#runstory // TROY

#runstory // TROY

"It’s daunting. When I think about it too much there are butterflies in my stomach. My previous self would say ‘don’t do it man, you’re crazy’. But now I’m curious about how far I can go, because every week I go further. If I can finish it, even better.

Signing up for the marathon happened on a whim, it was an New Year's resolution thing. I was in Dartmouth and I thought ‘this is where the offices of the Bluenose Marathon are’. I just went in, then before I knew it I’d signed up and paid, and then it was too late to back down. I signed up for the full 42.2K. The longest I’ve run so far is 27.

I would never have thought of doing this before – nothing remotely like this. I have so much respect for marathon runners now. Not that I didn’t before, but there’s a lot of thinking and strategy involved, it isn’t purely physical. It’s not just a distance, it’s a feat.

I started running a year ago. Before that, I used to do the Terry Fox run once a year. I’d prepare for it a bit, and that was the only running I did all year. I thought about looking for a group, so I went to the Run Nova Scotia website to research and I realized NER was super close. If you’re not right there at 6pm, you could miss it – you’d never know there’s a gathering of runners two blocks from where you live. So I came to my first run with the crew and I was probably 15 minutes behind everybody. But still it was nice, and it got better after that.

They were really supportive. My slow pace was OK with the crew – and nobody was giving me unwanted advice. I really liked that. I just showed up, tried my best, and that was it. I was surprised at how much easier it got - and I keep surprising myself.

A few weeks ago we ran the Glebe Street Gutbuster – a full year after my first run when I lost everybody – I was feeling really good, I was leading all the way and it felt great. I know anybody could have caught up to me at any time, but I was happy it was easy to do. It was uplifting.

Training for the full has got me believing in my abilities more. Running through the winter was hard, but because I had the Bluenose I’d signed up for, I had to do it – and now I feel a great sense of accomplishment. Remembering the cold days and the rainy days I didn’t want to run, but I had to go, because it was part of the training program. I know I’ll hit a ceiling at some point (maybe next week) but I want to see how far I can push it.

My former self would’ve thought this was impossible – a full marathon or even a half? No way. But I guess reason left out the back door and my shoes and my feet are taking command.

I think I’m more confident now. I know the Bluenose loop. I’ve done it now in different conditions. I’ve done all I could. I just want to complete it. I don’t know how I’ll feel when I do - soreness, extreme pain, numbness? I might cry. If I finish it I don’t think it’ll even set in, I think it might take me a few days to realize it.

I know I’ll have fun though – I’ve been told the experience is amazing with people cheering and everything – they’re cheering for everybody."

Bluenose Marathon weekend kicks off May 19. Come out and cheer with the crew on May 21.

#runstory // JANNA

#runstory // JANNA

"I grew up playing competitive sports and running was always one of my strengths. I played soccer in first year University but after getting cut in second year, I joined the cross country running team and I’ve been running ever since. Over the years I’ve been dabbling in road races and I recently found a love for trail running with the NER crew.

While one of my strengths in sports growing up was my running ability, leading and inspiring others was always important to me as well. I got to be team captain a lot, and teaching yoga is a way to keep doing this in my adult life.

I've been practicing yoga for over 10 years, but it wasn't until I went through some emotional hardships that I really connected with it on another level.

We went through years of unsuccessfully trying to have children and it just sucked. Up to that point with everything else in life, if you wanted it, you just worked harder for it and you could make it happen eventually. But on those long days of dwelling and not being able to get out of my own head about it, I could get on my yoga mat and just feel so much better.

Yoga helped me heal by accepting what’s in my life, but also accepting what’s not in my life. I just had to say ‘maybe this isn’t my path’ – and when I finally got to that point, I got so much happier again.

I don’t think you can fully get there unless you take the time to actually ask yourself those tough questions, and be with the emotions and with the feelings. That doesn’t have to be yoga for everybody, but for me it was yoga.

Yoga and running are more than ways to feel good physically – for me, they’re a release. The road or the mat are where I can go and take time out of my day to unwind, reconnect and clear my head. Whether it’s by myself, when I can really let go and get into the music, or with someone – and get that social aspect with the crew. Those conversations are a way to tune out from every other chaotic part of your day.

I heard a quote the other day; ‘it’s not about whether you can touch your toes, it’s about the journey on the way down’.

I just want to continue to grow."

Janna teaches yoga at Shanti and MEC in downtown Halifax


#runstory // DAMIAN

#runstory // DAMIAN

"I needed something. I needed to do something that was both a mental break and a physical motivation. Maybe it was age or just wanting more solitary time, but I found my way back to running.

I hadn’t run for years after sprinting a lot in high school – I was active, playing squash and basketball – but I’d just got into in other stuff and I didn’t have anyone around me who was running, which made a huge difference. It was just me. 

But last year running became social. It became emotional. Last year was the first year I had a run goal. I wanted to run 1000K - I ran 1300. Every other year of my life I don’t think I’ve run more than 100, maybe 150K. I went from 150 to 1300K in 2016.

It’s so hard to describe the joy that I get from coming out every Wednesday. It was really intimidating at first, but now I look forward to it. It’s the motivation. There are just so many positive vibes going through the crew. I can talk to anyone. Everyone’s so open and not competitive and humble, it’s amazing. It’s really hard to describe to people. It’s something I look forward to the most every week, because it’s positive physically, socially and mentally – it’s uplifting in every way.

This year I want to go sub 45 at the Fredricton 10K, and sub 20 for at the Bluenose 5K. I’ll run Cabot with the crew too, and the Natal Day Road Race 2 Miler in Dartmouth - it’s probably my favourite race. And hopefully I’ll run 1000 miles, which is a sub goal for the year.

I don’t do this because I’m trying to be the fastest, I’m doing it for myself. It’s become part of my life. Whether people run or not, people have their own things that motivate them, that make them feel good and that they value. Running is that thing for me."