By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I’m not a runner by any stretch of the imagination.
My first memory of any formal running dates to age 9 when the higher ups of the school made every student run 6 laps around the school yard to gauge our fitness level. It was a painful experience for me because I was fat. There, I said it. Fat. I remember looking at the skinny girls with such envy as they effortlessly raced around the track as I huffed and puffed and cried and cursed.
Right before I entered high school, my parents sent me and my brother to a sports camp in upstate New York. I remember being laughed at for the facial expression I was making as I was trying to sprint. Shot put seemed so much easier but I wasn’t any good at that either. Long distance running was even more awful for me. I have a clear memory of running through the forest far behind every one else in my group and arguing with the camp counsellor (a good-looking blonde boy who was named after my father and who ended up as an Airforce 1 pilot in the 1st Gulf War — not that that makes any difference one way or the other — I’m just painting a picture). Anyway, he was trying to make me run and I was not having any of it in spite of his army fatigues and drill sergeant tactics. Oh, I hated him that day.
Don’t get me wrong. I like sports. I just don’t like running. It makes me so uncomfortable.
Fast forward 25 years. My personal trainer and I have been working together to get my weight down since July 2007. For the longest time nothing was working and I wasn’t making any significant progress. Then I started my workouts on the treadmill instead of just doing resistance training with weights. Suddenly, as I increased my cardio activity in my target heart rate range of 134 to 169 beats per minute, the weight started coming off more readily. My trainer calculated all of those numbers for me based on my resting heart rate. The more time I spend in that zone, the stronger my heart gets and the more efficient my exercising is.
To get my heart rate up, I started running a few minutes at a time on the treadmill instead of just walking briskly. I’m thrilled to say, on a great day, I can now run 20 minutes non-stop. High 5’s all around.
Now I’m training for a 5-kilometre run. It’s my newest goal. I’ve signed up for the CIBC Run for the Cure.
When I signed up for the challenge, they asked me, “Who are you running for?” I had to think about it for a minute. I decided to run for my Great Aunt who died in 1995 around mother’s day after having breast cancer. She had surgery and unfortunately, when they sowed her back up, she lost some range of motion in her arm. She was generous and loving and a beautiful soul. I miss going to visit her in upstate New York where she lived in this gorgeous colonial mansion with pillars and 2 staircases and a enormous pink bathroom and a barn in the backyard where elves used to make shoes, so my cousins said. She also owned a motel and restaurant with a swimming pool 9 miles down the road. What an ideallic, childhood fantasy land!
I’m also running for another friend of the family who beat breast cancer several years ago but is currently recuperating from another cancer treatment for another area. She inspires me, too.
How to Donate to the Run for the Cure
If you would like to donate and help me raise $150 toward research, please visit https://www.cibcrunforthecure.com/html/en/about.asp, find the Get involved menu, click on the donate arrow which will bring you to another page. On that page, click on donate to a participant which pulls up the search for a participant search boxes. I would really appreciate it if you put in my first name, Maria, my last name, Koropecky and Victoria for the Run Location. When you hit the search button, you will see my name next to Team Bosom. Click again on Donate to this Participant and on that page you will be able to fill in all of your information. If you decide on giving $5, then that will work out to $1 a kilometre, which is will go a long way to help fight breast cancer.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And thank you on behalf of everyone else who has been touched by the ugliness of cancer.
Where and When
The run will take place on Saturday, October 4, 2009 in cities across Canada. I’ll be running at the University of Victoria with my personal trainer and Team Bosom by my side.