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Filtering by Tag: running

a letter to my future self

Kimberley Doerksen

At the beginning of the year, New Balance asked the #TeamNB athletes to write a short post or letter to their future self.  Mulling over my athletic career and the changes that have lead me to where I am today, it was hard to articulate everything I wanted to say in a short letter.  This was the result:

Dear Kimberley,

Remember when you were 7 years old and first dreamt of becoming an Olympian? This led to countless hours of training, “sacrifices” and choices made to help better your chances of making that dream a reality.  You let yourself become vulnerable by putting your heart and soul into those aspirations. There were incredible highs that came with every small or large success, but were paired with the black-as-night lows that shook your confidence making you doubt everything.  Those were the times where you had no control over what had happened, only over how you’d get through it.  And you did.  Every single time.  Largely due to the incredible support from the ones who believed in your lofty goals and crazy ideas even when you didn’t.  Remember how selfless they were in supporting you, and strive to be that person for someone else.  Remember that through the inevitable moments of “I can’t” and other people’s “you can’t”, it’s your job to believe you can.  Then, take a deep breath, slip on your shoes and let the foot fall rhythms of your imperfect stride be the voice reminding you can fly.

With love,

a leap of faith

Kimberley Doerksen

"But what if I fall?"
"Oh but my darling, what if you fly?"

For the past three years I've had the pleasure of spending a few weeks with the Wallace family at what has become our annual summer training camp. Perfecting the balance of training, eating, and enjoying the occasional drink, those two weeks are my favourite of the whole summer. Usually I come to camp with a general training plan, and we just make up the days as we go along.  This year it was a little different.

The past two years have been a struggle in terms of training and competing.  I was unable to attain a fitness level that matched, let alone surpassed where I was in 2014.  I thought I was training properly, eating correctly, doing exactly what the physio told me, and on a road to recovery from whatever injury I was dealing with at the time.  It went from a stress fracture, to a variety of soft tissue issues, and I struggled to fully recover.  I was sick and tired of worrying if stepping out of bed was going to cause pain; of basing my entire self-worth on my fitness and physicality; and of feeling as if I was never going to be considered an elite runner again. Dramatic, I know, but that was my reality at the time.  I was the perfect definition of insanity: doing the same thing again and again, and expecting different results.  So, something had to change.  

Unbeknownst to me, the answer was sitting right in front of me. Since we met in 2010, every time I've a niggle, a life dilemma, been in need of a training partner, or a drinking buddy I would always turn to the same person.  Starting out as my favourite athletic therapist, we became friends, and now he and his family have become an integral part of my support system. Colin Wallace saw me through a terrible collegiate career; prepared me for my first ever marathon at the NAIA Nationals; trained me through my first Boston Marathon; and offered me guidance over the years.  As a coach, and an athletic therapist, he was the hybrid I needed.  Finding a disconnect between physio's approval and returning to practices, I needed someone that understood both sides of the story.  

Without going into the boring details of walk-running, tedious exercises, and cross-training so much I thought I was a triathlete, I've been slowly regaining fitness and confidence over the last few months.  I'm thrilled every time I get the chance to run, especially now that I get to do workouts again, knowing that I'm building to something bigger and better than before.  

"Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: Life."

a picture's worth a thousand words

Kimberley Doerksen

Keeping a training log, aka a runner's diary, is essential for my sanity.  By writing things down, I am able to work through problems, find trends in training, and document the highs and lows throughout a training cycle.  Sometimes entries can be pages long, and on other occasions I do a "3-minute write".  When I don't feel like writing, I set a timer for three minutes and write without thinking.  A lot of times those entries are just a jumble of thoughts, but there are other times that something profound comes out of it.  In one of those instances, I used the writeup for a school project, and associated images to make the words more powerful.  Here's the result:

These words that were written at a time when I was running well.  I recently reread them, and it triggered a visceral reaction: my heart swelled, a shot of adrenaline made my hair stand on end, and a huge smile crept onto my face.  Running isn't just a hobby, it's a passion.  Even the most eloquent pieces of writing fail to articulate how much it means to me.  I've started to run again, pain free no less!  Although it's a slow and arduous process, I'm beginning to feel the itch of competitiveness again.  I'm now ready to lace my shoes up everyday and work towards my goals.  The desire to step onto the starting line is starting to pump through my veins and I couldn't be happier.  Add in that school starts mid-April,  there are copious amounts of recipes that need to be tried, and work will help to fill my days.  I know I'll be balanced.  

Pictures by Mark Burnham (