A Life Sentence

I could not tell you the exact moment, event or even potential series of events that led to the extreme shifts in my mood. I can only tell you that there was a time in my life that I spent many a day and night contemplating death. It went on for years. I was unreliable, sad all the time, and absolutely without any energy. It had been too many days, weeks, months and years of the same thing that I had lost any hope that I would ever wake up feeling any better. Not being here seemed like the best option. As a result, I ended up hospitalized after a deliberate overdose, at age 27. To say that the whole incident was completely terrifying would be an understatement. I was lower than low.

Continue reading “A Life Sentence”

Running Through the Bush of Ghosts

by Tim MacKay

Crunch, crunch. Breathe. Crunch, crunch. Breathe.

The snow underneath my feet responds to my pace with a rhythmic crunch, matched by a parallel rhythm in my breathing. There’s great comfort in the rhythm. It’s soothing, healing. It’s important. Maybe essential. The rhythm—the consistent beating—is what keeps me going. It marks the mental space I find the most comfort in, with a steady ‘left, right, in, out’ bringing calm and peace. And when set along a trail in the woods, the forest bathing me in solitude and simplicity, this healing rhythm is as close as I can come to perfection. Continue reading “Running Through the Bush of Ghosts”

Holes in My Socks

by Grace Ferguson

I remember walking into the sports store, tagging along behind my mom. She was picking up her finisher’s medal from her most recent race. I watch people trying on the brightly coloured running shoes in one corner, bouncing on their toes before shaking their head and pulling out another box. Another woman looks in the mirror to see how she likes the new Brooks running shorts on display. I look around at all the fun gear, Nuun tablets, and rollers.

“I wish I was a runner,” I say wistfully. I twirl my chlorine-damaged ponytail that spends almost four hours a day in a swim cap. There was something tantalizing about the idea of lacing up shoes, feeling the burn of the sun on your shoulders, the sting of sweat dripping down your face. Continue reading “Holes in My Socks”

The Pace Bunny of Afghanistan

by Martin Parnell

When I arrived in the central Afghanistan city of Bamyan, I knew there would be many Free to Run Afghan girls who would be soon running their first marathon. I wondered how I could help.

Then it hit me: why not be the very first “Pace Bunny” in the Marathon of Afghanistan? I made a set of bunny ears and a time placard for 7 hours, one hour ahead of the 8-hour cut-off time. It was going to be a challenging course. The maximum elevation is over 11,000 feet (3,360 metres) which means the oxygen level drops from 21% to 13.7%. Also, it’s extremely hilly and the elevation gain/loss over the 42 kilometres is 3,723 feet (1,135 metres). Continue reading “The Pace Bunny of Afghanistan”

Love on a Hill

by Dr. Sunny Leong

Who knew that I would meet my future spouse at a random Running Room hill training session on an August evening in 2014? I had never been much of a runner but I was getting ready to run my first half marathon in Edmonton. Misaki, on the other hand, was a running machine; she had run in 15 or more marathons before we met and had embraced running as a way to balance the rigours of graduate school. Continue reading “Love on a Hill”

“I Will if You Will!”

by Niki Fitzgerald

Only a few years ago, I remember my friend Susan telling me that she was working towards her first 5K race by running on her treadmill.  After sharing all my reasons for running outside, she confided that she preferred running at home so no one would have to see her run.

I thought she was progressing well, so I encouraged her to register for an earlier goal race, which eventually (after some cajoling) she did. This unleashed a racing beast! She loved it so much that she signed up for several more races that summer. Continue reading ““I Will if You Will!””

Fast, Healthy, and Strong

by Pam Nyrose

The goal for my 55th birthday (in September 2018) was to run a full marathon. In November 2017, I suffered a concussion that took me out of training for four months. The recovery was tedious and painfully slow. I was so excited in March when I got the go-ahead to run for five minutes. By April, I had worked up to running for 30 minutes, which I did at a 10K event in Jasper. After a consultation with my healthcare professionals in June, I was encouraged to save my dream of a marathon for another year. In July, I injured my leg which took me out for another month. I was so disappointed and discouraged. Would I ever get my strength and endurance back? Now even a half marathon was looking doubtful. Continue reading “Fast, Healthy, and Strong”

New Year, New Challenge

by Jane Cleroux

At the start of 2018, I discovered that the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon would be taking place on October 22—my birthday. On
impulse, I registered for the half marathon. At the time, I was only running three to five kilometres, so I had no idea where to start.

I always saw myself as a solo runner, although when I saw groups of runners around town, I thought it would be fun to run with them one day. I decided to finally take the first step and walked into the Orleans Running Room. Immediately, I was welcomed by a charismatic staff member who was more than willing to answer my questions. I was also offered information about the Running Room training programs. I went home, researched the pace groups and tried to figure out which one was right for me. I decided on the 2:45 group and signed up for my first half marathon program. Continue reading “New Year, New Challenge”

This is Why I Run

by Rainer Wosnitza

I turned 40 in 2001. Like others who reach a milestone age, I spent time reflecting on aspects of my life—my health, in particular. I was in okay shape, and naively assumed the good health generally accompanying youth would continue. That attitude was wrong. The wheels on my cart were starting to wobble, and as much as I tried to ignore it, I knew my body was sending me subtle wake-up calls. Continue reading “This is Why I Run”