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I am most definitely a women and I enjoy it


I am most definitely a women and I enjoy it

International Women’s Day 2018

I had a lot of time to think while climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro last week… I had even more time to think coming down.  Soon, I will collect those thoughts and put them into writing.  Today though, today isn’t about celebrating my successes or failures.  Today is about celebrating all women, all over the world, for all of their successes and, I believe anyways, their failures as well.  We learn about ourselves when we fail.  As women, we have a voice deep within that tells us failure is not an option, and so, when we slip and fall down, we figure it out and find a way to do it better. 

I’ve had some men ask what today is about or why we need a day to acknowledge women? The point of this blog isn’t to focus on the negative, but I’ll share a few screen shots of the things I’ve faced by being an outspoken advocate for women.  I sometimes wonder if the tolerance for such immature and ignorant statements would be less if they were racial slurs or homophobic in nature? I wonder why as women we are supposed to just tolerate it when websites like Let’s Run allow sexist and misogynist threads to remain active?


Regardless of the nature, especially now, we all need to check our ignorance, prejudice, and stupidity at the door and strive for a place where we are all safe.


(Rant over… back to the positive).

During my climb I thought of all of the women that made that journey possible.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have witnessed firsthand the brutal strength, the endless compassion, the fierce protectiveness, and the gut wrenching failures of the women around me.  I shouldn’t be, but I am always surprised by the feeling of immense pride and admiration I feel when I see a fellow teammate, a friend, a sister, my mother, succeed where many would have thought trying again would be fruitless.

I’m not known for my soft side.  I tend to fall into the category of women that grew up thinking that being tender was a sign of weakness.  I know better now and I’m working on it in my adult life.  It has been through the acts of the fierce ladies around me that I have learned that there’s no weakness in being soft.

My brain floods with examples but there are a select few that I’ll share here. 

Kate Van Buskirk!! Talk about one of the strongest women I think I’ve ever met.  She never gives up. She never gave up.  And look at what she’s accomplishing now.  In my view, Kate has shown she has the athletic talent and dedication of any world class athlete on the track but it’s what she shows of her own private life that demonstrates what it means to be a strong woman.  Last Spring, without a flinch she came to my hospital room and helped me wash my hair.  She was the first person to pop into my mind that I could call and ask to come help me.  We might still giggle at the fact that she got to see my in all my naked glory (which included 30+ extra pounds of water weight), but behind those giggles I feel an enormous sense of gratitude.

Sasha Gollish!!  Here’s another women who’s strength on the track is only matched by the size of her heart off the track.  When I first moved to Toronto it was Sasha who invited me for family dinner so that I could have a sense of home.  She’s always been there to call on long drives or commiserate with when running and our bodies just aren’t blending as well as we’d like.  Sasha isn’t afraid to be a voice for her fellow female athletes, academic colleagues and anyone in between.  She introduced me to Fast and Female and I have loved seeing how whole heartedly she dedicates herself to the program.

Bethany McChesney-Janzen!! From climbing out of her window when we were teenagers to showing up at my doorstep in Toronto with a bike, rollerblades and a plan to get my mind off of missing World Champs last summer, Bethany has always been someone who’s strength I’ve admired.  In high school, our friendship was the first time I realized it was possible to be a fierce rival and a fierce friend with the same person. I’ve watched Bethany look at a cliff and without flinching start to climb it, and then the next moment be tending to her two little kids.  The world is not ready for the daughter Bethany is raising… I hope that by the time she is an adult WE have shaped the world differently.  Either way, women everywhere will be in good hands with Emerson ;P

Natasha Wodak!! Countless miles run together, run against each other, and spent cheering from the sidelines. I have had some of my highest and lowest moments with this lady.  I have watched her battle back from injury, heartache, life upset and more.  The fierceness we see when she refuses to give up a step in a race is the same fierceness I see her attack her friendships (and her affection for cats).

My Mum, sisters, and grandma!! I am fortunate to have amazing women who have come into my life... but I am forever grateful for the women who have been stuck with me since day one.  I may look adopted next to their incredibly blonde hair, but I know we are cut from the same cloth every time I watch them press on through the impossible to see success.

I have said previously that I will consider my career a success if I leave the sport better – not necessarily faster – but better for the next generation of girls. It wasn’t until I finished my climb that I realized my sport has left me better – and it has nothing to do with the miles that I have run.  I actually think running might have destroyed me last year if it wasn’t for the strength of the women I had around me.


Think Up


Think Up

The view from the top is pretty but …

I’ve been fortunate in my life and both my careers to have had the view from the top and the view from the bottom. I say fortunate because both views, despite being scary as shit, have their appeal. Look up from the bottom and you feel the thrill of how far you have yet to climb; look down from the top and you see how far you can fall.  So, which view is my preference?

I’m short. I’ve spent my entire life craning my neck, tilting my chin, rolling my eyes, to look up. It’s my normal. It’s comfortable. It’s the view I prefer. I’d pick the long hard climb to the fast free-fall any day.

Maybe that’s why I am fine now.  Despite the last year being less than ideal – personally and professionally – I am actually, for the first time in a long time, fine.  I’m not looking forward. I tried forcing that this year and the most movement I made was two steps back for every one step forward. I’m not looking down, because, to be frank, I’m pretty sure I’ve found a new bottom. 

I’m looking up.

I’ve always struggled with change of speed.  My coach has always thrown different pick-ups into workouts and long runs to try to teach my body to respond to pace changes mid-race.  Changing pace has been incredibly difficult for me this year.  I fought it.  I tried to push and force my body to recover, telling myself that I was perfectly fine after my spring stay-cation at St. Michael’s hospital. It’s been a hard lesson to learn that slowing life down has actually allowed me to speed up – maybe not in the form of fast miles yet, but certainly my health and recovery.

Speed “up” by slowing down.

“I’ve been here before”.  That’s been my mantra this fall and it is serving me much better than the other battle cries and rallies I’ve tried. I used “new bottom” because I am not where I was in 2012 when I hit bottom. Then I was jobless, homeless, not on the Olympic team and hopeless.

I am not where I was as recently as this spring when I was in hospital, fighting sepsis; celebrating if my pee was more urine than blood that day.  No. Now I am at a bottom where I have accepted that this is a new climb, but a familiar one.  That I still have ownership over my body, even if it’s a slightly different one.

“Up”. It is not a new concept for me. It was the cue word I used as a figure skater. “Think “up” when you jump instead of “don’t fall” - otherwise the last thing your brain is going to remember is “fall””. Advice almost as simple as #makeyourlegsgofast. I’d ride my edge, pick my toe into the ice, draw my weighted leg in while pivoting, pressing down into the ice while simultaneously drawing upon its force to catapult me into the air. And in those final few milliseconds think “up” as I snapped up, wrapping my arms and legs around each other, and I’d, for that split second of rotation, feel long. I felt tall.

Think “up” so you don’t fall. 

“Up. Up. Up. Can only go up from here”. Thanks Shania, but I politely beg to differ. Going up. Picking yourself up. It’s a choice.  It’s not a decision made by default. Despite finding bottom, you can always try your hand at digging further.  Plenty of people do. You can head forwards. Actively decide to slide backwards. It is all a choice. 

For 2018 I am choosing to think “up”.


Where's the Beef?

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Where's the Beef?

Currently, I’m in. . . . .  My dreamland aka KENYA

My plan for 2017 is. . . .  To remember that this is supposed to be fun

Where’s my mind at? I feel. . . .   Overwhelmed

Do I worry if I’ll ever get faster? I think. . . . . it’s time to retire if I ever don’t contemplate whether I’ll run faster.

When I broke the Canadian marathon record, at 34K I felt. . . nervous I had pulled away from Krista too soon

At 36, it felt like. . . . I couldn’t look at my watch because of the forearm cramping that had started

Then right before I crossed the tape, I. . . . . realized I had pulled off something BIG

The first thing I did afterwards was. . .  look at Alan Brookes stunned

Happiness is. . . . hearing music in my head and not caring if it makes me dance in public

What I really like to do is. . . . laugh

What always makes me smile? The dumb things I do on a regular basis & the people who do them with me

I like talking to people at race expos but I’m actually kinda shy. What I do to get over that is. . . remember that after a certain age you no longer get to be shy and that those people took time out of their day to come meet me and it would be disrespectful of me not to give them my 100%.

