When I was a child, a wise man taught me the importance of having faith; whether it is in the universe, in oneself or simply in faith itself. When I was older, the same wise man taught me the importance of inspiration. Inspiration is the driving force behind all artistic expression. Inspiration is the muse behind the artists’ brush strokes, what allows the writer to bring words on paper to life, and a musician to create a melody that moves us to tears. Chefs are inspired daily by fresh seasonal ingredients. Inspiration played a huge part in the success of the Canadian athletes during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Inspiration to give back is why I started running. In June 2002, I was diagnosed with cancer. I was given the all clear in December of the same year after undergoing a series of treatments at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. While I was in the hospital I started to think about the incredible people that work at PMH and I wondered what inspired them to go to work everyday and do the difficult work that they do. Sure they help heal bodies by providing treatment but they also care for the mental and emotional wellbeing of their patients. A sense of gratitude came over me and I wanted to find a way to give back to the hospital and to the people who took such good care of me. I went on the PMH website and discovered that The Toronto Goodlife Marathon both a half and full marathon helps raise money for cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital. I had never done any sort of long distance running in my life but suddenly felt inspired to run a half marathon in order to raise money for PMH as a way to say thank you. I ran that first marathon in 2 hours and 10 minutes. Not bad for a first. I knew that my life was forever changed. I was now a runner.
That was nearly 9 years ago and the first of 5 half marathons. I’m still pounding the pavement 3 – 4 times per week through spring, summer, fall and winter and still feeling inspired to run more marathons, better, faster and stronger each time. I will start training in the next few weeks for number 6 in May. The inspiration behind running comes in many forms for me. Sometimes it’s running with friends, a new running route, the smile on my dog’s face when she knows I’m taking her with me. It’s running for cocktails in the summer and bacon and eggs on Sundays. It’s the physical and mental challenge at the end of a hard day at work. It’s the endorphins, a new play list on my ipod or simply the feeling of accomplishing a personal best. Wherever it comes from, it started from wanting to say thank you to some people that inspired me and for that I’m forever grateful.