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I’ve been under the weather with a nasty cold-flu-like bug for a week so this is a bit late in coming.  Here is what has been going on with my heart…

My Healthy Heart

Friday April 11th finally arrived. A mere two weeks after my heart procedure I sat in the office of the cardiology lab anxiously awaiting a consult with my cardiologist. While I had tests and had been in the hospital, Dr. J. and I actually hadn’t seen each other since August. There was a lump in my throat and I was feeling very stressed about the whole thing, yet I desperately wanted answers. I reminded myself that I could handle any news, good or bad, and took a deep breath.

The nurse came out and escorted me to the back so that she could check my vitals, weight, abdominal measurement, and run an EKG. Shortly after, I went to the consult room and Dr. J. joined me. He asked me how I felt about my family genetics catching up with me. I half-joked and said, “I wish I could punch my family genetics in the nose!”

A tear rolled down my cheek and I braced myself for the worst.  Dr. J. looked at me and said. “Your heart is strong and healthy. The two overlapping stents you’ve got are not going to be an issue. Given the condition of your heart from the running and cycling you could have ten stents and it would still be better than a single stent in a damaged heart. The valve issues are mild at this point and nothing should deter you from being active. In fact, I’d would like to have you back to running by the end of the month but first I’d like to do a myocardial perfusion so we know where you are at with blood flow. Oh and you can take that nitroglycerin patch off. You don’t need it.” He also decided against sending me for Cardiac Rehab because I had already walked more than 42K since being released from the hospital.

The word “shock” just doesn’t encompass the surprise I felt when I heard him say that I would be running again in mere weeks. I looked at him, somewhat puzzled, and said “I should probably rethink running the marathon in the Fall. Right?” His reply was, “if you want to run a marathon there is no reason that you can’t fulfill that dream. Which race?” So I told him about the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and about my recent social media role with Canada Running Series for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K.

Speaking of which…

The Un-Race Report

a little warm-up run

a little warm-up run

Fast forward to Sunday April 13th. I don’t think I have ever been as excited about a race I wasn’t able to run. I made so many great running connections during my time as Digital Champion and I had decided that no matter what Friday’s outcome was with my heart, I was going to be there Sunday to cheer everyone on. My fellow Digital Champions had been an amazing support during all the health issues and I wanted to show them that I appreciated that.

We awoke uber-early on Sunday morning. Our friend Carla met us at the house, with coffee in hand, we strapped Kaia into her car seat and off we went. The horrible forecast had changed for the better and it looked like it would be a dry but windy race. The drive was pretty uneventful and parking was plentiful near the start line because we were a bit early.

A few days before I had exchanged messages with Krista Duchene and we were able to meet briefly before the race. I also met Robbie Watson. They were doing an East-West challenge so I wished them both a great race. It was great to meet both of them.  One day I will have to share a funny story about my first encounter with Krista about a year and a half ago. Meanwhile, Kaia and Bryan were running around near the start. This was going to be her last race in the stroller and she was raring to go. I’ve never seen a little girl so charged up about running as Kaia is and it isn’t every day I can let my child play in the middle of Yonge Street.

The Justice League

The Justice League

I waited at the start line and took photos of runners leaving the gate. I was using my Android and there was a glare on the screen so some of the shots were rather accidental. I did get a shot of The Justice League taking off which was great. I screamed loud encouragements to other friends as they started. I won’t sugar coat it, this was very hard for me. When I heard the gun go off and the announcer building up the excitement, I had to hold back a few tears. It was emotional for me on many levels but knowing that running is still possible for me, kept it from being anything more than damp lashes.

Then, after the last competitor was out of the gate, my friend Sheryl and I headed to the finish line. That didn’t exactly go as planned and her husband Ric had already finished by the time we got there. Oops. In hindsight we should have headed to the finish much earlier. We found a good spot and waited for Bryan, Carla, and Kaia. Sheryl and Ric drove Bryan back to our Jeep while Carla, Kaia, and I hung out at the awards ceremony. I met up with Andrew Chak, Jodi Lewchuck, and Mahnaz. Hugs all around. Then later I met Batman aka JP Hernandez and Spiderman aka Mark Sawh. Oh… and I met Alan Brookes as well. Can’t forget Alan! Everyone had hugs and it felt really great being there. I forgot how much I missed that beloved sense of community among runners.

