do, here’s a training plan from Lululemon). Or, more likely, in case you need to be reminded that there are people in the world who do way dumber things than you.
Either way, where I fail to inspire, real athletes don’t. I told my pals at Nike about my plans to run the farthest I ever have before, and instead of laughing at me (I guess that would be very un–Just Do It of them, but that’s the reaction I expect whenever I say I’m going to run 21.1 kilometres), they surprised me with a call from their spokesperson Melissa Bishop. The Ontario-born Olympian is an 800-metre sprinter, with a gold at PanAm and silver at Worlds. She rang me up from Rome, a track-meet stop along the so-called road to Rio. She told me about her insane training schedule, and cited a phrase she has written on a chalkboard at her house: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I’m not normally moved by inspirational quotes (surest way to get an unfollow from me on Insta), but hearing someone so accomplished say it—someone you know really embodies those words and does the seemingly impossible regularly—sure changed my cynical mind. Bye for now, comfort zone. (I’m really gonna miss you.)