Never have my legs looked soooo long!

Running Wild…

A little over a year ago I experienced something totally new. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I had massive feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. Crazy butterflies and unease in my solar plexus and belly, loud heartbeats, excess ‘electricity’ coursing through my system, and heaviness in my chest. I have NEVER felt that before. I am, and have been, someone who is pretty calm, cool and collected, and who doesn’t stress much.

Then all of a sudden…WHAM!

Let me tell you I did not enjoy it – at all.

I knew well enough that what I was feeling wasn’t about what was happening in my life – every feeling was disproportionate to what was going on. Extremes like I have never experienced before.

So I did all the things I know of — reached out to my Five Element acupuncturist to do some energy clearing, saw my Traditional Chinese Doctor, started taking herbs, saw my chiropractor (she does much more than adjust my skeleton), did yoga, breath work, meditated, and started working with a hypno therapist. Basically – anything to NOT feel this way (well, except for drugs and alcohol – that’s a firm no for me!).

Bear with me – I know it’s a long intro to get to the running bit. I just wanted to be clear what was happening.

During one of the treatments with my Chinese Doctor, she told me that she really felt what was happening was physical – I wasn’t doing anything wrong or making bad life-decisions. I can not tell you what a relief it was to hear her say that. She also told me that I needed a lot of cardio…that I needed to move my body more.

And that’s what I did. I headed back to Tokyo, where I was working, and made sure I ran every morning. Even if I had only 15 minutes, I headed down to the gym (I was still living in a hotel at that time) and ran. I quickly understood and felt how much this helped. That little bit of cardio in the morning helped moved energy through my nervous system, which in turn meant I felt better.

This isn’t the first time I’ve run regularly, but it had been a while. And I have definitely been running more consistently than ever. Over the years in Vancouver I ran three half marathons (each one slower than the previous one…what??? That’s not the way it is supposed to go! Ha!).

During my first half marathon the leaders of the actual, full, marathon came running by, leaving me in the dust. I was amazed at how they seemed like they weren’t really touching the ground…such a smooth, gliding stride.

Let’s be clear – I am NOT that. I am ‘heavy’ on my feet, I step with purpose. I don’t really enjoy running itself, but I like how I feel once I am done. So I do it. And a lot of times it’s a constant mental battle to keep going and ignore the “why am I doing this?”, “I’m so slow”, “I suck at this”, etc. going through my mind.

I love running along the dyke in Richmond – with views of airplanes coming and going from Vancouver International Airport, the mountains, sea planes, birds – all of it on a dirt path which is much better for my knees.

When I first started running in Vancouver it was with a group of friends. We met on either Saturday or Sunday morning, ran, and then went for brunch. It was really all about the brunch… Lots of laughs, long talks, ups and downs (and that’s not just the terrain). I miss my Vancouver running buddies. The half marathons I ran were with them.

This time however, it’s me running on my own.

On the plus side, it’s a great way to clear the mind, work out any frustrations, and help balance out my nervous system and hormones.

It is also a fabulous way to discover new cities – or rediscover familiar ones.

Watching Mother Nature do her thing is also a benefit to running regularly. It has been a while since I spent time somewhere with such distinct seasons and I loved seeing spring turn into summer.

It is amazing to see the transformation and growth – all within a few weeks.

One of the advantages of being in a small town, surrounded by countryside is that you sometimes end up with running mates…

As my work has had me travelling regularly over the past year, I was able to use running as a way to see and experience new routes in new cities.

I had the opportunity to spend time in Lausanne – and running along Lake Geneva (Lac Leman to the French) was a treat.
The International Volley Ball Federation – I mean really, what kind of money does an international sport federation have to be able to call a place like this “home office”? And what you can’t see here is the tunnel that was created from the office to the lakeside path. Crazy!

I was also able to combine my trips to Lausanne with visits to my brother and his family in Germany. A different terrain, and equally as beautiful.

Farms and fields.
Sunflowers and rooftops.

I have left Granby and am back in Montreal now. And I am happy to be living close to the Lachine Canal, which means I can continue to run by water. I’ve come to realize that I need some kind of nature on my runs – and if at all possible, water. As thankful as I am to the big beautiful trees in Tokyo, I always have loved the water. One day I will find the perfect combination of both big trees and water!

As much as I hated the overwhelming and sometimes somewhat debilitating anxiety, I am thankful it lead me back to running. Oh, and did I mention the anxiety was replaced by very deep dark sadness for a while?Ya, that was fun. And when I say dark, I mean dark… Ugh. I was constantly reminding myself to just keep going, that this wasn’t permanent and that it would pass.

Thankfully the darkness has gone and the anxiety is also pretty much gone.

Running is now firmly part of my morning routine and one that I have come to cherish – time in nature, moving my body, moving energy, and feeling better all around.

Do not misunderstand me, there are NO plans for half marathons or anything of that sort. Just a regular shortish (4-7km) run. That’s all I need and want.

All of the above said…I have a bone to pick with Mother Nature, the Universe, God…all of them. First you say “no Lise, you can not have children”, and then you say “but you still have to go through the crazy hormonal shifts”. I cry foul! That is one warped sense of humour…

I will continue to run. Run through the wild ride that life throws my way. Keep my body moving and in good shape so that I can keep mobile and healthy as long as possible.

Run baby run – one step at a time.

P.S. I have been in Ottawa the past few days for family reasons. A great example of getting out for a run and rediscovering a city I once lived in.

I was lucky enough to run by the Rideau Canal locks when they were at work, letting two boats through. Fun to watch – and I was okay with the little break from the run 🙂