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A Passion for Running

On May 23rd 2015 Passion for Health volunteers attended the Rocky Mountain Soap Women's Run & Walk. It is an annual running race that takes place over two days in Canmore Alberta, featuring race lengths from half marathon to 5km stroller jog. Our Passion for Health volunteers were part of this event, connecting with women and families about health and wellness. Sarah Mclean a Calgary teacher, rock climber, runner and mother shared her perspective of the event...

Climber. Runner. Mom. Weekend warrior. Hiker. Book reader. Good at math. Bad at being on time.  What it is about labels that makes us want to attach ourselves to them or disassociate from them?  Over a year into motherhood, I've had lots of time to think about it. 

I remember running my first Women's Rocky Mountain Soap Race run in Canmore a few years ago.  I had just found out I was pregnant a few months prior and was pretty darn excited to make good on a promise I made to myself to keep doing the things I loved.

A year later, I signed up for the race again, this time with a young baby in the stroller.  There was a lot less running and a lot more laughing with friends and walking.  A little bit of hustling when a certain someone voiced displeasure at sitting in said stroller.  I felt slow.  I hadn't trained very much (ok at all!) for the race.  Was I still a runner? I had enjoyed myself, but do runners walk as much as they run?

The following year, I signed up for a third time, but with a toddler.  This time I walked when I felt like it, I ran when I felt like it ... ok who am I kidding, I definitely picked the downhills for running! Point being, I didn't care.  I signed up for the race with the intention of having a fun run in the mountains and I had a blast.

One of the reasons I, and many of my friends, return to this race is the fun, supportive atmosphere that is fostered there.  While the races are timed and there are prizes given out to the winners, it doesn't feel like a competition.  Everyone is cheered on and encouraged to do their best.

I still think I'm a runner even though I don't run as much or at the same pace I used to.  I still think I'm a climber, even though I probably socialize as much as I climb some nights. Labels are at their most powerful when they connect you to healthy and supportive communities.  If you look at a community, they are full of diverse people with a common passion.  If associating yourself with a specific community (ie biking, running races, hiking, etc) makes you feel good and gets you active, then go for it!  And remember, just because you're not the exact same as someone else in your community, doesn't mean you don't belong.

Do you have a health or fitness community that inspires you and keeps you active? What keeps you coming back to it?