It was a great day for a race. Rest assured that I WILL be crossing the Toronto Yonge Street 10K finish line next year. Maybe even as a Digital Champion! What do you think Mr. Brookes?

is it Friday yet?

Never have I wanted a Friday to come as badly as I want it to this week. I tend to savor every day but on this particular Friday I will go to see my cardiologist, Dr. J. What I want to hear him say, more than anything, is “sure you can slowly ease back into running”.

Last week I managed to walk for almost 25K on the treadmill. I wasn’t really given a plan or any direction other than to simply walk as much as I felt comfortable doing. I should be happy with the fact that I walked as much as I did. So many people can’t. I should be grateful considering I am recovering from a percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). It is a good sign of how well  my recovery is progressing to being doing this amount so soon after the procedure.

Yet, I wallow.

Perhaps it is the rainy weather that has put a damper on my mood this morning or maybe this is just my way of working through the emotion of what I’ve just been through—a post-traumatic sort of thing. Whatever it is, it is a dark place where I am not used to dwelling.

I want to snuggle under my down duvet and hide from the world.

But, what I really want is to run and to cycle.

I want my active life back.

It seems so ironic because there was a time where I wanted to lay down on the sofa and not do anything but eat and watch television. Funny how it started all those years ago as a mere desire to lose weight yet progressed to be so much more. I never thought I would feel so frustrated or restless. I’ve touched on this in the past but today that change seems so profound to me.

Wallowing.

It’s not something I do.

I believe in picking myself up and dusting myself off.

Forward momentum.

Today I am struggling with that. I’m frustrated. I’m sad. And, I’m fearful.

My other feeling is one of anticipation. I see the cardiologist on Friday. No matter what the outcome is, I will be somewhat relieved, because what I really want/need is direction, guidance, and an idea of where to go from here. A plan of action. I’m scared but I also feel that knowing the full picture will enable me to deal with these health issues as I always do—head on.

I thought about hiding my feelings and not sharing this because it doesn’t put out my usual message of positivity but I also felt that it is important to share that I have my ups and downs too. Despite my generally happy and positive outlook on life, I am not immune to being in a funk and…

like the rain, this won’t last for long.

breathe

breathe

It has been very quiet on my blog for a while and with good reason. Everything has changed for me and running is on hiatus for the time being.

In early February my training took me to 12K. I had a decent run on the weekend of February 8th. I went out a little too fast for the 12K but I felt good. The next day I went snowshoeing with Carla. It was a gentle 5K or so through the woods. Later in the week I did one of my fastest speed work sessions. I felt strong and well. I was on top of my game. Then it all went to hell.

The next weekend I attempted another 12K and at the 2K mark I was having trouble. I was white as a sheet, I had a warmth on the back of my shoulders, and I felt like I was going to toss my cookies. My lungs felt like they couldn’t get air yet I wasn’t gasping. It was almost as if something heavy was sitting on my chest. Bryan pleaded with me to go home and I agreed. At first I thought I was getting the flu. I took some ASA and had a nap. I continued to do yoga as well as my little speed work and hill training sessions during the following weeks but every weekend when I attempted my long run the same thing would happen.

My first thoughts were a combination of anxiety and anaemia. I worked through those issues and then I thought that perhaps it was something environmental at the indoor track. It didn’t seem to be happening at home. Eventually it got to the point where any exertion was giving me the symptoms and I started to have a very dull ache in the jaw. I did the thing you should never do… consulted Dr. Google. After reading an article entitled Elite Marathoner Runs After a Heart Attack, I thought it prudent to get checked out. Of course, I am not an elite but her symptoms sounded a little like mine.

I immediately called my cardiologist’s office and went in for a stress test. I was pulled shortly after 6 minutes. I didn’t even get up to a run. I was devastated. A few days later I got that news that Dr. J. wanted to investigate further and that I was not to exert myself in any way whatsoever. I knew at that moment that my plans to run the Toronto Yonge Street 10K and every other Spring race I had planned were squashed. This included my half marathon and Sulphur Springs 25K. This time off from training meant I couldn’t get the distance in. My intuition since that aborted 12K in February was that something was seriously wrong and I was right.

A week ago, on the evening of March 23rd, I was rushed to the emergency room. I had lifted my daughter Kaia up to comfort her after she fell. I was rocking her. At that moment I almost collapsed. When I got to triage at Brantford General Hospital I was taken in immediately. I was so frightened and worried that I would never see my children again. I had forgotten to kiss Kaia goodbye and Tobias looked so scared when I left the house. My jaw was hurting and the warmth on my shoulders and arm was incredible. Once again it was like someone snatched away all my air. I had never felt so awful.

