On Running


{Kathrine Switzer 1967Boston Marathon- first woman ever to run in it}

My father ran when we were kids.

I remember going up to Beaver Pond with him and doing laps, completely out of breath, with stitches in my sides and a strange sense of defeat in my gut. Why could this old man run but not me? He laughed and told me I needed to pace myself. He ran with this old chronometer (now broken thanks to my children- thanks guys!) that hung on a leather rope, and while trying to nurse myself back to health (read-able to breathe normally) I timed his laps.

He was always physically active, ski in the 70s and 80s, squash in the 80s, golf in the 90s and now he’s trying to get into biking… probably not a terrible idea for an 80 year old man, but maybe walking is a better fit.

I grew up with the sense that I was not all that physically competent:

  • Swimming (not strong enough, too small)
  • Tennis (too slow, no potential to actually strike moving target)
  • Skiing (plain terrible, too fast, not enough control, often smashes into others)
  • Participaction (participation badge)

In fact, I’m fairly confident that I got an asthma pump simply to avoid the track component of my grade 8 gym class.

I was a good horseback rider, but as the common masses wrongly assume- that’s not really a sport.

Quickly I found that occupational partying and high heels could be considered sport, as was running up and down the stairs at MadHatters on Mctavish. My legs and calves were pretty fit.

Flash forward two babies later and about 50 pounds of post partum extra weight, I realized that I need to do SOMETHING. That year, Bruno had run the Montreal Marathon and I had just connected with Annabelle (I love that I can link back to you- like in the good old days!),  who had herself ran the Half Marathon. A neighbour who I had confided in, forwarded me a couch to 5k program and I started my journey. This was 2008 and I was determined to get strong, or at least not feel so trapped in my layers. What followed was a hard hike up towards training for a half marathon, interspersed with a 5K race and a 10K race and more recently two Sprint Triathlons.

I have been heckled while I run, I have been called fat by strangers while running, I’ve been asked how much weight is enough weight for me to lose all while running, I have been followed by 3 men. Running isn’t easy, and for some reason, it’s been particularly hard for me.  I don’t have the body build of a marathon runner, or that of a sprinter…. What I do know, is that when I run, I feel connected to something greater than myself.

Running has deepened friendships, created new ones, enabled me to take on the role of cheerleader, made me aware of my own power and this, through rain and snow, on again and off.

I recently encountered some problems with my hips and knees, which sent me into a bit of a spiral regarding my running. I became worried that I needed to change my entire form and that discouraged me. Take something you’re not necessarily excellent at, and then try to re-learn it… not gonna happen my friends.

Finally, after reading Born To Run and convinced that we were indeed born to run and that these minor injuries were a bi-product of something that I could fix easily, I grabbed my phone and texted Sophie, the local Moksha and Lulu Lemon Running Ambassador.

She took me out for a 40 minute walk/run and that. my folks, changed my running. I cried, we hugged… it completely changed the way I thought of myself in relation to my running and renewed life into what I know is to be something important in my life.

All this to say, I am not, nor will I ever be a “great” runner.  I will never rank in the middle of the pack- I’m a back of the pack kinda girl and that suits me just fine. In this, I am not competitive.

Important to me, is knowing that when I hit a certain stride, I can run forever.


5 thoughts on “On Running

    1. Dude, it’s SO weird!! I had this post in my head for weeks and then on Monday I just sat down and blew through 4 posts- this one included and then I saw yours yesterday… some serious Great Minds going on…

      1. Also, your ParticiPaction mention made me laugh… I think one year I got a “Bronze”. I effing hated those measurement charts!!!!

  1. That book changed running for me too! Although my Naturopath is trying to convince me that distance running is actually a subconscious stressor, I’m ignoring him because I want to figure this running thing out.

    1. Jess, re:naturopath… in my experience I have to be careful about being swept up in the mania of distance running, which can be the stressor. However being able to run distance brings a certain joy and confidence in yourself. As always, it’s trying to find the balance,… I want to read Born To Run!

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