Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Blogger: Marlo Taylor

Corrie's note: Every once in a while, I am going to give you a break from what's in my head and ask someone to share their thoughts on Run Strong.  This week's guest blogger is Marlo Taylor, my incredible sister, and one of the fabulous brave souls that has agreed to run with me.  Marlo, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and for being the world's best sister.  This week, I also want to say a special thank you to the wonderful Sandra C. for joining the list of blog followers and to a long-time friend and amazing soul, Becky J., for your message of encouragement that made my week.

So, with no further ado, I give you Marlo (thanks for running with me).
Let’s be clear: I am not a runner.

At different times in my life, I have aspired to be one. I have tried to be one. And, I have even thought – very very briefly – that I was one.

But, the truth is that running and I have an uneasy relationship at best. On most runs, I complain and curse and fight every step. My iPod’s sole mandate is to drown out the sound of my own complaining.

I do understand, however, that that’s not really the kind of message to be found here at Run Strong and am 100% certain that that’s not what Corrie was hoping for when she asked me to contribute to this effort.

So, why start out with disclaimers, and grumpy ones at that? Well, one, because it’s honest, and two because I am going to do this run anyway. I am going to be there for Corrie. I absolutely want people to know about and support Interim Place, but I am doing this for my sister.

I read a quote somewhere that said “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” So, my sister has asked for our help, and I will not refuse. My sister is this kind of person. She’s a leader dedicated to leaving the world a better place. And when someone like that asks you to come along, you go.

So, bring it on, cold days. I will look for the sunshine behind the snow bank. Bring it on, wet shoes. I will let each step remind me of all of those who can’t just turn the corner and head for a warm and safe home. Bring it on, long, long road. I will celebrate this journey as I celebrate the journey of the women Corrie is so committed to helping. And I will do all of that because she asked me to.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

20 Life Lessons I Learned from Running

Over my running years I've pondered a thing or two about myself and/or life while out on the open road.   So, for this week's blog, I give you...

20 Life Lessons I Learned from Running
20. I’ve often doubted that I could go the distance, but I’ve almost never thought I couldn’t take  the next step.
19.   Sometimes the hardest part is committing to getting your shoes on and getting out the door.
18.   I move over to the side to be courteous and/or keep myself safe, but I never forget that it is a shared road.
17.    I am certain I love summer because I’ve gone running in the winter.
16.   The touch screen on an iPhone doesn’t work when you’re wearing gloves (there’s no metaphor here…I really learned this when I was running while playing music on my iPhone on a cold day).
15.   Perspective is everything.  Whether you hate a challenge or embrace it will determine what it ultimately does to you.
14.   You can achieve amazing things with nothing but a pair of shoes and some open road.
13.   Always frame the picture of yourself crossing the finish line.
12.   When you’re going up a hill, lean into - not away - from it.
11.   It’s always important to know where your keys are (again, not a metaphor).
10.   I’m the gatekeeper of what gets in my head.
9.       I can’t lose focus because people pass me.
8.       The difference between weakness and strength – between struggle and achievement – is commitment.
7.       I can’t tell how fast you run by looking at you.
6.       Fear puts up way more barriers than time or ability.
5.       The most priceless thing I have is a cheering section.
4.       If you want to be a marathoner, you have to learn to say, “I am a marathoner”.
3.       Running shoes come in all kinds of flashy colours and styles, with lots of bells and whistles.  But, at the end of the day, the perfect ones for me are the ones that fit my feet.
2.       Water and knowledge are critical and precious.
1.       (In the words of my brother) This is what I should do today: Make change.  Train hard.  Run Strong.

Thanks for running with me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5 Weeks and In Memory...

Happy New Year!

So it’s now 2012 and – guess what – my marathon is in 2012.  Oy.  There’s no more saying, “when I run my marathon next year…”  I thought it was a super clever idea to put a timer counting down to race day on the Run Strong website but, whoa, is it moving fast.  I am, however, happy to announce that I am up to an 11.2 km route that I did for the first time over the holidays.  It hurt, but I did it!
As many of you – who have made fun of me for watching The Secret at least once every few months– know: I am a big believer that we are who we believe we are.  And we achieve what we believe we’ll achieve.  When I first put the idea of Run Strong out there, there was a part of me that feared that people wouldn’t get it, or that people wouldn’t feel compelled to support it, or - perhaps worst of all - that people didn’t think I could do it.  But, there was another, more powerful, part of me that knew not only that I would finish the marathon, but that I am connected to some of the most generous, supportive people with such a strong sense of social justice, and that, out of that network, Run Strong would take on a life beyond what I had envisioned for it.
And so has gone the story of Run Strong in its first 5 weeks.
It all started with Kevin at CCI.  Kevin is the Sales Associate that worked with me to develop the Run Strong website and one of the very first to hear of the concept of Run Strong.  In the middle of the website development process – in a routine email he sent me about the site – Kevin added a paragraph saying that he thought Run Strong was a great idea and that he was considering running the marathon.  I hadn’t even launched it yet and I couldn’t sit still knowing that Kevin wanted to get involved!  Every time one of you have posted a link to the blog on Facebook or sent a message encouraging me or posted a comment or offered to run with me, it has stopped me in my tracks.  Honestly.  My eyes have watered many times when I’ve opened my email or logged on to Facebook and discovered how gracious you’ve been about taking up this cause.  This week I want to give a special shout out to my awesome brother-in-law Dean for being awesome; to my neighbor Lisa for being the latest amazing runner to say she’ll run with me; to the fantastic Taryn W., and Sharon F. - 2 incredible women who are now blog followers; to my cousin Tara N., a woman who really and truly inspires me; and to one of my favourite people in the world, Howie P., for also following my blog (and always cracking me up).  Because of all of your support I’m proud to say that the Run Strong blog had over 650 page visits in its first month!
There is one additional very special thank-you I want to say this week.  When I was at Queen’s University, I was blessed to become friends with Mike Herzog, truly one of the funniest, kindest people I met during my years in Kingston.  Mike and I haven’t seen each other since our days at Queen’s, but – through the magic that is Facebook – we’ve been able to keep up-to-date on the latest in our respective lives.  When I first posted about Run Strong on Facebook, Mike immediately re-posted and asked his networks to support this initiative.  It was incredible to me that an old friend would so willingly advocate on behalf of something that means so much to me.  That was just the beginning: Mike has generously offered to use a platform he has developed for endurance athletes called GoodGuysTri to get the message out about Run Strong.  GoodGuysTri has a fabulous and active following and Mike has pro-actively come up with ways that this wonderful platform can support the Run Strong initiative.  I was humbled and overwhelmed to have access to this amazing community of athletes that Mike has built and wanted to sincerely thank you, Mike, for your incredible support.  I also want to encourage everyone to visit and to support the work Mike does to fundraise for impossible2Possible (i2P), an organization that inspires, educates, and empowers young people.
To close this week, I wanted to dedicate a few moments of remembrance to the women in Ontario that lost their lives to gender-based violence in 2011: women killed by a current or former partner.  In memory of these women please take a moment to watch this video created by Women’s College Hospital: reflecting on these women and remembering each of them by name is so important to understanding why it is critical that we continue to work to end violence against women.  Thanks for running with me.

Dec. 6 - Women's College Hospital Remembers from Women's College Hospital on Vimeo.