Over the next 22 hours I was stabilized enough to be admitted to the cardiac floor. The good news was that I didn’t have a heart attack and we know this because my Troponin I level was not indicative of that. However, there is uncertainty about what happened the day I tried to run the 12K and had to stop and there really is no way to tell for sure.  After examining me and chatting the doctor suspected that I had a blockage so he ordered a series of tests, blood thinner injections, and other medications to reduce my symptoms. A few days later I was transported to Hamilton General Hospital to undergo further investigation. During the angiogram it was discovered that I had more than 70% blockage in a branch off the left circumflex artery. This little artery loops around and mine is apparently abnormally tiny and curvy. It was determined that I needed a Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) which they did on the spot via my right wrist. I had a significant allergic reaction to the dye which was a little unsettling but other than that the procedure went well. The doctor had to use two stents to get around the bend and deal with the full length of the blockage. I was transported back to Brantford and released on Friday.

What frightens me is what a close call this was.  Dr. T., who performed the procedure said that I likely had the beginnings of this blockage for a considerable time maybe even years and that it wouldn’t have been easily seen, if at all, on any of the other tests that were performed back when I requested to have my heart checked in 2012.  Dr. T. said it was even difficult for him to see and that he had to look at it from several angles to be sure. I shared with him how frustrated I was that all of this healthy lifestyle was for naught. I was in a really negative place and disappointed because I had worked so hard to prevent this. He reminded me that this lifestyle is what saved me from a major coronary event and possibly a very grim outcome. He is right, of course.

The other side of this is that running has helped me become in-tune with my body. I don’t think I would have realized there was anything wrong if I was sedentary. Plus running improved my cardiovascular health and has made me stronger so that I will recover more easily from this. Normally PTCA patients are put on a beta blocker but running has reduced my heart rate enough that I don’t need to take it. I will have to take a blood thinner for about a year though.  I also need to move… a lot. One would think that I would need bed rest after such a procedure but the opposite is true. I need to walk as much and as far as I can because the risk of blood clots is great. I managed to walk around about three hours after the PTCA was performed. I was exhausted and sore so I didn’t go much further than a dozen laps around the unit. On Friday I walked around the hospital and then yesterday I hit the treadmill. Yesterday was just under 1.5K. While it doesn’t seem like much, after close to a week in a hospital with what has transpired, it feels monumental. Today I’ve already done a 20-minute walk and I will do two more. I’m faster and can go further than I could yesterday. It’s a start.

There are risks for me as diabetic with heart issues when it comes to being physically active however there is greater risk if I just sit on my posterior.  Dr. T. agreed and said that he didn’t see any reason that I would not be able to return to running and cycling as long as I stay on the path I’ve been on the past few years when it comes to lifestyle choices. Each day I feel a little stronger and in a few weeks I will see my cardiologist, Dr. J. and, hopefully, I will be told what steps need to be taken so I can start running again.

Carrie Woodard, the elite from the article I mentioned earlier, deserves a great deal of credit. It’s not easy putting your story out there and in her doing so she helped me tremendously. Not only did it make me think twice about writing this off as fatigue or anxiety, her story gave me hope about being able to return to an active lifestyle. Maybe some day she will read this and know the difference she has made.

 

 

 

a cherished friend

I want to share something with you this morning… the story of one of the truest and most meaningful friendships I have ever had.

If I had a time machine I would take you back to 1990. I was just coming out of a very abusive relationship. I was in university and I needed employment desperately. There was an advertisement in the local paper for a management position at a local brass bed and décor shop. This would be a short-term position while the manager was off for sick leave. I applied and was hired.

Enter Sandi. She was the manager who I would be filling in for. I was in my very early twenties and I was told she was in her thirties. She wasn’t. That always makes me smile because we are close to the same age, I was just really gullible back in the day. Sandi went off on leave and when she returned I was kept on as a salesperson. It was a crappy job but I had an apartment and tuition to pay for. Sandi and I started to do things outside of work.

