Woman on the Run

Denise Helm

Denise Helm

I'm a runner who has progressed from wondering who all those idiots are jogging along the road to completing eight half-marathons and embracing chocolate milk as a recovery drink. I'm a middle-of-the-packer who shares info about running in Victoria, and beyond.

  • Which runner type are you?

    There are three types of recreational runners. Well, may be four. The first is what I call the serious speedsters. Not just fast or seriously fast, but very serious about their running and training.. . .

    Denise HelmJanuary 19, 2016

  • Marathoning for mothers

    At Kilometer 39, the Neil Diamond song Cracklin’ Rosie filled my ears. I glanced down at my left forearm where the words Strong Momma were written just above my watch that was displaying my pace and. . .

    Denise HelmOctober 14, 2015

  • Why run if it hurts?

    If you are a runner, you’ve thought about pain. Experienced pain. And medicated pain (Vitamin I anyone? Or do you prefer wine?) The longer I run, and the longer my runs, I'm trying to think of pain . . .

    Denise HelmOctober 3, 2015

  • Running While Drinking Beer or What I Did on my Summer Holiday

    I lift my chin up to catch the lightly falling rain fully on my face as I jog the last 50 metres to my house, throwing my arms high and wide in an exclamation of sorts. It’s the cusp of September, . . .

    Denise HelmSeptember 1, 2015

  • Craving the IV drip of motivation

    Two and a half weeks into the marathon training clinic and I already have a nugget of wisdom. This is hard work. And the hard work hasn’t even started yet. Dozens of people cram into the Vancouver . . .

    Denise HelmJuly 1, 2015

  • Can anyone run a marathon?

    Can anyone run a marathon? You might be surprised at the variety of shapes, sizes and ages of people who cross the finish line. Since the sport of distance running half and full marathons took off . . .

    Denise HelmJune 24, 2015

  • Buckle up for a bumpy summer ride

    It’s a simple lesson to learn but like a kid who is tone deaf to his parent’s advice, I seem to easily forget the most basic things. In my case, it’s not pick up the clothes off the floor, it’s . . .

    Denise HelmJune 14, 2015

  • TC 10K Race Weekend at the Finish Line

    Wasn’t that a party! The TC 10K weekend has wrapped up for another year. The clinics and training, either official or half-hearted, led thousands of people to the start line of the 10K downtown or . . .

    Denise HelmApril 26, 2015

  • Top tips for TC 10K

    You've trained and signed up for the TC 10K or half marathon and counting down the days? Here’s a few tips to get you race-ready. "In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather . . .

    Denise HelmApril 16, 2015

  • Gallery: Spring run in Victoria

    On a recent early morning in Victoria, I couldn't resist stopping several times during my run to snap a photo while thinking of my sis who lives in Ontario. Don't hate me because my city is . . .

    Denise HelmMarch 2, 2015

  • From sloth to Ninja: The return to running

    Label me half-in, half-out. Label me naïve. Or just pin a race a bib on me and give me a shove. What in the hell am I doing running races so early in 2015? The Vancouver Island Race Series is a . . .

    Denise HelmJanuary 30, 2015

  • Why the Harriers Pioneer 8K is better than the NY marathon

    To those of you in awe of anyone who trains for and completes a marathon without ending up in a medical tent, let me set you straight – any race is worthy of respect. Many people train damn hard to . . .

    Denise HelmJanuary 12, 2015

  • Streaked like bacon - or how to be lean and fat at the same time

    How can a person go from marathon to slothdom so quickly? You won’t find slothdom in a dictionary, although it should be. It’s rich in imagery – a comfortable couch, white wine and scotch, homemade . . .

    Denise HelmJanuary 2, 2015

  • NYC marathon: The pain and pleasure

    My arrival in New York to run my first marathon was like a fairy tale. But this was no ride in a pumpkin carriage, being more akin to Jack facing the giant at the end of the bean stalk. Sometimes. . .

    Denise HelmNovember 9, 2014

  • Three things not to do before a race

    I don’t know why I was startled to see the countdown clock on the NYC marathon website displaying less than two weeks till race day. Hell, they’ve already sold out of lots of the official ASICS . . .

    Denise HelmOctober 19, 2014

  • Race day: Pamela Anderson, David Lee Roth and me

    Having spent most of my working life in newspapers, I thrive on deadlines. I need that finality to emerge from the fog of competing distractions to get the job done. And so it is with my first . . .

