My name is Courtney Hufsmith, I am a 24 year old marketing professional and elite runner from Saskatoon, SK. For the past year and a half, I have been living in Calgary, AB where I began my professional career after earning a marketing degree from the Edwards School of Business. This fall, I will be returning to my hometown and starting a new job, while continuing to run and train with a primary focus on the 1500m track event.
Growing up, I always identified as a soccer player. I loved the sport and I played until I reached my grade 12 year in high school. At that point, my soccer coach indicated that he saw more potential for me in running than he did in soccer. That was hard to take at the time, as I didn’t truly enjoy running as I did soccer. I always ran in the cross country and track meets in school and placed well with minimal to nil training (within Saskatchewan); but, I was by no means a national level athlete.
I was off running from 16 weeks pregnant to almost five months post partum. (Since then I’ve also been off for a surgery).
If someone had told me the realities of what I was up against, I may not have had the courage and faith to make the best decision I’ve ever made and had my son. As a dedicated athlete who had a good handle on overcoming past injuries, including a torn meniscus and quad tendon where I was once told I wouldn’t run again, this year off running challenged me in a new way: going through the greatest identity change of my life without my favourite coping mechanism, running.
We loved this memoir by Emily Pifer, former collegiate track and field runner for Ohio University. Emily chronicles her journey in developing an eating disorder while on the team, and how a culture of ‘thinner is better’ can insidiously spread amongst teammates. Her writing style is unique, and really draws you into the inner workings of a mind overcome by anorexia nervosa. The book is at the same time heartbreaking, when she describes the mental and physical ramifications of starvation, and hopeful, as she chronicles her recovery and acceptance of a new, healthier body.
Lauren Fleshman is an elite runner that has represented USA on the world stage. Her memoir, “Good For A Girl: A Woman Running In A Man’s World”, is a must read for anyone that is, knows, or supports a female in athletics. Lauren’s vulnerability and honesty in recounting her experiences in sport makes you feel as if you are getting an intimate view into her life, both as an athlete, and of the complicated relationship with her father, which was an integral part of her development as a runner.
I’m Jason and I’m in recovery from orthorexia. I’ll stop there.
That’s usually about as far as I get into a conversation with someone before they ask what orthorexia is. Either that or they’re shocked that a guy can develop an eating disorder. I can’t blame them. I felt the same confusion when I came to terms with my diagnosis of an eating disorder, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In the discourse surrounding eating disorders, the two that are most often discussed are anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. However, orthorexia can be equally as damaging and disabling to one’s life. In the era of social media and food Instagram pages, there seems to be value attached to “eating clean” and choosing “good” foods over “bad” foods (there is no such thing!). Yes, it’s important to be mindful of what we put in our body, but the path towards healthy eating can lead to a dangerous obsession that has serious health consequences, both mental and physical.
This book does a great dive into the world of youth athletics, and the increasing pressures placed on children in sport. It specifically looks into the role that parents play, and explores the fine line between encouraging children to reach their potential, or living vicariously through their children’s accomplishments. The book gives compelling yet disturbing accounts of children who were pushed by their parents and/or coaches to compete through serious injuries, and how these experiences had lifelong psychological effects.
This book opened our eyes to one of the most heartbreaking parts of Canadian history. The Five Little Indians by Michelle Good is a true tear-jerker as it walks you through the interweaving and connected stories of Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie during and after their life in residential school. It does not save the reader from the reality these children faced, this book shows how every child who stepped through residential school doors was robbed of a typical childhood experience often romanticized in North-American culture.
We couldn’t put this book down once we started reading it. When it comes to running shoes and running gear, Nike has been a go-to for many runners, from beginner to elite. This book does a deep-dive into the recent controversy surrounding Nike and the training groups they support. The details and facts are unsettling, and one thing becomes clear – although there have been no overt illegal practices, Nike seems to have a pattern of supporting practices that fall into a grey area of riding the fine line between cutting edge and unethical.
This engaging book is a compilation of stories from 50 of the best female distance runners in history. The athletes share what they have learned from their years in the sport with regards to training, nutrition, mental health, and much more.
