Tag: 5k

Fitness Swellness: Reaching Volt Level on Nike Run Club app


I never knew attending the media launch of NikePlus in Toronto in the spring of 2007 would turn me into a runner who just last month logged 15,000 kilometres on the NRC app to reach Volt Level.

I couldn’t have predicted it. I hated running in gym class in school. I remember walking with a stitch in my side as I walked the perimetre of the schoolyard and hating my life at that moment.

I got to learn a little bit about running just before the NikePlus system launched here; my sister had gotten into running, and at the time I just didn’t understand the sport at all. I didn’t know a marathon was by definition 42.2k (I thought any run was a marathon and would call a 10k race a marathon, hahaha), and when I went to cheer her at her races, I didn’t understand how she’d been running for several hours, nor how we were able to predict where to find her along the route.

But I went to the NikePlus launch in 2007 and given I’d just started covering health for Flare magazine, I soon after registered for a Learn to Run clinic at the Running Room so I could put this system to use (back then the system involved putting the little sensor into the sole of your shoe, remember?!).

From there, I went onto the 5k clinic, 10k clinic and half-marathon. I stuck to the half distance for a little while since my time was quite slow, and I found myself struggling. Then I discovered I had a Graves Disease (that is, an overactive thyroid autoimmune disorder), which was why I would get so tired running (I’ll never forget my endocrinologist’s look of shock when I asked about running halfs and his direct order to not run long distances since it causes your muscles to tire quickly meant that I had to take a break for longer distances for a bit). A difficult breakup caused me to take another break, and then finally with my thyroid issues sorted out, and a halfhearted desire to get my life back on track, I joined a clinic again with a friend. It helped pull me out of depression, and I went on to register for marathon clinic, and I ran my first marathon in 2012, and finished with a time I was thrilled about for my first marathon.

Over the following eight years til now, I ran several other marathons (including Chicago for my third time in this race which I ran with a horrible cold) and halfs (my most recent and most memorable being the Dead Sea Half-Marathon), and a few 30ks (namely Around the Bay, which I last ran in 2014). Which brings us to 2020…

I’ve never been a runner who does a high volume, but with the pandemic, and no races in the calendar thanks to the pandemic, I decided to make simply logging distance a goal, so for April, I aimed to run 200k. Done and done.

And then at the end of April, when I needed another goal to keep me going, I came across the Great Virtual Run Across Tennessee 1000k and realized that if I registered, I would reach Volt Level and cross the GVRAT finish line at the same time. And if I could run 200k, certainly I could do 250k for the next four months, right?

I quickly realized my finish lines for Volt and GVRAT would not coincide since the virtual race is based on Lazarus Lake miles (and because the actual distance across Tennessee is actually 1021.68k) but no biggie, they’d just be a day or two apart. I registered for GVRAT…and within a week became intent on finishing the race as quickly as my body would allow without getting injured. Full breakdown of my GVRAT obsession in this post here!

00100trPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200628094044826_COVER (2) (1)


And less than two months into this virtual race, on a very hot and humid Sunday morning, June 28th, I reached Volt Level on NRC! 15,000 kilometres run. Given the number of runs not counted on NRC for a variety of reasons, I know IRL I reached this distance a little while go but I try not to focus on that missing data (but anyone who tracks their runs and for whom it’s a big motivating factor knows how it can make the run not seem like it even happened, hahaha). It took 13 years, and an intense 1021.68k race during a pandemic to get me to reach this level now (without GVRAT, I would’ve reached Volt sometime later this year).


In terms of the NRC app, I have to say reaching Volt status was a little underwhelming in terms of the app. I expected something celebatory on the app. But the only difference is the screen now is the signature Volt yellow. It doesn’t even appear under the Achievements tab. But that’s OK, I have my own run celebration in store for this (hello, burger picnic with my running pal who’s also doing the GVRAT!). Oh, and I’ll happily be returning to using the NRC app on my Apple Watch rather than my phone (I had to switch for a few months as I didn’t have an iPhone to sync with my watch).

Although I find much of the personal motivation from the numbers (my pace, the kilometres I’ve completed, etc., etc.), the sport is about so much more than just the numbers, though. Running has brought so much to my life and changed me as a person. I’ve made good friends though the sport, had the opportunity to run in some incredible places around the world (Istanbul! The Dead Sea! Philly! Vancouver! To name just few.), and it’s pulled me out of low times in my lif, which I wrote about for Flare in 2012. The lessons in strength and resilience it’s taught me are immeasurable. On the days I dread having to run (because, believe it or not, I don’t consider myself someone who loves running, it’s very obvious to me when I talk to runners who are truly passionate about the actual act of running), I remind myself of all of the things running does do to enrich my life in incredible ways to get me to slog through sweaty, endless runs.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank you to Nike Canada for all of the support and gear and running opportunities through these 13 years, and the gear and events from other brands as well such as Apple, Reebok, Saucony, New Balance, Gatorade, Saucony and iRun magazine. (My apologies for brands I’ve overlooked, I think I’m still weary from my 1000k race!).

15,000k complete, and so many kilometres to go. There is no finish line.

