Gesine Freund – 200km for Childhood Cancer

Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, Quebec to the CHEO hospital in Ottawa

On Friday June 29th, 2018 at 6 am., Ottawa ultra-runner Gesine Freund will be starting a 205-kilometre run from the Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, Quebec to the CHEO in Ottawa, Ontario. Gesine will be running to raise awareness and funds to help fight childhood cancer through the Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation.

The run will be a non-stop effort; she will be crossing Laval, Oka Montebello, Masson-Angers, Cumberland, then will run along the Ottawa River pathway via Beechwood and Rideau River pathways as she approaches the finish line at the Ottawa CHEO on Saturday June 30th. Runners and supporters will be able to connect, cheer and run a portion of the route; follow her live social media updates.

Every kilometer and every dollar raised goes towards the Phoebe Rose Rocks foundation, a volunteer-driven charity. The foundation was formed in honour of Phoebe Rose who in 2010 at the age of nine-weeks was diagnosed with infantile leukemia. Phoebe sadly passed away in 2015 but her memory lives on through the foundation started by Phoebe’s family and community to raise funds for childhood cancer research and provide support to families.

Cancer is the leading cause of disease related death for children in Canada. 1700 children from birth to 19 years are diagnosed with cancer in Canada each year. While over 75% of children survive cancer, more than 80% of survivors face late effects of their disease and harsh treatment; including secondary cancers, neurocognitive impairments, heart failure, lung disease, and infertility.

Donations can be made on the Phoebe Rose Rocks website:

To contact Gesine Freund email: or follow her progress – through connecting with her on Twitter @gesinef, Instagram @gesine.freund and her Facebook  page for the run:

Gesine thanks all the individuals, companies and supporters who have enabled her to plan, train and carry out her epic run to fight childhood cancer.


*The Runningdad (me) will be handling all media and social media during the run and will be there to help, run and support Gesine.


A view from the inside – Runningdad

“What you see from the road is not always a good idea of what is going on inside the house.” – Runningdad

Hey peeps and readers – its been a while since I have shared some personal stuff. Yes – I have done some reviews and been all over social media but it has been a while since an update on me.

Never be afraid to reach out to someone for help or reach out to help someone.

It has been quite a while now since I was at the bottom of the well looking up (suicide and dealing with severe depression). I have gone from -10 on the healthy mental health scale to somewhere above functioning I think. I beat back the depression linked to the transition to being a dad, my marriage breaking up and just being lost at work and in life in general. It has been tough.

You are never alone or the only one.

Tough —hard to explain – could mean a lot of things right? Well the title of the blog and the saying at the top says it all. I am better but sometimes the smiles and selfies still hide a bit of a struggle.

I beat back the depression, saw a therapist, started meditating, got back into running and put my head down to work on things and to look for a fulfilling job. Well I am now mentally stronger and can handle a lot more stress and anxiety than before (does not mean I don’t have rough moments) – but I am not afraid to reach out or talk to someone. I am better but I don’t mind asking for help (most times). Sharing with you (and on social media) also helps – through connecting and getting some simple thoughts and feelings out. But stepping away from a full-time job has been tough – I have and am barely surviving and have been to a food bank and had to think about what happens and where I can go when I can’t pay rent and bills. The stress is enormous and sits in the background weighing down on you at times and attacks when things are quiet.

Look for the little bits of positive and awesome in your life and day.

I am working part-time and doing free-lance work but its tough as I look for a full time job. I network and do all the things I can but some things are out of my control. I focus on staying positive, taking advantage of time I do have free, try to get better at being a dad and moving ahead. One step ahead is one more in the right direction.


Keep lacing up and I will see you out there my running and mental health warrior friends!


Be ready on race day – a book review

“Sometimes things need to be boiled down to the basics not made more complicated.” – Runningdad

I recently got a book from a fellow running dad and writer Denny Krahe and I wanted to share with my followers and readers of this blog. Yep – it’s a book about running.


