Every other Tuesday, Svveat Stories brings you Svveatspiration: an inspiring series of first-person narratives from our fitness community’s unsung heroes. This week, Toronto runner Katie Sin shares her journey to the Boston Marathon.

When I first fell in love with running, it was a monogamous relationship. None of my friends or family shared my new passion, so I pursued running mostly on my own. I discovered that I loved getting into a meditative state of mind while pushing myself to my physical limits. I followed the natural progression from 5Ks to 10Ks to half-marathons, and eventually, in 2015, I made the big commitment to train for my first full marathon. I prepared by building a training schedule, mapping out some neighbourhood routes and Googling anything I didn’t know (starting with “fartlek”).

Katie Sin with Adidas Runners Toronto
Photo by Jess Baumung, courtesy Adidas Runners Toronto

Despite this preparation, I couldn’t avoid the emotional volatility during that first marathon in Niagara Falls. I started the race feeling exhilarated, but when I reached the 30K mark and had lost my pace group and my muscles started screaming, I wanted to cry. I was devastated realizing that my goal of a Boston Marathon qualifying time may have been too ambitious.

It wasn’t until I crossed the finish line and saw that I achieved a qualifying time of 3:30 that my distress turned into joy. I was excited about earning the chance to run such an amazing race, but I knew I had to do things differently next time.

My independent approach had led to a great time result, but my body felt broken and I was emotionally drained. I wanted to fully commit to proper training and nutrition, with an added goal of feeling better at the end of the race.

Katie Sin post-run cuddle

The reality is that life happens, and when I started my Boston Marathon training I quickly discovered that there weren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I wanted. I couldn’t do every run and pack healthy meals and advance my career and hang out with friends and sufficiently cuddle my dog and husband (in that order).

That’s when I started trying out different run groups around the city, including Running Room, Black Toe Running, Nike, Adidas and Pace & Mind. At first it was just a great way to eliminate planning solo runs—I could show up for a predetermined route instead—but it has become so much more than that. I’ve met some amazing people who have shared running advice, nutrition tips and inspiring stories about their personal journeys. In return, I have never felt more comfortable oversharing my embarrassing running woes (like learning that you can chafe anywhere, ladies).

Katie Sin at Adidas Here To Create class
Photo by Jess Baumung, courtesy Adidas Canada

To round out my training and build up strength, I attend free fitness classes around the city, including ones offered at work, at Calii Love and at last year’s Adidas Canada #HereToCreate training sessions where I met Svveat founder Johanna. If you’re hesitant to participate in group classes, I have to say it’s easy to overcome shyness and make connections when everyone can unite and commiserate over a tough workout.

I’m happy that my relationship with running has evolved to include a community of helpful and encouraging friends, and that my road to Boston is no longer alone.

Author: Katie Sin (find her on Instagram and Facebook).

Want to follow in Katie’s admirable footsteps? Check out all the free run groups in Toronto and the GTA on Svveat.

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