Stronger than I thought

A few weeks ago my Saturday run was to be 90 minutes. No problem: I can run 90 minutes. It depends on how fast I have to run that’s the issue.

My workout was to be a longer warm-up and then run progressively faster paces for 10 minutes, repeat three times. I planned out my route and planned to run the paces mostly uphill. I figured I might as well make it worth my effort.


My kids were running a 1 km and 5 km race in the morning. I was restless all Friday night. How fast should I run, I should be sleeping already, would the rain hold off, how much after the kids’ run should I run? I am almost as nervous about long runs as I am about racing.

The next morning we got dressed, ate, and managed to be out of the house on time. It was cool out, but no rain.


Photo courtesy Esquimalt Parks and Recreation. That’s my girl!

Both of the kids’ races went great. My daughter ran her first 5km and had enough left in her to sprint at the finish. I was more proud of her than I felt finishing my first marathon.

With that done, it was my turn to go for a run. It started to pour heavily. I heat up a lot when I run, but when I’m not moving I get really cold really fast. Even with gloves on my hands felt slightly numb. I knew I needed to keep going.  The point of this run was to do the workout and finish it.


You get the idea: it always feels like more up than down.

I made it up to the big hills where I had planned to do my workout. They were just as steep as I remember.

I last ran this road when I was on a group run in the summer. The route then seemed long, and hard, and hilly. I remember that I finished the route and was glad those hills were over.  I was glad I wouldn’t have to do that again.

Yet, here I was. This time, running alone, I felt stronger than the person I was last year. I’m the person who pulls back when things get hard. When someone passes me in a race I don’t try to surge ahead and keep up. I don’t push through my fears or pain, I defer. I assume someone is always stronger than I am.

But I ran those hills. I finished my run in that pouring rain. My legs were tired but I knew I could still run on tired legs. I was patient. I kept going.

I learned that confidence comes through doing. I learned that I was stronger than I thought.



27 thoughts on “Stronger than I thought

  1. I think we are always stronger than we think we are. We just either forget or refuse to believe that we really are strong. Way to go on finishing the hills in the rain, and way to go on feeling stronger than a year ago. I was telling my son’s nonrunning girlfriend the other day how running makes me feel strong and powerful, and how important it is for women to feel that way. Here’s to us!

    • I was a bit surprised as to how good I felt. I think often I run in a group and am comparing myself to people who are much faster than me. This is good, in a way, but I forget to compare me to me. Seeing that a year ago I felt good, but was now feeling so much stronger was great. And yes! here’s to us. It’s important to feel strong and powerful and be able to recognize that in ourselves.

    • Hi Emily,
      They mostly do it on their own. They see me run a lot, but my daughter came up with this 5km race on her own. She’d never run more than 3 km and managed to do the whole 5km without stopping. 30 min of running ain’t so bad!

    • I had hoped that the kids would embrace *some* kind of physical activity — to me it didn’t matter what. I want them to see that exercise is a part of your lifestyle, not just a fad. Each time I go run I think about this and they inspire me. Now, evidently, I seem to have rubbed off on them a little and that’s great.

  2. Oh Tania.
    I felt such deep respect for you, reading this blog:
    Your pride in the kids; your increased self-knowledge and self-acceptance; the clear, uncomplicated, utterly believable writing.
    Thanks for sharing.
    PS – and I love the pic of Jeff and Lassah – she looks so Happy and comfortable in her own skin

  3. Awesome run! And those hills look intense! You are so right about strength – we are all stronger than we think. One of my favorites quotes is “You never know how strong you are until strong is your only choice.” It’s just a matter of facing the fear and pushing through.
    I love the pic of your daughter running. She looks so happy out there and what an accomplishment to have already completed a 5K! She has many happy running years ahead of her. 🙂

    • It IS true we are stronger than we think. That’s a great quote, too. Pushing through a fear is actually less scary than chasing the fear around.
      As for my daughter, I am secretly worried that she will catch up and pass me if she keeps it up. Of course, that’s a great thing, but give me a few years before I have to face humility. She’s not quite 10 years old.

  4. Holy moley! Reading this sounded exactly like my running days – which I need to return to. I remember having the same thought of “never have to do this run again”, only to find myself there at some point, and shaking my head at my assumptions. I also defer. And I have always been angry at myself for that. Once I decided I was going to beat everyone (it was an angry day), and sure enough, I won that race. Keep going. You are so much stronger than you know. I am so glad I found your blog… I needed this today.

    • What a great story! Thanks for sharing this.
      I think our assumptions are what keep us down, and until we challenge ourselves enough to break out of it we will never change our results. My Coach has goals for me that I would have never even thought about, but progress is being made. It’s about allowing our strengths to be a part of who we are, instead of fighting against that notion.

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