It’s hard to believe that once upon a time I was considered a multi-sport elite athlete.
Even writing that just sounds weird to me. Growing up I was always playing sports. I was a competitive figure skater, and I had placed quite a few times, and during my last competition I received a major award and a bursary for the following year. However, I had quit and started taking my swimming more seriously. I was swimming what seemed like every day. I loved swimming. I loved being in the water, and to this day I still do. But there came a time when I was tired of my brother getting all of the attention when it came to hockey.
That’s when I told myself if my brother could play hockey, I could too. Mind you, I started to play hockey really late in my life, I had never worn hockey skates before, and instead of starting with the basics, I jumped right in and decided to be a goaltender.
I succeeded, and I succeeded very early on. After much success, I decided that a hockey player is what I wanted to be, and I went all in. My parents were so unbelievably supportive and they made so many sacrifices so not only could my brother be a goaltender, but so that I could be a goaltender as well.
As I got better, I trained more and more. I trained year round for almost 6 years straight. Until August 2010…
I was just days away from attending the final tryout to be on the Nova Scotia Women’s Hockey Team during the 2011 Canada Winter Games. This was my biggest tryout to date, and I had been preparing for months to ensure that I was the best that I could be.
I was at one of my final training sessions before heading to tryouts and my left knee made a loud popping noise, followed by excruciating pain. I had torn my meniscus. A few weeks later during recovery, I tore my right meniscus. I was told that surgery wasn’t needed at the time, but down the road, as I get older I will most likely suffer from knee problems and at some point will need surgery.
I was also told that I will probably have pain during physical activity for the rest of my life. At this moment in time, I was defeated. I felt as though I had just lost everything I had spent years working towards. So for the last 7 years, I have been using my injury from 7 years ago as an excuse. An excuse to as why I can’t do certain workouts at the gym, an excuse to as why I needed certain shoes, but most of all I had used it as an excuse to as why I couldn’t run.
A few months ago I decided to stop with the 7-year excuse. My knee isn’t what stopped me from running for the last 7 years. What’s stopped me from running and everything else, is how lazy I have become, by not doing anything because I would always fall back on my excuse. I went from being an elite athlete to an elite lazy person.
Last weekend I took part in the 14th Annual Blue Nose Marathon. I ran in the 5km run and it was a very emotional experience for me to say the least. This was my first ever time running in an organized race. It was the first time in a long time that I had set a goal for myself and actually achieved it. But most of all what made me emotional was the sense of community. The number of people that were lined up along the streets cheering on thousands of runners as they ran and walked the marathon. It was such an unbelievable experience and feeling, to say the least. I actually got teary-eyed at some points during my run because I just couldn’t get over the amount of support!
For so long I allowed an injury to dictate so many aspects of my life. When all I had to do was get off my butt, strengthen my knees, and put in the work. Here I am now, and I actually don’t hate running. I love how it makes me feel, I love how I can clear my mind, and I love how accomplished I feel every time I am done.
After this past weekend when I realized I can actually do it, and I will be signing up for other runs in the future.
I end with this. Whatever excuse you have, is just that. An excuse. Excuses are a way to get us out of the things that we are afraid to try. Don’t live your life in fear.