Ah, running. Running is usually the first thing I'll list if you ask me what my hobbies are.
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by running. As a kid, my family participated in a 5k walk every Father's Day to benefit a local non-profit charitable organization. You could run or walk, but we always walked. I remember seeing the runners whiz by, and I was mesmerized and wished I could join them. To the casual observer, running looks so easy, so natural. If you've ever run, you'll know that's not the case.
In elementary school, I loved track but I never ranked high enough to advance, so I never took it too seriously. At some point as a teenager, I really wanted to run a 10k, because it just sounded so badass. I joined a 10k training class and struggled to keep up. Unfortunately, I ended up badly spraining my ankle horsing around at school and my budding running career abruptly ended.
I didn't attempt to run again until I was 21, at which point I started running on treadmills. I did that on and off until I moved back to Ontario and began running outside, which was amazing compared to the dreadmill. I always struggled a lot, on the treadmill and outside. Running felt so much harder for me than it should have been. When I started playing soccer in 2013, it was clear I had a problem and my doctor, along with a respirologist, confirmed what I assumed all along: that I had exercise asthma. Armed with Singulair and a salbutamol inhaler, suddenly nothing could stop me. I got better and better until joining races seemed like the logical next step.
I ran 6 races in 2014; five 10ks and a half marathon to finish off the year. I ran the aforementioned Father's Day race (10k), which was a huge source of pride for me as I finally made my childhood dream a reality.
In all honesty, I am not that great at running. My times are pretty average and races are never my best times, but it doesn't faze me. I just like running for running's sake. I don't care if I win anything, I'm out there because I enjoy the feeling of the wind in my face and my feet on the pavement. I love getting into the groove, zoning out while the scenery goes by, a good tune in my ear and my thoughts far away. Sometimes it's almost a religious experience (as is the shower when you get home). Yes, sometimes it completely and utterly sucks. Sometimes the wind pummels your face, your feet ache, your sides cramp, your thighs chafe, and you wonder why you subject yourself to such misery. But after awhile, the good runs outnumber the bad. Running truly is a sport/hobby where you get what you put into it.
I've already signed up for one race in 2016 and I am really excited about it. It's a 30k (18 mile) race in Hamilton in April, called Around the Bay. I'm not quite ready to commit to training for a full marathon (26.2 miles/42k) but since I already have a half marathon under my belt, I thought this would be a good step up. I am pumped to have something to train for over the winter since I really enjoy the winter running season outdoors.
So there you go, my #1 hobby on this #1 day of NaBloPoMo. Stay tuned as tomorrow as I'll be talking about dieting and healthy eating!