Christine L.

A day or two before the application cut off for the Running Start Program, I saw an add pop up for it on Facebook and decided to enter. I had been looking for something to get me out of the slump I have found myself in for the last few years. We moved countries, had a baby, have been trying for another baby, and I faced many uncertainties about our future. I found myself feeling fearful and anxious quite a bit. My anxiousness resulted in me using food and alcohol as medicine. Consequently, I’d feel guilt and resentment towards my own bad choices. I wanted to do better and be a better mom and wife.

To be honest, I was super excited that it was affordable, and that there would be in person meet ups to keep me going. I needed something to keep me accountable. I needed something I could finish. By myself, I would often make plans, lists, write down goals, but I did not have the accountability factor on my own. 

COVID happened, and I wasn’t sure how it all would pan out. In a way, I think it worked out great, since I felt intimidated at the start. Receiving all the information and training plan, so well-laid out, made it easy to form some kind of structure for my week and training. I tweaked a few things to work around our schedule, but at least I had a starting point. The FB group made me feel like I was part of something. I would read others’ posts about their training progress, or sharing their challenges and it made it real. I knew there are people out there training, despite their own challenges. I wanted to train with them, make progress with them.

It wasn’t easy. Running didn’t ‘feel’ like fun, but the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is what helped me change my life. I sweat like a pig when I work out and turn bright red. There were days I felt super conscious about it when I would pass people, but that also changed. I realized it really doesn’t matter what others think. I owe it to myself and my family to keep going. There were mornings I didn’t want to go for my workout, but my daughter would ask – “mommy, are you not going to run?” She was looking to me, and I had to follow through to be an example for her. 

At the start, I thought I would lose ‘x amount’ of weight, which I didn’t (still working on it), but what I did lose was a negative thinking pattern, bad habits, feeling stressed and lonely. Not only did I learn to give myself some grace and adjust my expectations, but also I learned to push myself to continue, to find the joy in the experience, and to appreciate what my body is capable of. Also, I gained a wonderful friend. 

Jennifer Kenfield came alongside me as a motivator. She gave her time freely and willingly, and I would not have made it through this program if it was not for her! Through her example, I am learning to love running and to keep moving.

This is not just a box I ticked, a ‘one and done’, it is part of my life, and I hope Jen will be a part of my life too! We have already planned another race together. The biggest change in me was realizing I cannot change my circumstances, but I can make good choices and shift my focus to something else—like running and movement—that gives me perseverance to work through what I cannot control.
Thank you Running Start and the sponsors for giving me this opportunity.

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