This is my second year as a participant of Quinte's Biggest Loser, a weigh-loss contest and fundraising initiative for our local hospital.
Last year, I slogged my way along the Waterfront Trail for the first time. It was both incredible and awful, especially for this overweight mama.
This year, I worried that I wouldn't slog at all, as my hip has been giving me a lot of trouble. Still, I laced up my shoes and stretched out anyways, preparing to walk the 5 kilometres, instead.
I am down, weight-wise, but not as much as I'd like to be...
I am eating better, but not as much as I should be...
I am getting enough sleep, but not as often as I should be...
These thoughts plagued me as I gathered with dozens of other walkers/runners/sloggers.
And so it was with a bit of dejection that I set a brisk walking pace before I forcing myself to focus instead on the trail and the sunlight bouncing off the Bay.
Pretty day for a walk, I told myself.
I walked and walked and walked and soon I was high-fiving other participants already on their way back to the start, as the trail loops around. I could see the half-way point and walked a little bit faster...not long now....
And then a weird thing happened...
As I rounded the curve that would take me back to where I'd come from, it's like my legs just naturally picked up the pace and before I knew it, I was running.
I slogged around the hill, back into the trees, over the bridge.
Slogged past the St. John's Ambulance people, on-site especially for us.
Along the way, I cheered on other Losers and assured passers-by that I was indeed about to die shortly. Slowed to a walk only once, to navigate an especially icy patch and to explain "Run two lamp-posts, walk two lamp-posts" to some fellow Losers. It's a technique another Loser passed along to me during last year's race and it makes everything easier.
I slogged past the 4KM marker, grinning. Lengthened my stride and pushed myself to go a little faster: my friends (and blessed coffee) were waiting.
|Me, Matt (Biggest Loser 2012) and Jenn: enjoying some post-slog sunshine!|
Photo: Aidan Connolly
At the end, there was clapping and treats and more high-fives as one-by-one or in clusters of happy, sweaty glory, Quinte's Biggest Losers crossed the finish line.
And when the final slogger made her triumphant way across, everyone cheered, loud and long.
This, more than anything, is the true success of this contest, this community: that we cheer and bolster one another up, encourage and push one another to give a little bit more, to move forward and keep on moving.
I am so blessed by and grateful for everyone who shared this moment, this place and this journey with me.
You know who you are.
Photo: Aidan Connolly