Catherine Osler

As I write this, I am contemplating participating in 2 running races this spring, an 8K and a 10K, both being only a week apart! Even as I am telling you, I can’t believe that I am even considering this!! If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you that I couldn’t even “run” 1K, let alone “race” two races back to back! This all changed 15 months ago when I met Kristina.

Being a 55 year old busy professional I had very little time to take care of myself. As an international trainer, speaker, executive coach and an entrepreneur, my schedule can become so hectic that it is probably better suited to a professional 20 years younger.

I have difficulty saying “no” to work; it is even more difficult to say “yes” to taking care of me. I did not have a regular fitness routine as I found it impossible to add exercise into my already hectic life.

My busy life was beginning to take its toll. My recreational activities (rowing, kayaking and sailing) were not compatible with the travel my career was demanding and I was searching for a way to combat fatigue. I needed to stay focused and alert with my clients as well as stave off the affects of too many restaurant dinners. When I see myself at 80 years old, I envision myself climbing in and out of my rowing shell with grace. I have the desire to remain flexible, strong and agile throughout my entire life.

It was this desire to maintain my flexibility, agility and strength which prompted me to start training with Kristina. When we met just before Christmas in 2006, my goals were to: find a training schedule that worked with my busy life, lose a few inches, and increase my strength, flexibility and energy. Kristina designed a program that included weight training, core work, a walk/run program and a goal to climb the Grouse Grind in April! The program was designed for me to take on the road, at home or at my vacation property and in the gym.

Here is the amazing part. What began as only 1 minute of running and 5 minutes of walking (repeated 5 times) slowly grew until one day I realized that I was running for 30 minutes, straight!! I had never run for 30 minutes before. I never knew I could and honestly I didn’t even think that I had wanted to – until I actually did it! But funny enough, I still didn’t think of myself as a runner. In fact I couldn’t quite realize what I had accomplished. But I also couldn’t ignore the achievement. It was awesome to realize what a consistent practice of getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other could do. I had never experienced the power of this kind of slow, steady, consistent practice.

In June we hiked the Grouse Grind. It was hard but I was ecstatic! And after that (with a great deal of encouragement from Kristina) I began training for my first 5KM race – the CIBC Run for the Cure in late September. I was nervous and excited. One part of me was saying “What are you thinking? You are not a runner!” But Kristina gently prodded, encouraged me and worked with me to build the foundation that was necessary to run 5km and to run it well. She encouraged me to see it as “my” race and to do the best “I” could. She told me to pay attention to my body and run “my” race not to race the person beside me which is hard for competitive types to do! I finished in 33 minutes.

After the 5km I had less time to run as I was traveling more but I was so buoyed by my success that I signed up for the 10KM Fall Classic in November. My only goal was to finish the distance and IF I had to, I told myself, I would run/walk as needed. I ran the whole distance and finished in 66 minutes!

Running is now something I can’t do without. Even when I am not training for a specific race, I run at least 3 days a week for 35 – 40 minutes. It has become as much a part of my life as eating and breathing. I love the way I feel, the way I look, my increased energy, the strength I have gained and my increased level of fitness and flexibility. These were my original goals which I can proudly say that I have accomplished.

Last week I got up early on Sunday morning to run the Harry Rosen 8K in Stanley Park. My husband was still in bed. As I came into the room dressed in my running gear, he turned to look at me and smiling, he said, “You are a runner!” And finally, that is now how I feel. I can say it and believe it.

Without me realizing it, my easy walk/run program which was designed to get me moving at home or on the road, had brought out the runner in me – one step at a time. Today I am happy to be running 8-10KM races and my new goal is to be able to run these distances regularly, with strength and grace. Now that we have been slowing adding in both speed work and hill training, it has become a whole new adventure and I marvel at what my body can do.

It is a whole new world out there as I continue to learn more about my body and what it can do. Every day I keep feeling better and stronger. Now my runs are the first thing to go on my schedule.

It is Kristina’s goal to “help you find your inner athlete.” I originally thought her goal applied to everyone but me. But I was wrong. With wisdom, patience, compassion and thoughtfulness, Kristina worked with me in a way that was uniquely suited to me, my life, goals and abilities. Not only did I complete the goals I had set in 2007 but without even realizing it, I also became a runner!

Catherine Osler Personal Training January 9, 2015