• Raquel Barr


I never thought I would be able to run a half marathon. I had been a runner for years, but not long distance. My friend Jessica convinced me to start training three years ago and I figured I would give it a try. Boy oh boy I had no idea what I was getting myself into!

Just in case you didn't know, a half marathon is 21.1 km. That's right, OVER 20 KILOMETERS. How the HELL does one even start training for that??

We started off easy, running twice a week on Wednesdays (short run) and Sundays (long run). The progression was slow and steady, making it seem much more achievable. We trained with intervals of 10 and 1. This allowed for walking breaks to catch my breath and reset. Pace didn't matter to us. As long as we finished the run and we were still smiling, we were happy.

Let me be clear; I had never run more than 10km before this point. My happy place was always around 4 or 5km, a quick 25-30 minutes, one and DONE. Running four times as long seemed extremely daunting, exhausting, and a form of self-torture.

We started with 3km, running through downtown London ON. We eventually worked our way up to 12, 15 then 18km. Hours and hours of running, feet to the pavement, salty sweat, all of it. Did I mention we started training in NOVEMBER. Rain turned into snow and snow turned into ice. Strangely enough, the chaos and challenges became more and more manageable.

Jessica and I motivated each other, distracted each other from the weather and the pain. We told each other stories and listened to all life was throwing at us at the time. It was a form of therapy for us. Twice a week we got to move our bodies and tell someone what was going on with us.

I found myself looking forward to running, seeking out others to run with and encouraging friends to start training. I was that friend! And it certainly didn't end with running. I started saying yes to activities I would have never imagined. I started practicing yoga, I changed my diet, I started small group personal training and met a whole group of amazing people. All because I started to say yes.

We ran the half marathon and had a blast. There was and incredible energy that day, I was buzzing with nervousness and excitement! It took us 2 hours and 17 minutes and we crossed the finish line holding hands. It was an incredible experience and I became addicted!

The Chilly Half Marathon. March 5th, 2016. My Everest. (Myself, Jenna, and Jess)

When I moved to Kelowna, I met so many wonderful people who inspired me in so many ways. One in particular was my friend Lindsay. FYI she is an absolute BEAST.

(You should see this girl rock climb.. it's beautiful)

I had told her about my half marathon addiction and she dove right in. She is a very athletic person to begin with so she had a major advantage. We trained for 4 months and very quickly it went from me pushing her to her pushing me. I was going to be happy if we finished the race, but Lindsay wanted to do it in UNDER 2 HOURS.

Let me remind you that my first two half marathons were over 2 hours and 15 minutes.

I was daunted and kept making excuses. But she was determined! So we trained harder, cooked and ate amazing food, and shared stories and laughs.

We ran the Peach City Half Marathon in Penticton BC. I'm not going to sugar coat it, that day was HOT. But we were determined to reach our goal regardless. We had our support squad at the checkpoints cheering us on and snapping pictures. They were not all that pretty haha.

But we did it. The hills, the long stretches of road, the amazing views. All of it.

We finished that day with a time of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It was exhilarating. As soon as we crossed the finish line we kicked off our shoes and ran (aka stumbled) into Skaha Lake fully clothed. We did it. I was able to cut almost 20 minutes from my previous best with Lindsay's encouragement (and stubbornness).

I love running, I love my friends, and I am so proud to have met these incredible people who inspire me everyday.

Just start saying yes. Challenge yourself. Fail and learn; success and accomplishment is just over that hill.

Happy Running! :)

Peach City Half Marathon 2017 (Linsday, Myself, Bailey)

#running #halfmarathon #runtherapy #motivation #challengeyourself

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