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Glad to be back running

Niagara 50K Finish
Jordan finishing the Niagara 50k Ultra a few weeks ago – hand in hand with a friend.

This week’s blog is about a Canadian runner who has battled pain on and off the running path.

Jordan Thoms

Jordan is a 28-year-old teacher who also works at a Running Room in Ottawa but calls Prince George, B.C., home. The young teacher is also involved with Adventurer Ray Zahab’s education-based organization, impossible2Possible (i2P). Jordan has run ultras. He can handle the pain that comes with running.

Sometimes life dishes out other kinds of pain, too.

In spring of 2013, Jordan began experiencing pain that he could not figure out. Symptoms were easy to manage at first, but several months later Jordan was unable to sleep, sit or lay down comfortably. He also couldn’t eat.

“The worst of it was in the last month when I would experience muscle spasms from the waist down for up to 24 hours, non-stop,” Thoms says. “I had also lost about 50 pounds. The pain was so unbearable, I just don’t know what it could be compared to.”

Finally a benign tumour was found in Jordan’s spinal canal. His right hip also had a two labral tears. But the pain was not over. Jordan had to grit through multiple surgeries. Throughout this, Jordan had to step away from running.

What was your first run after the recovery and how do you feel now?

My first official race was the 2014 5K Cookie Run in Ottawa with my mom, the one who inspired me to start running in the first place, several years ago.

My body feels great, like the injuries and surgeries never happened. Like anyone training to run farther distances, I have to keep up with my running programs, stretching, strength training and nutrition to keep going. My right hip is still a bit tighter because of the surgery, but everything feels completely normal.

How does being able to run again feel for you?

It’s extremely liberating! After experiencing so much pain and having little ability to move, I appreciate every time I get to go out for a run or be active. I love the sense of adventure it brings to my life, and the clarity it provides to my mind. I’m a physical education teacher and personal trainer as well, so physical activity has always been a big part of my life. I think it brings out the best in people, so it’s been really great to be active again. I do my best to lead by example because it means so much to me when I see other people or youth become involved with physical activity. I also love the challenge it brings to my life as well – it builds perseverance and resilience, which I find transfers to all areas of life.

What are your running plans for the rest of 2015?

For my own personal challenge, my next races are the Spartan Ultra Beast in Mont Ste-Marie, the i2P 100K trail run in Gatineau Park and the MEC Gatineau Marathon. A few of my friends are running the Army half-marathon this fall for the first time, so I’ll be running with them to help achieve their goal!


Do you have a running story to tell?


You can also catch me on Twitter @NoelPaine or on my personal blog.