Hi everyone! I am beyond thrilled to be here! I’m Wintergreen, a fitting name for a runner from the Great White North. I live outside of Ottawa, Canada, and my treadmill is my best friend.
But I wasn’t always a runner, far from it actually. At track and field day in elementary school we had to choose one “long” event, 800 or 1500 meters. I remember hating running so much that I started walking about 20 meters into the 800, and walked all 720 meters thereafter. I’m pretty sure I cried too. Instead of running, I spent my time in dance and curling, and later I even fell in love with competitive swimming.
By the time I was 19, I was unhappy and stressed out as I neared completion of my first year of university. I needed an outlet, preferably one that didn’t revolve around a gym schedule, something flexible. Around the same time, my mom joined a “learn to run 5k” group back home. If she could run, I certainly could, or so I thought. I laced up my shoes and ran for roughly 200 meters before I had to stop.
But, unlike that day back in elementary school, I had a determination! I made goal and registered for a 5k race. I ran that 5k and stopped once. Afterward I wanted to run one without stopping and I wanted to run it faster. I was determined to improve.
Shortly after that first 5k my world was rocked by the sudden death of my grandmother. Running helped me cope with grief. It helped me better handle the stress of university. It gave me that physical challenge I had been looking for and helped me find emotional strength I didn’t know I had. I kept on running 5k and half marathon races from then on, and in the meantime I graduated with a business degree in marketing, got married, built a house, got pregnant with our son, and welcomed him into the world.
Before my pregnancy I had chipped away at my half marathon time, going from 2:00:00 to 1:50:00 and then to 1:47. I became an information sponge, learning about training plans, workout types, training philosophies, you name it, I wanted to learn more. And after I became a parent my interest and passion for running only intensified.
But I was conflicted about going all in with running because we also wanted to have another child. I only raced one half marathon between the birth of our son and becoming pregnant with our daughter and it was a huge PR: 1:34:01. After this race, a lot of people asked me when I was going to run a full. I thought about it a lot, but mostly I’d reply, “Oh it’s something I would do just to say I did it,” or “I’ll do it when I’m done having kids,” but then came another life-altering event that would change my desire to run a marathon.
Between December 2013 and November 2014, I suffered two miscarriages. The first on Mother’s Day in 2014 and the second in September of that year. I tried playing the “I’m fine, I’m young, it wasn’t meant to be” card for a long time, but the truth was I wasn’t fine. I was frustrated and felt so betrayed with my body. How could getting pregnant with my first be so easy, and this time so difficult?
During this time I felt so incredibly weak. I wanted to do something to prove that I was capable and strong. So I decided to run my first marathon, and that marathon was going to qualify me for Boston.
We took a trip to Boston and, while there, I had my husband drop me off in Newton. I had mapped out the Newton to finish portion of the Boston Marathon course and was going to run it. I was experiencing so much heartbreak, and I wanted to climb Heartbreak Hill and find myself on the other side.
But life has a way of changing our plans, and shortly thereafter I found out I was pregnant again. We welcomed our daughter in August 2015, and that October I registered to run my first marathon: Ottawa 2016. I raced 10 months postpartum and qualified for the 2017 Boston Marathon with a time of 3:17:35.
Needless to say, I’ve come a long way from that little kid crying on the track. Running has become a giant part of who I am and has taught me that nothing is impossible.