My relationship with running

I've always loved to be active and involved in sports. In grade 9 and 10, I played on the field hockey team at my high school, where I spent the majority of the time sitting on the bench. When I didn't make the team in grade 11, I turned to the cross country team as a "backup". They accepted anyone and everyone, regardless of running ability. When I think back to this now, I see how the cross country team really mirrored the inclusiveness of the greater running community, which I love.

My relationship with running has since gone through many phases. For a few years, running and I had a casual relationship. I would run when I felt like it, which meant running a few days a week, or going months without running. During these years, I ran a couple of 10k races, usually at times where I was experiencing higher levels of running romance.

In 2009, as I became more and more interested in running, I decided to sign up and train for a half marathon. It was this summer that my romance with running sprung into full bloom. I had it bad for running, and the half marathon was my going to be my climax. Ohhh, and it was. I felt on top of the world after that experience! (And also very sore.)

I spent the next few days looking up other half marathons that I could potentially run, and dreamt of the possibility of running a full marathon. A week or so after the half marathon, once my body finally felt ready to face running once again, I went for a light run. In the middle of the run, my knee started to hurt. Naturally, I initially ignored the pain and continued to run. After a few minutes, I realized that I should probably take a walking break. Walking also hurt. I managed to limp back to my house, and tried to take it easy for the next few days.

A few days turned into a year and a half.
It was like I had just fully expressed my love to running, and then after our special moment, running had turned its back on me and broke my heart. I felt empty and useless.

I researched knee injuries, I went to physio, I talked to my sister (an athletic therapist), and the conclusion was that the combination of a whole bunch of factors was causing my knee to be in so much pain: My previously sprained ankle, my tight IT band, my gait, my hip to knee angle, my muscle imbalances. My body did not want me to run.

I tried all sorts of things: icing, foam rolling, physio stretches and strengthening exercises. For a while walking long distances hurt, and running was out of the question. If I ever tried to run (usually only 2-4km), walking even short distances would cause me pain in the following few days.

I turned to yoga, biking, and weight training instead. Somehow, over a year later, I was finally able to run short distances without pain (while wearing a knee brace). I began to gradually increase my mileage, and finally signed up for another half marathon. Finally, running had decided to take me back.
I have since had some problems with my knee, but I'm trying to be smart in order to prevent it to the best of my ability. I try to limit myself to running only 3 days a week, and I continue to supplement my running with weight training, yoga, and foam rolling.

I'm also currently training for the Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon that will take place in October 2011! My first full marathon!

My completed races thus far:
May 2006 - Mississauga 10k (51:53.6)

May 2008 - Mississauga 10k (51:24.8)

Sept. 2009 - Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon (2:02:26.5)

May 2011 - Mississauga Half Marathon (1:50:20.5)
June 2011 - Bread and Honey 15k (1:18:10)
July 2011 - Warrior Dash 5k (X2 - I actually ran this race twice that day!)