What do I think about being a hero to young girls and other female athletes for some of my stances? I think. . . it makes me nervous. It’s a responsibility I do not take lightly.
I was  in grade three  when I first heard of Terry Fox. Being compared to him? I just think that’s. . . . ..putting me in a class I do not consider myself part of

My favourite part of training is. . . . Seeing what I can challenge my body to do next

Do I listen to music when I run? I didn’t used to, but I started to while training for New York Marathon because I couldn’t get the words of someone out of my head. 

The trick to getting through speed work is. . . . To focus on one interval at a time

I’ve been running since . . . . I was in elementary school.   I’ll quit when. . . . . I will never quit. I think there is more respect for the sport in retiring than quitting.

Currently I’m running. . . .   On grass and dirt only

The plan is to run the marathon in. . . . the Fall… and fast!

The half marathon in. . . NYC … and controlled

To do that I’ll have to. . . . . Trust that my fitness is coming along as planned

Age to a runner is. . . .  Just a number until it isn’t.

Who’s my main competition? Anyone and everyone I line up against

Even if I’m not running professionally, I’ll. . . . always run. I’m a runner, not a pro.

As a woman running alone I feel. . . .  blissfully ignorant until I read a story reminding me that I shouldn’t.

Have I ever smacked someone? No… but I’ll bump my fist on a car if they don’t check the intersection before rolling through a turn.

This is what I’m looking for in a partner: Patience & someone who is perfectly imperfect

This is what I can’t stand: Having my education thrown back in my face because I disagree with you

Is it essential that he’s a runner? Well, . . . . .  nope… but he better value hard work

I’ve had my heart broken before. But . . . .   All fractures heal

I’m most proud of. . . .  The growth of confidence and self-esteem the teachers saw in my niece after I came to speak to her school.

Standing up to bullies makes me feel. . . .   sad that it’s something I even need to do.

Being the first person in my family to attend university showed me. . .  hard work matters more than anything.

How is being in court like being at a race? They’re both. . . . Scary as hell. I often wonder if words will come out of my mouth when it is time to argue… much like I wonder if my body will move when the gun goes off.

If people talk about my looks I know. . . .  they know very little about running.  Last I checked, I was waddling around the track not walking the runway.

Someone says something about me online and doesn’t sign his (or her) name to it I feel. . . . that calling him/her a “troll” is unfair. Trolls are cute with jewels in their bellies and fun hair… he’s/she’s a bully and I have no time for bullies… and if you say you care about me and favourite that junk, then I have no time for you either.

No one ever heard of Jeff Adams before he started mentioning me . . .  That’s not true. He’s an advocate for his own causes and I respect him for that. I’ve always been told what people say about me is none of my business

My mentor is. . .  (are) my siblings

My hero is. . . My Mum.

If I could run with anybody, it would be. . .  Sophie Trudeau

I try to stay out of politics but I will voice my mind. I think. . . It is important to be vocal.  I do not set out to be provocative… but I’m happy to provoke discussion.

What I’ve learned about myself is I can take a hit and get back up again. I can do this because. . . .  I have never thought of another option.

Wearing the Canadian jersey in Rio with my family in the stands, I felt. . . .  Honoured to represent my country but more proud to be a Marchant.

What’s the beef w AVK in your article? “Where’s the beef” (only the older readers would get that reference). There’s no beef. The only way he works as a comparison in that piece is if you accept that I agree and believe that he is a good role model, advocate and feminist. There can’t be a double standard comparison in him being shirtless and still valued as a feminist role model and me half naked and therefore failing at it, if I believe he’s failing in any of his roles.

** Side note, look at the backlash from the Emma Watson Vanity Fair photo… Apparently feminism requires we WOMEN wear a shirt.

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2016 You were Weird


2016 You were Weird

2017 let’s see what you got.

We are almost a full week into the New Year and I am still trying to process what all happened last year. Controversies, running peaks and valleys, new friendships, failed relationships, bridges built, bridges burned, love gained and loved ones lost. Usually by now I have assessed the good, the bad and the ugly and have set out my plans, goals, and challenges for the next 12 months. 12 months… note I didn’t say “season” or “training cycle”.  There is more to life than qualifying periods and race times.

Record holder, Olympian, national champion, feminist, role model… titles, accolades and labels that others use to identify me. Yes, I have used the same terms too… but in reality, in my day to day life, that’s not how I necessarily self-identify.

