Tag Archives: passion

Mountain photo

Looking for another mountain to climb

I have news: I am no longer with Vancouver Community College.

I was their Director of Marketing and Communications for three months, and I can honestly say I’ve never learned so much in such a short period of time. It quickly became became clear that my vision for my role (and for the College’s direction overall) wasn’t in sync with my manager’s vision, so we agreed to part ways.

Mountain photoThere’s no blame and no hard feelings in all this. After successfully negotiating the terrain of VCC’s unique culture, and assessing where I want to be in my career and my life, I realized this was not my mountain to climb.

I am grateful for that experience, and for the 15 wonderful people who worked for me in the department. What a talented, creative group of professionals. I will miss them.

In the short term, I am looking at doing some consulting/freelance work while I search for the right full-time permanent opportunity. There are a few irons in the fire, and I want to be careful that the next full-time chapter in my career is a productive, meaningful, and longer-lasting.

I’m doing a lot of research and self-assessment. I’m throwing myself into my professional association, the IABC – BC chapter, by taking on a volunteer role (more on that later). I’m making a list of professional development activities and skills I want to brush up on: advanced social media analytics and measurement, for instance. And, of course, I am eagerly seeking out my next challenge.


Image credit: “cold mountain” by Paul Bica, used under Creative Commons license.


It’s not about me this year

Well, sorta kinda it is about me, but it’s really not.

I’ve signed up to be a volunteer pace group leader at a Frontrunners marathon running clinic, starting January 12 and leading up to the 40th BMO Vancouver Marathon May 1, 2011.

I already know from leading indoor spin-type classes at the YMCA that it’s not about me so much as the participants. Certainly it’s a good way to keep on track with my own fitness and to get in the training to complete the race, but at a certain point a fitness leader has to put aside her own goals and tune in to the needs of the group members.

  • You have to show up even when you don’t feel like going that day.
  • You have to know where the heck your run route is, because you’re out in front.
  • You’re out there for 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 hours, you better make that route interesting, preferably a loop that is do-able in the time frame allowed.
  • You have to adjust on the fly, make sure everyone gets back to the start line, sweep the stragglers if someone’s having a bad day, and be prepared for anything.

As our clinic leader put it this morning, if you’re hell bent on getting a Personal Best this time, don’t be a run leader, be a participant. Runners will sense a pressure to perform, and that leads to overdoing it, overtraining, overuse — injury — and failure to cross the finish line. Maybe not for you, but for them. And the whole idea of these clinics is to get people to the finish line injury-free.

The good news is – helping people achieve their fitness goals is a passion of mine, it keeps me going. It’s why I volunteer at the Y. It’s why I join clinics – because a shared victory is sweeter than a personal one.

Besides, I live to run and I don’t like to run alone all the time.

So if you’re making a resolution to run a marathon in 2011 — sign up for the race, sign up for the clinic. We’ll get you there!


My second job

Did I simply forget how tiring it is to train for a full marathon? Or could it be the extra weekly run and two extra boot camp sessions per week that have me begging for mercy?

Take a little from column A, a lot from column B and you have the reason I wake up in an exhausted fog some mornings. This training schedule is like a second job. For instance, here’s this week’s schedule:

  • Monday: morning tempo run 10-11k; evening “recovery” run with the Running for the Truly Terrified group I started.
  • Tuesday: morning spin class at the YMCA where I’m a volunteer; evening boot camp.
  • Wednesday: evening speed workout with Frontrunners marathon clinic.
  • Thursday: evening boot camp.
  • Friday: one-hour hot yoga at noon because lord knows I need to stretch!
  • Saturday: 19k run (long slow distance: pace 6:50/k, a little over 2 hours)
  • Sunday: hike Witty’s lagoon! (I’m really looking forward to that one!)

As luck would have it, my real job is busy but not crazy-busy, and during the summer I haven’t (yet) needed to put in any overtime hours or travel too much. If that were the case though I’d have to give up something – probably a boot camp session.

As a matter of fact, come August (when my mileage starts climbing again) I will drop one of the boot camps per week, and during taper I won’t weight train at all.

The perennial question for runners is: what are you running from?

Good question. The harder answer (given the fact that marathon training is actually hard on the body) is I have no idea. I can’t think of what I’m avoiding in life by working out so much, I can’t think of anything “chasing” me that would cause me to run away.

The easy answer is: I simply love this, I love running, working out, getting strong, staying youthful, staying healthy; and I love doing it with other people, helping them achieve their fitness goals at the same time I’m achieving mine.

What other possible answer could there be?

Photo: Tori running the Royal Victoria Marathon October 2009 by Bill Broughton