This book by Blair Imani is a must-read for anyone wanting to gain a solid, foundational knowledge of important societal topics including identity, relationships, class, disability, race, and racism, as well as sexuality and gender.
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“You are the runner, right?” people sometimes ask me when I first meet them. I always answer along the lines of “yes, I love to run”, but prefer to avoid the restrictive term “runner”. I see running as something I do – something I have done most of my life with great joy. But I don’t see myself as simply a “runner”. Running is something I love to do, something I am good at and something that has provided me a life rich in travel, personal growth and relationships. Running has also provided me an education, financial means and public recognition. It’s easy to identify as a runner when it is a major part of your life and livelihood, and when it’s how many people define you. But I don’t see it that way at all. I am more than that, and I work hard to keep my identity as a person separate from my identity of what I do.
This book is a groundbreaking masterpiece that sheds light on how trauma reshapes the brain, compromising sufferers’ ability to experience life in the same way that others do. It details how neural pathways are affected in such a way that trauma sufferers cannot experience pleasure, engage with others, or exhibit self-control or trust in the same way as someone who has not experienced pervasive trauma. The book also describes in detail the diagnosis of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), which usually arises from a pervasive pattern of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse during childhood.
Hi! My name is Emma Bulawka. I am currently 18 years old and a Canadian national level elite athlete in the sport of figure skating. I reside with my family in beautiful Kelowna where I have lived and trained for the past seven years.
Let’s go back to the beginning and where it all started...
And now for something completely different: Mom Genes is a fascinating look at the most recent research on the biological and psychological changes that happen as woman evolves into motherhood. So often researchers focus on fetal and childhood development without considering the massive changes that happen to the woman carrying the child as her body prepares for this new exciting, but challenging, journey.
All of us have heard it. Most of us do it. Some don’t understand it (and I’m jealous of you!). What am I talking about? The “I am a” syndrome. When we define ourselves by what we do, rather than who we are. Lately I’ve been trying to understand where this comes from; that is, the sense that we must accomplish something impressive to be “worthy” of love, recognition, or contentment. For most of my life I’ve identified as an athlete; first, a figure skater, and then as a runner. For the majority of my adult life I’ve also identified as a physician. Others also seem to identify me that way. “There’s the runner! There’s the doctor! There’s the doctor-runner!” And, you know what? I actually LIKED that. It made me feel accomplished. It made me feel worthy, it made me feel like a success. Over the past couple of years, and even more so recently, I have begun to see just how problematic that was.
This character-driven novel follows the Walsh-Adams family as they navigate the highs and lows of life, raising a family, and doing what is right for their child with gender dysphoria. While the story delves into the charming and unique characters of parents, Penn and Rosie, and all five children, it particularly focuses on the youngest child. Vibrant and sweet, when Claude is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he wholeheartedly states he would like to be a girl.
It’s funny how as you get older you realize that the strangest lessons can stick with you: when I was in grade 10 my teacher taught us about goal setting, and had us write long- (where you’d like to be in a year or so), medium- (a mid-length goal to check-in on your journey’s progress) and short- (immediate goal, in the next few days or weeks) goals. A critical piece of advice we were given was that if you achieve all your goals, you are setting them too easy, and if you fail to achieve any, then you might be setting them out of reach. At that point I was just starting into distance running and was completely captivated by it.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is so much more than your typical ghost story. Told by the perspective of multiple characters over several generations it primarily features the stories of two main female protagonists: Albertine “Birdie” Bell, a young woman who tragically loses her life in 19th century England and appears as a ghost throughout the book, and Elodie Winslow a young archivist in 2017 London who starts to uncover the mysterious story behind Birdie’s death.
My name is Tamara Jewett. I started my athletic career as a middle-distance track runner (1500m to 5km) expecting to compete at an elite level until somewhere around age 26 and then focus on a career in law. Almost a decade of severe athletic injuries, culminating in 18 months unable to run at all, derailed my goals for track. But, at age 31, my athletic career is on a roll again, and I am succeeding at the highest levels of pro long-course triathlon (focused on Ironman 70.3s).