Year Reflection, the Thank You’s, and the Future

With the blink of an eye, the year flies by and boom! It’s almost Christmas again. Christmas time brings families and friends back together. It’s a time to be thankful for what we have, to appreciate the small stuff in life and to cherish those moments with our loved ones. For me, it’s a time to reflect on a year that was, and what a year it was. Sitting here at home in my boxers, because what else is better than baking Christmas cookies on a Saturday in your underwear, I look back at what brought me to this very moment.

2013 started out like any other year as a student athlete. Getting ready for my final semester at SAIT, and started a new training program with Coach. Everything was fairly low key up to about April. As the Trojans, we crushed some track meets up in Edmonton, capping off our ACAC Championship year with a second place finish in the track season to Lethbridge. School was school, no work, all play. Just kidding. I put in my hours and worked hard (at times) to get through that final semester.

Smooth cruise right into April, the sad but fun month. When those bombs went off in Boston, it hit me hard as a runner, and that was my opening to do something that I’ve always wanted to do; be a positive influence in the community and to be a role model for the adolescents growing up today. Now we all know the story about Run for Boston, or the Boston run as most call it, so I’m not going to ramble on about it. That run was never about having 15 minutes of fame, or getting the attention of the nation. It was all about showing solidarity as a running community and Calgary definitely showed that we have a strong running community. That Boston run would not have been the way it was if it wasn’t for my good friend Greg. Originally, I didn’t want to make t-shirts for everybody because I didn’t know how, or where to get the money to provide them. Suddenly on the Thursday, he sends me a message saying he got 400 t-shirts printed, and then got 600 bracelets made. Up to this point, we barely even talked, and then out of nowhere, he pulled off this huge stunt. So all those t-shirts, and all those bracelets are because of Greg and his connections. I can’t thank him enough for that, and to this day, I still thank you dearly for that Greg. There’s about 100 more thank you’s I could list down here, so I’ll just sum it up quickly. If you helped out in any way with the Boston run, even just spreading the word, I thank you for doing what you did to make that event a success.

Quick preview into the future. Even though I stated back in September that there will be another Run for Boston in April 2014, that is looking like it won’t happen. I’ve put a lot of thought into it, and leaving it as a one time event is what I’ll do. There are a couple of local races that I don’t want to take away from (Spring Trio and Police Half Marathon) as well as keynote out of city races (Boston, Canadian Road Championship, BMO Vancouver Marathon) that people will getting prepared for. I plan on being out of the city for most of April as well due to races. The Boston run was a solidarity event to show support for those affected in Boston at the time of the bombings. It was a fun event to host, but it will remain a one time event.

As the year progressed from there, the race bibs kept pilling up and I graduated from SAIT. So this thank you goes out to my friends and teammates over the past year. To me as a runner, it is important to have support from others, and I found that through my friends, teammates, and connections I made over the past however many months. It’s tough to get through runs as well as excelling to the next level without having support, so thank you to those who have jumped on ship to support me on this journey down an endless road. I also thank those who have reached out over the past months to congratulate me on recent success and for letting me know that I’ve done well as an inspiration. A short message may not seem like a lot, but to me, it means the world.

Over the past few months, I’ve started to run with the Harriers. Most of the guys that run with the Harriers were apart of the MitoCanada tandem marathon group in May.  I first met most of these guys back in April and May during the upcoming weeks to the Calgary Marathon and at the time, I didn’t think much of what connections I was making. It was an honour to meet such prestigious individuals that were raising a ton of money for MitoCanada. Never did I think I’d end up running with those same guys in the future. During that same time period, I met the CEO of MitoCanada, Blaine Penny. Blaine is one outstanding individual. I find so much motivation to keep running through him, and his son Evan. When I first started running, my main motivation was to make my mom proud, but then I learnt about his story and that has become the second reason why I run. Here’s the story from one of the Running on Empty trailers:

Whenever I run, whenever I hit the wall, whenever I feel like giving up, I think to myself how selfish it would be to quit. There are so many people out there that can’t run, or walk, or talk, or have the abilities to do what we can do, that’s why I run for those who can’t. When people tell me that life isn’t all about running, they’re right. Life isn’t all about running, but for me it is. For those who are just starting out, times get tough, your body may rebel and give you pain, but that’s the beauty of it. Don’t quit something because it’s tough. Fight through whatever is trying to hold you back, the reward is much greater in the end.

As this year comes to a close, I realize how much fun 2014 will be. The race schedule is getting packed, probably exceed the 20 race mark next year, and the JG project is starting to take shape. A lot of time will be committed to running, because that’s what I love to do. You know what accomplishes goals? Hard work, motivation, dedication. That’s my recipe for success.