Hello! My name is Dylan and I’m a York University graduate living and working in Toronto! My work life definitely doesn’t fit into the 9-5 category, not even close. I currently work for Nike as an associate in the Nike Running store in the Eaton Centre. I’m also privileged to call myself a Nike+ Club Pacer. Between these two roles, my work hours are completely all over the place, but I love the brand I work for. So much that I’m currently trying to make it my career! When I’m not working or running, I find serenity in the outdoors. I’m always down for a good hike, a day spent lounging in the park, or geocaching (if you know, you know).
When and why did you start to run?
I dabbled in Cross Country when I was in elementary school, but always found far more pleasure in team sports such as baseball or basketball. The extent of my running throughout high-school went so far as the 90 feet in-between the bases on a diamond, or the back and forth of a basketball game. Perhaps I should have given running a serious try when I made it the furthest out of anyone in my grade in the dreaded ‘beep test’, but my opinion of running remained that it was only a necessary component of the sports I loved, but not something I would pursue for the sake of it.
When did you consider yourself a runner?
In the summer months before my 4th year, I experienced a relationship of over 5 years dissolve and as dramatic as it may seem now, I was left with quite a different outlook on where my life might be going. Faced with the prospect of completing an honours thesis in the midst of a life change, and admittedly overwhelmed with the frustration and stress that came along with it, I desperately needed an outlet. On a particularly difficult day, I decided to lace up a pair of running shoes I had laying around and hit the pavement. As my feet carried me through the York University campus, down the main campus walk, out across the soccer fields and into the forest trails that surround the school, I experienced something I hadn’t felt for a very long time. Peace of mind. My mind shut off and my feet carried me on and on for 10 kilometers until my stomach cramped and I was forced to stop. In that first run, I found catharsis and I was absolutely hooked. I ran every single day for the next week and from that moment on, I truly saw myself as a runner. What I had once hated, I now embraced.
Working in the Nike Running store, I had easy access to the recently launched Nike+ Run Club and I found that while I love running alone, I also really enjoy the comradery of running in a group. Feet pounding the pavement in synchronization like a pack of horses and the euphoria that is shared group wide after a tough workout exhilarated me. So did the competition. I love the feeling of racing someone down the last stretch of a run, almost toying with each other in the small distance separating your kicking feet, before one finds the strength within to push it into one final gear and take off. I have to say, writing this right now makes me want to lace up my shoes and sprint out the door.
Anyways, while running with NRC I decided that I’d love nothing more than to become a NRC Pacer. I attended as many sessions as I could and when the opportunity came to interview for the position, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m happy to say that I got the job and I soon discovered another reason why I run, which is that I get immense satisfaction from sharing my passion for running with others and I become inspired when I am able to help them accomplish their running goals and discover the source of their own passion. My role as a Nike+ Run Club Pacer is a strong part of my personal identity and is something that I take a ton of pride in.
What is your biggest accomplishment in running?
Most runners start road racing by entering themselves into races of shorter distances and gradually set their sights on longer races. My introduction to road racing was a little different, in that my first race was the big 42.2K. I heard about an opportunity to become part of the Chicago 100, a group of NRC runners convening in Chicago to run the legendary Chicago Marathon. When I got confirmation that I would get to be a part of this amazing experience, I had 12 weeks to get myself marathon ready. I ramped up my training to 75-85 kilometers a week and running consumed my thoughts in both my waking hours and in my dreams. In those weeks of training that led up to Chicago, I experienced self-doubt and self-empowerment of equal intensities. Luckily for me, I had an amazing group of my fellow NRC pacers and runners training simultaneously, many of us for our first marathon. We did our longest and most painful training runs together and when it came to race morning, we walked together into battle.
In the end, I ran Chicago in 3:40 and could not only call myself a runner, but a marathoner. Honestly and truly something I never thought I would be, nor really had an interest in being.
What has running taught you?
That’s the power of the sport though. Running allows you to discover parts of yourself that you never knew existed, and lets you surpass what you once considered your limits. These days, I don’t run as a method of escape. I’m quite content with the way things have turned out, so instead I run because I’m eager to discover what else might be hidden within.
What are some of your favourite quotes?
The best pace is a suicide pace and today looks like a good day to die.” – Steve Prefontaine
Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.” – Steve Prefontaine
Everything you need is already inside.”- Bill Bowerman
The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race, it’s to test the limits of the human heart.”- Bill Bowerman
A final thought on running
So why do I run? I run to discover my limits and then shatter them.