It was around this time of year two years ago that I received a request through my wife from my niece Caron. Would I consider running with her on her Saturday long runs as she trained for the Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver that August? Although she had been running for some time, and had completed several five and ten kilometer races over a few years, the half marathon would be a whole new challenge for her.
My answer to this request without hesitation was a resounding YES. I am definitely not much a trainer, but I do love to encourage others achieve their goals. The biggest bonus for me was to get to know my niece better. Life is busy, and running being something we both love, this was a great way to connect.
Rain or shine, Saturday mornings was the time for our meet up runs. Caron already had a training plan she was faithfully following. I really had nothing much to offer or add training wise. But I loved being there for support those Saturday mornings on what were her long training runs. Seeing Caron’s confidence grow as our runs stretched from 10 kilometers and beyond was beautiful. Twelve, fifteen, seventeen and nineteen kilometers. She was prepared. Yes she was going to fly those 4,000 miles to Vancouver, meet her friend out west and smash that half marathon. And she did just that! 🙂
After Caron’s 2014 half marathon our training runs together simply ended. I still continued my training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon which was held in the middle of October. The year 2014 rolled into 2015. A new year and more training for both of us. Starting in March 2015 I was running at least a race a month, and Caron was training for another Seawheaze Half Marathon. But in 2015 she was unstoppable, oozing with confidence, nothing could hold her back. She was part of a Facebook runners group page where members encourage and challenge one another. And through that Facebook group her #runstreak was born: running at least a mile each and every day, no matter the weather conditions, no matter how you are feeling. The discipline this takes is tremendous. I can think of the numerous times I decided not to run on certain days because I was not up to it.
Caron has an Instagram account @this.girl.runs that has built up a very large following. In it she records every day of her #runstreak, often including her thoughts during her runs which offer words of inspiration and encouragement. Her runs are a minimum of 1 mile, but most are MUCH, MUCH longer distances. After her original runstreak goal of 100 days, it just felt normal to continue. It had become routine. One hundred days in a row became two hundred days in a row, which became three hundred days in a row.
Over those many months we have encouraged each other with our running and with our races through Facebook. Sometimes we have even were at the same event but ran different distances. I knew she was easily going to make the 1 year #runstreak. Even though many times we mentioned we should get together for another run it never happened. Knowing her 1 year daily running anniversary would fall on Sunday April 10th, I contacted her a couple of weeks prior to see if she would like to run with me that that day. And we made it work and did run together that day! 🙂
Caron had run a long training run of 37k’s the previous day. That same previous day I ran a much shorter 10k race event. A short 5k was the perfect fit for both of us. So much had happened in our individual running accomplishments over those 20 months since we last ran together. But then again as we ran it seemed like nothing happened, just like old times as we ran together.
Caron had nothing but praise for her husband who looks after their 2 precious girls while she goes on her runs. And the family is at the events cheering her and supporting her on as she races.
After running 365 days in a row covering several thousand kilometers, Caron mentioned that no matter how well you eat, care for yourself and train there will be bad runs. It might be a run that just does not go well. It might be a race event that you are well prepared for but goes wrong. It happens. But tomorrow is a brand new day.
During our short run there was times when we chatted and times when we ran together silently. Breaking one of those silent periods Caron looked over and quietly said, “I think tomorrow is going to be a rest day”. My mind was scrambling, “Is this the end of the runstreak”? Breaking my thoughts she continued, “My family is so important, they are my priority”. She did not want to go back to her old ways of not running but also wanted a new chapter and new challenges that did not involve that daily sacrifice from her family.
The new chapter is ultra trail running. Her 1st race is called “Pick Your Poison” a 50k trail race that involves 1613 metres of assent. This is the same as 5292 feet, or over a mile of vertical….running on trails. I contemplated doing the 50k, but did not feel I was prepared enough and will be running the 25k…half the distance, and half the elevation. Once again different distances from Caron! 😦
As mentioned previously, Caron is on Instagram under the name this.girl.runs. This was her post on her 1st rest day in a year.
“Be brave enough to say good bye and life will reward you with a new hello.
Hello trail running.
Hello ultra marathons.
Hello rest day 🎉
Despite a huge desire to run I am calling it at day 365. My legs are sore from the mileage this weekend so I’m listening to my “coach” and limiting my activity to a trail walk tonight. It’s going to be hard as it’s so nice out today but it’s what I need to prepare for my #ultra.…
3 weeks until I run my first 50km trail race. It’s like having a new boyfriend. I’m so excited!!! I just need to get through today😂 Be brave enough to say good bye and life will reward you with a new hello.”
Caron, I am so proud and honoured to be your uncle. Thank you for all your inspiration. Congratulations on your one year #runstreak. Am SO looking forward hearing about your new accomplishments as an ultrarunner. And we should really get together for another run soon! 🙂