The book is 143-pages of running advice from someone who is a certified Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist who is also an experienced runner. I was a bit envious of his ability to get a book published (one of my goals) and wanted to really take a look at what he had written. Denny wanted to write a book from the perspective of a middle of the pack runner for others who are not elite but still want to enjoy running and set personal bests  and run faster or longer.


This is a summary of what he wrote(Chapter titles):

  • Before you begin
  • The basics
  • Workout variety
  • How to schedule your workouts
  • The taper
  • Pre-hab
  • Adjust on the Fly
  • Post-race recovery
  • Closing thoughts
  • Resources

It is a sensible approach to training for normal people with busy lives.


I really liked the approach and style of the book. It is easy to read and makes sense for someone who is not an elite runner, while at the same time has some basics that apply to runners of all abilities. Denny writes the book as if he is talking to you. Sometimes its nice to have a huge thick book on running that explains V02max and has tables of paces and complicated programs – but only if you have the time to wade through it. Like running watches now – the best one is one that gives you information you need and is something you have the time to use and figure out. A GPS running watch that has a gazillion options and information you need to download to analyze later is great – but only if you have time to use. This book is like that – it is just what you need, no unnecessary bells and whistles.

A sample from the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a plain-language, really helpful running book that explains most of the key points to plan out your own training program or improve what you are doing now.

Find Denny on Twitter: @DizRuns

Find Denny on his great podcast:

Find his book on Amazon.

Keep lacing up my friends and stay positive – see you out there!



The glasses that define me – a review

“I am hard on anything that I wear and use. I am very active and need clothes and gear that can keep up with me.” – Runningdad

This will be a short but concise review of the glasses I wear almost all of the time for work, play and running. They are the best eye-wear and favourite frames I have ever used. For the longest time I never had prescription glasses I really liked. I had frames that were okay and the only thing I could find – but that barely if at all were any good for running with. Running in sunny conditions was even worse as I then often had to sacrifice seeing what was ahead of me but not being able to dim the bright sunshine – but the glasses would slip down my nose and I always felt they did not suit me or my personality. Get the idea?


My glasses are now good for when I am not running and working – or making bad selfies for social media or when I am laced up and out for a run.


The glasses now define me and how I look and they completely suit this runningdad.

About the glasses

The glasses are a sailing frame from Rudy Project called the Zyon.


The glasses are rugged with adjustable temple pieces, adjustable and comfortable nose piece and great optics. there are side wings that attach for more coverage but i do not use. The hinges on the glasses are quality and I have seldom had to tighten.

  • Sporty look
  • Do not move on nose or head when running
  • Can use for work and sport
  • Great field of vision
  • Can get Rx lenses
  • Work as sunglasses with transition lenses

With Rudy Project you can get Rx clip-ins (I don’t like but work) or you can get full prescription lenses! More information here. So to sum things up – why sit for hours looking at drab frames (that look almost alike) and not sporty – get a cool pair that suit you and your activity. I love mine and always get comments!

Rudy Project online catalog.

Rudy Project on Twitter: @RudyProjectNA


Keep running friends!


Running to not only help the body but the mind – Dynamic Running Therapy

Hey running friends! It has been a while since I have ventured into the blog world. I have started up a podcats (Runningdad podcast) which has turned out to be a lot of fun and –well life has just been busy!

But – I am still meeting and getting to profile amazing runners and people in print as well.


A chat with the founder of Dynamic Running Therapy, an approach which combines psychotherapy, mindfulness and movement to help with mental health issues.

William Pullen is a 50-year old and lives in London, England but for a time lived in Toronto, Ontario. He is a psychotherapist, runner, author, and app developer and the founder of Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT). DRT is a therapy approach which combines psychotherapy, mindfulness and movement.

Along with using and promoting this new type of therapy that combines lacing up and more traditional therapy, Pullen has written a book about it called, ‘Running with Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) to Improve Low-mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression’.  He took a moment to chat about his book and DRT.

How did the idea of the book come about – and how did the idea for DRT come to you?

“DRT first – I had a bit of a meltdown about 11 years ago. I found myself depressed, scared and anxious. I knew I had to do something to help myself so decided to go into therapy, take up running and do yoga. It was while running with a friend who was going through a divorce that I discovered how helpful it could be. We both found ourselves talking very easily – what we were feeling seemed to flow freely, as though the running somehow was giving us clarity and license. 

