Monday, June 17, 2013


I know that many of you have been waiting, waiting, waiting almost 3 weeks for my Saskatchewan marathon report, a race I race at the end of May.  Truthfully, I have found this race in particular tough to put into words.  I finished this race in 3:17, well off my personal best.  However, the race was a victory for me on so many different levels that I consider this one of the best races I have ever completed.  My tenth marathon.  One for the record books!

I learned a lot about the art of letting go of outcome and truly being in the moment over the course of this 26.2.  Endurance athletes, and particularly those of us that compete in races over and over again in an attempt to outrun the clock tend to be goal oriented, and often the goal is quite simply what the clock might read at the end of the race.  Going into Saskatoon, I knew that this race served as something so much more important for me.  I needed to prove to myself that I could stick to a race plan, no matter how I was feeling.  I needed to prove to myself that it really, really, really wasn't just about the result, but about the journey- and all the steps I have taken to get there, on so many different levels. 

But most of all I needed to do this to prove to myself that I was strong.  Not strong in the physical sense, but strong in the mental and emotional sense.  Marathons are tough endeavours.  Running for three hours is physically difficult, make no mistake, but it is the mental toughness that will get you through those hard miles.  And I have doubted mine.

2 weeks before this race, I lost someone very special to me.  Her name was Jo.  She had a massive aortic dissection on the 12th of May.  She survived long enough for her family to gather around her.  And then she passed away surrounded but those that she loved best- her sisters, nieces, nephews and family.  Jo had a profound and important impact on my life.  Most of what I knew about being a teacher I learned from Jo; and a lot of what I knew about being a human.  She was a constant in my life through very hard times and in the most amazing times.  I am thankful for the time we had together every day.  I already miss the matter of fact and blunt way that she offered the best advice, her laughter that could be heard down the halls like music and the way that she devoted herself to her family and her community.  But mostly I just miss the way that she cared about those important to her so lovingly and deeply.  The example she set in this regard is one that I will aim for every single day. 

Jo was one of the first people to ever tell me that I was strong.  I heard her voice in my head during the Saskatoon marathon almost constantly.  Running has always provided me with a platform to feel, if that even makes sense, in one way or another.  During this 26.2 in Saskatoon, I let myself feel whatever I was feeling.  Sometimes I laughed.  At times a cried.  Most of the time I smiled and thought about how lucky I was to have someone like Jo believe in me.  When the miles got hard and my body started to hurt, I would ask Jo if she was with me.  And in my head I would hear her say, "Andrea, of course I'm not with you- I effing DESPISE moving my body".  And my step got lighter, and I felt a little more free.  Just so Jo.

And in the end, I realized that maybe, just maybe, Jo was right, on some level, and that my tears weren't weakness or that fact that my body had to slow down was not failure.  It was just a part of the process.  And now I know that I can indeed get through it all.  That the challenges I have faced and over come in the last little while in life and in training certainly do require a certain amount of strength that no amount of pushups, squats, or miles can ever bring me.  

Thank you Jo for being in my life, for being the mirror I needed and for teaching me the most valuable of lessons.  I am grateful to have had you in my life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well written Cass!!! Soooo proud of you for doing that run and jo was with you the whole way!!!!