Updated: Jul 8, 2022
In a good environment.
It's as simple as that.
If someone told me a year ago that soon I would be running 20km on a Thursday morning working on my hill technique, alone in the trails of Gatineau Park, I would tell them they are out to lunch. A) I have no sense of direction in the trails (even though I grew up in Chelsea, Quebec). B) I don't have time for 20 km on a Thursday, I have to work ..? C) Who do you think you are?!
Well, fast forward one year, today is Thursday and I did just that, and it feels really great for a number of reasons. Being self-employed means sometimes you work on a Sunday, but sometimes you have Thursdays off. I am getting better at embracing time off and allowing time to just be, this on its own has been an adjustment. I am also now training for my first ULTRA which will be a 55km trail race at Bromont in October, which again, one year ago, not one iota of a thought.
I will explain why I am telling you this in a second, I just need to give you a tiny background.
I have always been a runner, but a casual one. I run in the mornings to wake up and feel good, and I have done this since CEGEP. The longest run I have done was in 2017, it was a 30 km trail run at Camp Fortune (a ski hill in Chelsea, Quebec) but I got suckered into that by a friend. I just followed her training plan, no real planning effort on my part, but I did really, really love that event. After 2017, I guess life happened. My workout buddy got pregnant twice, and I just continued my regular little runs, maybe some events here and there with no proper training. Again, I considered myself a casual runner.
Then the pandemic happened and many changes occurred... long story short I started working at The Movement Company with the goal of growing a physiotherapy practice, but it's so much more than that. Part of growing a practice involves networking, so I decided to show up to a run club on Sunday mornings to meet new people and start pushing myself more with my own running... You know, two birds one stone type thing. When you enjoy something, you are in your element and so I found it very easy and natural to network while I was running. I also realized and remembered how much harder I work when I am with a crew, not because I'm trying to keep up, but it's just the energy of a group that gets me going.
Then I kept showing up. Not only was I meeting new cool people, I was working on my fitness and exploring so many new trails that have been sitting in my backyard for years, that I had no idea about.
Sunday mornings, turned into adding a Tuesday evening run group, which turned into attending a trail training camp in Mont Ste Anne (which was absolutely amazing btw), which turned into signing up for the 55km Ultra, which lead to getting a personal coach... If I'm spending time training, I might as well get on a proper plan right?!
It's only been a year of me showing up consistently to 1-2 practices a week, combined with working in a clinic with awesome colleagues and inspiring clients, that has enabled me to tap into this amazing trail world. ITS ALL ABOUT WHERE & WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH. The point I am trying to make is that there was never really a moment when I was like "oh I want to up my game" it was more osmosis-like if you catch my drift.
The other point I would like to share is that I did hesitate for a while to sign up for a race event because I was mainly worried it would take the fun out of training, maybe consume my summer and become too obsessive? However, finally enough people told me that I would enjoy Bromont, so I just said what the heck, and signed up. After the fact, an experienced runner told me "it is just a way to celebrate all the training you are doing" and I love that look on it. Since signing up, I feel so committed. I feel real. It's a new project, and if you're anything like me, you love new projects especially when it's stimulating for both the brain and body. I feel like I just want to soak up and learn all that I can about the trail network, technique and get stronger. It feels amazing to be able to cruise up a hill, when I used to have to take a break and walk.
If you are holding back on something. Just try it. Find a crew and give it a go. See what happens. Worst case you don't enjoy it, you leave and find something else. Best case.. the sky is the limit!