I was told once that I am a good runner. A good writer.  And a good beer drinker. By someone who claimed they knew me deeply.  I think that description is medium at best. Besides, I am an excellent beer drinker, a hard worker, a thesaurus and spell check user.

If someone asked me to describe myself or rank the titles that I deem important, my actual list would be quite different. My justification for certain things I have done or accomplished would be vastly different than the assumptions (good or bad) others have made.

I am a sister. Little and big. And it is probably the role I identify deepest with. 

I am an aunt.  And all that matters to me in this world is the legacy I leave behind for them… not you.

I am a friend. 

I am a university and law school grad.  The first in my family to go to university.

I am a lawyer.  I’ve loved the law for as long as I can remember.  Maybe it’s because of my stubbornly naïve belief that everyone is equal under the law.  I’ve learned this is true in theory… not necessarily true in practice.

I am a nerd.

I am a runner. Not a pro or an elite. Not a record holder. Not an Olympian.  Just a runner.  I was running long before anyone knew of me and I’ll be running (I hope) long after I am forgotten.

I am an advocate.  I will argue for you, myself, an altruistic cause, or a self-serving cause with the same ferocity.  But just because I argue against you doesn’t mean I do not respect you.

I am opinionated. I am open minded. The two are NOT mutually exclusive.

I am an athlete.  I suck at skilled sports. My coordination is terrible on a good day.  Team sports intimidate me. But I love moving my body. I love putting in hard work and the feeling of pain and exhaustion that comes after a hard session.  I hate being bad at something but love learning how to be better.

I am a hater of all double standards.

I am a huge fan of happy mediums.

I am a sarcastic jerk… but hilarious in my own mind.

I am pragmatic with my caring.

I am not afraid to be wrong... and I’m sure that happens more often than not.

I am not nice but I try hard to never be mean.  And if I am, I apologize full-heartedly and genuinely.

I am a shit disturber… but usually only after you have disturbed my shit.

I am not your role model. I never asked to be.  I do not intend to be abrasive or ungrateful in stating that… but it is the truth. 

I am not perfect.  I love that we all are perfectly imperfect.

I was asked by iRun if I’d like to write a “Q & A” column.  Not just about running; I am not a running expert.  I am not a life expert either.  But, like many of us, I have experienced times when my passion – running- and my life have worked together and times when they have worked against each other.  Although I am uncertain of how this will all go, I am usually someone who says “yes” to these types of opportunities... you never know when you will learn something new or what an interaction can do to help shape your next 12 months.

 “Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it

Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
Wishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off
Painting over the ugly parts and recycling for more than it's worth”

So here you go folks. Send in your questions about training, racing, work/life balance etc.  I do not pretend or promise to have all of the answers, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Questions bring discussion and I believe discussion is healthy.


Still Beating Like a Hammer


Still Beating Like a Hammer

I have been toying with this blog post for a while now.  Trying to decide how exactly I wanted to describe and express my Olympic experience… the journey before and the emotions after. 

The basic gist of my Olympics included having an amazing set up rooming with Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Melissa Bishop, Phylicia George, Angela Whyte, Nicole Sifuentes, Jess O’Connell & Maria Bernard.  Having the majority of my roommates come in with previous Olympic experience helped calm me. 

The Olympics were an opportunity for me to foster relationships… with my sport, my teammates, and the bears that I’ve poked.  It was a chance for me to fall in love… with the marathon again.

I wish I could say my Olympic prep went off without a hitch and training for it was the dream of all dreams.  The reality was far from that… it was ugly.  Sickness in April.  Junk Iron all Spring.  A jenky left leg that has been a growing pain in my “not so runner sized” ass since 2012.  Emotional stressors.  And finally, the #doubledouble debacle.  (What can I say? Sometimes I tend to rock the boat).

Those who know me well know that I do not download music.  Instead, I travel around through my gypsy life with a stack of old CDs in a beat up silver case held together by a rubber-band.  When I packed up my car… my life… my home and made my way out to Arizona in January I made sure to run back into the house and grab my music stack.  When I left AZ and spent two months in Vancouver, much to Natasha’s dislike, I came with my amazing music selection.  When life took an unexpected turn and I packed up and returned home to London, Ontario for my final Rio training block, the musical stylings of Lanni came with me.  My soundtrack to the Olympics.  We are talking nothing much newer than 2010… other than a Wiz Khalifa and Miley Cyrus CD my roommate burnt for me…  a lot of mixed CDs that my siblings were looking to toss that I rescued, a few I burnt back in high school. 

