Confessions of a wannabe runner

by Ladanna James

I wouldn’t call myself a good runner — despite my efforts for more than 10 years. I don’t even like calling myself a runner; I describe myself as a wannabe. I envy the real runners. The ones with good form, speed, fluidity and consistency. When I attempt to run, it’s, well, far from graceful. I’m plodding, fairly uncoordinated — overly sweaty.

Twice last summer, my then 15-year-old daughter ran with me. She says I don’t run; I shuffle. About the only thing I have in common with real runners is my consistency.  Despite the lack of grace, I never give up. I keep shuffling. Why? My accomplishments fuel me. I feel powerful, post-run. Well, maybe not immediately post-run. At the end of every run, I wonder why I keep punishing my body. But once I’ve recovered, I begin to feel strong, like I have all I need inside me to overcome the obstacles life keeps dropping in my path.

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A Nostalgic Celebration of In-Person Races

by Katelyn Palmer

With the one-year anniversary of “cancellations” approaching, I’m increasingly nostalgic for those far-too early in the morning race day wake-up alarms. The giddiness and anticipation that months of training may (or may not) result in personal bests (PB) or stretch goal accomplishments. The near universal experience of pricking a finger while trying to safely pin a bib to our chosen shirts. Those moments on the course when you realize the only barrier between the here and now and crossing that finish line is in fact you. Heck, I even miss complaining about the anatomical advantage of cis-gendered male racers who can avoid the unending queues to the porta potties. So, this is a celebration of our deeply beloved but not forgotten in-person races.

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Announcing We-TRAC – the Wearable Technology Citizen Science Program

by Dr. Reed Ferber, Ph.D. CAT(C)

The Wearable Technology Citizen Science program is a unique opportunity to share your wearable device data with researchers. Our main goal is to use your data, and the data of your fellow citizen scientists, to help improve your health and your community.  If you track your running mileage and program using a Fitbit or Garmin device, you can become a Citizen Scientist by visiting https://wetrac.ucalgary.ca/ and signing up.

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Camino de Santiago

by Ivana Baldelli

After years of marathon running, I was ready for a change. In 2019, I found the challenge I was looking for: to walk a “camino” in Europe, where there is a highly established network of ancient pilgrim routes. The backbone of the network is the French Camino, or Camino Francés. Historians write that this route was originally walked by St. James the Apostle, and thus it is often referred to as The Way of St. James. The “finish line” is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain.

This walking adventure felt like a natural progression after middle-age marathons, Running Room programs and fitness centres. Come September, I was not going to be a tourist on vacation—I was going to be a pilgrim on the Camino Francés.

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Iceland’s Church Run

by Rebecca Maybury

As most readers will understand, runners have a slightly warped definition of the word “vacation.” This is precisely how I found myself awake hours before dawn on Boxing Day during a recent family holiday, about to embark on a 14.5 kilometre run around Reykjavik, Iceland.

In the spirit of inclusion, I had invited the entire family to join me, but only one showed even the slightest enthusiasm. As the rest slept off the overindulgences of the previous few days, my cousin Matthew and I zipped across the frozen Icelandic tundra in our rental car. Destination: Seltjarnarneskirkja, a church sitting atop a hill on the outskirts of the capital.

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Active Minutes

by Don Zabloski

While attending weekly toddler Sportball sessions with my son and young granddaughter, I have witnessed the positive relationship between age-appropriate exercise and an overall sense of well-being. As parents follow, direct and guide their children around the gym to attempt various physical literacy challenges, they are experiencing positive mood swings evident in their bright and happy facial expressions. Not to be outmatched, the children openly demonstrate their joy for chasing balls, spinning hula hoops and manipulating bean bags at their personal pace. Spirits have also been lifted for those of us on the sidelines, in the roles of enthusiastic cheerleaders and picture takers.

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Nutrition During Sport: Amping Up Performance

by Lisa Podlecki, RD, Diploma Sport Nutrition IOC

While plenty of attention is typically paid to pre- and post-workout nutrition, what you eat during a workout or race can also have an impact on your performance. For example, have you ever felt faint, light-headed or dizzy during a workout? Have you been unable to focus or concentrate? Do you find that your pace decreases during the second half of a race? Have you experienced a sudden loss of energy or “hitting the wall?” If any of these symptoms resonate with you, or you want to take your performance to the next level, consider trying the strategies below. Continue reading “Nutrition During Sport: Amping Up Performance”

How do seeds benefit the runner?

by Tara Postnikoff

Don’t be fooled by seeds’ small size—they can pack a big nutritional punch. Like nuts, seeds contain a mixture of healthy fats including monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals that offer potential health benefits. Seeds are a source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and their high fat content can help increase satiety.

It’s a mistake to overlook seeds as part of a healthy diet, especially for runners. Seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the body and must be obtained from food. Two powerful components of Omega-3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA is known to have anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties, and is thought to assist in joint lubrication and shock absorption. DHA is good for the brain as it improves blood flow during mental tasks, in addition to promoting cardiovascular health and muscle recovery. Read on to see what you think of these super seeds.

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Arm Injuries in Runners

by Dr. Richard Beauchamp, M.D., FRCSC

Among runners and walkers, arm injuries are much less common than leg injuries. Even so, an injury to the arm or shoulder can be debilitating—anyone who has experienced the pain of inflammation around the shoulder knows what I mean. An athlete can cope with a leg injury by limping, using crutches, elevating, sitting, or lying down. In contrast, it is very difficult to “rest” an arm joint such as the shoulder or elbow. Even standing and sitting can require the arm musculature to contract, often resulting in pain. You just can’t “get away” from arm pain quite as easily.

Since runners pound the pavement so hard and so repetitively, it is a natural assumption that injuries would be confined to their legs. Runners’ legs have to contend with an inordinate amount of force—up to three or four times their body weight. These forces have to be absorbed by the body, thus injuries can occur in the legs, as well as up the skeletal structure to the back, neck and arms. Continue reading “Arm Injuries in Runners”