The running also helped us to feel better on a physical level, as well as being psychologically empowering   – no bad thing when you are depressed! It was a relief to have a practice whereby I could show up, talk easily and feel refreshed and strong at the end of it. Not long after that I decided to train to become a psychotherapists and over the next 6 years took what I felt was best from my training and incorporated it into what became DRT.”

Who do you think can benefit from reading your book?

“Well the book contains a number of different things so is potentially attractive to all sorts of people. It has guides for mindful running and mindful walking which most people can benefit from. It also has specific programs for the treatment of depression, anxiety, anger and relationship issues, among other things. Each program takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and growth using a combination of walking, running, and mindfulness. I ask them to walk or run with questions which address how they relate to themselves and others, lifestyle choices, their personal background, and the choices they are making today as well as the beliefs that they hold about themselves and the world.

The book also contains programs for running with your kids, as well as something called Empathy Runs which are a great way for bonding and sharing special moments with the people in your life.”


What is it about running that can help those dealing with mental health issues?

“I believe that sometimes words alone are not enough for some people, and that through applying ourselves physically to our situation we can embody the kind of change and growth we are looking for. In other words, the strength and confidence I experience from the outdoors and from becoming the person who can get from A to M and then finally to Z helps empower me and heal me. You see mental health issues and debilitating and anything you can do to empower and help focus that person is of benefit. It’s a kind of hack sometimes but it really works. Of course its hard to show up when you’re depressed – really hard. But if we can make showing up feel like a rejuvenating, healing experience it becomes easier. Its also a great way to burns of energy if anxiety is an issue.”

What is one simple thing runners can try?

“They could try Empathy Runs – you can find this on my website but simply put it involves: Two people running together for about 20 to 30 mins.  One person listens (no interrupting, helping, saving, encouraging) in silence then repeats back a synopsis of what they have heard. Then the roles are swapped. It’s an incredible way to feel heard and unburden yourself in a healthy way of some of the natural stresses we have in our life. Of course its not always about stress – sometimes they become gratitude runs.

Or they could try and bit of mindful running – this involves emptying the mind of thoughts about yesterday and tomorrow and instead concentrating on the here and now – this is done either through focusing on the breath as you run (count to 10 and start again) or every other footfall. To begin with you will find yourself getting to footfall/breath 2 or 3 or 4 and then thoughts about the future or past will creep in. At this point you acknowledge that thought, let it go, and start back at one again. The real practise is not in trying to get to 10 uninterrupted because its not about success and goals. It’s about meeting your inner dialogue with whom we often have a dubious and ambivalent relationship with and trying to improve it through gentle recognition and acknowledgement f what is going on. So often we are caught up between pushing ourselves and then castigating ourselves when we don’t get to where we wanted to be – this is a tough prism through which to experience the world. Mindful running helps you find a more compassionate and easy going way of being – one that is actually more productive because it wastes less energy. “

If you find running a form of therapy and stress relief already, DRT may be something you should lace up for and learn more about.

I personally really like the read and it all made sense to me. I have a background in psychology and neuroscience and have been a runner for 30-years. The book is easy to read, straight forward and has a section where you get exercises to do and space to jot down notes/thoughts. Worth finding online and ordering.

Pullen runs now for fun and to stay in shape and can be found online on his website and on Twitter @PullenTherapy.

William Pullen

* In Canada – Kristy McConnell (Alberta) combines walking, running and therapy and is a runner. Her website: I profiled Kristy a little while back (the blog).

You can find Pullen’s book on and on his website. You can listen to my podcast chat with him here.

Keep lacing up my friends and keep looking for the positive in life – I am out there with you!

Meeting another running writer

“Movies are great but nothing will replace the written word – that allows your mind to add colour and character to the story.”

Recently while at a local running shop (Sports4 – College Square location) – I came across a book written by a local runner – about running. I was automatically interested to check it out and find out more about the author. Like some sort of weird bloodhound on the scent of another running writer!