Sandi was different than any of the friends I had ever had before. She was a little lot wilder and had this fun way of just embracing life. I was extremely shy and for the most part, a goody two shoes. I also embarrassed easily. One day I came into work late. I had been having an awful time dealing with the police charging my ex for assaulting me and whatnot. The mall where the store was had fines if you didn’t open shop on time. Great. Just add that to an already wonderful week. I came in and flipped on the power and at that moment I almost peed my pants. You see, Sandi had rigged the cassette player to come on full blast playing I Feel Good by James Brown. Once my heart rate returned to normal I had a really great laugh—you know the kind of laugh that brings you to uncontrollable tears. Best. Medicine. Ever. In some ways this epitomizes how her friendship makes me feel.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t always been rosy between us and there were times where we both felt the need to get some space for whatever reason. We always found our way back and our friendship has grown beyond that. Even though we had times where we drifted we always managed to be there for one another when chips were down. Sandi, and her husband Phil were there for us when our home burned to the ground in the spring of 2001… without hesitation. They took us in for pretty much the remainder of that year and it wasn’t easy for them. Imagine two couples, two big dogs and three cats in a two-bedroom town-house. It was nuts. In 2013 they were dealing with the biggest battle of their lives when their son Tyrel needed a kidney transplant. It was our turn to be there for them in whatever way we could be.

I think I can safely say that both Sandi and I are looking forward to some more quiet moments in our friendship. Now that it has been six months since Tyrel got his new kidney we are doing some other things. Sandi started running recently because she wants to participate in the Waterloo Transplant Trot as a way of giving back. I will be there right by her side every step of the way because I know this cause means the world to her. She’s training hard and to say she inspires me would be an understatement. Our sons, Tyrel and Tobias, are going to hangout and walk the course together too. It will be such a fun day with so many of our friends coming out to lend support. It will be great reuniting with people that I haven’t seen in quite a few years.

Sandi possesses everything I cherish in a friend. She has a huge heart and she knows how to be honest while kind at the same time. She’s loyal but will stand her ground if she needs to. She has this way of making me crack a smile even in the worst of situations and she always has my back. Sandi is the friend that will tell me I look absolutely horrendous if I try on something that does not suit me. We’ve laughed together and cried together . We’ve also shared some pretty deep, dark secrets and have enough dirt on each other to grow quite the garden… lol.

24 years. It seems like just yesterday I was standing next to the electrical panel in the back room of the décor store laughing hysterically at her little prank. That was the start of something really special.

The other day I was chatting with a friend and we were discussing what our goals are. We chatted about the races we’ve chosen for 2014 and what motivates us. She and I have been on somewhat parallel journeys so it was great to talk with someone who gets the struggles I deal with.  And… we talked about the setbacks we have both experienced lately. Our conversation made me sit back and take pause. That’s not always a bad thing and I feel that it is good to re-evaluate my goals from time to time so I don’t lose sight of the bigger picture—a healthy life.

Setbacks happen and it is very important that I don’t beat myself up about a few steps backwards. It happens to all of us at one time or another. On November 9th, 2013, as many of you know, I broke two of the toes on my left foot when I accidentally kicked a dumbbell that was sitting against the big oak desk in my office. This meant that running, and pretty much any other exercise that involved my toes, came to a screeching halt. This time off from running hit me like a ton of bricks and I took it really hard. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t exercise or that I was concerned about diabetes. You see, I use running as my way of thinking things through and dealing with the negatives in my life. 2013 started with the death of my Mom and the time off finally forced me to work through some of the grief. I gained a little weight and started to self-deprecate. I had worked so hard. I was within 15 lbs of my goal and then I lost momentum. How could I let this happen? I could make all sorts of excuses but the bottom line is that I just gave up caring about myself because I was wallowing. The good thing is that it was a short-lived hiccup and I am back on track.

My motivation for running hasn’t changed very much. It’s still about having fun while working on fitness and enjoying activities that we can do as a family. Running is my insulin and my way to keep ill effects of living with diabetes at bay. It’s also a social outlet for me which caught me somewhat by surprise. I have met so many wonderful runners who encourage and inspire. This is something I try to pay forward. Being a Digital Champion for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K is just one way I am doing that. Giving back in other ways is important to me as well and I love fundraising for a good cause.

