A few months ago, I was asked if I would do a Q&A for Tuja Wellness, a great online resource for the best health and wellness vendors across Canada. In addition to their amazing city guides, they also publish interesting interviews, reviews, and recipes. Naturally, I was honoured to be considered and even more thrilled when I read the Q&A on their site recently. They did such a great job capturing our conversation. The full text of the interview is below. Check it out, and when you get a chance, make sure you visit tujawellness.com. There’s hours of awesome reading material for your long weekend. Enjoy!
Q&A with Avid Runner Miranda Markham
Miranda Markham is a friendly, energetic Director of Social Media who seems to answer the phone with an exclamation mark.
After dabbling in track and field as a teenager, she took a break during her University years. “Partying and grilled cheese took priority,” she recalls.
After a colleague organized a 10K run in honour of his brother who had died of a brain tumour, she saw it as a chance to do something good for herself and for someone she knew. That inspiring turning point led to more running, and Nike asked her to write a blog posting about her first half marathon. “The caveat of course, was that I actually had to run a half marathon,” she laughs.
With three half marathons, two 30K races and one full marathon now under her belt, we thought we would ask her advice about running. She multitasked, giving us tips while eating a chickpea salad. Who knows, she might have been running at the same time too.
What do you think made you a regular runner?
After I ran my first half marathon, I fully anticipated that it was a one-time deal. However there’s something unlike any other experience when you cross the finish line. You get addicted to the high and the endorphins. I started wondering what I could do. Could I go faster? Could I run further? Turns out I could – I ran my first full marathon in October 2013 close to my 30th birthday. That was an accomplishment!
Does training for a marathon override everything else in life?
Big time! I was training minimum 3 times a week and on the weekend, I did 25K or 30K. I joked that running became my part time job, because it was all that I did. You have to be all in.
What’s one of your favourite perks of running?
Eating is a favourite pastime of mine, and being a distance runner is a good excuse to eat a monstrous amount of food. Absolutely guilt-free! That said, I am not stuffing my face with cookies or chicken wings. I am looking for things that give me power and are easy to digest.
Any favourite pre-run meals?
I love to have a big bowl of oatmeal with fruit on top. It’s not super heavy and is slow to digest. It can fuel me for a long time. I find I burn through toast or cereal too quickly, but every runner is different.
Do you have gels when you run?
They became my best friend when running the full marathon. They are full of synthetics but they are very convenient and portable. I do love to turn to more natural snacks when I have the chance. For a time, I was stuffing an almond inside a date, but obviously there are only so many dates you can carry in your pocket.
Something you wish you knew when you began running…
Don’t neglect other aspects of exercise. When people get addicted to running, it can become all that they do. I cannot stress the importance of cross-training enough. If you become singular with what you do, you can end up with an injury. Continue with strength training, yoga and foam rolling to help you to avoid pain. Take care of yourself!
How do you fit in your runs, working in an office?
I just started as an instructor of the 10K training runs at the Liberty Village Running Room. My office is 100 metres away so I stay at work until the runs start. In the summer, I occasionally run to work in the morning. I can actually run to work faster than I can drive! I also literally “run” my errands.
What are your favourite trails in Toronto?
The Belt Line run is fantastic. It’s great in the winter because it gets hard packed snow. It’s great in the summer because it is a little piece of cottage country in the city. The Martin Goodman trail that runs along the waterfront is also great for long distances and it’s exclusively for runners or bikers. You can run to Mississauga! There are water fountains strategically placed throughout.
Tell us some of your favourite races…
The Oasis Zoo run, a 10K run through the Toronto zoo was a pretty fun race. It’s actually a hilly course. Most people are familiar with the Yonge Street 10K, which has a flat gradual decline. The Zoo run is a little truer to your actual 10K time. I also loved my first overseas race; the British 10K in London England in July. You run past every major attraction! It was the tail end of my honeymoon.
Final advice on running?
No one regrets going for a run. Ever.
Wise words indeed. We’re lacing up our sneakers right now!
Courtney Sunday is a writer, yoga teacher, Pilates instructor, spinning instructor and Thai massage practitioner. She teaches corporations in Toronto the fine art of breathing deeply, and travels too much for her own good. She likes to cook meals from scratch using ingredients from her garden, and would mill her own flour and make her own butter if she had more hours in the day. You can find out more about her at www.courtneysunday.com.