In the words of Canadian Olympian Rower Silken Laumann, I run for “vanity and sanity.”
Sure it keeps me in shape, but it also makes me happy and calm. It is my get away from the world and my place of solitude and connection with the outdoors.
I started running in high school as a way of dealing with the stress of exams. Little did I know at the time how this sport would change my values, my direction, and my life.
Once I graduated, it was all about the racing; my first one being the Vancouver Sun Run.
I remember wondering if I could do a whole 10 km distance without stopping. From there, the healthy addiction began. Every race I did after that including half marathons and marathons was always about the training, the meeting of new people and the setting of goals. Many of the people I met have become lifelong friends whom with I still run. The community also introduced me to the outdoors and outdoor education, which I ended up doing a masters degree in some 10 years later.
In 2004, I completed my first trail ultra: the aptly named North Shore Knee Knacker, which spans 50 kilometers over some of the most technically challenging terrain in the world. For me, reflecting on that race was what got me through natural childbirth some years later…need I say any more?
I have been out of the race scene for a while. Now, I am happy with running for myself and for the shear pleasure of being out there. It is my low maintenance sport — all you need is a pair of running shoes and you are good to go!
Though I love the speed that the road gives me, my heart will always belong to the trails. For it is there that I feel most alive and free. Whatever terrain though, one thing is for certain — I have never had a run I didn’t like, I just can’t!
I know many of you share my passion and I dedicate this article to you.
Until next time, see you out there!
Editor’s note: Lydia Watson’s column appears monthly in Coast Reporter. She handles marketing and outreach programs for Off the Edge Bike shop in Sechelt and is the conveyor of the highly successful mountain bike operations program at Capilano University.
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