This past Sunday, I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon in downtown Toronto. With 22,000 other runners, I headed out on a windy fall morning, to take on a huge personal challenge, one I didn’t even know I wanted to do only a year earlier.

To back up a bit, I have never been an athlete, or even remotely athletic. Growing up, I would choose a book over soccer every time, and I did. Towards the end of high school, I started going to the gym, but that was more in vain (I’ll admit), and nothing I’d call physical excellence.

Last summer, that all changed. After some amazing encouragement from some colleagues and friends, I started running. Slowly but surely, with Couch to 5k as my guide. This summer, I took the plunge with a friend, and we paid our $90 and signed up for a half-marathon. Prior to this, my longest run *ever* was 10k.

I know the background might not be that interesting (to anyone but me), but I think it’s important to explain how I felt this Sunday morning. Standing in my purple corral (the slow one, no shame here), I was brought very close to tears more than once. It’s amazing to be in this crowd of encouragement, of cheering, of support, with people who you’ve never even met before. Running through the course, the cheers from strangers brought a smile to my face, and helped me push myself even further. I ran faster and stronger than I had ever run before. Now, keeping in mind I’m not a fast runner, or even a fast jogger, this meant a lot to me.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say. It’s hard to explain the amazing feeling that running this half-marathon brought. I guess what’s I’m trying to say is this:

It’s unbelievable what you can push yourself to do.

The feeling of overcoming a huge challenge is worth all the hard work, and only pushes me further.

You should run a race like the Toronto Waterfront. It is beyond words what a great event that is. (thank you to Scotiabank and the sponsors, as well as all the organizers, volunteers, and supporters who cheered me on. Thank you.)

With sore muscles and a medal proudly around my neck, the only question now is… what’s next?

STWM 2011

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