The day I stopped saying “I can’t…”

Hey guys! Sorry I haven’t typed a blog in a while but since I’m on a 6 hour train ride back home today I guess today is a good time!

As I approached the fall leading into physiotherapy school (at the University of Toronto) I looked at my schedule.

9am class = 7:25 train from Brantford (15min drive in the morning)

8am class = 5:28 bus from Brantford + 6:20 GO train from Aldershot

I counted the hours back on my fingers, leave the house before 7, that means be finished my run shortly after 6, that means leave the house for a run at 5 or just before. “Okay,” I thought, “That’s doable.” Next, I thought about my 8am class morning. Okay, 5:28 bus, leave the house before 5, that means finish my run by 4…that means run at 3am…”3am!!” I thought, “there’s no way I can do that.” As I looked at my fall timetable, I counted up the number of days that I needed to be there for 8am, and it filled more than two hands! That’s a lot of missed opportunity, that’s a lot of missed training and wasted fitness if I decided that indeed I could NOT make that work. That’s when it hit me, Why can’t I run at 3am? What would be the problem with that, technically I could do it, it’s just whether I decided to do it or not. That’s when I decided to change my mindset, to say why not instead of “I can’t.”

Fall season ensued and I had one of the most successful running seasons to date. I was 11th at OUAs and qualified for USPORTS (CIS) whereas back in university during my undergrad I couldn’t even qualify to make OUAs as part of our “top 7 girls on the team.” I even ran a 6km race on the same course that I ran a 5km race back during those years and I actually ran FASTER for 6k vs that 5k..crazy right?! Instead of complaining about how busy I was or how hard it was to fit training into my hectic class schedule I just did the math, got up and got it done.

That season brought me some of the most joy I have felt with running in years. I realized that I was holding a big chip on my shoulder about my university running experience and racing to the ABILITY THAT I ALWAYS KNEW AND FELT I HAD. Removing that chip on my shoulder about the level of runner that I thought I was opened up my world to the kind of runner I could be, that kind of runner that I will become.

As the season ended Coach Jill asked what were my plans for track. I wasn’t sure, again my head fell back into, “I can’t run track, I’m not fast enough for that.” There it was again I can’t. But what if I could? What would I need to do? How could I make that work? How would I train on the indoor track? Instead, I said yes I can. I can run fast, I can compete with the rest. Now with a 3km personal best of 11:10 you can say I had unfinished business with the track. Over the last few years I have done 3km repeats in almost that pace back to back! Like come onnn. I started adding speed sessions once a week, I looked at my class schedule and found that once a week luckily, I had either a 2hour lunch or 2hours between class and my train home. So I COULD find time to train on the track. Instead of worrying about am I fast enough,I thought what pace do I need to hit for my interval training? 40second for 200 was 10min flat pace… I thought, 3:20/km pace I can do that, I’ve done 3:25s for 5km. The realization dawned on me, I’m going to set my goal to break 10minutes and my pb is 11:10…this is going to be a great experience.

Today, as I travel on my way home from my 2nd indoor track meet after running 10:23 last weekend and just fresh off another personal best of 10:04 today, I think of my commitment to myself. Instead of saying I can’t, why can’t I, what can I do that’s in my power to make that happen. So the next time you set goals for yourself, set bigger ones. Go for it. Why can’t you make that happen. Why can’t you perform to the level you’ve always known yourself capable of? I hope I have inspired others that if you truly love something, talent means nothing. If you work hard enough, for a long period of time, with unrelenting commitment to your art, you CAN achieve everything you’ve wanted and more. Next step, break that 10minutes.


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