My Unstoppable Niece


It was around this time of year two years ago that I received a request through my wife from my niece Caron. Would I consider running with her on her Saturday long runs as she trained for the Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver that August?  Although she had been running for some time, and had completed several five and ten kilometer races over a few years, the half marathon would be a whole new challenge for her.

Starting Corral ftaken by Caron rom Seawheeze 2015

Starting corral taken by Caron from Seawheeze 2015

My answer to this request without hesitation was a resounding YES.  I am definitely not much a trainer, but I do love to encourage others achieve their goals.  The biggest bonus for me was to get to know my niece better.  Life is busy, and running being something we both love, this was a great way to connect.

 

Image Source

Image Source

Rain or shine, Saturday mornings was the time for our meet up runs.  Caron already had a training plan she was faithfully following.  I really had nothing much to offer or add training wise.  But I loved being there for support those Saturday mornings on what were her long training runs.  Seeing Caron’s confidence grow as our runs stretched from 10 kilometers and beyond was beautiful. Twelve, fifteen, seventeen and nineteen kilometers.  She was prepared.  Yes she was going to fly those 4,000 miles to Vancouver, meet her friend out west and smash that half marathon.  And she did just that!  🙂

Such a HUGE accomplishment for Caron after running her 1st half marathon in Vancouver in 2014.

Such a HUGE accomplishment for Caron after running her 1st half marathon in Vancouver in 2014.

After Caron’s 2014 half marathon our training runs together simply ended.  I still continued my training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon which was held in the middle of October.  The year 2014 rolled into 2015.  A new year and more training for both of us.  Starting in March 2015 I was running at least a race a month, and Caron was training for another Seawheaze Half Marathon.  But in 2015 she was unstoppable, oozing with confidence, nothing could hold her back.  She was part of a Facebook runners group page where members encourage and challenge one another.  And through that Facebook group her #runstreak was born: running at least a mile each and every day, no matter the weather conditions, no matter how you are feeling.  The discipline this takes is tremendous.  I can think of the numerous times I decided not to run on certain days because I was not up to it.

In Canada the weather can reach opposite extremes. Summer days can reach into the 30's with high humidity. Winter days can get as low as the -30's plus wind chill.

In Canada the weather can reach opposite extremes. Summer days can reach well into the 30’s Celsius with high humidity. Winter days can get as low as the -30’s Celcius plus wind chill. Taken July 20th, 2015 on an extremely hot day.  Day 100 of Caron’s Runstreak.

Caron has an Instagram account @this.girl.runs that has built up a very large following.  In it she records every day of her #runstreak, often including her thoughts during her runs which offer words of inspiration and encouragement.  Her runs are a minimum of 1 mile, but most are MUCH, MUCH longer distances.  After her original runstreak goal of 100 days, it just felt normal to continue.  It had become routine.  One hundred days in a row became two hundred days in a row, which became three hundred days in a row.

Runstreak day #225.

Runstreak day #225.  The other season extreme is winter. Caron is wearing “yaktrax” for better traction.

Over those many months we have encouraged each other with our running and with our races through Facebook.  Sometimes we have even were at the same event but ran different distances.  I knew she was easily going to make the 1 year #runstreak.  Even though many times we mentioned we should get together for another run it never happened.  Knowing her 1 year daily running anniversary would fall on Sunday April 10th,  I contacted her a couple of weeks prior to see if she would like to run with me that that day.  And we made it work and did run together that day!  🙂

Sometimes we raced the same event, but different distances. This race was on June 27th, 2015, day #77 of Caron's Runstreak.

Sometimes we raced the same event, but different distances. This race was on June 27th, 2015, day #77 of Caron’s Runstreak.

 

Caron had run a long training run of 37k’s the previous day.  That same previous day I ran a much shorter 10k race event.  A short 5k was the perfect fit for both of us.  So much had happened in our individual running accomplishments over those 20 months since we last ran together.  But then again as we ran it seemed like nothing happened, just like old times as we ran together.

A brisk -10C morning for our 5k run together on Day #365 of Caron's Runstreak. Such a proud uncle! :)

A brisk -10C morning for our 5k run together on Day #365 of Caron’s Runstreak. Such a proud uncle! 🙂

 

Caron had nothing but praise for her husband who looks after their 2 precious girls while she goes on her runs.  And the family is at the events cheering her and supporting her on as she races.

Day 34 of Caron's Runstreak. Such as on this 7k run, sometimes the family rides along while Caron runs.

