I am often reminded that I work in a fantastic school with some really special teachers, and it is worth sharing some of this with everybody else. This year one of our teachers, Nadia Gandhi, decided she wanted to be increase her own personal fitness. She was encouraged and supported by another teacher, Marieve Fontaine, and the two of them signed up for a Somersault Events Try-a-Tri. Soon enough both ladies were running at lunch, biking on the weekends, and getting in swims when they could. To say they were proud of their accomplishments is an understatement.
Fast forward to this school year, and both women wanted to encourage our students to become more active, both physically and socially. Marieve, along with teachers Katie McColeman, and Ruth McKeague, started a girls running club with the goal of completing the 5km or 10km Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, a race which is focused on increasing awareness of women’s mental health issues.
Ridgemont Runs for Women 2017
Ridgemont is a school which has students from across the globe. In recent years we have seen an influx of young men and women from Somalia, Nepal, and most recently Syria. Their experiences are varied, but they rarely resemble the life experiences of others. As newcomers to Canada, they also need additional supports in our community. Teacher Nadia Gandhi has partnered with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISCO) to support a group of student who are entered to run the Ottawa Race Weekend
5k this month. This group started with strength and cardio training during our very cold and snowy Ottawa winter. They ran indoors to begin, and then moved outdoors and ran ran or shine (Ottawa has had a lot of wet days!). As a staff, we are very proud of Ms. Gandhi and her students. Take a moment to read her note about her project:
On May 27th, my ELDCO/DO class will be running a 5km race as part of Ottawa Race Weekend. We are part of OCISO’s team called, ” Running for a New Start – Going the Distance for Refugees”.
Part pilot project/part literacy project in resilience, my students are showing tremendous efforts. Every week since March we have been training and now that the weather is warmer we will be tracking our 5km twice a week.
As part of our efforts we are fundraising for OCISO. See link below to donate if you are so inclined.
RHS ELDs going the distance
If you’ve been thinking about supporting a charity, please consider this worthy cause. As we enter one of the busiest times of the school year, these two examples of teachers going beyond the classroom to teach their students life lessons is refreshing and encouraging. Thanks to all of the amazing teachers at my school who make this such an incredible place to work.
This year I’ve decided to keep running as much as possible. Unlike other years when I stop running in the fall and then start again in the spring, having enjoyed a lovely winter rest, this year I’m running in the winter. Okay, so I wasn’t great at running in the late fall and early winter, but I did get out a few times. I even ran indoors a few times. What amazed me was that I still had some decent speed in my legs and lungs. That said, preparing to brave the cold of an Ottawa winter was a whole other issue.
In December I took part in Jayme Rae’s plank challenge. Since this worked out so well, I thought I might try to take on Run Ottawa’s running streak challenge #RORunStreak on Twitter and Instagram. At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to even do this since I don’t like to run in the cold, but then I got to thinking that I have to go out to walk the dog anyway so why not run; we could both use the exercise. Two things I had to consider:
- Kip is a spaz and has typically tripped me when we have tried to run before. Did I really want to risk a wipe out?
- I DO NOT LIKE RUNNING IN THE COLD.
The more I exercise, the more I learn that running is like trying to get little kids to eat something. On average it takes 11 attempts at a food before a child will realize it’s okay and they like it. Running is the same; you can’t just give up. If you want to succeed, then you must try more than once. This was going to be my one more time moment.
If you’ve followed me on Twitter or Instagram then you know I have in fact been running almost every day this month. Some days it’s just 1.5 km in the morning and again at night, some days it’s a bit longer. I was lucky that the first few days of January were relatively mild here so getting out was easier than I thought. By the end of the first week, though, the temperature dropped to a brisk -16C (felt like -20C). Since the dog still had to go, we ran around the block. Guess what? We both survived. In fact within a few days Kip and I seemed to have figured how to run together. After 17 days, there have only been 3 days when I wasn’t able to run, but I did walk those days.
My mother, a long time runner, told me that running in winter is simply a matter of dressing right and being careful. I have to admit she is right. I still have trouble figuring out how many layers to wear, but it’s a lesson I’m happy to keep learning. I’m not a hardcore winter runner, but I’m getting the hang of it. It doesn’t scare me like it used to, and I know I will appreciate the effort come spring. Maybe one of the nicest things to come from my efforts was a colleague telling me I have inspired her to run with her dog this winter.
Thanks to @RunOttawa and all the #RORunStreak participants for your continued encouragement and support!