I’ve been talking about getting my medals out of their shoe box for a while now — putting them on display so that not only will I be regularly reminded of what I’ve achieved, but my daughters will be too.  You know, showing them that fitness is important, that  if you put the time and the effort in you can achieve your goals,  that sort of thing.

So, for my birthday a few weeks ago, my husband got a wicked-awesome wall hanger made for my race medals. It’s a two-foot long medal bar, with one big bold word bolted across the top: “PERSISTENCE”.

It’s a great word really. It sums up us runners pretty exactly.

Because, no matter if you’re like Reid Coolsaet with no body fat, innate talent and striving to break records and get to the Olympics or, if  you’re like me, carrying that extra baby weight since before you actually had babies and working like hell to make it to mid-pack mediocrity, we all have to persevere to do what we do. We persevere through bitter cold and extreme heat, long training runs and speed sessions, injuries and mental set-backs, family issues and job stress. And that’s just to get to the starting line.

But lately, I’ll admit, persistence hasn’t been my strong suit. Unless of course you count persistently avoiding my sneakers, this blog and the idea of getting back into marathon training mode.

So, I’ve had to look elsewhere for inspiration – because sometimes us runners need to be persistently kicked in the pants before we get back into it – and boy did I find it.

Here goes:

What I didn’t tell you guys when I wrote about my Toronto Marathon experience is that one of my main training buddies, Alison, ran with me. She was with me for the great first half of the race and she was with me when my fingers went numb and the cursing began. She was with me until about kilometer 34. That’s when she fell a couple steps behind and that’s where I assumed she stayed. Until that is, when I crossed the finish line and couldn’t find her.

Turns out, she nearly fainted at the 35km water stop and was pulled out. To say she was disappointed would be a colossal understatement.  But Alison picked herself up, dusted off her mental wounds (She’s a-okay health wise) and a month later, in extreme heat, finished the St.Catherine’s marathon.

Persistence.

Yesterday, I was in Peterborough, Ont, watching my husband finish his second triathlon.

Persistence.

His effort was impressive, but there were a dozen or so blind athletes competing in the sprint and half Ironman categories who in my eyes win the prize. These guys and gals swam, surrounded by hundreds of people, in open water with a rope tied to their guides for 750m or 2km, biked up to 90km on tandem bicycles and then ran either 5km or 21km with the same rope between them.

Holy Sh**. Persistence.

Growing up my mum had this famous Calvin Coolidge quote posted on our fridge:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

I’m 98% sure my running isn’t going to help solve the major problems of the human race (I’m always 2% hopeful that it might), but it does persistently help solve the problem of my muffin top.  So I’m taking a page from Alison, my husband and the blind triathletes and I’m pressing on.

Tomorrow, my run calendar calls for intervals. Awesome.

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4 Comments

  • Rick Avery says:

    I was also there on Sunday. They are an amazing group of athletes. My wife and I had the pleasure to go out to dinner with the paratriathletes on Saturday evening and as a runner myself we have nothing to complain about. These men and women prove to many that perseverance is what they believe in. We cheered many of them in both the sprint and the half ironman. I am eternally thankful to be able to cheer on athletes of that caliber and plan on cheering everytime I see these athletes.

    • Rebecca Gardiner says:

      I’m with you Rick – they are so inspiring. It honestly was one of the best things race-wise I’ve ever seen. I just can’t get over how those guys just killed it out there.

  • Craig (Ziggy) Houston says:

    I saw the persistance on your face when I met up with you on my bike at the Toronto marathon, both on the Lakeshore and especially coming up University Ave. Your blog is an inspiration to many who read it. Cogratulations on getting the shoes back on.
    I have hit my stumbling block in training for Scotiabank. Osteoarthritis in my left knee has reared its ugly head. I will be taking a series of 3 shots in the knee that will allow me to fulfill my quest to complete the marathon for team in training. I am confident my persistance will pay off. Forward we go!

    • Rebecca Gardiner says:

      Wow Ziggy! That is hard-core persistence. Keep up the good work….but remember being able to walk should probably take priority! See you at Scotia (I’ll be running the half)

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