I started running as a hobby and weight loss tool back in about October of 2010 after finding an ad on Virgin Radio’s website for a programs called Team in Training. The whole thing had me at a good cause(money raised going to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada) plus a trip to Rome, Italy! The amount I had to raise for the trip though was a heaping $5,500 plus I had to train for a full marathon, if you didn’t know that is 42Km or 26 miles. Kind of scary to say the least, but with my heart in the right place and my amazing family behind me I raised the money over the next months for the trip which took place at the end of March 2011.
Our(as in the groups-it wasn’t just me who had raised all that money) journey started in Vancouver International Airport on a Thursday morning/early afternoon, it then went to Calgary and on to Frankfurt, Germany. Before landing in Germany our plane got stuck in a backlog of other flights which in turned made us 18minutes landing. We were told our flight to Rome was actually waiting for us and we were glad. So once we departed from the plane it was a mad dash through an airport that did not speak much english(as in most signs were not ones we could understand) right up to the security checkpoint. That checkpoint was our true downfall, someones luggage set off an alarm literally only a few people in front of our group. This meant a walk over to another check point and then a mad dash(yet again) through an insanely long airport. To put it bluntly we did not make our connecting flight and the 16hour journey to Rome got a bit longer with a three hour wait in Germany, even worse all the best stores were on the wrong side of the security lines. We did finally arrive safely in Rome late Friday evening and after a short stop at our hotel to drop everything off a large group of us went straight for dinner at a lovely little place a few blocks away.
This photo is the big group of us who went for dinner that first night.
The first plate of food was one I shared with a friend while the second was the most amazing pasta dish I had ever eaten.
Saturday brought lots of sight seeing and the start of my love for the city of Rome and country of Italy. Sunday morning was the start of my first ever marathon. At 26km I was one of many who did not finish the race, it was a pretty sad time and it was hard to swallow that I wasn’t going to finish. My emotions were on a rollercoaster and the only thing that kept me from a complete face first drop into darkness was the reminder that although I hadn’t completed the race I had raised that money and it was still going to go towards helping patients and families. That was about the only thing that kept me from not crying a lot more, plus I was in such a beautiful place on such an amazing adventure. That run on that one day in Rome was an amazing way to teach me something extremely important, that it is the work you put in that you will get out. I hadn’t put all the work in, not in the running at least and I didn’t get the whole race out of it or a medal when I didn’t cross the finish line. That night at the celebration dinner though my coach and friend now came over to me with a big smile and a big hug to go along with it. After the hug she reached into her bra(yes, this is true) and pulled out a finishes medal that she handed to me, a medal that still hangs on my wall. It may not be one that I earned completely but it is a constant reminder of my plans to go back to Rome one day and finish that race.
I had an amazing and magical experience in Rome and cannot wait until i can go back. Especially for longer than a short weekend. I was back in Canada by tuesday afternoon with a million memories.
I ran for the fun of it and for the chance to help in the fight to find a cure for cancer and I have done it once more since, I will tell you all about that in a later journal. About my race in San Francisco with my mom.
Thanks for reading <3 Natasha