Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Samantha Graham: Thirty-One
RLRS: Tell us a little bit about yourself (kids, married, job)?
SG: I am married to my best friend, Sean, and we have a cat. I live 1300 km from my family, so I have a support network of close friends who I love dearly and have become my family. For work, I am a self-employed Instructional Designer – I design and develop curricula and learning experiences for corporate environments.
RLRS: When and why did you start running?
SG: I began running primarily to boost my endorphins and stave off depressive thoughts. Without writing a novel, I had been working full-time from home for a couple of years after previously working in an office for several years. I love being around people, even if it is just in an office and I am not directly socializing with them. Working from home, alone, was mentally challenging. I kept seeing pictures and posts on social media from friends who were running, so I signed up for the March 2018 Frosty 5k in Burlington, Ontario. Never having run before, I had every intention of training for it but didn’t due to work trips and catching strep throat. I ran that 5k in just over 33 minutes, but it took me another 45 minutes to thoroughly cool down and breathe normally again. Even though I was utterly exhausted, I decided I wanted to finish a race without feeling like my heart was beating out of my chest. I signed up for a 10k group clinic at a local running store, and the rest is history!
RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
SG: My training runs are a significant part of my self-care. I thoroughly enjoy running; it gives me a chance to step back from the hustle and bustle of life, clear my head, and re-center myself.
RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
SG: I love food and wine; I have a long list of brunch restaurants around the Toronto area to try now that we have reached spring! I enjoy cooking and baking for myself and others, so much of my regular free time is spent in the kitchen. I also SCUBA dive, and look forward to my annual diving trip!
RLRS: What is your favorite race?
SG: in 2019, I ran the Dopey Challenge at Disney. I was able to run the 5k and 10k with my husband and then ran the half marathon and marathon on my own. It was my first marathon, and my first time at Disney. It was absolutely magical to run through all the parks!
RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
SG: Do I have to have one? I don’t currently have a bucket list event, but ask me again in 6 months!
RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
SG: I don’t know about funny things to happen during a race, but I have some pretty funny race photos!
RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
SG: So far, my proudest race moment was at the 2019 Around the Bay 30k. I had planned to run it as a training run during my build up to the 2019 Toronto Marathon, but a friend of a friend had a goal finish time in mind and could use the motivation and assistance of a pacer. She is in her early 40s, and she wanted to beat the finish time her sister set at age 22 of 03:27:00. The target finish time was well within my pace capability, so we ran together. We beat her target finish time by almost 5 minutes! She ran hard, crushed her goal, and I was SO PROUD of her!
RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
SG: The first several kilometers are tough to slog through! Smile, keep your chin up and your legs moving!
RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
SG: Have fun! Seriously! Don’t take yourself so seriously that you forget to have fun. Being able to run is a precious gift, and it should not be taken for granted! Oh! Remember to smile! You never know when a photographer is going to catch you!