May 17, 2013

Happy Retirement to Me!

No no! I’m not leaving my job as an electrical engineer. I love my day job and can see myself happily working here until I retire. I am announcing my retirement from being a marathon clinic instructor.

Square One Running Room Chilly Half-Marathon Clinic and friends on Race Day
Square One Running Room Chilly Half-Marathon Clinic 2012 and friends on Race Day


I’ve had a great time with the Square One Running Room. In the fall of 2011 I started as a half-marathon clinic instructor with Dino DiBernardo. The goal race for that clinic was the Chilly Half-Marathon 2012. Dino transferred to full-marathon clinic instructor in early 2012 so I had that group mostly to myself. And through someone leaving, I picked up another half-marathon clinic whose goal was the Mississauga half-marathon 2012. For a couple weeks I was leading BOTH clinics. I said I felt like I was cheating on the Chilly clinic with the ‘Sauga clinic…

Square One Running Room Mississauga Half-Marathon Clinic 2012 and friends on race day
Square One Running Room Mississauga Half-Marathon Clinic 2012 and friends on race day

In the Summer of 2012 I lead my first full-marathon clinic with Amar Sandhu. That was an intense experience, but we enjoyed it. And now Amar and I have finished the winter 2013 marathon clinic. Our group crushed the Mississauga Marathon!

Square One Running Room Marathon Clinic and friends
Square One Running Room Marathon Clinic and friends before the goal race, the Mississauga Marathon 2013

I quite enjoyed being an instructor. I felt like I had a lot of wisdom to share with novice and experienced marathoners. I embrace the Running Room’s recreational running philosophy and enjoy sharing it with others. Being an instructor was also REALLY motivating. Some people say the enjoy the clinics because their fellow runners expect them there. The clinic members definitely expect to see the instructor! If I ever felt lazy or lousy, I just remembered that they were counting on me being there and I’d drag my butt out the door! It’s certainly not about money; I think it works out to about 9 cents per hour!

Like most things, you get out of it what you put into it. I’d like to think I put A LOT into being an instructor. My weekly e-mails got very crowded with information. I’d write long essays about the weekly topic, and supplement with other topics that clinic members asked me about. I’d fill the e-mails with things I had researched and experienced. I also got into a habit of publishing all of the routes at the start of the week, including maps on gmap-pedometer. Every e-mail also had a countdown to the goal race and motivational quote. I would pre-write these e-mails in Word and they’d be over 7 pages before I sent them out. And I usually did at least 2 e-mails a week! But I think and hope my clinic members appreciated it.

Running coaches should wear hoodies and stopwatches, right?
Running coaches should wear hoodies and stopwatches, right?

I really enjoyed the experience of being an instructor. I would have made friends with everyone in the clinic anyways, but I feel a special bond with everyone because of how the clinic worked. I feel like it’s my way of giving back to the running community.

Why am I retiring? Well, as much as I loved it, it took A LOT of time, and I have plans for this summer. I intend to continue running, possibly even for marathon distance, and maybe even as a student in the upcoming marathon clinic, but not as co-instructor. More importantly, I’m not sure of my health, so I don’t want to disappoint any students if I’m sidelined by injury again.

And I’d like think that I’m finishing on top. We had a group that was training to finish the marathon in about 4 hours. It didn’t occur to me that the Boston Qualifying time for women over 60 was 4:25. I’m very proud to say that Linda Kates ran this year’s Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon in 4:10:01 and qualified for the Boston Marathon!! I can say I trained a Boston Qualifier! And I was going through some old records, and as far as I can tell, Linda is the first person ever from the Square One Running Room to qualify for Boston! Congratulations Linda! We’re so proud of you!!

Linda Kates, Boston Qualifier! Coached by me!
Linda Kates, Boston Qualifier! Coached by me!

I happily pass on the torch of coaching the marathon clinic to a new generation. Amar Sandhu will be continuing as co-instructor for the next Marathon Clinic at the Square One Running Room. He will be joined by Dino DiBernardo who I had previously co-instructed with. They’re going to be awesome! And good luck to Alice Toyonaga and her team who will be leading the Marathon Clinic at the Downtown Yonge Running Room! The next generation looks bright!

Comments closed


  1. Andrea says:

    Happy retirement!

  2. 🙁 It’s hard to give up something that you enjoy but it did sound like a huge commitment 0.0

    You coached someone to qualify for Boston! WOW! That’s so cool!

  3. Lisa says:

    Happy Retirement! It’s always good to take time for yourself…it’s easy to get caught up in helping others. I’m sure you had a great run, I don’t think I have ever met anyone who instructed as much as you!

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