Tag: mental illness

Fitness Swellness: Run for Women Oakville race report

With Anya and Simone before the Run for Women

“It’s up to us!” is the motto of the Run for Women and there was a great sisterhood ambiance at the race eight days ago that made the day cheerful and full of hope despite the  rainy weather.

That Sunday’s grey skies and cool temperature (it was 8C but felt like 4C) was welcome, though, considering the Saturday was very warm and it would’ve been a very sticky, uncomfortable race with that heat. My fellow runners, Anya and Simone, trekked to Oakville reminding ourselves of this as we shivered in our running gear waiting for the race to start. I started my 10k race at 10 am. and Anya and Simone ended up switching to the 5k race (both weren’t feeling 100 percent) and they started at 10:15 (which meant they would finish before me). I didn’t anticipate it being a great race for me; having been in Squamish just a few days earlier, my legs had been sore for days after a 3.5 hour hike of the Chief and I was still tired from my traveling.

So I ran at about 75 percent capacity (which I describe as feel slightly painful but not extremely painful and out of breath), and even at this somewhat comfortable pace, I could tell that I was towards the front of the pack. I didn’t realize I hadn’t started my Nike+ app when I started the race so it wasn’t telling me an accurate pace, but I could tell I wasn’t going at my strongest, but I knew that going in (given how I was still tired from my hike, and generally tired and worn out since the Goodlife Toronto Marathon) and I’d accepted it was not going to be a PB.

The race was on a gravelly road, which was a bit muddy and wet in spots, and the 10k race is two loops of the 5k route. I normally am not fond of loops but it didn’t make much of a difference this race since we were in Bronte Creek Provincial Park and the scenery to me looked the same (pretty and green). The only not so great aspect of the loops is I eventually started passing the 5k walkers, who would walk spread out across the entire path.

There’s something charming about smaller races such as this one. I’ve mostly run larger races, and while the crowd support can be great (but not a given, there are many bigger races with very little crowd support) there’s definitely more of a close-knit feeling at this Run for Women that all three of us noticed.

Another plus of a small race? It turns out you can place pretty well in the standings. I finished in 54:02 (which is slow for me), but that still makes me the 12th woman to finish (and the 5th in my division out of 59 women), so I’m pretty pleased with that. And it was so nice that Anya and Simone were able to stand right at the finish line to cheer me! They both crossed the finish line smiling, and we immediately went back to Toronto and indulged in a post-race brunch to celebrate.

post-race with the lovely Simone and Anya!

I’d definitely run this race again (despite it being a decent distance from Toronto). It’s for a great cause (women’s mental health) and I loved the happy, positive atmosphere. There’s still one more Run for Women this season — in Montreal, this Sunday, June 14th, if you’re looking for a race!

Much thanks to Shoppers Drug Mart for the opportunity to run this race (and for supporting women’s mental health!), and to Brooks Running for our running shoes (from the Running Room) and our running outfits for the race!

Now, onto my final spring race: the Nike Women’s 15k Toronto! Who else is running this race??




Leave a Comment June 8, 2015

Fitness Swellness: Introducing my Run for Women teammates

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!

Leave a Comment May 25, 2015

How r u?

Have a friend going through a rough time? Send them a quick text asking how they are and it may help them feel less stressed and less alone, says a study published in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Sure, texting may be making us all terreble spellers but texting isn’t all bad. (yes, that typo is on purpose — I can spell, most of the time…).

And how about how you’re feeling? A new campaign called Not Myself Today has been launched this month in an effort to raise awareness and understand when it comes to mental health in  Canada. The campaign was spearheaded by Partners for Mental Health, a registered charity supported by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. It was created to help change the way Canadians think and act towards their own mental health and those living with mental health illness.

You can easily show your support by making a virtual pledge visiting Not Myself Today; play with the pinning tool, too, where you can pin your colourful mood on a map of Canada.

Me, today, I’m feeling:

(and I’ve  made my pledge and pinned my mood — why don’t you do the same?)


1 Comment April 11, 2012

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