Day 66 – 39.9 km (total – 1333.1 km)

I knew there would be moments going into this 8 month run where I would feel like quitting.  The reasons varied – from lack of funding to the physical toll on my body to endless other possibilities.  It was important to go into these 8 months with a mindset of trying to run across Canada, knowing that for one reason or another, it just might not be possible to finish.  Yesterday morning was my first real moment of wanting to quit.  The first 6 k felt like a marathon.  I couldn’t run 200 metres without my IT Band producing considerable pain at the side of my right knee.  The good thing about being outside on the highway was that I could yell and scream to my hearts content.  Only the forest and animals inhabiting it could hear my frustration.  Why after 8 days of rest and 2 massages (in which I could feel the ITB release) could I be in such pain?  How am I going to run another 6000 kilometres like this?  Did I do something bad?  Is karma paying me back for something?  Questions flooded my head and doubt flooded my heart.  I struggled through about 18 k before stopping.  The debate set in my head as to whether to go back to Halifax and figure out what was wrong or continue on, even if it meant walking.

I love visitors on the TCH!

I love visitors on the TCH!

Sometimes it’s hard to find that balance between staying positive with the message Take Me Outside is trying to convey and sharing the challenges and frustrations that present themselves, particularly at a personal level.  I think we all have moments where being real vary – ones where we need to be “on” and others that happen behind closed doors.  Sharing some of the personal challenges out loud is tough… there is a hesitation of not wanting to sound whiny or portraying how hard some of this is.  It doesn’t take much to look around and see some of the real challenges people face in the world.

A good friend sent me an email that hit home this morning.  She is an avid outdoors person and just got back from some adventures in New Zealand.  Although she appreciates the message of getting outside, the message that struck her more personally over the last couple of months was one of not giving up – of pushing yourself, which resonated while doing some tough climbs.

And so that was my decision – to not give up.  Yesterday, I decided to keep going.  I accepted the fact that I might have to walk for a while until I figured out what was going on with my leg.  In an attempt to self-diagnose, I tried running faster.   Not super fast, but the speed at which I’ve spent most of my 17 years running compared to the uber slow pace I’ve adopted over the past several months.  The remaining 15 k was pain free, granted with many walking breaks.  Today, I plowed through 39 k and didn’t feel even a hint of my IT band.  Granted, my hamstrings have choice words for me for increasing the speed, but it felt so amazing to run today with no pain.  And to lift my spirits even more, my good friend from back home, Chloe, who runs Connected in Motion, was driving through on the way to a speaking engagement in Halifax.  We had a short but good visit on the side of the TCH before it was time to move on.  We arrived in Amherst this afternoon and I had a chance to enjoy the hot tub and sauna at the local YMCA.  Tomorrow is a day of rest and will be spent largely in the horizontal position.

CP, thanks for your email.  Chloe, thanks for your card.

I have no idea whether I’m going to finish this run across Canada, but in the spirit of being as real as possible, I damn well am going to try.

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