Throw in a disc and I am instantly 17 again driving with my sis Randi and friend Bethany to Port Stanley Beach.  A Tragically Hip CD that I titled “God’s Band” in the hopes of convincing my southern friends to like them. Pop in another and it’s driving to my late night law classes at Michigan State belting out some Kings of Leon.  There is one though that I can’t tie to a particular time… one that seems relevant to the last 4 years.  “Let’s break up”… a mix CD my older sister gave me and one that I am not embarrassed to say has been played a time or two-hundred during the end of a relationship (don’t worry… this isn’t a break-up blog… I already did one of those).    It has been the soundtrack to countless drives up and down I-75 between Chattanooga and London, Ontario.  The disc most regularly left in my car’s cd player.  The cause of a lot of bad car dancing… worse singing.  It’s scratched.  It skips. It’s perfectly imperfect.

It opens up with Metric’s “Help, I’m Alive” and leads into “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”. It also has gems like “Bulletproff” “Magnetic Baby” and Madonna’s “Revolver” and “I’m not Sorry”… I heart Madonna… and I’m so not sorry.

It’s the opening song that I have worn out… its chorus and verses often stuck in my head on training runs.  The song that was running through my mind on the start line of both races.

“If I stumble… they’re going to eat me alive”

Everyone wanted to weigh in on the double.  Everyone had their expectations and opinions.  If I pulled it off, would it be good enough?  If I failed?  “They’re going to eat me alive”.  Do not be upset or confused here.  I loved the support I received and will forever be amazed by the way the Canadian and running community at large stood up and took up for me… wanting to see me run both events in Rio. ‘preciate ya.  But with the attention came pressure.  Suddenly everyone was weighing in on my personal goals and aspirations.  My intentions and abilities celebrated by most, questioned by some. 

For some reason it was not until I stood on the start line of the Women’s 10,000m that I realized there was no turning back.  I trembled… time to find out if I would be eaten alive. 

“Help I’m alive. My heart keeps beating like a hammer”

Like most races, once the gun went off my mind turned to the task at hand and the nerves melted away.  Unlike the track races earlier in the season, I felt in control in this race.  The pace was on a runaway train. We had a few trip-ups… but I never gave up.  I fought for every step. That’s what I do.  If the concern was whether I would put in an “A” effort knowing there was something bigger and tougher to come in 46 hours, those thoughts were for the jaded… the faint of heart. I have never been attracted to easy.  I crossed the finish line with nothing more of myself to give.

“Hard to be soft. Tough to be Tender”

Being in professional sport… having a professional career outside of sport… being a woman doing both… it does not allow for much time to do much of anything other than present myself as tough… as hard.  Looks can be deceiving.  Miles and miles run have hardened my body… hours and hours of work have toughened my mind.  Both requirements to get to the Olympic level in sport. Necessities for parts of my life but not allowed to harden me to life.

“If you’re still alive… my regrets are few.  If my life is mine. What shouldn’t I do?”

My expectations and reality were quite different during those 46 hours.  I thought I was going to be emotionally and physically drained.  I thought I might feel dread.  I thought the fear of stumbling was going to hit.  Instead I was amped.  In the place of fear was confidence.  I was not bothered by the doubts of others… the inconsiderate thoughts of those who were too stubborn to truly try to know me.  I was going to work.  And I’m good at what I do.

Running that marathon was one of the best experiences in my life.  There were parts that were tough.  Patches here and there where my head trumped my heart… other parts where I was running with pure heart.  I can be analytical about most things.  Overly pragmatic apparently.  But when I think of that race it isn’t the splits or tactics I remember… I remember running with a calm I haven’t felt before.  I remember the excitement of knowing you were watching.

“I get wherever I’m going. I get whatever I need”

Relationships end.  It happens.  Usually you see it coming… other times you feel a little blindsided and confused. My relationship with the Olympics started out rocky back in 2012.  We got over our initial falling out, apologized and actually forgave. We faced a few more bumps and grew together the last four years.  I have come to view my road to Rio as a well-rounded and full relationship.  It was ugly at times. It was hard.  It was worth it. 

