I ran on trails this morning for the first time since I fell and broke my wrist a month ago. Since I was already registered for a race happening today, I figured I would give it a try and do my best to be careful. I took off my splint as it’s not very comfortable to wear while running and the metal brackets would also likely injure my arm if I happened to wipe out with them on.

The first 8K loop went OK but I spent most of my time concentrating on the ground, watching for every rock and root along the way. On the second 8K loop I stumbled twice, but managed to stay on my feet without falling both times. However, the two stumbles led to a state of hyper vigilance. By the time I started the third loop, I was exhausted mentally from focusing so much on not falling. My wrist was also starting to ache a bit. At that point, I decided (read: finally accepted) that running this race wasn’t a smart idea at this stage of my recovery so I slowed right down and jogged the rest of the loop, finishing at the halfway mark of the race at 25K.

Going into this trail run, I knew that if I fell and hurt my wrist, I would likely need to have surgery. This was made clear to me two weeks ago at the hospital, which is why I wasn’t even sure last night that I would go to the race. What I didn’t know is how tiring it would be to spend so much time watching for tripping hazards and constantly worrying about falling.

The fact is that my wrist will be fully healed in a matter of weeks. I will need to learn how to feel safe again running on the trails, but there’s no reason I can’t resume trail running again soon.

As I jogged back to the start/finish area, I thought about people who have experienced more significant hurt, such as emotional and physical abuse. These are hurts that don’t heal as readily or easily as a simple broken bone, if at all. It must be incredibly exhausting for people who have been harmed in these ways to be constantly looking around for potential hazards that might lead to further hurt and pain.


Pros and Cons

Tonight I took off my arm sling and went outside for a run. I felt so free without the heavy weight on my arm and it was nice not to get hot and sweaty under all the metal and padding. I’m not supposed to take it off yet as my broken wrist is still healing, but I’m tired of wearing the sling all the time. I definitely still need it for everyday activities, as it’s painful when I pick up things or bend my wrist.

As I ran, I thought about how the sling is a hindrance to running, but an essential tool for using my right hand to carry, grab or push things. It’s interesting how something can benefit in one area but detract in another. It’s like my phone, which helps me professionally to access my email, schedule and resources while I’m out of the office or in meetings, but is a significant hindrance to family life when used in the evenings and weekends.


Two Things and One to Come

With R away in Uganda, I’m doing my best to keep the household from falling apart. I’ve managed to keep the boys clean and well fed and they haven’t been late for school or missed any of their soccer, swimming or martial arts lessons. I’m remaining diligent with all the daily tasks at home, even with my broken wrist, and so far I’m not feeling overwhelmed by the extra work. I’m happy that R is able to have this experience in Uganda, so it’s all worth it.

On Day 5 of 15, however, I’ve noticed two challenges. First, it’s quite difficult to run outside unless I do this before picking up the kids from school. Second, I get lonely when I’m not able to talk with R. The first challenge isn’t a huge deal, especially for a two-week period. I don’t feel safe running on our treadmill with my broken wrist (I often have to grab onto the rails when I need to adjust the speed or stop), so I’ve just accepted that I will be running much less than usual during this time (even taking days off completely). The latter challenge is becoming more significant as the days go on. I was surprised by the number of times I automatically tried to phone R today. She’s the first person I reach out to when I have news to share and need to either vent or cheer about something happening in my life. I also miss her physical presence around the house, particularly in the evenings, which is when we usually take a break from the busyness of our day to sit and chat and spend time together.

Within the next few days, a third challenge will emerge that will trump the other two. This will come when the boys get tired of counting down the nights that remain until their mother returns and decide that she needs to be home now. I got a glimpse of that this evening, so I know it’s coming soon. Thankfully she left us some video messages on my phone, so I can use those to allay their sadness.



I’m typing this with my left thumb while sitting in the emergency department of my local hospital. I tripped on a tree root this afternoon while running down a hill and managed to fracture my wrist. I made it 44 years without breaking any bones, so it was a good run while it lasted (ooh, that cliche is so perfect).