I also thought about the commitment and drive to improve. I like to dream big and sometimes I will chose a distance and think that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. That was certainly how it felt when I started training for my first half. During that time I discovered something… training isn’t a chore to me but rather something I embrace. I enjoy the process immensely—I love a long run on a Saturday morning and the way it makes me feel. It also makes me happy to see how I progress week after week and month after month. Being off with the broken toes reinforced how much I missed being in training for a long distance event. Every long run last winter and spring was a new milestone and on those runs I was able to gain clarity or perspective about things other than running. Accomplishing those goals gave me courage to make some wonderful changes in my life. My feelings about being a distance runner remain the same… I enjoy the process and it helps me grow as a runner and as a person. It’s a win win for me.

This year I plan to tackle the full marathon. It scares me because being diabetic adds some other challenges especially when it comes to things like fuelling, hypoglycaemia, and foot injuries. This adventure brings a good kind of fear too. It’s the kind of apprehension that gives me the butterflies but makes me feel really alive. This distance will be a huge challenge for me and the fact I am even going to try is very exciting. Training will be tough and time consuming but there is something about it that simply calls to me. I have an amazing circle of support and hold onto the belief that I can realize my dream of crossing the finish line after running 42.2K. I may not be speedy but I have spirit and I will cross a finish line in the footsteps of so many people that have inspired me to try.

Today Bell Canada is hosting Let’s Talk and it is described as “a wide-reaching, multi-year program designed to break the silence around mental illness and support mental health all across Canada.

So let’s talk…

My foray into mental illness started after our home burned to the ground in June 2001. We had been sleeping when the fire started and I woke up, for a reason I will never know, before the flames touched the second storey apartment we were living in. No one was hurt and for seven months we lived with some incredible people as we put our lives back together. When the house was rebuilt we moved back in. That’s when it all hit the fan.

The nightmares were incredible and seemed so real. I would wake my husband Bryan up and make him check the entire house. This happened several times a week. My landlady, who lived downstairs, would burn something on the stove and I would go into full-fledged panic mode. I’d run down the stairs and my heart would be beating so fast that it felt like it was going to leap right out of my chest. If someone had a fire in their fireplace or a campfire in the backyard, I would check all over the house to make sure it wasn’t our home. No more candles. No more incense. I would see a photo of a fire, even if it wasn’t one of our home, and I would start to smell the burning. Suddenly it would be hard to breath. I would sweat and feel like I was going to vomit. I was in a constant state of red- alert and the anxiety levels were high. We would come home from shopping and I would almost hold my breath as we came up the highway towards the house because I kept expecting to see it on fire again. I lost interest in hobbies, in friends, and life in general. I stayed up almost all night and half the time slept on the couch. My marriage was teetering on the edge and I was hiding from the world.

About a year and a half after the fire there was a day I felt so low that I just wanted to walk away from my life, in Christopher McCandless fashion, and never look back. I almost did. It was in that moment that I knew I had reached rock bottom and that I needed support. I talked with the one person who has always been my best friend, my husband. I started with acknowledging that I was not okay. Bryan helped me pick up my life and move forward in a very gentle way and thankfully it worked.

We walked and talked. We backpacked and went on long multi-day canoe trips. He listened whenever I needed him to. I decided to do some volunteer work and fundraising. I forced myself to get back into photography and started shooting weddings again. I made an effort to climb into bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. I started eating healthier. It helped tremendously and I was reconnecting with my life but I was still struggling. I surrounded myself with positive people. I clung to each moment of happiness like it would slip through my fingers. Finally I reached a point where joy was in the forefront and I started to feel whole again.

For a while I thought that what I was suffering with was a normal response to our lives being turned upside down but as time progressed I realized it was much deeper than that. In hindsight, I now know that I was likely dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something which I only thought happened to people who went to war.

I’m sharing my story today so that I can help break the stigmas surrounding mental illness… so that if you find yourself mired in the depths of something like depression or PTSD, that you know you are not alone.

There is a song that resonates with me although I am not sure the writer meant it in quite the way I interpret it.

Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars!
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It’s okay not to be okay…

Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart.
Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising,
Just be true to who you are!


This is my guest post as it appeared today on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (Canada Running Series) blog.

TORONTO. January 11th 2014. Digital Champion Laurie Ann March works hard to balance her hectic life with her love of running. She will tell you that she treats being active as a priority and with good reason. Laurie changed her lifestyle drastically in order to successfully lose 180 lbs. Laurie’s family has joined her on her running journey and she believes that being active is a great way to spend quality time together. Connect with Laurie on Twitter @innerpossible.

