Fitness Swellness: Introducing my Run for Women teammates

May 25, 2015

Simone, Anya and me

When Shoppers Drug Mart asked me to take part in the Run for Women, they asked me to round up two friends to also join me. You know the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Well, think of this as the sisterhood of the traveling running shoes (except we each have our own shoes…or how else would we all race at the same time, haha!)

At the Running Room with our new Brooks Running shoes for the Run for Women

I asked two amazing girls, Anya Georgijevic and Simone Olivero, to join me and they said yes! We met up at the Running Room several weeks ago and had our gait analyzed and got set up with Brooks Running shoes for the race. You should never try anything new on race day so we needed to get our shoes in advance to make sure they’re comfortable. While we’ve been training separately (busy schedules and living in different hoods makes it hard to get together to train), we’re excited to race together this Sunday, May 31st in Oakville. Have you registered yet? Online registration closes on May 26th so don’t miss out!

Anya, me and Simone

Since you know a bit about my running history and why this race is important to me, I wanted to share a bit about my awesome teammates, too:

I’ve known Anya Georgijevic (that’s her on the left in the grey sweatshirt) for about three years now through the industry (and we first met in real life over dinner in Vancouver when I was out west to run the Vancouver Marathon in 2013). She’s since moved to Toronto (yay for me!)  and we now regularly hang out and go for dinner or drinks and work out together weekly at the Nike Training Club classes and we’ve also traveled together (last fall, in Chicago, she was the best support, helping keep me calm as I prepared to run the Chicago marathon). Anya’s a freelance writer (you may know her work from Flare, the Globe and Mail and Nuvo Magazine, to name just a few), and she also keeps her loyal readers up to date on fashion and beauty on her site anyageorgijevic.com.

What’s your running history?

I’m not a serious runner. I ran a Seattle 1/2 Marathon in 2012 as an excuse to travel. I prefer doing charity runs. My favourites so far have been the Vancouver Salmon 14k Run and Granville Island 10k Turkey Trot.

The race is for women’s mental health, does that hold any personal meaning for you?

Most of the women in my family have been diagnosed with a mental illness, including myself. It’s a cause that’s very close to my heart and I’m grateful for the variety of treatments offered to my generation.

Do you have any specific goals for the Run for Women race on May 31st?

To finish and stay positive.

How has running improved your well being?

Running helped me quit a decade-long smoking habit. No other exercise keeps your lungs and heart in check like running does.

Now, Simone Olivero (she’s on the right in the black hoodie) and I met at a beauty event in Toronto, but we also go to Nike Training Club classes together on Thursday mornings (the same one Anya and I go to!). She, too, is a freelance writer, and you may know her byline from publications such as Toronto Life, Glow, the Toronto Star and many online publications as well.

What’s your running “history”?

I started running out of the blue six years ago with my first race being the Island Girl 10k on Toronto Island–I heard they were giving out free makeup! A couple months later, I ran a half-marathon with very little training, which was a humbling experience. I spent the next year preparing for my next half with slightly better results, but then a surgery in 2011 gave me an excuse to pack away my shoes for a couple years.

I have always trained for my races alone but this November I decided to change things up and started running with the Parkdale Roadrunners twice a week. I also run with the Nike Running Club, which means I spend a lot of time decked out in running gear.

The race is for women’s mental health, does that hold any personal meaning for you?

I’ve lived a block away from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for almost 15 years and have witnessed too many times the stigma surrounding mental health. Mental illness affects more people than we realize and yet many of us are still afraid to talk about it. I hope races like this will help promote continued education and awareness.

Any particular goals for this Run for Women race on the 31st?

I think there’s always a desire to beat your last race time but I honestly just want to have fun running alongside you and Anya. I’ve also never run in Oakville so I’m excited to explore. Hopefully it’s a nice and sunny day :)

How has running improved your well being?

Physically, I can’t believe how much running has transformed my body. My legs are leaner, I feel stronger and every so often I can spot abs in the mirror! But mostly I run for the adrenaline rush. Even when it was -30 this winter and the last thing I wanted to do was lace up, I found myself getting hooked on the incredible feeling of accomplishment I got afterwards. It also helped being in really good company—shout out to the PDRR ladies!

And there you have it, my two awesome teammates for the Oakville Run for Women 10k (follow them on Instagram (@anyageo and @simoneolivero) as we ramp up for the race this Sunday! We can’t wait for the 31st—see you there! Oh, you haven’t registered yet? Hurry, registration closes Tuesday, May 26th!

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