Every year for the past five, I have set myself a goal on my birthday; I try to run as many laps around the track at Robert Bateman Secondary School as I am years old. (I have to give credit to Vince Van Dyk for this idea.) Since passing the “half-century” mark, this is becoming a pretty big deal. This year, it meant running slightly more than a half marathon.
I chose to run on Monday, November 13; a day close to my birthday and a day off from school. It takes me close to two hours, so I need a day that isn’t too booked up with work and other activities. Now, I am a fairly regular runner, but I usually don’t run for more than 45 minutes or 10 kilometers. This means that running over 22 kilometers is a little out of my comfort zone!
Just warming up
If you recall, Monday, November 13 was a rather windy and rainy day. A strong wind out of the south was gusting to what felt like a hurricane. Quite honestly, I considered counting double during a few laps because I was running into what turned out to be a 35 kilometer headwind for more than 100 meters at a time.
For some reason, laps 14, 25 and 32 were especially difficult. The wind was really gusting (yes, I actually tracked that!). I managed to tough those laps out by telling myself these laps were early on and I should be just warming up by lap 30.
That worked okay until I got to lap 40. That’s when I realized that my legs were tightening up and I still had more than a dozen laps to go.
Somewhere around lap 45, I started thinking about what we tell our students. Perseverance involves a choice. If completing this run was important to me, then I had to choose to complete it.
Humming in stride
An app on my phone that tracks my time and distance, so I set a secondary goal of running my laps with an average speed of under five minutes per kilometer. This was relatively easy for the first ten kilometers, but by the time I was on lap 40, or kilometer 16, this was becoming a stressor for me.
My speed was beginning to drop and with it, my resolve.
I even started humming our ACS theme song from a few years back, “Every Giant will Fall.” My stride suddenly fell into the same rhythm as my humming. By lap 50, I knew things were going to be okay and I even picked up the pace for my final kilometer.
I finished my run in exactly 1 hour and 42 minutes and 28 seconds with an average of 4 minutes and 50 seconds per kilometer. Well inside my target of sub-five minutes per kilometer!
Walking home from the track, I was pleased with my effort; thankful for the Advil and ice bath waiting for me at home. I was also thinking what this would feel like next year when, the Lord willing, I would add one more lap to my run.
I will need even more perseverance!