Keep moving forward, Wolfe urges
Cancer survivor recommends focusing on your own goal, not the distance
It was never supposed to be easy.
That much was assumed, when Christina Wolfe decided 2013 would be the year she ran a marathon.
She had been running half marathons for nearly five years. The first of seven came in 2008, a year following her battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma and chemotherapy. There was this idea now, she had said, to no longer wait until the proverbial tomorrow.
In December, the 43-year-old working paralegal and full-time mom of two from Surrey was selected to join The Province 2013 BMO Vancouver Marathon team of seven — each from different walks of life; each aiming to run something that would be nothing short of challenging.
“That has been the most challenging (part) of it all,” Wolfe said, pointing to the balancing act of commitments — work and kids and family.
She continued, “Trying to get in all the training, doing it by myself.”
Most of the team runners, dispersed throughout the Lower Mainland, train routinely at weekly clinics with the Running Room— apparel and training store of founder and Province team coach John Stanton.
Wolfe, for the most part, would have to do it a different way.
“I had originally thought, ‘there’s no way I would be able to do the long runs without going to one of the group sessions,’” she said.
Co-ordinating schedules with her husband and finding periods of the day where she could slip into her runners, Wolfe took the weekly training program and hit the trails.
Sometimes, during the shorter runs, she’d even take her dog.
“That’s also motivating, when you have a dog following you all over the house to get you out the door.”
In mid-March, the program began to push new distances Wolfe just hadn’t done as a 21.1-kilometre runner.
The trouble first came with a 26-km run, then another at 29 km.
“I felt, at the time, past 20 kilometres, I had no energy. I just felt, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’”
There was this goal in mind. She had toyed with idea of finishing the marathon between four hours to 4:45.
“Now,” she said, noting the shift after the tiered runs at 26- and 29-km, “(the goal) is to finish it, to be injury-free, and to enjoy it.”
“At first … it does feel like stepping back on your own goal in mind, (but) nobody is putting that pressure on you. In the case of the marathon, just completing it is a good goal,” Wolfe said. “Just the fact that you got there is an accomplishment in itself.”
Wolfe would go into the next run — 32 km — at a new pace. “Just keep moving forward,” she would say to herself.
She ran from her house in Surrey, out to Langley, then over to Cloverdale, before returning home.
“When I finished, I felt ... it just gave me so much confidence.”
With less than a month until the May 5 marathon, Wolfe admits she’s not completely rid of the anxiety that comes with 42.2 km.
In a lot of ways, the experience has mirrored her comeback from chemo, she said.
In a lot of ways, it all boils down to one idea.
She said, “Whether it’s training for a marathon or — comparing it to going through chemo and how I didn’t think I could get through it and you just do — you can do anything you put your mind to.”
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