Last week, I was verklempt. I blame London. I was stoked to get there for a few days of R&R after my action-packed adventure in Jordan. I used to live in London, and whenever I’m back in my old stomping ground, I get emotional.
I cried when my friend Kirstie and I discussed the Royal Wedding. (For real.) Then I started to well up as the bus approached Richmond, where our family lived when my daughter, Eve, was little. I should’ve been happy, and I was, but I was also super nostalgic. Entering Marble Hill Park, I was flooded with memories of picnics, playdates and unexpectedly: running.
I don’t think of myself as a runner. It’s something I pick up every few years and drop again. I’d forgotten how often I ran there. Wandering along the Thames Path on it came again – the sniffles. I flashbacked to running with a stroller alongside the historic river. When I lived here, my mom was alive, my daughter was a mere babe and I was a stay at home mom – who ran.
Life was so much simpler back then. I wondered, there on the Thames, how did it evolve into this crazy jigsaw puzzle? Do I consciously do the things I need to do for me and my health or am I fitting in those priorities around the schedules of others?
Walking along my old running path made me realize a few things:
- I need to get my st*ff in order. Pare back. Do less. Focus on what’s important.
- I’m craving the outdoors, breathing in all the fresh air and running. So fast. (In my fantasies.)
- Frequency is more important than duration. Make the effort to connect even if it’s not for very long.
Weirdly, I don’t think of running as physical exercise. For me it’s a mental job. It restores my mind and helps me to sift through the minutia of the day. After running, I’m sharper and am much less more prone to nagging The Huz.
And so, I work hard to keep the endorphins running high in my body. I do this mainly through exercise, with side doses of cake, celebrity magazines and Outlander. I know firsthand getting your heart rate up helps reduce anxiety and improves your mood. I just found out aerobic exercise – like jogging – is newly recommended in clinical guidelines to help treat mild to moderate depression. Interesting…
A women’s run for mental health
Thanks to my reflective moments in London, I’ve decided to sign up for my first EVER organized run. Besides getting all nostalgic along my old running path, I was totally inspired by my friend Kirstie, who actually ran a half marathon recently. She has three kids and is the least sporty/athletic person I know! (Sorry, K!) Being the competitive sort I am, if Kirstie can do it, I betcha I can, too.
So, on June 10, I’ll be running in the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women in Calgary. This is Canada’s first and only women’s and girls’ running race series, benefitting women’s mental health initiatives across the country. My run, which supports the Calgary Health Trust, raised more than $150,000 last year alone!
Folks, this is the deal. Each year over 3 million Canadians between 12-19 years-old are at high risk of developing depression. We need to have an open dialogue with our kids – about sex, school, their friends and most importantly, that mental health is as important as physical health.
I’m hoping Eve will run with me, as running with friends and family is a major motivator. I’m not forcing her and she hasn’t committed yet, but fingers crossed, it’ll happen. Most excellently, Shoppers Drug Mart, The Running Room, local police departments and high schools across Canada are also teaming up to help educate female students about mental health and the benefits of physical activity through the Run for It program..
In this program, students are not only getting physical training, but are also taught about the prevalence of mental health illnesses, strategies to deal with mental health issues and how to fight the stigma. It kind of annoys me this wasn’t available when I was a kid, but whatever. I don’t begrudge any female student the opportunity to build more resilience and confidence through exercise.
Run with Jody (Is this the mom equivalent of Vote for Pedro?)
Would you do me a solid and join the Run for Women Calgary? You can sign up under the “SHOPPERS LOVE.YOU. AMBASSADORS” team here.. No need to run. You can also walk the 5K or 10K course. By registering and fundraising, you can make a difference in your life and the lives of those in need. Every dollar raised supports mothers, daughters, and friends through the funding of programs that allow women to take the next step to recovery.
Here’s how to join:
- Select the city you live in
- Answer whether or not you are an SDM employee
- Copy/Paste “LOVE. YOU. Ambassadors” into the team search bar
- Register for the 5k run/walk team, with your information
If you’re not in Calgary, don’t worry! You can still sign up for the “SHOPPERS LOVE.YOU. Ambassadors” team in 14 other runs across Canada (excluding Quebec), for a chance to win $150 gift cards from Shoppers Drug Mart or Brooks shoes ($200 value) from the Running Room. You might even get a chance to run with one of the other Ambassadors. We are all super fun and don’t bite.
Luckily for all of us, I won’t be jet lagged when I hit the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women. I might be weepy though. But you’ll be supportive whatever my mental health state is, won’t you?
This post presented in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart.