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The Running Bug

The 2K Family Run, Ottawa

Last Saturday, Stella and I ran in the 2K Family Run at Ottawa Race Weekend. It’s an inclusive race where strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, and toddlers are all welcome. 


Have you heard of “chickenpox parties”? It’s when a group of parents hold a party and intentionally invite a child with chickenpox to hang out with their children in the hope that their kids will catch it. Well, this is sort of how I imagine I might be able to catch the “running bug.”

Yes, the “running bug.” Tell-tale signs of those who’ve caught it are running in the pouring rain, running in -20 weather, getting up at 4am for a run or going out at 9pm for a run, putting yourself in ice baths while training for a marathon, and various other strange behaviours.

Apparently, if you start running, you’ll eventually you’ll catch this bug. Like the desperate parents sending their kids off to catch an infectious disease, I’ve completed a group training session with the Running Room, I’ve treated myself to a cute running jacket for the wind and rain, I’ve cajoled friends into running with me, and I’ve even managed to drag my 10-year-old daughter along too. In fact, it’s been eight years since I ran my first race and so far, not a sign of catching this infamous running bug.

Ottawa Race Weekend, 2005

This is moi and mon amie Jacquie, after completing the Ottawa Race Weekend’s 5K in 2005.


To me, running is still very much a chore. Not only is it not particularly enjoyable for me physically while I’m doing it, but it’s kind of boring too. Then there’s the aches and pains from the high-impact on your joints. All of this might make you wonder: why am I trying to catch this bug in the first place, right?

I know, I know, it does sound a touch mad. But the people I know who do run really (I mean really) love it. I want to feel that kind of enthusiasm for a physical activity. Plus, there’s a convenience and efficiency factor because you don’t need to get yourself to a gym — you just thrown on your running shoes and out the door you go. And then there’s the pure vanity of it all … all those skinny celebs run, so it must help to keep them skinny, right?

Ottawa Race Weekend, after the 2k

Here I am with my 2K medal from last weekend’s Ottawa Race Weekend.

So, in answer to the question my bloggy friend Karen asked me after I finished this past weekend’s race in Ottawa: No, I haven’t caught the running bug … not yet, at least.

But I’m not giving up on it! I think I will sign up for the Canada Day race. One just never knows … perhaps my immune system will weaken and the running bug will take over my muscles — and my soul.

Fingers crossed.


  1. Hmm Canada Day 5k? I’m going to think about this. I need a goal that is sooner than September. And I really only have the running bug when it’s nice outside. 😉

  2. Congratulations on sticking with it even when it feels like a chore. It wasn’t until I passed the 5k mark that I caught the bug. Something about crazy levels of adrenalin pumping through my body and now I’m hooked.

  3. says:

    I can’t stand running – never have, never will. Even as a kid the 12 minute run in PE was the WORST thing ever. I catch the swimming bug in the summer – 3 times a week in the outdoor pool with coach and all. Pushes me and once you’re under water it’s amazing. The bug isn’t strong enough to have me going in winter though – wet hair, changing, indoor pools…not so much.

  4. Good for you even though you haven’t caught the bug! I need to start exercising. I keep thinking about it and putting it off due to cost, time, blogging…but I really need to! Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. I’ve had it bad before… running in hail and 60 km/hr winds, running in -25C… I think some people are more inclined to it than others. If it’s not your thing, that’s ok! I’m actively trying to catch it again these days, because I really did love it when I was into it

  6. I always wanted to run like I used to but, I just can’t seem to anymore. Great for you, you can do it if you set your mind to it, right?

  7. AnnMarieBrown says:

    Congrats for doing the race. I really need to get fit again so I can get back to running.

  8. Julie, good for you for finishing the race! I LOVE that it’s inclusive. Sometimes I take my toddler and preschooler to the YMCA and we run for a few laps, but I also don’t have the running bug. I’m glad to work out at the gym and do physical activity, but running make me feel unwell. The first thing about running that I don’t like is that I get very hot, and the second thing is I always get stiches in my side…even if I stretch well. I’m hoping to also catch the running bug one day.

  9. Jackie Currie says:

    Hats off to you, Julie! I have so much admiration for runners, but it’s just not something that I can bring myself to give a fair chance. I have heard, like you said, that once you really get into it, you’re hooked for good. Maybe I need to give a little more effort, and see if that happens. I would love to BE a runner. I just don’t particularly like running. LOL So I salute you! Oh, and we lived in Ottawa for a decade (it’s where my boys were born), so I was scanning your crowd photo to see if I recognized anyone. hee hee.

  10. Chantal says:

    What I hate about the running bug is that once you have it, you can lose it. I have had it twice and lost it twice. Dang it I wish it would just hang on tight even when my butt is firmly parked on the couch!

  11. LifeInPleasantville says:

    I have the running bug, then I recover. Then I get it again. :) Congratulations Julie. I know how good it feels to cross that finish line.

  12. amy_boughner says:

    I hate running. I’ve tried to learn to run but I just hate it. I wish I could love it, like my father the marathon runner or my daughter who runs during her breaks from running around at soccer, but it’s just not me. I like walking.

  13. Yes Congratulations on getting through it. Although I would love to catch the running bug those poka dotted kids can keep the chicken pox.

  14. Allison McCaskill says:

    I tried really hard to catch the running bug. I actually quite liked it – it’s faster than walking! – but I didn’t like how my knee started making a grinding noise whenever I walked and then refused to carry me any further. Two years of physio later it still isn’t right. So I walk, which seems even more annoyingly slow now.

  15. Jody MacArthur says:

    I am wary of chicken pox parties and wary of running… but I’d probably try the running first! We have a family run coming up this weekend in our city and I’m trying to pawn it off on my husband… sigh. Maybe I’ll give it a go… I hope that bug is contagious and infiltrates my immune system!!

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