I have never been athletic, muscular or even in shape, for that matter. I never thought I would be until one day..

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Published on 31 March 2020

I have never been athletic, muscular or even in shape, for that matter. I never thought I would be until one day, when I was at the dog park with my dog Falco, I met a man I had seen around before.

While chatting with him, I learned that he is the president of a canicross club and that he offers training on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Canicross team members run with their dogs leashed to their belts. He invited me to give it a try.

I briefly pondered his invitation while smoking a cigarette. Two things were going through my mind: on the one hand, I imagined being able to participate and actually enjoying it; and on the other, because it had been so long since the last time I had run, the fear of failure took hold. I told him that, although my cardio health was not the best, I’d be curious to try and I’d let him know if I made up my mind. It would be fun activity to do with Falco, but I was nervous that I wouldn’t be up to the training. Fortunately, I already had a gym membership, even if I’m not very disciplined. To avoid embarrassment, I thought I should start by boosting my cardiovascular health before joining the team. I gave myself three months to improve my physical fitness as much as possible before calling him.

I started working out about twice a week at the gym on the treadmill, rowing machine, elliptical and weight machines. I also met a trainer who gave me good advice and designed a training program tailored to my goal. I felt confident, like I had the tools to achieve what I had set out to do. While working out, I learned to breathe when my heart rate spiked, to take breaks so that I could keep going, to trust myself and to accept the fact that training is hard. I also tried group classes and fell in love with Body Pump. I found that this class allowed me to become familiar with the weights and I feel that I am gradually getting toned. Every time I took the class, my muscles ached the next day, but it was proof of a tiny victory that reminded me that I was pushing myself to go further.

Even though it was difficult at first, every workout brought a sense of well-being and accomplishment. I still don’t have a bikini body, but I’m starting to feel the difference in my pants. 

Spring came, the snow melted, and I felt it was time to contact the man from the dog park. I sent him a message telling him I was ready and he replied that there was a training session that evening! I had already bought all the equipment, I couldn’t back out even though I was panicking and wanted to stay home. Sometimes, you just have to muster the courage. I didn’t go through all that for nothing! 

At the meeting point, I met the other members, who all looked very fit, and prepared Falco for the training. Unlike me, he radiated confidence, which gave me confidence in my own abilities. We started running and a woman joined me to chat. After a few steps, I was so winded that I could only answer with a yes or no. She didn’t notice, but all I could do was run. Sheer hubris kept my legs going, but I was running. I made it the whole way with my dog, who seemed utterly unfazed. What a victory to have made it, to see that I was able to do it! I enjoyed the experience and looked forward to the next training session.

Since then I have continued to work out at the gym. Not only have I really improved my fitness, I’ve also lost a few extra pounds, and I even quit smoking. I still train with Falco and have run in a few canicross races. Through training, I met new friends and great people who inspire me and make me push myself even further.

This photo was taken during a canicross race.