The book

Unspoken, Or the Unrefined Art of Communicating at the Top of Your Lungs and Through the Bottom of Your Feet
By Larry McCloskey
176 Pages • ISBN: 978-0995336008 – by Dog-Eared Books

Available on Amazon in Kindle or paperback

The novel is written by fellow running dad and Ottawa native Larry McCloskey. The book was printed by the independent publisher, Dog-Eared Books, which McCloskey co-founded.

The book is about a dad, his daughter, running, romance and life (which is always changing and challenging us). I am not a fan of the long version of the title but like ‘Unspoken’. The two main characters are a talented local single running dad who excels at racing but not so much in communicating, and his daughter who loves her dad but is dealing with a complex world around her. I sense that there is a lot of Larry and his experiences in this book. I won’t give away too much of the story for that is for you (the reader of this review) to go find out.

Untitled 1

The writer and runner

So I sniffed out the author of the book (Larry) and we coordinated a meeting to talk about him, his running and his writing. I liked the idea of meeting someone else who shared the same passions – and he was also a running dad too!

We met in Larry’s corner office (with a great view) at Carleton university and I automatically knew I had met another real runner and writer – who’s passion for both equaled my own – different but very similar. Oh and he was wearing a shirt! Larry swears he does occasionally wear a shirt while running but said (while laughing) that the ones he found – well he is shirtless. The photos of him in his youth and in his 60s both show a very fit individual).


Writer: Coming from an Irish family, with an English Lit degree – Larry works as Director of the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities. His writing like my own is something he does on the side. He has written a few other books (all for children/youth) including, The Dog Who Cried Snake and Tom Thomson’s Last Paddle – but this is his first where running is the main topic.

Runner: Lacing up for the first time to get fit and stop smoking Larry found a love and not just something to do. Larry was more than a ‘jogger’ as well. Running turned to racing and in the 1980s, training hard but not the 100-mile weeks that were popular at the time (for almost everyone) – Larry got fast! At the famous Around The Bay race (30K) (oldest race in North America) he was 2nd in 1986 (1:40.17) and in 1988 was 3rd (1:40.13). he however was not a youngster and started running a bit later than most – in his 40s he was still running hard and fast. In his 40s Larry blistered a 1:07 half-marathon at the World Masters World marathon championships (a time/performance he was actually disappointed with).

  • Half marathon: 1:07
  • 10K: 30:20

We chatted about writing, running, being dads and liking to help people. I liked Larry – we grabbed a sandwich and then parted ways. I had a book to read.

Book review (my thoughts)

Larry and I share many things in common (running, writing, dads, like helping) and I can almost see myself writing a book similar to this. I liked it because of who I am and because I can relate. I think a young reader who has a dad who runs will really relate to this – and kids who grow up in single parent families and deal with the complexities of life in general – will get this book. It is about running but not at the same time.

This is a book written with heart and experience and worth a read. Run and write on Larry!

“Life like running is something that must be done one step at a time, it has ups and downs, curves and often unexpected challenges – each of us have a different journey/race to run.”


Larry still runs, but now more to stay in shape and lives in Ottawa with his wife and three daughters.

Connect with Larry on his website and find his book online.

Think I know where I am – direction

“Life should have a road map but unfortunately it does not – so we all look for our own direction.” – Running dad.

Holy smothered dairy cows, its another bleeding update from the skinny runningdad?! Yep – sharing whether you want it or not. Strap in for the ride or avert your eyes and carry on.

Hope this helps anyone struggling with life, depression or just direction in this cavernous existence – if I even reach one person its worth it.

Depression or not

I cannot even qualify to be part of a study on depression! I have escaped the jaws of the beast of negative thought and at best have a mild mood disorder and annoying remnants of depressive moments. Its a good thing. I have used all the resources I could find and had access to – to get here (EAP, counselor, life coach, meditation, journal, running, blogging and research etc.). It has been hard and still is but I feel I am on the road out to somewhere positive.

It is still a bit of struggle to always be positive (who can do that?) but I try and look at getting to know myself better, learn from my past and become a stronger, more self-confident, more positive person.