Day 134 of Caron’s Runstreak. Such as on this 7k run, sometimes the family will ride along while Caron runs.

After running 365 days in a row covering several thousand kilometers, Caron mentioned that no matter how well you eat, care for yourself and train there will be bad runs.  It might be a run that just does not go well.  It might be a race event that you are well prepared for but goes wrong.  It happens.  But tomorrow is a brand new day.

During our short run there was times when we chatted and times when we ran together silently.  Breaking one of those silent periods Caron looked over and quietly said, “I think tomorrow is going to be a rest day”.  My mind was scrambling, “Is this the end of the runstreak”?  Breaking my thoughts she continued, “My family is so important, they are my priority”.  She did not want to go back to her old ways of not running but also wanted a new chapter and new challenges that did not involve that daily sacrifice from her family.

 

 

The new chapter is ultra trail running.  Her 1st race is called “Pick Your Poison” a 50k trail race that involves 1613 metres of assent. This is the same as 5292 feet, or over a mile of vertical….running on trails.  I contemplated doing the 50k, but did not feel I was prepared enough and will be running the 25k…half the distance, and half the elevation.  Once again different distances from Caron! 😦

A cool thing is I have done some training runs where Pick Your Poison is to be held. Photo taken last summer as I was preparing for another trail race. Being early spring, conditions could be much wetter.

A cool thing is I have done some training runs where Pick Your Poison is to be held. (just a few miles from home). Photo taken last summer as I was preparing for another trail race. Being early spring for Pick Your Poison, trail conditions could be much wetter.

As mentioned previously, Caron is on Instagram under the name this.girl.runs. This was her post on her 1st rest day in a year.

“Be brave enough to say good bye and life will reward you with a new hello.
Hello trail running.
Hello ultra marathons.
Hello rest day 🎉
Despite a huge desire to run I am calling it at day 365. My legs are sore from the mileage this weekend so I’m listening to my “coach” and limiting my activity to a trail walk tonight. It’s going to be hard as it’s so nice out today but it’s what I need to prepare for my ‪#‎ultra‬.
3 weeks until I run my first 50km trail race. It’s like having a new boyfriend. I’m so excited!!! I just need to get through today😂
Be brave enough to say good bye and life will reward you with a new hello.”

The day after Caron's 1 year runstreak and looking forward to the new road ahead as an #ultrarunner.

Instagram photo accompanying Caron’s quote above. The day after Caron’s 1 year runstreak and looking forward to her new road ahead as an #ultrarunner.

Caron, I am so proud and honoured to be your uncle.  Thank you for all your inspiration.  Congratulations on your one year #runstreak.  Am SO looking forward hearing about your new accomplishments as an ultrarunner. And we should really get together for another run soon!  🙂

Categories: People

40 comments

  1. Oh Carl, what a great post! Another I might add…..;)

    I loved hearing how you bonded with your niece over running and how Caron transitioned out of the daily run to ultra marathons. Good metaphor there for moving forward in life and remembering what’s important.

    Seriously though, running in -10c weather? That’s crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Caron sounds like an inspiration who listens to the inner voice. Knowing your priorities and understanding your body’s demands is important and she has maintained that balance. You seem to have shared some great time together… And inspired each other. Good luck for your run 🙂 To both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful comment Prajakta. Caron does have such a remarkable grasp of her priorities and keeping them in check and balance. She is an inspiration. I love it when we get together, but even the times when we don’t get together, through technology we still encourage and inspire each other.

      Like Caron, I am really looking forward to this Pick Your Poison race. Thank you so much for your Good Luck wishes to both of us. It means a lot! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  3. You are amazing! How wonderful to support your niece and getting ready for an ultra. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Go, Caron, Go! That’s awesome!!! And I know she’ll rock the Pick Your Poison!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Fleck. ALWAYS love that spirit of yours. Yeah Caron is going to be absolutely AMAZING at Pick Your Poison!! So many runners like myself are just getting back into more consistent training., but Caron is totally ready to tear up those trails!

      Thanks you so much for stopping by, for reading and all your support! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a wonderful post! Love how you and your neice have bonded over your love of running. Both of you are a real inspiration! Will be checking out her instagram for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much Tasha for dropping by and for sharing your very kind words. When I look back over these past 2 years, it has been pretty cool.