Running: A Family Affair
By Laurie Ann March

after the race

family & friends

When I made the decision that I was going to train and run my first 5K race I expected that I’d be doing this on my own. My husband Bryan and I bought a treadmill in late 2011 so I could work towards becoming a runner. What happened surprised me. Bryan, who for years insisted that runners never smile and running fun did not belong in the same conversation, announced that he would run the race as well. I almost fell off the treadmill in shock. What happened to “over my dead body” or “when hell freezes over”? Our eleven year old son, Tobias, voiced that he wanted to run the race too and the next thing I knew we were a family of runners. The whole family was outfitted with good quality footwear and training began. As the weather improved we purchased a running stroller for Kaia, our eighteen month old little girl, and started running outside.

You are probably wondering about the stroller—it has been a wonderful thing and Kaia loves to ride in it. The key, as we quickly learned, is to make sure she had a few toys, a snack, and something to drink. Making sure she is comfortably dressed for the conditions is important too. It is adorable to hear her cheering Bryan on. “Faster Daddy! Faster!” she often exclaims. After a run we take a detour to the park. This allows us some time to stretch while she has fun on the playground. One can’t put on running clothes in our house without her getting excited and she gets a little bit upset if one of us is merely going for a jaunt on the treadmill. Well, downright grumpy might be more accurate. If the weather is inclement we run at the indoor track and she loves that too. Bryan usually finishes a bit before I do so he releases Kaia from the stroller. She’s older now and runs just over one kilometre around the track. She loves it. She will be turning four in June so the stroller will be retired soon. When that time comes Bryan and I will have to take turns going on our runs or consider hiring a sitter. Of course, we’ll still take her out on her own little adventures.

There are many benefits to being a running family. It keeps us fit. It gets the kids outside and reduces their screen time. It creates an environment of support which spills over into other aspects of our lives. Running as a family is a wonderful way to combine training with spending time together. Bryan, Tobias, and I run at different paces so we usually do our warm-up together and then go off on our separate runs, then meeting at the end. Tobias will run with me from time-to-time but if there is a race coming up and he needs to push his limits he goes with his Dad. Bryan travels extensively with his career so it is a perfect time for them to have those guy to guy chats.

my little runner

my little runner

Last spring I trained for my first half marathon, Tobias wasn’t able to run as far as I was going so I set out on my own one Saturday morning. About 15K into my run I heard a familiar voice shout “Hi Mom” and there he was on his bicycle. He told me that he was amazed at how far I ran and that it took him awhile to catch up. Next thing I knew Bryan, who was recovering from a nasty chest cold, was there on his bike with Kaia in tow. This gave me just that little spark I needed to keep going. One summer day Bryan watched Kaia while Tobias and I hit the trails near our home. We decided to go without a pre-set plan and be spontaneously adventurous. There are some beautiful side trails that weave in and out along the Grand River so we would just turn at a whim and see where we end up. At one point we were forced to turn around because the brambles were so thick that it was becoming extremely difficult not to mention a little hard on the legs. We do this from time to time and those runs really bring out my inner child.

A favourite memory is from my first 10K event—a very hilly trail run that took place one night in October. I am diabetic and I had a serious blood sugar crash around the 5K mark. I almost walked off the course because I had taken too much time to deal with that and wasn’t feeling well at all. Emotionally this run was taking its toll. The water stations had been taken down and the paramedic was sweeping the course behind me but I was determined to finish even if I was dead last. Just then, Tobias ran up to me and said that we were going to cross the finish line together. He had received permission to get back on the course to run with me and had a medal around his neck. I knew there were no finishing medals for this race and he told me he won first place for his age group. I was so proud of him for doing his best and I would have been even if he hadn’t been given an award. He told me that he was proud of me too. I fought back the tears because I was extremely moved that he came out to run with me. It made my night and turned what was a rough experience for me into one I will always cherish. It was in that moment I realized how running has brought us closer as a family.

What we have discovered is that introducing the kids to running was much easier than I could have imagined. By making it a part of our lifestyle and keeping it fun, our children seem to have embraced running and it has truly become a family affair. So, whether you are a seasoned runner about to enter into parenthood or you are a new runner trying to figure out how to balance training with a busy family life, perhaps you can find some inspiration from our little running family.

Do you run as a family? How do you get your kids and partner to share in your love of running?

Connect with the Toronto Yonge Street 10K Digital Champions team here!

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