Thursday, November 03, 2005

...and I owe it all to Lavalife!

Well, I thought I would post my running story. The story of how I went from being a semi-alcoholic grad student (well, not quite) to a semi-health freak who dreams of completing her first marathon. So here goes.

Pic: Anners before she became a runner.

I moved to Toronto in March 2004 after completing my Master's degree to start my new job. I'm not sure what I weighed at that point, but I know that I hit 165 lbs the previous Christmas. That's a lot of weight on my 5'2" frame. I felt, in a word, fat. Lazy. Unhealthy. 7.5 years of university, countless grande mochas, bubble teas and wine+scrabble nights had taken their toll (thanks G!!). I moved into a new condo with an inviting exercise room on the first floor. I vowed to start working out. And I did. I did the elliptical and walked/jogged on the treadmill 3 times a week, and started to feel a little better about myself.

In July 2004 (after I had lost about 10 lbs), I met Cliff. I met Cliff on lavalife. Yes, I went on an online dating site. But, as you will see, it worked out very well for me. Anyways, Cliff and I became good friends. I told him that I was doing a little running on and off. Nothing big, just maybe 10-15 mins on the treadmill. Cliff told me that he was planning to do the Terry Fox Run held in September, how about joining him? My first reaction was, no way, I don't want to run in any "race" and embarrass myself, even if it was for an excellent cause. Besides, most of the runs sites were 10km routes, and I was not ready for that. We then discovered that High Park had a 4.5km route. So I agreed to do the run. I worked up to running 30 min straight, collected $290 in pledges, and did the run. It felt great.

That was the beginning of an obsession. A few weeks later,Cliff and I did the Run for the Cure together. That was a 5km run. I soon worked up to running 45 mins...60 mins...and thought hey, I could probably do 10km now. Wait...maybe if I worked really hard, I could even do a 1/2 marathon (21.1km). On January 1, 2005, I vowed that I would complete a 1/2 marathon that year. Not really a new year's resolution, more like a goal for the year.

In March 2005, Easter weekend, I went to visit my sister. My sister is an avid runner who has completed several 1/2 marathons. She was really excited that I was into running too. We decided to sign up for the Scotiabank 1/2 marathon in Vancouver to be held in June. What a great idea...trip to Vancouver, visit our parents and brother, run 21.1km!! I trained diligently over the next few months, following Hal Higdon's beginner 1/2 marathon schedule. Along the way, I completed the 10km run associated with the Mississauga Marathon in a time of 1:04:40. Not bad. As planned, my sister and I completed the run together (quite brutal...those Vancouver hills!!). I finished in a time of 2:28:14. I should also mention that Cliff completed his first triathlon in July. Being the good friend that I am, I stood out in the rain and cheered him on :P

So, after completing my first 1/2 marathon, 2 unexpected things happened. First of all, you'd think that I would have been happy with my accomplishment. After all, I completed a 1/2 marathon...that was my goal. And, I had lost another 12-13 lbs along the way. But no. I am the type of person who pushes my limits. I wanted more. I signed up for another 10km race at the end of August and the Toronto 1/2 marathon in October. The second thing was, back on lavalife again, I met Tony. Tony, with his shy demeanour, sweet smile and caring ways, completely won me over. Gooo lavalife. Seriously, give it a try. It worked wonders for me ;)

Me and "Jess"

On October 16, with Tony cheering me on, I ran the Toronto 1/2 marathon. Also running were my friends Makoto and Wenbi. And good old Cliff ran the full marathon...good for him!! To think, just a year ago, we were barely running 5km. Anyways, I ran my guts out. After switching to Hidgon's intermediate training schedule, I improved my speed and killed my previous time by 15 min. I finished in 2:12:56! (Aside: my friend Makoto, running in his first race, picked up the wrong bib and ran as a person named Jess. Gooooo Jess :P )

And here I am now, after losing 27 lbs and running hundreds of kilometers, aiming for my first full marathon next May. Health and fitness have not only become important to me, they are almost my obsession. I try to encourage everyone around me to get moving...even if it means just going for a 15 min walk everyday. It's worth it!

By the way, today I ran 5km was an easy day :)


Cliff said...

:)...haha great story.

You seem to forgot one point. That this Cliff guy is super hot. Well he is even hotter now considering he is toothless and training seriously for Ironman :)

Cliff said...

:P Actually i don't think i did too much. You made the decision to run. You made the decision to train. You made the decision to have a diet. In fact, I think I just stood at the sideline most of the time.

anners said...

Cliff, it was all those text and MSN messages talking about training that pushed you ever talk about anything else??? :P