Determination/ Détermination

Page 34

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Tori McLean 

 

My name is Tori, I am 44 years old, married with a teenaged son and two west highland terriers. I have worked for the Province of Ontario in social services for over 20 years. As you can see from the painting I like to run. I am not particularly fast, I just enjoy the experience of running far and training for races. This is a painting of me tying up my shoelaces to head outside for a run. It really is fascinating to think about the intricate movements of our hands when we tie our shoes. This is a skill we learn as children that becomes second nature and automatic to complete. But it takes a great deal of time to master the fine motor skills required to loop and knot shoelaces. Now typically, when you think about running, you are probably not thinking about your hand movements, but hands play a significant role in the running experience. After tying my shoelaces, my hands must stay loose and slightly curved (like I am holding a potato chip in each palm), I have to actively avoid clenching my hands into fists to help keep my body relaxed as I run. Clenched fists restrict the movement of the arms and shoulders which decreases your speed and efficiency. When I have a speed workout there a is a specific number of intervals to complete on the road or around a track. To keep count of where I am at during the workout, I will touch my thumb to my pointer finger and once the interval is completed, I will move my thumb over to the next finger to count the next interval and continue this until the intervals are completed. And lastly, my favourite hand movement during a run, is the wave we all do to approaching runners. It’s the universal gesture of “I see you!”, “The path is safe behind me“, Great job running!”, and “Hey - we are the same!”. It doesn’t matter who you are or how fast of a runner you are, if you approach another runner we communicate with the wave. It’s running etiquette to show we are all equals in this activity and looking out for fellow runners. I use running as my quiet time and do my best thinking on a run. So having my hands assist me in getting out the door helps to create this experience where I can clear my head and think. It helps me destress so I can be a better mom, wife and employee. It helps me come up with solutions and responses for situations I am tackling at work with our local community around gender-based violence. A secondary benefit to running in races is the support they provide to local charities and non-profit groups. So the more of us who use our hands to lace up our shoes and get out there to walk or run at these events helps to provide critical supports to our local community.