Very soon I will officially be divorced and its an odd feeling and where I am now in my life I would never have imagined — its weird, but it is what it is. I am alone with my daughter every second weekend and on a search for a more fulfilling job and a way to incorporate my passion for healthy, active living and a need to help people into my life.

Have I found my direction? – no not completely but I think I know where I am and need to go. I will be focusing on three areas of my life and looking to take small steps towards these goals.

  • BEING HAPPY – we all create our our world by how we think and the decisions we make. I am hoping to look inward and focus on being positive and move towards a more positive me – I think this will help my other two goals. Life is short and I hope to try and explore as much of it as I can while being a good dad and role model for my daughter.
    • Why a black coat when I can wear a fun, cool orange one
    • Why just another marathon in some city when I can run up mountains, explore new countries or push myself?
    • Why not try something, why not have fun, why not try?
  • RELATIONSHIP HAPPINESS – I believe being positive and making good choices will attract similar people in my life and perhaps will lead to finding someone to share my life with. I want to learn from my past and move forward. I want to be honest and open. I believe in not trying too hard, am a bit of a romantic and believe real love only comes along so often. I want to be strong alone but life is hard alone and would like someone in my life.
    • I fell in love last year unexpectedly but life can be complicated and I may be in the worst love story ever (throwing shoe at TV worthy). Will it work out? I don’t know – but few things in life are certain. I remain positive, I run, I hope, I move forward.
  • JOB HAPPIENESS – this one is as tough as the other ones. I could not go back to my old job and needed a change and a fresh start. I needed to explore trying to combine passion and skill-set – to see if I could help people and maybe make a living from it. I think I would be sad later if life to think I had never tried.

Had enough? Head on table, sleeping in a pool of your own drool? I understand. A few more words and I will let you go.

If anyone out there wants to share or reach out please do so – love to hear from you!


Keep lacing up friends and see you out there – with a smile!

Carrying just what you need!

“Running gear designed by runners and with thought makes all the difference.”

Yep – its another gear review and this time a cool piece of kit from Orange Mud. What is Orange Mud? Its a company that I stumbled a cross a few years ago that makes some really unique and well thought out gear from runners and trail runners.

I have and use their 1 and 2-bottle Hydra quiver vest, their gear quiver (love) and was shipped out their new Phone, Flask vest to try and review.

HydraQuiver_VP1_-_Gray_-Back_Angle_3 gear_quiver_black_back_1697bf6d-3f7b-47e3-af89-bd19c69cb685

The Phone, Flask Vest

So this is a vest you slip over your head, pull a strap under your arm and clip on. It holds a cell phone, has a small collapsible flask for fuel w whatever you want to drink on the run, two small shoulder pockets for gels or chews etc. and one extra pocket for maybe keys or a bank card. And this is just in front. On the back is another pocket big enough for a bag of chews or a wallet – and this has a drawstring system over it where you could strap on a jacket or small piece of gear. Wow eh?!


It fits snug and does not move during a run. I tested out on small runs on trail and road and also did some snowshoe running with.


What I thought

For $100 this is a super well-though out piece of kit. It was comfortable, maybe a bit tough to figure out how to get on at first but super cool. It has enough pockets and fuel on board for a short to medium run and you can bring along your phone for safety or selfies! Its perfect for trail running or some urban adventures and as long as you find a way to insulate your phone in winter (wrap in piece of emergency blanket) it works in winter.

As a thin, male runner I do not think about breast issues and did have one female social media follower ask about fit and how it goes across the chest. There are a few images of female runners on the Orange mud website and it seems to fit ok.

So big thumbs up from me – and if this does not meet your needs – you should really go and check out what else they have cooked up for runners.

Find Orange Mud on Twitter @OrangeMud and now some of their gear is on Amazon!