Leave a Comment July 13, 2020

Fitness Swelless: 5 reasons you should light up the night and do the Ultra Night Run

Michelob 4

The best part about running is completing a race—for me, anyhow. It’s a huge sense of accomplishment, after all of that training, to cross the finish line. Throw in some post-race festivities and that’s a winning combination. Which is just one reason why you should also do the Ultra Night Run.

Let’s get into why this is the race you should add to your fall goals:

  1. It’s the first year of the Ultra Night Run so you can forever brag about how you took part in the inaugural one. The race is happening in six cities across Canada including Toronto (where I’ll be taking part on September 8th), Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal. Find out about each city’s race here.
  2. There’s a 5k and a 10k distance. So you’ve got options. Maybe one of those is your preferred race distance, or maybe you’re new to running and want to stick to a 5k distance to get your feet wet.
  3. It’s a night run. These are more rare and hey, you don’t have to get up at 4 or 5 a.m. like you do for most races. The temperature will cool for the evening, and running at night is a different experience. Every runner will get an Energizer LED headlight you must wear for safety (but that’ll add to the fun of racing the course in the dark).
  4. It’s a chip-timed race. OK, now I know this race will definitely be more on the fun side rather than nail-a-PB type of race, but if you’ve got a personally competitive streak like I do, you know how important a race being chipped is!
  5. Did I mention the post-race celebration? After the race, you’ll get an ice-cold Michelob Ultra to toast with the other runners, along with some food and music. Picture a beautiful early fall evening, you’ve all got a runner’s high from the race you just completed and you have a refreshing beer in hand. Maybe getting to that party will push you to run even faster? Sounds like a pretty perfect way to party after a great workout (Bonus: Ultra is only 90 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs!). That’s what #liveultra is all about.


I’ll be there, headlight on and ready to light up the night. See you at the start line!

To register (all runners must be legal drinking age, btw) or for more info, visit Ultra Night Run. Don’t wait too long to register, though, as the number of participants is capped in each city!



6 Comments August 8, 2018

Fitness Swellness: How to make running a habit


I’m so excited this year to be partnering with the Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, a fun race that takes place in a few cities across the country. The theme of the race is such an important one: “It’s up to us!” It’s all about how it is up to all of us to encourage, support and communicate with each other to make sure we are taken care of. The run’s goal is to support women’s mental health programs in the race cities. Women are three times more likely to suffer from depression than men.

I personally feel strongly about the cause, and love that it’s a running event. Research has shown that running can be as effective as medication at helping to deal with anxiety and depression; in fact, I wrote a feature for Flare magazine a few years ago about that topic, about how training for a half-marathon helped pull me out of a rough time in my life.

With the Run for Women dates fast approaching, and you’re keen to participate (I hear it’s a super fun race, you can walk if you prefer, and there’s a choice of 5k or 10k, plus there’s a total fun sisterhood vibe, too!), you might be wanting to get a bit of regular training in before the run. (And even if you can’t take part in the Run for Women, developing a running habit is good for your heart health and, as mentioned, stress relief and mental wellbeing!) Well, here are a few ways I make sure to run at least three times a week:

Find a running buddy or join a run group. I mostly train with my friend Shawna now, but for many years, I would join the Running Room for their group runs. You can also check social media for running crews in your neighbourhood. Although there is something to be said for running alone (you can decompress and zone out, for example), I think when you’re starting out running, and trying to make it a regular habit, ensuring you’re meeting up with someone will help keep you accountable.

Reward yourself. Make sure to treat yourself throughout your training and when you complete a race. After a month of training, get that cute running top you’ve been coveting. After completing your race, book a treatment at your favourite spa.

Develop cues to get you to run. For example, I work from home, so I’ll put on my running gear in the morning if I plan to run later that day. There’ve been times I’ve been tempted to skip a workout, but I’ve just felt too guilty to change out of the running gear without having run. For you, you might find that having an alert in your calendar (or on your running watch) remind you that it’s time to go for a run will work, or that changing into your gear as soon as you get home and heading straight back out to run is the best way to ensure you don’t get pulled away into doing something else instead of fitting in your workout.

Register for a race. I’m fairly disciplined with my training now, but I know I’d slack off if I didn’t have a race I’d paid registration for in my calendar. Not training and going to do a race could cause you to injure yourself, not to mention make the run pretty brutal to endure. Train regularly and you won’t be completely out of breath and in pain as you work your way through the course! Need a race? May I suggest the Run for Women?

I’ll be participating in the Run for Women in Oakville on May 31st. That’s just six weeks away! There are 12 races around the country that you can take part in, some are this month. I hope you’ll consider taking part in one of the races — even better, gather your daughters, sisters, friends and make a gal pal day out of it (that’s what I’m doing!). Oh, there’s also a 1K race for girls under 12 if you’ve got some young runners amongst your group! What could be a more positive and impactful way to spend a beautiful morning than with women important to you in the name of women’s mental health?

Hope to see you at the finish line in Oakville or to hear about your day at other Run for Women races on social media (I’m @healthandswellness on Instagram and @healthswellness on Twitter, and I’ll be sharing updates on my training and from the race day!)!

Any questions? Ask away (running or Run for Women-related) and I’ll do my best to answer them)!

Leave a Comment April 20, 2015

Previous page

Recent Posts


Recent Comments