It’s amazing how fast one can go from feeling strong and healthy to fragile and broken. I’m grateful to live in a country where I can access medical attention so quickly and efficiently.


Tears of Joy

Today I ran with R as she completed her first full marathon. It was rainy and cold at the beginning, but she kept to a steady pace and ran strong from beginning to end. There were a few rough patches in the middle, but she remained focused on meeting the challenge before her throughout the race. I did my best to keep her motivated and moving and it was a precious gift to share in this experience.

I was excited to see how happy she became in the final few kilometres of the race as she got closer to completing her goal. We crossed the finish line together holding hands and then separated briefly as we received our finishing medals from the volunteers. When I looked over at her again I saw that she was crying and then she hugged me tightly. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “Nothing. I’m just so happy that I actually did it after training so hard for this race.”

In addition to filling me with immense pride for R, today’s race has also left me wondering whether there is a goal in my life audacious enough that accomplishing it would elicit tears of joy. Perhaps I need some bigger dreams.




I just arrived at a hotel where R and I are staying the night before her first marathon. Since I forgot my computer at home, I’m typing out today’s post on my phone (and starting to regret my decision to blog every day for a year). 

Anyway, I’m reflecting on how proud I will be tomorrow as I witness R running just over 42 kilometres. A marathon is no easy feat, so completing this race will be a significant accomplishment which required many months of preparation. 

It’s a privilege to journey with others as they take on challenges or face adversity. Whether supporting a spouse, child, family member, co-worker, neighbour, or someone needing assistance in the community, it’s a humbling and precious experience to accompany people in the midst of their victories and losses and on the paths they take to get there. 



In Grade 9, I went on a class trip to a camp located near Thunder Bay, Ont. I have many vivid memories from this adventure, such as canoeing across a lake to see a beautiful waterfall, going on my first solo trail run in the woods, and attending a scary séance led by a strange girl who had recently transferred to our school.

On the final night of our stay, we were treated to a raging bonfire that was surrounded by a circle of old cars and trucks. I’m not sure if we were given permission to do this, but at some point in the evening many of us started jumping up and down on the cars and trucks and smashing in the windows and metal frames with large tree branches that been cut down for the fire. This night remains the wildest and most reckless experience of my life.

Now that I’m old and boring, I spend my days focused on protecting and repairing my employer’s brand and reputation. Sometimes I wish I could regain the freedom to simply smash and destroy something large and breakable with complete abandon. Perhaps I should consider changing my hobby from running to home renovation.



I woke up early this morning so that I could run on the trails around Signal Hill before I needed to start work. Halfway through my run, I stopped my watch and sat silently on the rocks with a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Today, someone else woke up in Toronto with an ugly view of the world and decided to drive a van into innocent people walking on the sidewalk, killing at least nine of them and injuring many more.

Why? What is this ugliness? Does it exist in everyone (and in me)? Where does it come from? How do we remain focused on what is beautiful and good?



“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”—Robert Frost

When you’re lost in the woods, you look forward to seeing a road or a marked trail or a small cottage with an inviting light shining through its windows. What’s not comforting is coming across a large and uninviting tent in the middle of nowhere when you’ve been bushwacking off the trail for many minutes. It’s even more disconcerting when there’s a large axe propped up just outside the dark entrance to the tent. I’d be too scared to live out there in the dark, so I figured only someone scary enough not to be scared out there must be living in the tent. I ran quickly through the woods until I eventually found my way back to an actual trail. And yes, I kept looking over my shoulder to see if anyone was chasing me.

I’m in St. John’s for work, so I’d taken the opportunity to go for a short adventure on the East Coast Trail. My plan was to take a taxi to the Cape Spear Lighthouse and then run along the trail back to the city. The trail from Cape Spear to Blackhead was easy to follow with the Atlantic Ocean just off to my right. I didn’t run too fast as I wanted to enjoy the beautiful scenery and I stopped many times to take photos. I probably hiked more than I ran. It was on the next trail section from Blackhead to Fort Amherst that I ran into some navigational challenges.

