The Finale…Hers and Mine

by Christa Davidson, Le Team du Rob

This training cycle is coming to an end with under a week left until the finale and after all this time, something finally happened. The missing piece to the training puzzle revealed itself. The revelation came at an ordinary moment but was so right on the money that it felt like a dramatic epiphany.

Months of self-doubt and reservation evaporated with two thoughts that hit home. As I was running (and on most runs before this), the conversation in my head went like this…

Negative Mind: “Who do you think you are, planning to run this marathon? You don’t have enough kilometers on your feet to do this. You will never finish and IF you do you will be hurt and not be able to run again for months. Better athletes than you would never run the marathon with the trouble you have had. You can’t do it. Feel that niggling in your hip? What will that feel like at 28km, never mind at 32km, with 10km more to go? What if it’s a stress fracture? You may be Christa, but you are no Krista! What’s that? That’s a new pain. That’s going to be trouble. I know you are trying to be optimistic, but, really, c’mon you are kidding yourself!”

Early last week, and not a moment too soon; during this same run, a shift happened. For weeks I had been practicing positive thinking, but this negative voice was still louder than any kindness I could interject into my thoughts. Not this day though. I stopped mid run as these two gems sunk into my brain and proceeded to be absorbed by every working cell in my body.

Positive Me: “I refuse to accept and believe these things of myself; I am NOT a novice runner without a running base! Nothing is hurting me but my thoughts!”

I picked up my chin and for the first time in months, ran like the runner I am. I let the experienced runner take over and left the worried, ‘what if’, doubting girl behind and it has been liberating. Last week Rob challenged me to add to the previous weeks 24km long run by putting in a 30km run. Many of you know that is a huge jump in kilometers and yes on paper it is but I have done this before and there was no physical reason why I couldn’t do it again.

With my head, heart and legs on board, I completed a hilly 30km route around my rural home. It was challenging, but completely do-able with my new mind set. I wore my Garmin, but did not consult it but a couple times. That run wasn’t about time, it was about triumph. My mind was in the moment and I enjoyed the scenery and thanked every hill for being there to make me stronger and more prepared.

I have continued to run this week like I own the road, but with added reason.

Nicole Belair

Nicole Belair

My sister in law, Nicole Belair died suddenly and heroically on Tuesday. Nicole and my brother in law, Steve were to be married on June 28 and instead of celebrating their union in the eyes of God, we will instead say good bye to her and what would have been their future. If that’s not enough to make you want to pound the pavement, I don’t know what is.

I have used running as addiction therapy and attribute my continued avoidance of the bottle to the power of putting one foot in front of the other. In a tragic situation where I am powerless, running has once again proven to be the right outlet. In the past, big emotions were always dulcified by alcohol and when I learned of Nicole’s actions and subsequent fate, my first instinct was ‘I need a drink. NOW! I need to disconnect from this raw, heartbreaking grief by dousing my hurt in alcohol’. My immediate, second thought was ‘NO! I need to run, for her and for me’; so I did and I have and I will. Once again the capacity of running to heal will show itself.

As we prepare for her own finale in the way of a funeral, on Monday, and have a chance to be together in our sorrow, the fact that she ran her first 5k on Mother’s day will be on my mind. She loved it I am told and talked of making running a part of her life. She didn’t have time to do anything more than that, as the next day changed her life, forever. My grief is for losing her as a sister in law and aunt to my kids, but the sadness runs deeper for the life plans that will not be, for her and for Steve. He will never get up with her at the crack of dawn to ring a cowbell as a spectator or hold a race sign in support of her effort.  He will never get to roll his eyes, as a non-runner and say ‘another pair of running shoes?!’

RunningShoesBecause of this or perhaps in spite of this, I will slip my feet into the shoes that have carried me over hundreds of training kilometers and stand by her casket and tell her that I will run the Ottawa Marathon and forever after, for her.

As I sit writing this with tears flowing, I would like to extend my appreciation to everyone at Run Ottawa for their expressions of care and concern. I would like to further acknowledge the tremendous support the running community has offered. In good times and bad, runners are always quick to give each other a pat on the back.

I will be seeing you all soon…

Prayers for Nicole Facebook page

Obituary and Book of Memories