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Andrea Paine Headshot

How Running Has Helped My Cancer

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The weather has been terrific over the past few days. Sunshine and temperatures just above the freezing mark...very unlike your typical Canadian winter in the month of February. For a runner, this is a real treat! It reminds me that spring is around the corner; even though it may be a rather long corner. For many runners, the past few months have been spent in gyms and on a treadmill. I have to admit that I was in that category this year. The roads around my house were snow covered and icy. A bad combination for a runner; even when wearing traction aids.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a nice run along a snow covered road; particularly just after a snowfall when all is quiet, and the run can be incredibly peaceful. I just didn't have the right running conditions for that to happen this year. The last time I did an outdoor run at home was in early December last year. I did get an opportunity to cheat in early January while I was on a cruise in the Caribbean. Although the gym on the Holland America Westerdam was beautiful, and the scenery spectacular (it's located at the front of the ship, with a view of the Caribbean through huge windows that circle the bow), there's nothing like running outdoors. Deck three of the ship is made for those outdoor enthusiasts who like to take their daily walk or run. Three times around makes a mile. It's quiet early in the morning, and nice to do a solitary run.

But back to this past weekend...When I woke up and saw the gorgeous weather outside, I was like a kid in a candy store. I couldn't wait to get out! It was like starting to run all over again. With just tights and a long sleeved t-shirt and a shell, I set off for what I thought would be a short four or five kilometre run, but ended up running eight kilometres instead. The air was fresh, and the sun felt so nice an warm as I ran along my still familiar path, that I just couldn't bring myself to end my run.

Lately I have felt that I was working out just to work out. I would talk myself into it by reminding myself that I was a cancer survivor, and I needed to keep up with my healthy lifestyle. I would also remember that no matter how much I didn't want to work out in that moment, I would be incredibly happy and feel great once I completed it. There were times that this was the only way that I could get my body to the gym. Maybe it was the short days, the winter blues, or the long work days. I don't know. But I can say that my whole incredible love of running came back on an unusually warm and sunny winter day in February. And I know why.

I have been rejigging my affirmations lately. I do this once in awhile when I seem to get into a rut. I came across an unattributed quote while I was reading that read "Change your thoughts, and you'll change your world". It was then that it dawned on me that I needed to change my running mindset. Yes I'm a cancer survivor, and I need to make healthy choices for my well-being, but that doesn't have to be the reason to run. It certainly wasn't the reason that I started to run. I run because running makes me happy. It helps me let it go. I just breathe....sometimes in great big gulps. I am at one with myself, and I really listen to my inner voice. I strategize and plan while I run. I see the beauty of the outdoors, and the wonder of the children laughing in play as I run by. Yes, my thoughts are changed, and yes, I am truly grateful.