This morning was my best friends birthday and I was unsettled when I woke up in a lull. After a full week and busy yesterday, all I craved was a lazy Sunday, a steady run, and a phone chat to catch up and share her special day. The day started with an uplifting chat and pleasant start, but I caught myself procrastinating- still hoping in a few hours the wind would go away for my run. Realizing lunch had rolled by I finally accepted I wanted more than my short-term comfortable Sunday. it was time to be brave, go into the 70km/h wind, and remind myself despite everything I was procrastinating, it was all going to be okay.

The sun was shining, the wind still roaring. 

I arrived at the empty t(rail) road start-line. My breath was immediately taken away. My lips cracked and my mouth dried out. I started my run, wondering how I was going to get the prescribed work done. Left foot. Right foot. Unrelenting resistance, I was aimed straight into the wind. 

After dodging my seventh tumbleweed five minutes in, I asked the wind head on, Why are you so angry? 

Clearly not interested in conversation, the wind blasted more sharp air onto my face. 

Hmm. I thought to myself, I guess not ready to say.

I carried on running and a few moments later wondered again to the wind, 

Why are you so strong? 

This time the wind answered,

Because I lead by example.

This answer struck a chord of understanding and I unintentionally let out an audible, ahh. I see.  

As I let this answer seep deep into my core the wind continued to test and push my body backward, as if to see if I shared the same resilience, by asking, are you like me

I let out another audible, I guess we’ll see.

Somehow I accepted my fate and found a slow rhythm in my steps to lead me into a runner’s stream of conscious, wondering, how crazy does this make me? Talking to the wind? Maybe I should finally watch Gone with the Wind? Maybe this is the feeling? Ask and you shall receive? Is this the Kumbaya moment coaches send us to the woods for? 

At some point my thoughts were interrupted as I finally arrived at my new workout training grounds: a flat stretch of barren gravel road. I did my drills and workout still into the wind. In case you were wondering, the wind didn’t give up. Neither did I. 

The last part of my run I was instructed to run with the wind at my back. After an afternoon of resistance, tumbleweeds, and eating dirt, it felt good to run fast, with the wind no longer testing me, rather carrying me into a smooth turnover I haven’t felt since being away from the track. I could feel the strength of the wind at my back, and the strength of my own legs as they worked together. Although no other people were in sight, I was no longer alone on the gravel road. Instead I felt the strength of the wind, a new comrade, guiding me home. Despite a ridiculous hairstyle and lull of a start, today ended up being a blessing, and a good lesson learned. In my opinion, I had just had an afternoon to fully embrace what it means to run with the wind. 

Happy Sunday everyone.

Agenda Adjusted

After we emerge from COVID-19 with the common goal of Global Health, I am hopeful for what comes next. Both in my personal capacity as a person and an athlete, but also on the grander scale of our values as a society. 

It’s been an ever-changing last few weeks, and upon reflection, I’m choosing to see a lot of good has come from this new normal, including:

  • A greater appreciation for bringing communities together, especially through the global and local community of sport
  • For the opportunity I have had (and hope to return to) competing as an elite athlete
  • Being in a sport I am still able to competitively train in despite the pandemic
  • In-person time spent with my family
  • Slowing down and listening to music
  • Creating art – innovating in general
  • Time spent to recharge
  • Having quality time going back to my roots
  • Embracing the importance of hope

For anyone who knows me, knows I still carry a paper-copy agenda and write all of my must-dos in here. As discouraging as it was to erase some important dates, I am excited and pleased to rewrite in some big 2021 events. The big ones including July “202(0NE)” Tokyo Olympics, with qualifying race dates reopening Dec. 1, 2020. In addition, Athletics Canada announced Olympic Trials are planned to be back in one of my favourite cities, Montreal next summer. Of course I know these could still change, but for now I find comfort in these plans. 

Since I’ve last checked in: yes, my training facilities are still closed and like everyone else, I train at home or outside on the empty gravel roads/ trails. I can’t wait to get back on the track, but I know that is coming, hopefully in time for some warmer weather too. In the meantime, I’ve stepped up my mental training, and am pleased with the works in progress.

The New Normal: There have been a lot of phone + video calls to catch up with my regulars, but I am so happy to be home-based in Regina. Although a good handful of people still cringe at the thought of me choosing Regina before the chaos, there’s no place I’d rather be. After having so much of what I want over the last few years, it feels good to feel grounded and finally have what I need.

My focus remains steady, and the agenda has officially been adjusted- (for those that don’t know, this mean business)! Now back to washing my hands, running the grids, cleaning my cell phone, and building my empire.

#ReginaAthlete #RunRegina #TeamAlger #WashYourHands