When running is the only road out

I am not big on sharing stuff particularly very personal stuff. If I were Taylor Swift none of my songs would be about break ups. But maybe this post will do me and maybe someone else some good. There are many moments now when my tinnitus is overpowering. I feel trapped and unable to move forward with very much at all. Drawing, playing guitar and reading are all closed off. Too far away to be accessed. I can’t get past the noise. I feel immobilized and at times in great pain. It can be very distressing to see no way out.

Then there is running. Since I was a very very young child it has been there. Sometimes a little ignored but almost always there. A part of me for much longer than the tinnitus. I know how to get to this part of me. I can find it even in the darkest places, and I have run in some pretty dark places. When the noise is at its worst and I can’t find relief, I fight. I fight to summon everything I have to put on my shorts, an old grey shirt and those perfect shoes. This is the fight, one sock, one shoe, a half glass of milk, a nod to the running gods as I open the door. It is so hard to do this sometimes but once I am out that door, I am free. Within steps I am in full flight and free. The noise chases me but the race is on. Sure, often I hear the noise while I run now, where once I didn’t but the run is stronger. Every part that couldn’t move is now far and away. I know it will break the pain and temper the tinnitus as I fight to get out the door but it still takes the act of actually running to realize the effect.
When I return from the run there is still noise, same strength but it doesn’t have the same effect.

Running has matched it’s intensity and for now I am ok. I feel well even on those rare occasions where the run is tough. I can move on to other things. The motion creates other motion and I move forward until the next time when I know running is the only way out.


2021 Spring Sessions !

Hi Trail Runners



This spring 2021, Toronto TRUE Running is offering two sessions. Toronto TRUE running spring beginner session starts April 27th and the intermediate/advanced start April 28th. Runs begins at 6:30 pm in various locations in the Don Valley.

The two sessions are each 8 weeks in duration. As always runners can switch back and forth between the two groups as long as folks who are in either of the  beginner groups are comfortable attending the intermediate group. This allows for changing schedules and flexibility. The intermediate group does longer runs, minimum 10 k each week with some as long as 14 k. As always there is a limit of 6 runners per group and each session fills up quickly.

Beginner – April 27th to June 15th inclusive – Tuesdays

Intermediate – April 28th to June 16th inclusive  – Wednesdays.

The cost is the same as last year

$100 for returning runners and $110 for everybody else.

e-transfers are best or for past participants payment can be made at the first session.

Please contact me at torontotruerunning@gmail.com or 416-986-4496 if you require more info or have any questions




I don’t have an accurate count of how many races I have run over my 50 years of running. Despite having a stack of race bibs from pretty much every race I have received one, there are many races I ran through my pre high school and high school years that I do not. I have a few of my cross country bibs including a couple made of fabric. Like I said 50 years of running. Boston 2020 was to be my 40 marathon but after that number I have no real idea of the total but it must be around 400. I do document on the back of almost every bib interesting things about my race. Friends and family who were there, race conditions, time and place, relevant training and some sort of emotional outburst like “ Nice race” or “almost died and bit through my tongue” which is actually on the back on one bib. Because of much luck and good fortune I have had the privilege, interesting word, of completing every single race. Not one DNF, not once not ever. Even through  injury and what felt sometimes what I imagine dying must be like, if I have toed the start line I have crossed the finish line. I like that though again much of that is luck and good fortune.

On occasion a race, even a marathon will feel pretty great. No death march, no hands on hips and very nice words for the back of my bib. More often there will be a part of the race where I am full of mixed messages. “Run faster and catch that runner “ combined with “Owww this really hurts and it is time to stop”.  Or perhaps “One mile to go you can do it “ tag teaming with “ I may die, I will die, I am dead”  . Isn’t running fun?

So how do I get myself through these tough times whether they happen mid race in a 50 k or the last 1/2 k of  a 5 k, hate that part. Moreover how do I get get through some tough training days when the last 5 or 6 or more k feel awful? There is no catch that guy/gal motivation, no cheers awaiting me at the finish line, nothing rides on the push through the pain. Why not quit/slowdown or pull something out of the excuse bag?

Part of it is just sheer repetition. The old one foot in front of the other. Part of it is the realization that forward is the only way to go. Some of it is pride and that’s not so great if I am looking to impress others but I think it is mostly I want to feel good about knowing I did what I could. I truly like the idea that when I believe in something I will go as far as I can to support those beliefs. Some would call that stubborn and many of my family would call me stubborn. I like that, a stubborn runner. Perhaps a T-shirt, “ I am stubborn and I invite scorn”, that’s me. Perhaps that’s why I almost always run alone.

Tonight when I am out on the trails or heading up/down the lower Don I will remember that stubbornness to get me through the discomfort and reinforce the glee as I make my way through another run. I often think of a couple races in particular, a trail half I did in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2011 and North Face San Francisco 50 k in 2019. The Penn one was an out and back and I pushed it hard on the out and as we turned for home I saw a large pack close behind me and felt the thrill of being chased all the way home. That’s happened in other races but this one time it felt different. Someone came up to me after the race and said “ when I saw you at the turnaround and those that were chasing you I was sure you would be caught, but you weren’t, nice job”. North Face was as tough a race as I have run but the feeling of the last 10 k coming out of the Marin Headland as I rallied from a walk to a 42 min last 10 k and caught runner after runner and to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to the finish at Cressy Field stands out as a personal triumph which told me once again, be stubborn and finish. That meant a lot to me that day and will again on days like today when there isn’t much at the finish but my wife cheering me on as I come through the door.