Friday, July 27, 2012

Why I Love Interim Place

This weekend, Interim Place will be holding its inaugural “Steps to End Violence Against Women” walk.  In my capacity as a board member, I was asked to prepare some opening remarks for the walk and sat down to give some thought as to what I would want to say about Interim Place.  In those quiet moments, I was overcome with thoughts of this incredible organization, but I only have about 30 seconds to speak on Sunday, so thought I would share with you the full version of what I want to say about Interim Place and its work with women experiencing violence and their children.

I didn’t know much when I started working with Interim Place.  I mean, I knew things, but only 2 ½ years later can I look back with a clear understanding of so many things that I was in many ways ignorant about when I walked through the doors.  I’ve learned, for example, that violence is about power more than anger.  I’ve learned that macro political and economic decisions we make impact people (and, specifically at Interim Place, women) in ways that many of us don’t think about when we participate in politics and economics.  I’ve learned that I have many, many privileges, and an undeniable responsibility to think about what I do with my privilege.  So, I love Interim Place in how it challenges my thinking and keeps the realities and experiences of women - and particularly marginalized women - on our community agenda when we might otherwise not be thinking about them.

I love Interim Place because, in the way that I’ve experienced this organization, its doors have a “Welcome Home” sign on it that never gets taken down.  In one of my first blog posts, I posted a video in which Patrick Stewart conveyed his experience growing up in a violent home and I was broken at the moment I heard him say, “We had nowhere to go”.  Of all the challenges that violence and abuse raise, I am always most affected by the idea that women and children in that situation may feel that there is no alternative...there is no way to escape it.  I LOVE that not only is Interim Place a never-closing door for women, but that when women and children come through the door, they are welcomed in a way that endlessly strives to make them feel at home.  Not just a place to go, but a place to go home.

Finally, I love the women of Interim Place.  Interim Place is run by an exceptional management team, staffed by women that commit themselves to frontline work in crisis situations every day, supported by a passionate group of volunteers, governed by a board of directors that I am incredibly proud to be a part of, and visited by some of the most courageous women you could ever hope to meet.  From the first moment I walked up the steps to Interim Place, I have experienced an energy there that is fueled by commitment, passion, social justice, and – yes – love.

It’s no stretch, then, to imagine what drives me to get out on the road to run in support of Interim Place.  I remember arriving to a meeting one night when a woman and her children were exiting a cab to go to the shelter.  My initial reaction was one of sadness and despair for the journey they were facing, until I realized they were entering a space that would welcome them home, keep them safe, and help them to heal.  A marathon doesn’t seem far enough to run in support of that work, and that hope.  This is why I also continue to unabashedly ask you to support the work of Interim Place through a donation to Run Strong.  Every donation made goes directly to support Interim Place’s programs and services.

Thank you for continuing to follow this journey in support of so many other journeys.  And thanks for running with me.

(If you would like to make a donation, please click the link below).  Thank you, thank you!

(Also, if you would like to participate in the Steps to End Violence Against Women Walk, please visit the website at

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's in My Noodle

A few things to start off this week:

Thank You

I want to take an opportunity to say a special thank you to the Interim Place Board of Directors this week. This is an absolutely amazing group of women (past and present) that I am so proud to be a part of. Every time I walk into a meeting that involves the board, someone takes the time to ask how my training is going, and the support these women have shown this initiative has been a great inspiration. Thank you for your dedication to the work of Interim Place and for demonstrating all the amazing qualities and perspectives that women bring to leadership roles.

I also want to thank the incredible people I’ve come across on my training route. From the neighbours and other runners/cyclists out on my route that seem to always take a minute to cheer me on, to the drivers that move to the other side of the road to give me enough space, I’ve witnessed so much generosity of spirit while out training and some days it’s what keeps me going. Thank you!!

Training Update

So, I had moved up to 16 and then 19 km training runs, but felt like I had hit a wall doing the 19 km distance. I’m not sure if it’s been adjusting to the heat or what’s going on, but I had major struggles with my 19k run. So, I consulted with my running mentor, Mike, and he suggested that I dial it back to 16 for a week or 2 and then try again. I’ve been doing 16 km for 3 weeks now and have been struggling to take on 19k again. After my 16k this week, my daughter Hannah asked, “How far did you go, mom?”. “16k”, I told her. She asked why I hadn’t increased my distance again and I admitted that I thought I might still struggle with the increased distance. She said, “Pull it together, mom, it’s only another 3K”. From the mouths of babes…so next Tuesday, I’ll be attempting 19k.


Okay, so in one of my first posts, I said that I would eventually post more about the psychology of running, but because I’m among friends, I feel like I should admit that the only running psychology that I’ve ever studied is my own and, well, I wouldn’t say I’m representative of a broad population of runners.  So, I’m going to compromise and let you in on what goes on in my noodle when I’m out on the road.  This week’s blog is a sample of the honest-to-goodness things I have said to myself while training.  True story…I’ve actually thought each of these things at least once:

-Hi there, pain.  Nice to see you.  Thanks for running with me.  (I got this how-to-stay-happy-while-wanting-to-collapse ditty from the Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer)

-Well, at least I’m at zero risk of getting a ticket.  (While passing the 60 km/hr speed limit sign)

-I’m counting, what, like 450 clouds in the sky right now.  And not one of you can float your fluffy selves in front of the massive ball of burning gas currently searing the top of my head?

-Ignore the squashed animal on the side of the road…just ignore it…pretend it isn’t there…forget it, I’m crossing to the other side.

-Interesting choice I made doing this run at high noon in the middle of July.

-Taylor Swift, you are so right.  Today WAS a fairytale!

-How much further than this is a marathon?! (Or there are multiple variations of this, e.g.:) If I ran from here to Copps Coliseum would that be equal to a marathon? (or) If I added up all the times I’ve walked to work in the past 10 years, would that be equal to a marathon?

-Thank you, God, for the side of the hill that goes down….and for the Freezie I’ll enjoy when this is over.

-Here comes a pack of 20 super fit cyclists, gliding quickly and effortlessly straight towards me in their slick racing gear.  This definitely isn’t going to be awkward.

-Wonder what the chances are that Eric and the girls will swing by in the car in the next 45 minutes.

-Giggle.  Giggle.  (Every time I pass the deer crossing sign on Centre Rd. where someone has drawn a red ball on the deer’s nose)

-(As I approach my turn-around point) 50 metres…40 metres…30 metres…20 metres…10 metres…Can I get an AMEN…I’m now running home!!!!

-Terry Fox ran a marathon everyday while battling cancer and on a prosthetic leg.  Quit your complaining, Corrie, and do this.

-Oh, no you didn’t!  (To a mosquito I nabbed that was depleting my much-needed blood supply)

-Sure hope I make it home in time for the (insert event here).  (e.g., conference call/dentist appointment/Mentalist).

-Sure hope people donate to Interim Place (this is actually more of a shameless plug…if you haven’t yet donated, please consider supporting Interim Place’s work with women that have experienced violence and their children by clicking on the link below )

-The iPhone is the greatest invention the world has ever known. Not only can I listen to my playlist while training, but if I experience heart failure/get attacked by a coyote, I can call for immediate help.

-I am so grateful for my legs.

-I wonder if any of the random strangers that live along this stretch of road would mind if I borrow their hose.

-Someday I hope to complete one of these runs in a time that I’d be proud to post on Facebook.

-(And, when the going gets really tough, I think of this quote)

Thanks for running with me!!