As I find myself in the final weeks prep for New York City marathon, I once again find myself with my busted CD case and stack of CDs.  I find myself listening to “let’s break up” slightly unsure of which ended relationship it’s helping me run through.


Putting Together the Pieces

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Putting Together the Pieces

Everything this year has been about building a program, training and recovery wise, that is sustainable and that I will be able to use next year as I prepare for the Olympics in Rio… iron out those kinks so-to-speak.  Changing events from the marathon to the 10,000m meant putting together a new puzzle and making sure each puzzle piece fits.

So here I am, training in South Korea before heading over to Beijing, China for the IAAF Track and Field World Championships.  I have continued my season jet-setting across Canada and the USA for training camps and races… lots of races… and am happy to say I sit here less than two weeks out from the Championships with a body that has held up and is ready to go.  I am happy to have found a recovery routine that keeps my body happy and put together (even when I am racing national championships on back to back weekends in cities located across the country from each other)... it has proven to be one of the most important pieces.

It has been a busy but successful season so far with two national titles (10k Road Race Championships & Half Marathon Championships) and a bronze medal at the Pan Am Games (10,000m), and I am not done yet. 

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Running Through Injury


Running Through Injury

From the elite Olympians to the weekend warrior, we all have had to do it at some point.  We all have downed some Advil, wrapped our knees and ankles in tape; heck some of us have even used crutches up to the start line of our race, all just to make it to the end of our season.  We all arise each morning, waiting for that day when those first few steps out of bed will be pain free.

There is one injury that cannot be masked by pain killers and ice packs.  There is one injury that we cannot predict how long it will take to heal… A broken heart.  It’s funny how we runners are all totally game to talk about our injured past, but our throats close up and our words run dry when it comes to the topic of love and running. 

There’s a quiet hush that spreads over a dinner table of runners when the end of a relationship is brought up.  It’s like we all know that silent, lonely pain.  That unlike the hobbling we all do after a hard workout, or during those first few steps in the morning, a bruised, battered, and broken heart is sometimes enough to keep us from running that hard workout, or make getting out of bed in the morning nearly impossible.

Falling in love is like running in the snow.  You can get swept up off your feet… which puts you in the perfect position to fall flat on your bum. Only the bruise on your bottom will likely heal quicker than the bruise on your heart.

There are some runners who use their broken heart to fuel their fire.  They commit to putting their head down and running hard mile after hard mile, until life feels normal… livable… again.  There are those of us that run away to training camps… pack up our running lives and bring the shell of ourselves to a new place to train.  Sometimes tricking ourselves into thinking that the open wound in our chest has scabbed over and we are once again whole.

Everyone deals with a broken heart at some point in their life, and it’s not that I’m trying to say that we runners are special or that the “common” person’s pain doesn’t measure up against what we feel when a relationship ends.  It’s just that it is different for a runner.  Everything we do is pre-planned and calculated.  We learn over the years how to read our bodies.  We know what workouts will make us stronger, and what we need to do in order to avoid injury.  And when injury happens, we can snap into healing mode to try and fix it.  We know what doctors to go see, what exercises to do… we know how to come back from an injury smarter… stronger… with the ability to prevent that pain again.  You cannot apply the same prescription to a crushed heart.

Healing a broken heart is foreign to us.  There is no cast or walking boot that we can put our heart in for six weeks and come out healed, ready to slowly start tacking on the miles again.  Instead we are forced to run through this injury.

We runners are different.  We willingly push our bodies to the limit and then line up the next day to do it all over again.  We like structure.  We like being in control of our body, so that we can feel somewhat in control of our destiny.  We are used to the battle with our mind when the miles get tough and our muscles start to fatigue.  No amount of training can prepare us for the battle with our heart. 

There is no training program for us to follow that will help us get to the finish line in love, no plan to help us recover from love gone wrong.

Unlike non-runners, when a relationship ends we are immediately stuck straddling two worlds.  We’d like to stay in bed for days or drink beer after beer after beer or heck, even go out dancing just to prove we are still hot to trot.  But we can’t.  No matter how much our heart hurts or how heavy our chest feels, those miles aren’t going to run themselves… we don’t get to crawl into a dark hole, our running logs must be complete.  Sure, if we could time our break-ups we’d all pick them to happen at the end of our season, after that big race when you are on a runner’s high and when you’ve probably pre-planned a little beer drinking.  Unfortunately, like any injury you can’t predict when this one will strike.

