Why do I love running? I get asked this question a lot. Despite the growing number of runners hitting the pavement and taking part in races, there are still quite a large number of people who think that my love for running is insane.
Lacing up my New Balance shoes, cranking my iPod and starting that run is an indescribable feeling. I am filled with anticipation about where I will be running, what I will see on my run and picking up my speed. As each foot hits the pavement and my breathing starts getting deeper, I feel strong, confident and free. I lose myself in each stride and enjoy the ride. I love feeling the breeze in my hair and on my face. When I run, it is just me, the pavement and my thoughts.
Running started for me way back in elementary school when I was on the Track and Field team, but back then I did sprinting. I couldn’t even imagine running long distances at the time. I liked putting everything I had into moving my legs as fast as they could go. After my stint as an athlete on the track team, my dancing commitments increased as I started competing. It wasn’t until after university that I started running again. During my time dancing on ships, I would do laps on the promenade deck; let me tell you there is definitely nothing like running and watching the ocean at the same time! That is how I fell in love with running….again.
For as long as I can remember I knew that I wanted to run a marathon one day. I guess you could say that it was on my bucket list. In 2008 I decided that I would cross that goal off my list with the Scotiabank Marathon. I spent months training for the big day; I set a goal of finishing in 4:15. The race started, my adrenaline was going, and it was amazing seeing all the people on the sides of the street cheering us all on. Then I got to the 25K mark and I felt extreme pain up my right leg into my hip and down through my knee. All I could think was that nothing would stop me from completing this race. What got me through those gruelling five hours that it took me in the end was thinking of my parents and brother. Without them knowing it, they kept me motivated to keep going.
What was the pain you ask? My IT band:
The iliotibial (IT) band is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh. The gluteal muscles and the tensor fascia lata muscle attach to the top, and the lower part attaches to the tibia, just below the knee. It functions primarily as a stabilizer during running and can become irritated from overuse.
Through all my training, I never had any issues or pain, but I guess it could only take so much wear and tear. To this day I have issues with my IT band. I hate that I have to deal with this pain, but I don’t let that stop me from running. I stretch, I visit my chiropractor and I use The Grid Trigger Point Foam Roller:
The foam roller helps with myofascial release. Myofascial release will help loosen up, stretch out and encourage better circulation through your muscles by simply massaging the soft tissues of your body. A roller is a definite must have for any runner, and this is the one that I recommend.
So there you have it, despite a nagging pain, I am a runner and will be for as long as I can. If you don’t already run, I say go for it! Start easy by running a block; with each run increase your distance and before you know it you will be training for a 10K, half or full marathon yourself.
Next on my bucket list for running….Run the Boston Marathon.
Stay tuned for my review on my favorite races around the city.