After our 2018 Spring sailing season, I made a commitment to myself to step out of my comfort zone. I was always intimidated by the idea of the Sixthman RunClub because I was barely able to run a mile without stopping...But, after some nagging/encouragement from my Sixthman family, I decided that I had nothing to lose. Sure, maybe they would run laps around me or maybe I would have to stop halfway through our run and I would end up lost in Atlanta somewhere with no idea how to get back to the office...but still...I had nothing to lose.
As if deciding that I was all of a sudden going to be a runner wasn't enough, I decided to sign up for a half marathon in Montreal in September with three of my SXMRunClub buddies/cheerleaders: Geoff, Jess, and Jon. Over the next 5 months, we trained pretty hard. From weekday 5ks after work to 8 mile runs on the weekends, we held each other accountable and pushed each other to get better every day.
The week before our trip, my nerves really started to kick in. I thought to myself, “I’m not a runner! What am I doing?” Geoff, Jess, and Jon assured me that we were READY and that at the end of the day, this race was just for fun and to challenge ourselves.
Our view from our Airbnb was amazing. The first day when I stepped out onto our balcony, suddenly all of my nerves disappeared. It was the day before our race and our main concern was where we were going to eat brunch. Jess, Geoff, and I did a short run around the city while we waited for Jon to join us from Atlanta. From there the four of us spent most of the day just taking in the beautiful sights and mentally preparing to run 13.1 miles the next morning…
That next morning came VERY early. The race started at 715 which meant we were all awake by 6am to ensure enough time to have a small bite to eat and walk to the starting point downtown. It’s pretty surreal standing in a crowd of thousands of people in a city you’ve never been before. It was practically still dark out and the air was chilly, but tolerable. A huge LED clock counted down the minutes in front of us and the crowd started to grow quieter as they prepared to take off running. Each corral started with fireworks, which actually worked to my advantage to get my adrenaline up because I am terrified of them...and then in the blink of an eye, it was our turn…5…4…3…2…RUN!
The race was beautiful. What an amazing way to explore Montreal! Once the sun came up, the weather was pretty much the best it could have been. For the first few miles we chatted and stuck together, eventually losing each other in the crowd once we were all setting our own pace. Crossing the finish line was the best feeling in the world and unlike anything I had felt before…all those Saturday morning runs and months of anticipation had paid off. WE DID IT!
It’s an odd feeling when you realize it’s 10:30 AM and you’ve already ran 13.1 miles…we still had not only the whole DAY ahead of us but three more days after that! I won’t go into details of every place we went, but one thing that you can be sure of is we did a whole lot of eating. We had pretty much every type of food imaginable from delicious pizza to hearty burgers with sweet potato fries to a super classy Spanish meal where we were the only table in the restaurant. Oh and obviously we had poutine…how could I forget about the poutine?!
For me the highlight of our trip (besides the half) was our impromptu and unusual game of blackjack that we played at an Irish pub called Hurley’s. Hurley’s actually became our go-to late night spot on the trip (mostly for the very intense darts games we played.) We asked the bartender that night if they had any playing cards and all that she had to give us was a deck of Uno cards. Most people probably would have laughed and said “never mind,” but not Sixthman people who thrive on an opportunity to improvise! We played several rounds of blackjack and the stakes were high. I won some dental floss, a mint, AND a pink starburst. (Thank you Jess’s purse!)
I could go on about our trip and how much I love RunClub forever…but none of us have time for that. So instead I will leave you with some quotes and personal takeaways.
1. “You will never know your limits until you really push yourself to them.”
2. “Self discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do.”
3. Having people that will keep you accountable and encourage you goes a long way.
4. Running/walking a race is arguably one of the best ways to see a city.
5. “Challenges are what makes like interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Note to self: Play blackjack with Uno cards more often.