Twenty One Point FREAKIN’ One!

That’s how many kilometres I ran! I didn’t do it swiftly. And I didn’t do it elegantly. But I did it! I set my mind to it, did my research & training… and finished a FREAKIN’ Half Marathon; the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, to be precise (which, incidentally, raised more than $3.5 million for 164 local charities – suck on that, Rob Ford.)

Yes, it's on a fuzzy robe background. Yes, I wore both for the entire day.

If you had told me, 10 years ago, that I  would ever accomplish that lofty a goal, I’m almost certain my response would have been colourful and would have involved inviting you to attempt some variation of sexual relation with yourself. I know – classy. But I’m a Martimer and an army brat;  it’s who I am.

But I did it. And I’m proud.  I won’t lie, though.  It wasn’t easy.

There’s an epithet that gets bandied about on fitness and running websites: Respect the Distance.

I’m here to  tell you that it’s not just a clichéd expression for Nike or New Balance to sell more shoes and running gear. 5K is a challenge. 10K even more so. But once you start logging past that distance, it’s no longer a matter of simple math. Each additional kilometre gets exponentially harder (especially if you’re packing more junk in your trunk than recommended.)

And self-imposed dry Saturdays are not my most favourite thing ever. But I learned the hard way that, if you have a 10k training run on a Sunday morning, wine the night before (even if it is to celebrate your first wedding anniversary) is not the wisest of decisions.

But, in the end, all the blood, sweat and jacked up toenails were completely worth it.

The folks at CNW had a MUCH better vantage point, not to mention camera (I only had my phone) than I did at starting time.

I’d run the risk (no pun intended) of sounding like a Hipster Emo Poet if I were to try describing the rush of being in a crowd of 22,000 people — everyone from Olympic qualifiers and World Record breakers to average shmoes like me — all with the same goal in their sights. So I won’t try. But I will say that the high experienced while running right down the middle of Lakeshore Blvd., rather than along the Martin Goodman Trail (which is my usual route) was a surreal and astoundingly profound experience. And one I’ll hold onto for a long time to come.

So many people take on the challenge of a Marathon or Half Marathon and it’s always incredible to hear all of the various reasons why. Some do it for glory. Some do it for charity. Some do it in memory of lost loved ones. Some do it in celebration of overcoming adversity. Some do it in honour of their own reclamation of health.

I did it for that girl right there with the bad blonde dye job and the drink in her hand. She was a helluva chick. But she didn’t love herself very much.  I did, though. So I changed her. I gave her back her health. And yesterday, I gave her a giant helping of pride.

Also? I wasn’t last. But you know what? I hope whomever was, is feeling as proud as I am right now.

Missing PhotoSmash gallery: 7