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For Montreal half-marathon runner, running is therapy

After her third baby, Chloe Lalonde started running to get out of the house and lose a little weight, but running's mental health benefits have become just as important

Mom of three boys, Chloe Lalonde of Saint-Lazar, Que. completed her first half-marathon yesterday at Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Montreal. Despite its being an extremely warm late September morning, Lalonde was elated to finish. “It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done (besides quitting smoking eight years ago and the birth of my three boys of course), but I crossed the line… it’s one of my greatest accomplishments so far.”

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Lalonde, who is now 38 and is a purchaser for a mining company, discovered running only a year ago, while on mat leave with her youngest, who is now two. She had had “post-baby blues” before, and started taking antidepressant medication after her second baby. “The meds helped, but you think ‘am I going to have to be doing this for the rest of my life?'” Lalonde told us. “Are there other things I could be doing? You always hear that exercise is good for relieving anxiety and stress and for helping with depression, because it gets you outside in the fresh air and sunshine.”

After her third baby, another woman in her neighbourhood was getting the local moms together for runs, and encouraged Lalonde to join them. “It’s great when you have your buddies calling you and inviting you for a run. Nobody ever feels bad after running. Even if you feel like shit, you don’t feel bad that you just went for a run. It’s always good afterwards.”


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Photo: FinisherPix

She also liked that running made her feel better physically: “I feel great… I’m not out of breath all the time. I definitely need to lose quite a bit of weight. I’m giving myself a little bit of a break after three kids, but that was partly why I joined. I was just looking for a cheap way to lose some weight.”

Lalonde realized it was helping with her mood one evening when she was feeling particular down. “I was overthinking things and upset, feeling really low,” she says. “It was raining out, which doesn’t help, and all I wanted to do was go out for a run, because for some reason I thought that would make me feel better. When I’m running I have to concentrate so hard on not passing out, I can’t think of anything! I have to count, whatever, and when I came back I felt amazing. Even in the rain, it felt cleansing. By then I was doing 5K, which takes me about 40 minutes. That’s my minimum now, when I go for a run–5K.”

Photo: FinisherPix

From the beginning, Lalonde ran with other moms who were home during the day. “We called it a ‘couch to 5K,'” she says, and they worked up to the distance gradually, eventually also running a 10K.

That first running partner, Lalonde says, has become her best friend, constantly encouraging her, and signing them up for races. About the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, she says, “She wanted to make sure it was something with a real buzz, upbeat and encouraging. She found this race and suggested that we sign up for it.”

Lalonde also credits her husband for being super supportive of her running. “He has been so encouraging. He sees that I enjoy this and I feel good.”

On the registration page, Lalonde didn’t have to think very hard to answer the question ‘why do you run?’ “It’s cheaper than therapy, I said, and you feel amazing afterwards…

“And I love what it’s doing for my legs.”