one year goal: I shake my asana with pride as I cross the SeaWheeze finish line by August 2014.
I have battled depression and beat an eating disorder, but I think rocking this goal is one of the most difficult things I have ever tackled. In fact, around kilometers 11.5 to 13, my running mantra was 'I beat an eating disorder, I can beat this run'. Other thoughts included "What the hell possessed me to do this", "Fuck this stupid bridge" and "WHY DOES STANLEY PARK NEVER END". I've never hated the beautiful Stanley Park so much in my life.
The SeaWheeze is a 21.1K run (note: not a race) that covers many of the areas that make Vancouver one of the most unique and beautiful cities to live in. You along with 10,000+ other runners are supposed to train for months ahead in order to complete the run still standing. You're also supposed to eat properly and get lots of sleep. I, of course, did none of this. So my goal was to simply enjoy the run and finish it.
One of the most incredible things about the SeaWheeze is the amount of support given to each and every runner. The team at lululemon (who organizes the SeaWheeze) provide a clear and fantastic training app free for everyone to help them get to that finish line. The run itself is filled with various cheer stations who keep the energy going for the four full hours the run takes place. I would know this because I was definitely near the end of the pack, but their cheers were still incredibly energizing. The one thing I did notice was that all male cheer-ers were the ones that lacked energy -- a fact I liked to point out to each of the male groups I ran by. Seriously, there was one group clapping slower than my walk at the eleventh kilometer. It was pathetic. But it didn't matter because even when there weren't spectators cheering us on, fellow runners were there to pick up the slack and motivate everyone to keep going.
The running community is pretty amazing like that.
No matter how difficult, I am so happy to be able to say I did this. And I completed it in three hours, thirty-six minutes and twenty-two seconds, placing 8,050 out of 10,778. Things were great until the eighteenth kilometer, which is when the absolute torture began. But I choose not to focus on the negative. The pain, the feeling that the run would never end, that I would never have enough air again.
Instead, I want to focus on the contagious energy of every other runner. The inspiration and motivation I gained from every person along the route cheering us on. The miracle each soul at an aid station provided. The phenomenal skill of each individual behind putting on such a great, smooth run. The five medics who asked if I was alright when they saw my face (I must have looked worse than I felt, which is saying a lot). But most of all, the feeling and experience I had at the finish line.
I gave the run my all, so when I did have the finish line in sight, I didn't have enough in me to really push for the last bit. It was taking all I had to keep putting one foot in front of another. I so badly wanted to cross that finish in a run but I was seriously considering crawling across. But I looked up and saw a line of lululemon ambassadors and employees, some of whom I knew personally, cheering on each and every runner. I heard the announcers individually congratulating runners as they crossed. And so I pushed my feet a little more, a little faster. And the people I knew saw me working hard, began shouting my name and cheering me on. The announcer had the crowed cheer to get my across. And I suddenly sprinted the last 100 meters needed. I probably was going slower than I felt but I was just so proud of myself I didn't really care. I was ready to die afterward, couldn't talk and if I stayed still I was going to fall over. But I earned my medal, now one of my most prized possessions. Plus, now I'm all geared up to register for next year.
And I'll actually train. Will you join me?