Keep lacing up my friends! Find me on Twitter at @NoelPaine

Stumbling along but not falling

“Life is like a marathon, sometimes its not as planned but you grit your teeth, keep the end goal in mind, try and stay positive and keep moving forward.” – Noel Paine

Its 2018 and has been a while since this skinny ole runningdad has provided an update – to those who read this. For those who have just stumbled across this – its a short – almost journal like entry from a single running dad, runner, lost soul and depression warrior – sharing his travels in life. My writing is for myself but also to share with others – to help, to show you are not alone – who knows.

Runningdad progress

Slowly realizing that although I may relax more and enjoy more my time with my daughter (whom I love) – that I may not enjoy being a dad as much as others. I am ok with that. I had a conversation with a friend recently and he seem perplexed that being a dad was not completely fulfilling. Made me feel like shit and guilty. But I am only who I am. I intend to try and be a good dad and love my daughter – and this journey is not over.

So 2017 was a hard year for me as a dad and have adjusted to being alone – seeing my daughter every other weekend – but it has gotten better. 2018 is here, I will soon be officially divorced and lucky that my daughter’s mother is a good person and we work together and get along despite our relationship ending. Our goal is to show our daughter she is loved.

I am not a perfect dad, nor will probably ever be but plan to be an active, quirky role model for my daughter and be there for her.

Finding happiness

This one is a hard one – for happiness is not a pill or something you are prescribed. It seems to be something you create for yourself and something hard to define. I am working towards finding a way to incorporate my need to help people, a desire to promote healthy, active living and passion for running more into something I do for work. I want to feel more fulfilled with what I do to earn a living. Right now just paying bills – and working as a shoe geek at a running store (fun but pays shite lol) to just get out of the house, make some grocery money and talk to people – while I look for work.

I continue to try and meditate and write in my journal and here – and talk with a psychologist to try and get to know myself better. I have discovered I am someone who wants recognition, often feel I have something to prove, love helping people and have a desire to be loved. I am a bit of a loner and need to make an effort to connect more with real people – I can get lonely despite being busy and having many social media friends.

The end of 2017 was tough as spend Christmas and New Years alone but made an effort to make them positive and get through. I made myself a real Christmas dinner and went for a snow shoe midnight adventure to cross from 2017 to 2018 on foot. Life is what you make it right?

I have recently had some fun creating running logos, caricatures for a few other runners – this makes me happy too.

I am trying to think positive, realize I will not solve everything in a day and continue to run and do positive things – use all my tools to stay away from grip of depression and on the path to a healthy, happy me.

And love life – is that the right word – well thats the paragraph below.

Heart pounding

So I fell for someone – our hearts do not always choose wisely and you often have no control. It was nice to have someone in my life to chat with, to see and who was interested in me. It put a positive spark in the tail end of 2017.

Alarm bells rang for a number of reasons but I continued on, blinded by what many of us experience. I had been scared to open up, to make myself vulnerable again but figured it was better to feel something, to risk than not take a chance. The other person was struggling, I tried to help and be there – but this was their battle. Things did not end as I would have hoped but life is unpredictable. There were some amazing moments and I am happy I met the person – the door is not completely closed but the ball is in their court.

I realize how much I felt for them because of the tremendous struggle I have to let them go – despite knowing it is the right decision.

In the end, I do not need someone – but would like someone in my life. Someone who is positive, or wants to be, may have their own battles but wants to get better and who can return my love openly.


I continue to lace up and try and unwind a hamstring that now seems permanently tight after almost peeling it form the bone with a late 2017 5k training run PB (16:14). Running or strapping on the snowshoes really helps clear my mind and make me feel better about myself. It is not a cure but I think will always be part of my life. I am currently thinking up plans for the 2018 year – races and adventures — but also remembering to be flexible and have fun.

Ok enough out of me – have a good one!

Keep lacing up friends, keep climbing out of bed and see you out on the roads!



Run Therapy?

“Running has always been therapy for me – it just took me years to realize it.” – Noel Paine
In my travels on social media I am always bumping into other runners and finding great stories to share – often too many for me to tackle. Here is one about a Canadian runner, psychologist and someone who has combined normal talk therapy with lacing up the shoes for a run or walk.

