Well Halifax, this is it. In just over 24 hours I will be hopping aboard a plane headed halfway across the country, trading the ocean for the mountains. Hubby has a great job opportunity that we couldn't refuse - and what better way to get to see a new part of the country?
So after 5 1/2 years of running through your streets, I have been struggling to find the words to say not goodbye, but au revoir - till we run together again.
It's tough to put into words what I'm feeling right now. Running has been such a huge part of my life ever since I moved to this city. In fact, one of the first things I did when I arrived was to sign up for a 10km clinic at the Spring Garden Rd Running Room. It proved to be one of the best things I could have done.
I got to make connections and eventually meet new friends. As the distances got longer, I explored virtually every corner of the city. I set new goals and challenges for myself to aspire to. And over time, Halifax started to feel like home, and I decided to set up a little blog called Halifax Runner Girl.
There were many ups and downs - literally, and figuratively, because this is hilly Halifax, after all. There were days I felt I'd run the same 8km loop over and over and over again. Other days, I ran home on a cloud, marvelling at the fact that my route took me by the ocean (and up those incredible hills in Purcells Cove).
There were the days where I ran the farthest I'd ever run before - over the bridge and back. Snowy Sunday morning runs through Point Pleasant Park, the snow soft on branches and ocean glimmering just beyond the edge of the trail. And there were those marvellous Blue Nose race weekends where it seemed the whole city thrummed with the rhythm of thousands of Haligonians of all ages running.
Despite my up and down relationship with running - those days when I didn't want to go out; the mornings when we trudged up the city's icy hills and I wondered what it was all about and why I wasn't in bed. Despite the rainy, slushy, windy, icy, snowy, hot, cold, you-name-it runs...As I look back I realize I have loved every footstep of it.
Running in Halifax hasn't just been about the kilometres marked, although that was one of the major accomplishments I celebrated since being here - moving from being a 5k runner to challenging myself to a 10k, then the Hypo Half, and then the full...After each race I crossed that finish line believing it was the farthest I could ever run - and then I put my shoes back on and pushed myself to run that much farther.
But none of this could have been possible without the support of my coach - aka hubby - and his belief in me. His encouragement when I just wanted to stay home and snuggle up in front of the TV has been priceless.
And then there's the Halifax running community, through which I have made so many friends. You have all been there for me at some point in my running journey - whether it was hanging back when it looked like I was flagging, or listening to me muse about my insecurities with my running after overcoming major surgery, or showing up at the track during speed training prior to my first full with a neon yellow sign that read "Go, Halifax Runner Girl!"...Or just being patient with me when I went quiet and put in my ear buds because all I wanted to go was get the run over after a long day at work and just wasn't in the mood to be social.
To all of you, I say thank you. I'll miss you all. I'll miss Halifax's hills and winds and ocean spray when cutting through Point Pleasant Park. I'll miss Blue Nose weekend - I run in every single Blue Nose single one since being here. It's been a highlight of my running years. I'll miss showing up to a crowded Running Room on Spring Garden Rd on Sunday mornings, perhaps dreading the 32k run that faced me, but feeling buoyed by all of the runners who had decided to show up as well and being motivated and inspired by their energy and enthusiasm.
But no one gets very far by looking backwards while running - in fact that's the surest way to trip. So I'm packing all of my memories into my mental storage bank for those days in Calgary when the going seems tough, or when I long for the salt spray on my face as we run along the Bow River. And I will think of you all.
I've heard that Calgary has many great running trails, but that I'll have to take some time getting adjusted to the difference in altitude. I'm planning to sign up for a marathon clinic when I arrive. I actually do highly recommend it as a great way to settle into any new city.
I also plan to continue blogging in this space, though I haven't quite decided whether to keep the name or change it to Calgary Runner Girl - though so far the votes I've had is to keep the name the same.
And who knows - in a few years, I may be back to run the Blue Nose again, looking to kick some butt at sea level after running at higher altitudes!
Once again, I thank you all for your support. It's been a blast, but this is not the last of it - it's only just the beginning of a new adventure!
Till then, I say not goodbye, Halifax - but till we run together again!
Stay strong, healthy and happy. You'll be in my thoughts.