When I arrived at Freshwater Bay halfway through, I didn’t realize that I needed to cross over the formation of large rocks that stretched from one side of the bay to the other. Instead, I ran up an old fire road only to find the path completely flooded out a few minutes later. Then I ran back down to the water and found another trail that turned out to be a “trail in progress.” It didn’t take long until I wasn’t on any trail at all and just scrambling through the woods in circles.

It was at this point that I got a bit worried, especially when I came upon the tent … and then came upon the tent a second time. While the first 80 minutes of my trail run had seemed perfect as I travelled close to the ocean, now that I was disoriented in the woods with evening approaching, I began to wonder whether this beautiful place would become my resting place.

Before I left Toronto I’d prepared a running backpack that contained two emergency blankets, a whistle, a flashlight and some food. But in the busyness of the weekend with my family, I’d forgotten to put the pack in my suitcase before flying this morning to St. John’s.

Thankfully I found my way back to the trail and returned safely to the city, but I could have easily broken my leg or ankle and been stuck outside by myself overnight. The crazy thing is that it’s an easy trail to navigate except for that one specific section I managed to screw up. Regardless, since I was running this route for the first time, I should have been better prepared, particularly as a husband and father. There’s no excuse not to carry some basic safety items with me when hiking or running in the woods, especially if I’m travelling by myself in an area with no cell phone reception.

What I found most interesting about this experience is how quickly I transitioned from feeling invincible to vulnerable. I suppose this is similar to other situations in my life when the paths I’m following suddenly change. Perhaps I need to pack a bigger bag?



“Of all the springtimes of the world
This one is the ugliest.”—Paul Éluard

The weather has been horrendous today in Boston, and I’m not-so-patiently waiting at the airport with R for our flight home to Toronto. Our departure has been delayed four times already, but hopefully we’ll get on the plane before the night is over.

We’ve been away for three nights now, which doesn’t seem overly long, but we’re missing our boys. With our flight delay, we’ll miss seeing them before they go to sleep tonight, which will make four nights in a row without tucking them in. In the past, we’ve always looked forward to travelling, whether for work or pleasure, but now that we have K and B in our lives, we no longer enjoy going away for long periods without them. I’m in St. John’s next weekend, and then have more travel to Indianapolis, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Whitehorse, and R is going away to Uganda as well, so there will be more time away from them. The good news is that one of us will always be staying home with the boys during those trips, which makes things a bit easier.

While it’s hard for us to be away from K and B, I think they have a great time staying with their two sets of grandparents. It must be nice to be spoiled for the duration of a weekend.

This morning I ran the Boston marathon in heavy rain and winds. There was snow on the ground in Hopkinton where the race starts, so it was also a fairly cold morning to run. It was a hard day for most runners, whether elite or back-of-the-pack. In the male division, the eight elite Ethiopian runners all dropped out, and only two of the 11 Kenyans managed to finish. The finishing times for the top 10 male (which included Canada’s Reid Coolsaet) and female (which included Canada’s Krista Duchene in third) runners were much slower than usual, and I think most of the 30,000 runners would have posted slower finishing times than normal. Over 2,300 runners required medical attention, primarily due to hypothermia.

I had trouble staying warm during the race and also had to stop a few times to use a washroom. This seems to be a constant challenge for me while running in the rain (must be psychological). After running at race pace for about 12 km, I slowed down and just focused on maintaining a steady effort, finishing just under three hours. I’m hoping that by shifting my goals and using this race as a steady training run, I’ll be able to recover more quickly for my next race. When I finished, I became incredibly cold trying to get my gear from the pickup tents, so that was a bit scary. Thankfully I wasn’t one of the many runners who required medical assistance. R was spectating for a few hours in the rain, so she was also soaked and chilled to the bone. Marathon running (and spectating) is a stupid hobby.

Tomorrow morning we will see our boys and also Shadow, our puppy.