Using running as part of therapy

Meet Kristy McConnel. She is the founder of Off the Beaten Path.  She is a registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists helps those dealing with mental health issues in Calgary and Airdrie, Alberta (Canada). She is also a runner and mom.

Off the Beaten Path introduces unique mental health treatment methods that utilizes movement by walking or running together during the therapy session. I have always found there is a link between body and mind and running has helped this runningdad dig himself out of depression – so I was interested to talk to Kristy.


I asked Kristy about herself and her unique way of helping people.

“I started my career as a special education teacher a long time ago. I loved working with the tough kids, but sometimes I didn’t feel prepared to work with the grief that many of my parents experienced on a regular basis. I went on to earn my Masters of Counselling Psychology. Currently I am a psychologist who is interested in using movement through running and walking as a catalyst for the work that we do within the therapeutic relationship.”

I then asked Kristy about her running.

“I remember going for runs with my Dad as early as grade 3. Eventually, he would ride his bike beside me and challenge me to sprint to the next light post. I never really liked that. I’m definitely built for long runs, not sprinting. I joke on my website that the only top finish I have in the record books is once in grade 7 on the beep test. It’s true. I’ll never forget that. Kicked the soccer player’s arses. There have been times that I’ve stepped away from running, but I’ve always come back to it. In high-school I used to run the same 5km loop after school a few times a week to cope with… well… being in high-school.

After having my third child, I started doing half marathons. Running was something that felt like it was just for me, while at the same time carrying the added benefit of helping me be a better wife, mother, friend, and psychologist. Soon enough, I was itching to do a full marathon, but knew that I’d need training. About 5 years ago, I was at a week-long professional development conference on trauma and addiction. Every morning they had facilitated runs with a running coach.

That’s where I met Charles Miron of Solo Sports Systems. That August, with his help, I completed my first full marathon: the Edmonton Marathon. I’ve since completed 2 more and intend to do my 4th this May at the Blue Nose Marathon in Nova Scotia (my great-great-great uncle was George Rhuland who built the first Bluenose). Personal best marathon- Vancouver 2016- 4:15. PB half marathon- Okanagan half marathon 1:53. Charles is still my coach and won the Fire and Ice 250km Ultra Marathon in Iceland last year, so in my mind, he’s kind of a big deal.


Then I asked Kristy about her unique approach to helping those with mental health by incorporating running and walking into your therapy.

“So often we hear about the positive benefits of exercise on our mental health. In fact, doctors have started to prescribe physical activity on their scripts. If you’ve been anxious or depressed, you know that sometimes writing it down on a piece of paper isn’t enough. I’ve often joked with my running coach that I wish my employee benefits would allow me to claim his support, because after all, I feel good during and after running. That’s sort of the genesis of where Off the Beaten Path came from. I then started to research whether or not anyone else out there was doing it. Sure enough, I found a few: Run Walk Talk in California and Dynamic Running Therapy Britain. I connected with Sepideh of Run Walk Talk, and continue to consult with her today. Although California’s climate is much more conducive to running therapy, I knew that Calgarians would be up for it despite our climate.

Seeking help for anxiety, depression, relationship issues, can be hugely intimidating. Sometimes, sitting across from someone in a stuffy office is just too much. Walking or running alongside someone is far less abrasive. There is less pressure. In running, we can be mindful. Mindful of the mind-body connection and how the two works together. Then we can also be curious about how the mind and body work together in other settings: with our partners, kids, and colleagues. If the client comes out running at a full Greyhound speed, what does that say about their tendencies in life? Do they give too much of themselves too quickly? Are they quick to dismiss the cues their body is signaling because they don’t want to disappoint? Running therapy is about getting off of the proverbial coach and using running as a catalyst and metaphor within the work that needs to be done in the client’s life.

I think if I was in the Calgary area I would head out for a run with Kristy. I like her approach and it certainly strikes home – to what I have learned about myself and how running has helped me.
When not running and being a psychologist, Kristy loves being with her family, being active (mountain biking, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing), has recently discovered of paddle boarding and has a love for music.

Off the Beaten Path website:
Kristy on Twitter: @obpwellness
Remember you are never alone running friends and never give in. Run happy.