Relationships for runners are an investment.  Our personalities are such that we don’t enter into anything lightly, so when it ends it stings that much more.  We are left with hundreds and thousands of miles where our brains have nothing to do but dwell and remember. 

We are runners.  We are strong and often admired for our perseverance.  Unfortunately this means that our competitive drive, our desire to conquer, our refusal to admit defeat will get the better of us, and we will pick at the scab of our wounded heart longer than others.  We will spend a few extra miles trying to understand how we could possibly be seen as cold or lacking compassion?

After enough running with a heavy heart we all slowly learn how to deal with this injury.  Our mileage runs return to their usual mindless wander, and we start to feel that lift again under our soles when we line up to race.  We come back stronger;  maybe not all that smarter (some of us still have a few frogs left to date), but back to our true form… of course always remembering that our truest significant other was there the entire time … running with us through our injury.


The Perfect Imperfect Boyfriend


The Perfect Imperfect Boyfriend

Ok, so this is my return to blogging after a long hiatus. I really did mean to blog after the Ottawa Marathon, and then again after the Bar exam, and well, there is not a good excuse. Yes, I have been pretty busy, and those of you who know me well know that I basically live out my car right now, so I will rely on the excuse of pure exhaustion. Perhaps exhaustion and the total upheaval of moving down here, paired with not having things go quite as expected on all fronts… Right, Lanni Lesson – things never turn out as expected.

Anyways, since my marathon debut and writing the Bar, I have started working full time at Davis & Hoss, and kicked up my training again for the Chicago Marathon in October… eek… The 4:30am wake up to drive into town for my interval workouts and long runs was pretty painful to start, but I think I am slowly adjusting.

This morning I set out on top of Signal Mountain for another long long run, and by mile 15 parts of my body started to remind me that it was not the biggest fan of today’s activities. This kinda got my mind wandering, and I questioned “what keeps bringing me back to running”? After all of the hurt, the frustrations, the questioning of whether I should start dating rollerblading, I keep coming back for more. Am I a masochist? Do I like playing the victim? NO! I have come to the conclusion that my relationship with running is not at all like casual dating… running and I are in a very committed long term relationship.

Many of you have heard me previously refer to running as my boyfriend ( ), and like any relationship, it has had some ups and downs. There have been times where I am so frustrated with running that I feel like hot venom is running through my veins. I have cussed running out. I have told running to hit the road and never come back. But, he never really takes my anger and frustration to heart. He knows that deep down I really do love running, that I have put my heart and soul into making things work between us, and most importantly, he understands me.  Yes… there is definitely love in our relationship… and it works both ways.

Running does not judge me or my family for how we grew up, and he does not question my morals or values. He has never turned his nose up at me (hmm… maybe when I forget to air out my shoes).

Running did not give me silent treatment because I allowed myself to get angry with the World for a day. Instead, running sat back and let me vent. I got out all my frustrations without being questioned on them or being told that my feelings were invalid. After a good venting, running was still there, asking if I was up for another 8 mile date the next day. Running will not stand by and let me just sit there and lick my wounds either.

Running lets me burp.

Running has never disappeared on me or ignored me after I have called him out for hurting my feelings. He never forgets me or overbooks his schedule. Yes, we sometimes need our space from each other… but I never have to go hunting him down, and I am not always the first to extend an olive branch after we have a fight.

Running like most boys, does not always get it. We have our differences... I admit that I have my days where I am just a pill to deal with. And man, do I give running huge props for putting up with me during those “off” days.

Running has never given up on me. He accepts my apologies when I make a mistake and get frustrated over something small. By no means is running my “biotch”; He barks back at me when necessary. But never any hits below the belt. I pull my own weight in our relationship. I listen to running when he tells me that he’s frustrated or mad at me. I let him vent (aka, take out his frustration on my shins, my pelvis, and my hip) and then come back and see if he still wants to chill later.

 Running understands that I have a mad crush on dancing.

Do not get me wrong. Running is not always the perfect boyfriend. But none of us are perfect. And I’ll be damned… running accepts that. I pity the fool who doesn’t.