      And thanks for checking out Caron’s Instagram. I don’t have an Instagram account myself, but I have been on Caron’s site. Lots of inspiration there! 🙂

      Thanks again Tasha! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your niece is amazing! Congrats to her! Also, you are an awesome Uncle! Love your support!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So great to have your visit Jenna. Your words are so very kind. It is wonderful to “meet” you. Will be stopping over to your blog.. Thank you for taking the time to read, and thank your for sharing your very generous comment! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations to Caron – both for the dedication & commitment to her runstreak, and for the bravery to end it. How exciting to move on to the challenge of ultrarunning! She has a fantastic perspective, through her own eyes & through yours. Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can see why you are so proud of your niece, Carl…she seems like a beautiful person, inside and out! And such motivation…wow! I loved reading your story of how the two of you bonded. I have five nieces that mean the world to me, and so I know just how important and precious a relationship like that is.

    Good luck to you both in the Pick Your Poison marathon! I look forward to your recap when it’s done. 🙂
    Denise

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always appreciate your kind, supportive words Denise. Caron is an amazing person, and a very precious niece. She has probably been running a lot longer than me, and it is incredible through her 1st half marathon training, we started to run together, bond and support one another in our running. Thank you for sharing about your own nieces. Very beautiful!

      I am doing a training run tomorrow (1 loop of 12.5 kilometers) with a guy who has run Pick Your Poison several times. I hope I don’t hold him up to much…LOL! 🙂

      Denise, thank you for reading and taking the time to share such a beautiful comment! 🙂

      Like

  9. I so loved this post for many different reasons. The family support. The tenacity to continue plus the courage to change. Very inspiring, both of you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for taking the time to read Lilka, and for sharing your thoughts to sum up the post in such a powerful, beautiful way. The family support was HUGE for Caron. She has so much praise for her husband. And it is really cool that her oldest daughter runs along on her shorter runs. Very precious.

      Your words “tenacity to continue plus the courage to change” sums up Caron so well. She is so amazing, and I am so very proud of her!

      God bless Lilka, thanks again for sharing! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had to pipe in at this point, because Lilka said exactly what I was trying to put into words…..very inspiring post!!
        (on a side note: you brought me back to when we lived in Denver many years ago…running in the snow and cold…I got spoiled living in San Diego for 24 yrs. after that)

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are always such an encourager Kirt. Thank you so very much! 🙂
        There definitely would be winter weather extremes from Denver and San Diego.
        I remember you mentioning way back that knee issues are restricting your running, which has got to be hard. Hopefully San Diego has lots of opportunity for hiking.
        Thank you for reading Kirt, and for your wonderful comment! 🙂

        Like

  10. How awesome is this? I love the idea of a #runstreak – and I am so glad you got to play a part in getting her motivated to run. You may be proud of her, but I am sure she is proud of you.

    Also, this is inspiring – it would be an awesome thing to do with Choppy, with modifications. Something like a #walkstreak, where I walk her a mile no matter what (though I suppose with traveling, there would have to be some modifications, because I can’t always take her with me)…

    Liked by 1 person

    • The #walkstreak with Choppy sounds like a tremendous idea Sarah! Perhaps a modification could be whoever is looking after Choppy when you are travelling could take Choppy our for the mile walk, and separately, wherever you may be on your travels you would get your walk in as well….and the #walkstreak continues. it would be something so cool to strive towards, and something we could follow along as readers! 🙂

      Caron has become such a strong runner and I am indeed so proud of her. She is ALWAYS so positive. Yeah, she is also proud of me, and it has been so cool having this camaraderie together.

      Thank you so much Sarah for reading and sharing your wonderful comment. 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I run three times a week, but not to prepare for a marathon. I even dread to run more than 3 miles. Kudos and good luck to you and your niece for all your running activities. That running on snow looks intense!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is awesome regarding your running. Running clears out the head for me, and often just 2 or 3 miles does the trick.

      Yeah running in snow really is intense. The deeper the snow, the tougher it is to run through it. Even though it is winter temperatures, it does not take long for the body to really get warm.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and share. And thank you for the follow. You have such an AMAZING travel blog, 🙂

      Like

  12. This is awesome! My daughter runs and cycles, well, I only walk. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is tremendous. Walking is SO underrated. I don’t run nearly the distances that marathon training plans recommend as I do have knee issues, but I do a pile of walking and it works wonders on those day I decide not to run!

      Thank you for taking the time to read and share! 🙂

      Like

  13. I’m impressed. And relieved to know that even for at expert runner there will always be bad days.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is a testament to willpower, persistence and self growth and its impact on our overall lives. The power that one positive activity can create and its ability to drive us to greater accomplishments in life is simply remarkable. You have found a component in health missing from so many lives. Looking forward to reading more inspiring stories. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

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