"I also learned that Post-partum psychosis can cause minor delusional moments such as 'I-think-I-can-run-a-10k-race'."
Growing up in a military family has its merits. In my youth, my father - a Canadian Forces aerobatic pilot and fitness enthusiast, would instruct me to 'run around the block' whenever boredom set in. The block, to me, seemed to extend somewhere closer to Moose Jaw. The boredom, on the other hand, was undoubtedly his.
His advice was sound, however, and it wasn't until I moved to Ottawa some 30 years later that I could appreciate his zest for running. For several years, we ran together by the Canal. Every May 1st, we would convene at the Pretoria Bridge to celebrate spring as we jogged past (in my case, occasionally trampling through..) budding tulips. Eventually, I was able to keep up to his 10k pace. Fortunately for me, breaking the sound barrier was something he limited to his aviational endeavours.
Just shy of sixty, Dad was striken with Parkinson's. Despite his unyielding tenacity, he realized that running was no longer possible for him. Although I grieve the loss of our runs together and our special times, he continues to be my inspiration.
And with him in mind, in September of 2000,
I decided to join the Running Room's 10k clinic. There I met a lovely and
doggedly determined woman who had recently graduated from the 5 k clinic.
Linda Wagar never ceased to amaze me, as she soldiered on every week
despite a series of health
I envisaged completing something akin to the Ironman. And on the 19th of November I did indeed race - a grueling 10k, formidably named "The Cookie Run".
Linda and I continued to run together and as she set her sights on the New York Marathon, I found myself increasing my distance simply to enjoy her company. I too was about to realize a wondrous accomplishment, albeit quite by accident.
After an hour and a half run one day, Linda suggested that I join her for the Cumberland half marathon. That, I calculated in horror, translated into a staggering (which is the manner I would undoubtedly favour) twenty-one kilometres. I suggested that she seek counseling.
As a credit to her infectious enthusiasm, I found myself in Cumberland, plodding along beside her for what seemed like the crossing of the Mojave desert - except they serve water. And I used every opportunity to chug the stuff merely as an excuse to slow down. The problem I later encountered took me off the route to seek out an obscure wooded area to ‘un-hydrate’ - only to be advised later by passing race-mates that I wasn’t quite as obscure as I thought.
I never imagined that I would be able to (nay, even want to) run for two hours. Not all that long ago, the only thing I would run for was the bathroom. Apparently I still do.
Thank you, Linda, for your drive, your passion and mentorship.
And thank you, Dad, for providing the vision and for being my inspiration.
It's not such a long road afterall ...... to Moose Jaw.
Cori Slaughter-Sahota, Ottawa,
Ontario, February 2004
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