All You Own Is The Effort

In the continuing saga of, Donloree Tries to Become A Runner, I decided to go a different route with the professional help.

  • The one thing that is clear with all of this is my need for professional help.

After graduating from physio, I continued to hurt while running and even hiking. I have continued to do everything I was instructed to do, except for stopping when it hurts. If you are 19 kms into a 34 km hike on top of a mountain, there isn’t much to do other than to keep going.

Skyline Jasper

19 kms into Skyline in Jasper on a blustery day. Sometimes being in the storm is just where you need to be!

Calling for a helicopter seemed like an over reaction to the Bearded Physiotheraptist Man’s instructions to, “When it hurts … STOP.”

In an effort to avoid more needles being shoved into me and then twanged, I sent an SOS message to Edmonton’s running guru and owner of Fast Trax, Jack Cook.

Jack is the Yoda of running.

He is a man of few words with a running resume as long as the North Saskatchewan and also a bit elusive. You never know if he is going to be at the shop, running a race, or even in town – he simply appears from the behind the running shoes in the shop some days. Where he wasn’t, suddenly there he is.

Seeing how there is nothing Yoda-esque about me and I am usually tripping over something, I realized our schedules would never align to talk about my inabilities and get some personalized advice while waiting for everyone to show up to run on a Wednesday night or Saturday morning.

So I sent a smoke signal, AKA Facebook message.

It went something like this ….

Hi Jack – random question. Do you help people figure out how to run better / correctly? I am pretty sure this might be half of my problem. I can’t seem to make it more than 10 km these days without seizing up and I am tired of hurting constantly and being SLOW. Or if you have a recommendation for someone who does this, it would be appreciated. I have also been told I run like Captain Jack Sparrow, if we could work on removing the pirate from my gait, that would also be appreciated. THANK YOU!

Apparently technique advice is something the Running Yoda does – who knew?

I showed up in all my pirate running-esque glory on a Thursday evening just as the work day was ending. My wrap dress, heels, and pearls were quickly swapped out for shorts, a running t-shirt, and my new running shoes specifically made for people with high arches who supinate and heel strike … whatever that means.

All I knew was that I was ready to be assessed.

Which I loudly announced to Jack and the other people in the shop. What can I say? When I get nervous, I tend to talk louder.

A giant smile from the Running Yoda and we were headed towards the treadmill.

The first thing we did was break into a slow walk and then a medium paced walk. Let me tell you, I am amazing at walking. Suddenly confidence that I probably shouldn’t have had filled in all the places fear had been hiding.

  • 5 mph on the treadmill and I was still walking. Like I said, I am amazing at walking.

Finally the treadmill went fast enough that I was forced to run. And I did so in all my heel striking, supinating glory. It was even caught on video. After a bit of running, we assessed my inabilities in slow motion.

Then the exercises and practicing began.

It turns out that my amazing walking is screwing me over. I run like I walk, which is an injury waiting to happen.

  • I actually have yet to become a runner.

I suppose this is why you go see the Running Yoda, how else are you supposed to know these sorts of things?

Due to all my bike riding and weight lifting, I am a quad and calf dominate woman who doesn’t use her posterior chain to move herself forward the way I am supposed to. I basically muscle myself forward and walk extremely fast, so much so that it appears to be running to those casually watching.


Running Yoda“How does it feel when you run?”
Donloree“It hurts. Everywhere. All the time. And it is demoralizing. I am slow.”
Running Yoda – Nods thoughtfully
Donloree – “I just want to be able to run and be happy. And not have EVERYONE run away from me ALL THE TIME. You know those weirdos who say it was fun? I want to be able to say that one day. I guess I want to be a running weirdo.”
Running Yoda – “I see. At least your problems are easy to fix.”
Donloree – “Amazing. I love easy to solve problems. Music to my ears.”
Running Yoda – “We are going back to the beginning.”

  • Anyone who has gone back to the beginning of anything knows that it is absolutely demoralizing.

For the next 30 minutes we worked on my running form while running 2-3 mph.

It is hard to even walk this slow – running at this speed took all my mental discipline.

Many videos of the slowest running on the planet were taken and reviewed and then coaching, exercises, and tweaks were applied. By the time I left, a hoard of snails had lapped me and were at the bar drinking martinis, laughing at the tall, very white woman who runs like an elephant.

I would also laugh if I saw a very white woman running at 2 mph with her arms crossed. In fact, I did laugh … a lot.

Another one of my nervous ticks – laughter.

My new running mantra:

  • Start running earlier, run slow, sooner.
  • Little circles, little circles!
  • Core, chest up, less arms.

I put it all into practice on Saturday morning. Instead of running 26 one-minute intervals with the Speedsters, I simply ran to make the Running Yoda proud. 8 km later, I was suddenly walking extremely fast again and not running. I began to hurt and I lost my ability to make little circles. So instead of trying to muscle out the remaining 4 km back to the shop, I simply called it a day and walked it in.

The good news of Sunday was that everything was sore, not just my right calf. Muscles I hadn’t used in awhile were talking to me and I knew I had done the right thing.

I struggle with the fact that I am nowhere even close to being a decent runner and that on race day, I come across the finish line long after all the Speedsters do.

While the snails were passing me and laughing, the Running Yoda reminded me that none of us are going to the Olympics.

At the end of the day, all I own is the effort.

How much did I give it? Did I give my day everything? Did I make myself proud with how much I tried?

  • Outcomes rarely belong to you. In fact, they don’t.

The only thing you can control is how much effort you give towards your work, training, relationships, and the things you want in life. There is never a guarantee that you will achieve anything, so you had better learn how to have fun along the way.


Somewhere along the way, I lost my ability to have fun while walking so fast that I appear to be running.

Remembering that the only person I ever need to race is the Donloree of yesterday is an amazing gift. Kicking her ass is a whole lot of fun and the only thing I should ever care about.

At the end of the day when my head hits the pillow, being able to say, “Yes!” in response to, “Did you kick Yesterloree’s ass?” makes a smile stretch from ear to ear.

Impress yourself.
~The Running Yoda

Smiling through life, no matter how hard it happens to be at the moment, is an amazing way to live.

All you own is the effort.

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