Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I hope you’ve been inspired or motivated or learned something new!
I just want to share a little about myself…
I am 28 years old… living in a relatively small city outside Vancouver… I’ve lived here nearly all my life, except for 2 years that I spent in the Middle East in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia! I’ve been home for a year now though and it has been so wonderful!
Living in a very conservative Muslim country with many rules and regulations about what females may and may not do, and many restrictions on my freedom, I appreciate my life in Canada so much more!
In Riyadh, I could not just run out my door and down the street for a run. For starters, I had to wear a big black, billowing abaya that would have tripped clumsy me for sure. Also, no sidewalks really and the craziest traffic I’ve ever seen (aside from in Vietnam) so it would also have been very hazardous. Plus, it would have been seen as highly inappropriate and I can hear the Muttawa (religious police) shouting just thinking of this!
I was lucky to work and live at a hospital near the Diplomatic Quarters, 10ish square km free zone with walls and security and beautiful paths and trails where I could run freely in regular athletic wear with no repercussions. But it did require a little drive and planning and coordination with a driver, as as a woman I was not allowed to drive myself, and sitting in traffic to get to the DQ.
Large portions of the year were extremely hot and unbearable for running, even in the late evening hours or very early in the morning, and it was almost always dusty. I can still taste the dust on my tongue and feel the sand pepper my face from those days when a sandstorm blew in while we were running! Occasionally we were blessed with rainfall that freshened everything up and it was beautiful to run through the date palm forest in the Diplomatic Quarters or along the wadi… as long as it wasn’t all flooded from the rainfall!
So, being back home in Canda, especially on the west coast where the vegetation is lush and everything is so green, the mountains tower over in various shades of purple and blue and green… and there’s water everywhere… it is something I’ll never take for granted again and I appreciate the ability to run in it every single day! It’s also been the greatest reason I’ve launched into trail running.
After 2 years of running through a dusty, dry and very hot cement jungle, I can’t bear the thought of only running on roads. I saw pictures of trail running while living away from home and told myself that when I returned, I was going to become one of those trail runners… just to run through nature! And I’m working on it…
Another fun fact about me… I’m a Registered Nurse, and have been nursing for over 5 years now, mostly as a palliative complex care nurse but I have also worked in an oncology/hematology – “chemotherapy” clinic as well as in Radiation Therapy.
As a palliative complex care nurse, I work with the 1% of cancer patients with advanced or terminal cancer, who develop severe and intractable symptoms that require complicated and advanced treatments to help reduce/resolve their symptoms. My patients require large doses of medications jsut to tturn in bed or hobble to the toilet and most will never experience the joy of a run or even walk freely again! My patients and their families are the strongest, bravest, most inspiring population I’ve ever worked with. They have an appreciation for life that many of us do not have and despite the challenges and sadness of their situation, there is often so much light and laughter and love.
However, it is a mentally and emotionally draining job and I need an outlet outside of work to maintain my well being to ensure that I can provide care with a compassion and empathy.
Running is that outlet for me.
After a challenging or frustrating day at work, or a particularly sad or emotionally draining case, or even on a positive and happy day, I run to process the day, clear my head and feed my soul for a new day! Running in nature, with beautiful mountain views, is where I find peace and serenity and that translates into compassion and empathy and joy in everything I do.
And every time that I run, especially when the going gets tough… I realize that no matter how much I struggle, my struggle will never be as hard as my patients struggle! It may be hard, but I am strong and healthy and my running is an expression of the great depth of health and wellness and inner strength within me.
Running is the ultimate expression of health and wellness and running puts all of life into perspective for me. And I hope that through this blog and in general in life, that I can inspire more people to run to experience the great physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual benefits of regular running!