Running does not heal all

“Despite all running has done for me it cannot heal all.”

I sit here quietly, just the tapping of the keys and my own thoughts to keep me company. This blog is not an upbeat running piece or a review of cool running gear – it is something more personal from me. I wanted to give an update and to share – so that perhaps others who are going through what I am, can understand.


I am still a running dad but now am a single running dad living in a cheap apartment close to my daughter. I am alone now much of the time. Back the truck up? If you have read my blog or tweets before you know I am a dad of a young, sweet little 19-month old and was married. From a few blogs on my Canadian Running magazine blog in August and December of this past year, you may have read about how I struggled to adjust and transition to life of a dad.

Playing with my daughter on a hot summer day.

I thought I wanted a child and read as much as I could before about being a dad and then the day arrived. Was a scene from another planet for me and something amazing when my daughter arrived. It really sunk home that I had created a little life with someone else.

The struggle

I struggled from the beginning. The no sleep, the uncertainty, the lack of personal time with my wife. I loved holding my daughter but did not enjoy what her arrival had done to my life and time. I often felt and feel like I an not a good dad. Aren’t dads, the good ones supposed to think their child is the be all, end all of their world? I also did not have the same drive or enthusiasm to dig up books, information and website about babies and children (what to expect, what to do, how to be good parents) as my wife did. I struggled to find a way to be happy and content with my life.

My coping mechanism and stress release has always been running. It has accompanied me through life since age twelve. It has normally been enough. It was not enough, now running was something I had to squeeze in when I could and was often looked upon as something that took time away from the family. I liked going out for a run with daughter in the stroller but it was hard to stay happy and positive.


I had so much support and patience from my wife, maybe not always understanding of what I was going through but she tried to help me. Things can only go on for so long though and we all have breaking points. I became increasingly frustrated, tired and did not treat my wife as well as I should have and we argued and started to mentally separate.

I tried to keep running to clear my mind and try and find something that made me happy, if not just for a few minutes. I backed off on my blogging to ease off some stress. I talked to psychologists but was never sure what I was supposed to be fixing.

Things fell apart. I blew up in my October marathon and my weak mental state was part of the cause. A 100k run for my birthday was snuck in and was a solo affair where I reflected on the year and felt alone.

We finally came to a point where we could deal with each other and we needed space. I moved out, I bought a car. It was over – we said things about maybe things could be repaired. Think we both knew.

2016 was tough but I continued to run and show a brave face.

Life now

It has not been that long – but I know this is my life now. Not something I envisioned and very tough to deal with. I want my daughter to be loved and have a good life and splitting her time between two places and two parents who no longer love each other – not something I wanted for her.

My Christmas dinner was pizza and pop from a local place that amazingly stayed open. I could have gone to friends but I had my daughter for the weekend and was tired and depressed. I even had some chicken with stuffing, cranberry sauce etc. ready but did not feel like it.

With no family around it was a lonely weekend. I had fun with my daughter but it did not feel right. I am not looking for sympathy or trying to gain support or any such thing – I am just telling my story. Maybe there is another struggling running dad or mom out there who may take something from my story.

Twitter running friends and kind words have kept me going and my constant desire to run and write has kept me busy with projects. I have had suicidal thoughts, I have been angry at myself, I have cried but I am still here. I feel ashamed, tired, guilty and not sure what the future holds. It is harder to get out the door right now, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I intend to move from 2016 to 2017 on foot this Saturday but know running does not heal all.

Keep your head down, move forward and try and focus on the positive and what you have.

Run on friends.

Find me on Twitter @NoelPaine



7 thoughts on “Running does not heal all

  1. Noel thanks for being open and honest about what you are going through. Sorry that this has happened to you and your family. Your piece allows us a glimpse of what dads go through when having a family and how one uses running as a tool for mental health. You inspire others through your experience and we will be there to support you when you need it! Focus on the positive and keep logging your mileage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through this rough patch. I’ve been through depression before and I’m sure what you’re going through is terrible. I hope that 2017 goes a lot better for you. Thanks for being so raw. Have a Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very sorry to hear your news. From reading some of your posts, you are one of the most positive thinking people out there. Also, photos are telling and your beautiful & sweet daughter adores you. Every break up is difficult, even if it’s your choice & the mourning period is what hurts the most. You will get to the other side of this. Run your ass off (not a runner) but hear it clears out the cobwebs. Soon your daughter will be running with you & what a great experience that will be. All the best to you in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

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