Patricia Swan – a new marathoner in 2014

Well, this is totally embarrassing.  In 2014, Patricia Swan completed her first marathon.  Most of you will know Patricia from running, swimming, and triathlon.  She started just a few years ago but now I would consider her a veteran, and is looking great either on the running track or in the pool.

I had asked Patricia to write me a report to post regarding her first marathon, and I had half-done the post then lost it in the “drafts” section.  So file this one under “better late than never”.  I think it’s still as inspiring and relevant as it was in 2014.  For anyone thinking about running their first marathon but needing some inspiration, read this, and maybe talk to Patricia in person.  Thanks Patricia, and sorry about my error…

Well I did it and it is in the history books.  What did I do, you ask?  I ran my first marathon at the tender age of 57.  Although lots of support for this endeavor was received through my running community and family, there were many naysayers.  I heard comments like are you crazy; what are you doing that for; at your age?   And yes there were times, I asked myself the same questions, but I always had someone to turn to, who gave me support and said yes you can.  So I did…during this past winter when it would have been easier to stay in bed, my friend Lorena and I got up at 5:30, to face the elements and run.  When the weather was really bad, we would run around and around and yes, around again, the top level of the Emera Centre.  As race day became closer, I became more determined and focused on achieving my goal.
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During my training not only did I visit my son in Rimouski; I also went to Jamaica.  I was too far in my training to throw in the towel, so I ran on the streets of Rimouski and on the beach in  Jamaica.  I must say that the highlight of my training was when one of the locals  ran on the beach with me, and by the end of the week the children were even joining me.  It was awesome…

Human nature is a funny thing, as I continued to be dedicated and focused on running I began receiving more and more support from others, phrases like: you are an inspiration or I am getting my sneakers out to run again, I started hearing more often.

Finally race day arrives, and my many fears  are causing me to second guess myself.  I recall thinking I only did 6.5 miles that day instead of 10, there were days I had missed or I haven’t raced a full 26 miles yet; how much of an impact will that have on me? Also many times during my training I felt exhausted and pained from head to toe.  I was scared.  It even crossed my mind not to do it; but my family had come with me; they were proud of me and I had invested too much not to do it. I felt like I couldn’t back out.  Once I said I have to do it, I started thinking more positively, I thought of my running buddies who offered me support, I thought of my kids, I thought if it becomes too difficult I will walk, I will do what I can cause I worked for this and I deserve it.  And isn’t running about putting one foot in front of the other.

Well I ran and I only walked three times for about a minute each time.  I stopped to stretch because my leg was sore, but I would keep on going.  I knew hydration was important so I took advantage of the water stops either to hydrated me or to cool me off, but most importantly I ran my race.  Before I knew it I was halfway through, then I had 10 km left, then five, then Steve MacNeil and Herbie S. were running with me as I was about to make the final turn into the home stretch. I saw the finish line first, so I gave it my all and ran toward it.  Then I could see my daughter Kimberly on the side line congratulating me saying you are almost done keep going; closer to the finish line, my other daughter, Anne Marie was taking pictures and waving her arms I felt like she was pulling me in and giving me the final push to cross the finish line in fine style.

I was blessed to have other running buddies there and telling me I am now ‘a marathoner’.  At the time I didn’t quite grasp what they meant.  On the way home as I settled, somewhat, from my runners high it hit me; I am now ‘a marathoner’ and it feels good.

To those of you who are thinking about it or saying I can’t do, trust me you can.  Training and commitment is key, believe it or not, the run was the easiest part; it was short term pain for long term gain.  As a child when I said I can’t my mother always said who said you can’t.  I still go by that philosophy and as such I have accomplished many great things and this is up there with the greatest.

Patricia.. a newbie marathoner…. And feeling great…

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