Because I Can, That’s Why

Several months ago now, I was facing a knee injury that turned out to be caused by glute and core weakness, as well as inefficiency of stride and cadence. During my first physical therapy appointment, my physio asked me about my goals for the upcoming spring racing season. After telling her about my current training levels and watching her eyes widen a bit, she was floored when I said my goal was just to take a couple of minutes off my PB. “I’d likely cry in happiness if I could run a 1:53,” I said. My current PB is 1:56:26, set at the 2013 Saskatchewan Marathon.

“WHY are you training that much for a couple of measly minutes? Why are you busting your ass just for a couple minutes off your PB?!” She felt I was over training, and perhaps she was right. I was running six days a week, which I agree was too much. I have cut back to five days and reduced my mileage a bit, and it’s been much more manageable.

Her “why” question nagged at me for a week or so. It really made me sit back and evaluate what I was doing and why. Why was I busting my ass?

In high school, I was a sprinter. I placed first or second in every event I entered at the division level (and set five division records in the process), placed well at districts and qualified for provincials in at least one event every year I was eligible. Coaching in rural Saskatchewan leaves a lot to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful to the staff who supervise track and field, but supervise is too often the extent of it. Staff volunteers keep an eye on track kids, but rarely have enough event-specific knowledge themselves to offer much actual coaching. My parents enrolled me in a track club in Saskatoon for two years, but when the club wanted me to train five days a week the following year, the driving became too much to fit in around their full time work schedules. I continued to run with my school and place well, but my school coaches couldn’t help me much by that point.

I don’t say this to toot my own horn, but since rekindling my running passion, I’ve begun to wonder what could have been. Had I had good coaching in high school, how much better could I have run? How much further could I have gone? How much more could I have accomplished?

I realized that I was busting my ass for a couple of minutes off my PB because I didn’t want to be 40 and wonder the same thing about distance running. I’m 31, I have a tough coach who challenges my comfort levels and therefore is unlocking running potential I couldn’t have reached alone. When I reach the magic age where I start to slow down, I don’t want to wonder what I could have done and regret that I didn’t try everything to get there.

I have recovered from my injury and continue to strengthen my glutes and core to avoid having the same thing happen again. I ran a 5K time trial this past weekend and was just twelve seconds slower than my 5K PB – and half of that run was done straight into 60 km/hr winds. I have a 10K race this weekend and am feeling confident about it and my target half marathon May 31. Yes, I’m busting my ass. Yes, I will cry with joy if I run 1:53. And if I don’t? At least I’ll know I did everything I could to try, and there’s always another chance. I’m not slowing down yet, and I don’t plan to anytime soon!


2 responses to this post.

  1. I was 32 when I ran my first race, and sometimes I wonder myself. I like to think I find the answer every time I race and train.


  2. I am 41 (Lol) and I started running at 35. I try to run 4 times a week. Whenever I run more I get injured. I have had success by running less and working on strength and my weaknesses. Good luck with your training. I have no doubt you will reach your goal!


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