My Running Story

Back in the day, circa 2006, my friends Lisa and Dani wanted to run the Vancouver Sun Run, a huge 10 km race in Downtown Vancouver that attracts around 50,000 runners every year.

Meet Dani & Lisa – circa 2012

I was never a runner, really disliked running, even warm-up runs for ringette seemed to be too bloody long for me!  I never ever thought of myself as a runner, or as a potential marathoner.

With the Sun Run 10 km goal in mind, I insisted we sign up for an 8km women’s only race to prepare.  The race came, and all 3 of us lined up at the start, and we ran our hearts out…unfortunately Lisa & Dani ran past the turn around point, adding extra kms onto their race.  I finished and felt great!  They finished, and didn’t feel so great!

The next day though…I was SORE.  I worked at an ice arena teaching kids to skate, and had trouble even walking into the rink, let alone bending to ties my skates or skating on the ice!

Turns out, I had run in a pair of cross-training shoes, not running shoes at all, and desperately needed an orthotic insert in my shoes as well.  Lisa & Dani both dropped out of doing the Sun Run after their 8 km disaster race, and I was left to run alone.

I finished my first 10 km in 1:053:05, and spent the rest of the day absolutely wiped!  I couldn’t believe how much that race took out of me…But, I felt great, and was hooked! 

My only problem was that, I enjoyed races, but I didn’t enjoy training, at least I didn’t enjoy training alone.  I enjoyed the social aspect of running and chatting, and having the miles fly by.  When I ran alone, I easily got bored, and the miles seemed to take foreverrrrrrrrrr.

So, I was doing races with minimal training, and running alone when I could drag myself out the door.  One of these days that I ventured out alone, I was running around Burnaby Lake – a local 10 km loop on nice easy flat groomed trails.  Because of it being a loop, I saw a girl on one side of the lake, and then on the other side, and it appeared that she was running about the same speed and she looked about the same age as me.

She didn’t have headphones on, so I stopped her, inquired as to how long it took her to run the lake, and if she wanted to try running it together.  We exchanged #’s, and went off on our own ways.  We casually started running together, and it grew to running together on a consistent basis, and in the recent past actually doing majority of our marathon training together.

If you’ve followed my blog, you know this is my friend, Cathy!  If you’re new…meet Cathy

The rest of my running story, from 2006-2010 is a bit fuzzy on the details…I ran a lot of races, mostly 10kms until my friend Matt, aka Creeper, said to me “why don’t you run a half marathon? you could, and you should” This got wheels in my head turning, and I started thinking that maybe I could go longer.  So, I tried a half marathon, and of course, I got hooked on trying to chase down a sub 2:00 half.  For 3-4 yrs, this seemed like the impossible, and I kept saying, as soon as I run a sub 2 hour half, I’m NEVER doing one again!  (Haha worst future prediction ever)

In maybe 2008/2009, I got into running the trails in the summer, and started doing trail races, most 5 Peaks races & Run the North Shore events.  I started doing the Grouse Grind on a regular basis, and I discovered the insane Seek the Peak race.  I discovered that I loved challenging endurance runs, especially if we had the opportunity to get muddy and jump over roots, rocks, trees, and see the occasional bear!  Even though I had run multiple half marathons, I still did not think I could ever complete a marathon.  Running for that long straight just seem unachievable in my brain.

In early 2011, after many discussions, and encouragement from runner friends, Cathy and Rainy especially, that I could in fact complete a full, I decided I wanted to try it.  I signed up for the BMO Vancouver, and trained from mid-January to May 1st, when I ran my first full in 4:18:38.  Within a few days of finishing, I knew I wanted to run another full, and I knew I wanted to crack the 4 hour barrier.

In the meantime, summer 2011 was crazy busy, with a few weddings (including mine & Jay’s!), and then a trip to Africa for the month of September for our honeymoon.  Needless to say, training, grinding, trail running, was all put on the back burner.

This break was a great thing, and I came back in October with a vengeance.  I crushed my former times on the Hallow’s Eve trail race, and the Phantom trail race.  And then went on to crush my PR for a road half marathon.  I did the Ginger Jar in Nov 2011 in 1:54:29, an 8 minute PR from the previous 7 or 8 halfs I had run between 2:02:25-2:08.

Which brings us to 2012…I started blogging, I ran a sub hour 4 marathon (3:57:47), I ran a PR in 5 km (23:45), a PR in 10km (51:38).  It’s been a great year so far in my running career, and I cannot wait to see what’s next.

So, I guess my story, is the story of an athlete, who was always slightly overweight (upwards of 60 lbs over my ideal weight at times), who thought she hated running, and discovered a joy of running, by randomly signing up for a few races, and getting hooked.  Every time I thought I’d run my farthest, or my fastest, I was wrong.  Every time I thought “if I can just achieve this goal, I’m done with this…” I was wrong.

And I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.  It feels amazing to keep moving forward, even after 6 yrs of running, to keep getting faster, going further, setting PR’s, and still trying new races/events/distances.  My running story is constantly evolving, and I love that!  I absolutely LOVE that I’ve been wrong about my running abilities, that I keep setting goals, and keep moving forwards.

I can now say that I’m a runner, a marathoner, who is still slightly overweight (but down 40-45 lbs from my heaviest, and a heck of a lot healthier), who is chasing down those last 10-20 lbs, and enjoying the heck out of her running “career”.

Spring 2013 Update – it’s only been a year since I started my blog, and it’s grown into something so much more than I expected, and I freaking love it.  I love connecting with other local Vancouverite runners, I love sharing our successes, our setbacks, and our journeys.  I still can not believe how amazing this past year has been.  As for my running, well, that’s changed A LOT too.  In 2012 I ran my first sub 4 hour marathon, which was amazing, and now for spring 2013 I’m chasing a 3:45 marathon.  Recently, I ran my first sub 1:45 half…YEP, I’m getting faster!!  And, I’m also going longer.  In October, I ran my first ultramarathon, a 50K at Baker Lake, WA.  Yes, I say first, because there will be many many more in my future.  I currently have 2 more 50K’s on the calendar – KneeKnacker (YES! I got into the lottery!!!!), and Squamish50.  What’s up after that??  Who knows!!

Still chasing those last lbs.  Still eating a Paleo lifestyle.  Still loving the heck out of my West Coast lifestyle.



3 Responses to My Running Story

  1. Pingback: It’s official, we’re a famjam of RUNNERS! | Cavegirl on the Run…

  2. Mary blachut says:

    I loved your running story. I think every runner has one and they are always so moving and inspirational. I am a runner in my mid fifties and running has been part of my life for over 30 years. My social life consists mainly of running with friends,I travel a lot but never without my runners, and although I cross train I never allow more then 2 days to go by without a run…. It is my sanity. I just want to encourage you to keep at it through the next stage of your life which I assume will involve either children, a career or both. It can be done and it is definately worth it! Good luck. I will stay posted.
    Oh and just so we’re clear I am not an exercise or health freak. One of my on going reasons to run is my love of chocolate, cheese and wine. I’d be at least 200 pounds if I quit!

  3. Steve says:

    Hi Solana,

    Very nice and interesting story…Great Blog!

    I have a favourite video which describes the passion of running.

    Maybe we meet next weekend in Squamish at the Squamish 50.
    I am going to run the 50 miles.



Leave a Reply