Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guest Blogger: How Running Healed Me by Anna

While I'm away this week, I have asked some of my closest bloggy friends to write some guest posts.  This helps me do a couple of things - fill some space on my blog AND introduce you all to some of my favourite people in this world.  

Today, my very first guest blogger is Anna - the whole reason I started running.  She is an amazing woman and has been a wonderful and supportive friend to me for the last 9 years.  

Follow Anna: Blog | Twitter Pinterest


How Running Healed Me 
by Anna Turner, www.annasantidotes.com

My adventures in running started to heal me long before I ever got sick at least in the physical illness. Running has always been a gift that I have held close to my heart and tried to share with others.  The benefits, the peace and the running community are amazing.

I started to run in March of 2000 and my very first race was the Forzani’s Mother’s Day Race. I raced with my daughter and a colleague and we were both hooked and have had many running adventures.  I did not own a digital camera,  so there are no selfies. Just a great memory of an endorphin rush and a rose.

I had run four marathons and was seeking my fifth - this was in 2008 - and I was busy training for the Vegas full with my daughter Vanessa and my best-est running friend April , when I was feeling really super tired.  Not going to lie - I wondered if I was just getting too old for this running game.  Perhaps my body’s way of saying drop the distance and then you will recover your energy.  That was the hope though, in my heart of hearts, I knew it was something bigger.
I started the search for a diagnosis and dropped to the half distance.  I then found that the half distance left me exhausted as well, so I thought "I will walk".  All of this just left me exhausted and so sad. A week before leaving with my running gang and our entourage I had a biopsy done and was awaiting the results.  Bottom line: I didn’t have the energy even to pull off a reasonable 10km walk.  The hardest thing for a runner is to cheer on other runners when you want to run. There were many tears and unspoken fears that Sunday morning.

I came home and found out I was in Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and then I started the cycles of navigating a new and very scary world.  I started chemotherapy treatment in January 2009  - every three weeks.  This went on for the next 27 months in different and various time windows.

I missed running.  I missed the way it left me feeling complete.  I was missing my companionship that I had with my running community.  

So, at my third treatment - with tears in my eyes -  I asked please (I actually think I may have begged) for the go ahead to let me resume running.  I am guessing not the first question my oncologist was expecting.  My husband supported me as long as I wouldn’t run alone. I have kept my word.

Here are some of my amazing supportive friends who helped me heal.                                                                             

Enter in the couch to 5km app and the support of April by my side. I worked super hard at this and I was slow, but by August I was ready to a 10km race in Edmonton with April and Cori (well, actually, Cori left me in her dust). You can see in the photo below of the three of us.. I was the only one exhausted. I was super proud to cross the finish line.

April and I followed the Team in Training group to San Fran to the half.  This was Cori’s first Team in Training race and Vanessa’s second.  I did finish - super slow but pleased to cross and get a second Tiffany’s necklace. (I had a chemo treatment the Monday before the race.) 

A celebration like you could imagine occurred literally and very spiritually for me. 

I then decided to earn some fundraising money to help others with blood cancers so I trained to do the Goofy with some of the most amazing people in the world. (I did this 10 months after completing my treatments)  I ran some,  I walked some, I cried some, and I laughed and continued to smile for an entire weekend.   I am blessed with the love and support of so many.


I wonder how running healed you?  … was it from a broken heart, bereavement, illness or does it just complete you… 


  1. GREAT JOB!! You have really conquered a few big races! Badassery indeed. I would so agree about feeling blessed how running has some healing and fab powers!! keep at it Anna! xx

  2. Cori and Anna, you were both some of the first runner girls who inspired me to get going and keep going when the going got rough. I admire you both ever so much. :)


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