    Denise HelmOctober 3, 2014

  • The danger and joys of running with headphones

    I’m creating a playlist to sustain me during the New York marathon Nov.2, in case my fairytale of going from injury to start line actually comes true. If it does, I know I’ll want some serious . . .

    Denise HelmSeptember 17, 2014

  • End of summer thrills: roller coaster and long run

    I ended the summer of 2014 with two thrills: riding the vintage rickety wooden roller coaster at the PNE and running 30 kilometres. One took 90 seconds. The other, somewhat longer. One was an . . .

    Denise HelmSeptember 2, 2014

  • Running on holidays: beer, candy and highways

    When I saw the roadside memorial of a rickety white-board cross and faded plastic flowers, it dawned on me. May be this wasn't the tragic scene of a vehicle accident. It could have been a runner . . .

    Denise HelmAugust 15, 2014

  • Best books on running

    What are the best books on running? Lord knows I’ve read a few. I’ll review some of my favourites and tell you if they helped my running, or not, and why. Running books? Oh, I've read a few.... ---. . .

    Denise HelmJuly 24, 2014

  • Break the rules; make new ones

    Early into my novice marathon training, I’ve already broken a fundamental rule: Don’t attempt a marathon if you’ve been recently injured. Well, duh. Of course I’m injured. I’m a runner. You know –. . .

    Denise HelmJuly 12, 2014

  • Inspiration from a 95-year-old track star

    How can I learn to run happy, even faster, and for many, many more years? Apparently, be like a cool baboon. This might seem like an odd mantra to adopt for marathon training, but if it works for a . . .

    Denise HelmJune 28, 2014

  • Advice doled out for first-time marathoner

    A middleaged, busy mom's attempt to run her first marathon in New York in November. I have found two sisters - twins Madge and Mary - who coach runners online. Being mortal and needing all the help. . .

    Denise HelmJune 15, 2014

  • The accidental marathoner

    I stare at my computer screen, shake my head slightly, blink my eyes and look again. Hi 
You are accepted in the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. This entry can be found on your mynyrr profile . . .

    Denise HelmJune 8, 2014

  • Goddess Run Race Report: Sisterhood of sweat

    No doubt about it – The Victoria Goddess Run has a special vibe. Sure, the Boston marathon has its speedy masochists, the New York marathon its cultural mavens, and the Goodlife Fitness Victoria . . .

    Denise HelmJune 2, 2014

  • Top 5 reasons to sign up for Victoria Goddess Run

    Five top reasons to sign up for the Victoria Goddess Run. With only one month until the Victoria Goddess weekend of events, it’s time to put down that glass of wine (temporarily) and consider why . . .

    Denise HelmMay 5, 2014

  • TC 10K race report: Sun, wind, rain, cast of thousands

    The TC 10K wouldn’t be what it is without the thousands who become a jostling mass of humanity – people all sizes, shapes, ages and abilities who race, jog, walk and limp through Victoria’s streets.. . .

    Denise HelmApril 27, 2014

  • Practising the TC 10K route

    Why pre-run the TC 10K route? It depends on your personality. Do you shake and poke your Christmas gift to try to guess its contents before unwrapping it? Ever google a restaurant's menu? Is . . .

    Denise HelmApril 19, 2014

  • TC10K - The epic race

    The TC10K is quite simply an epic race. For hundreds of people every year, it’s their first race ever. A triumph of sweat, persistence, and spirit culminating in the delighted discovery that a . . .

    Denise HelmMarch 28, 2014

  • From chain-smoker to fitness cheerleader

    It has been 32 years since an over-weight, chain-smoking office dweller would run before dawn because he was too embarrassed to be seen huffing and puffing around the neighbourhood. Today that same . . .

    Denise HelmOctober 23, 2013

  • Race day report: Turkey confidential

    Does positive thinking run the risk of being delusional? At the last minute before the Goodlife Fitness Victoria half marathon, I decided to leave my phone at the starting line along with the . . .

    Denise HelmOctober 14, 2013

  • Race day: ready or not

    To the uninitiated, the thousands who attempt the Goodlife Fitness Victoria marathon or half marathon must seem crazy, perhaps unhinged by the months of training and too-tight lycra. But for every . . .

    Denise HelmOctober 7, 2013

  • Pain in the rain

    Many of us enjoy listening to the gentle rhythm of rain falling on a roof top. In fact, I discovered an app that replicates the sound of rain on a variety of surfaces such as forest foliage, a . . .

    Denise HelmSeptember 29, 2013

  • Riding the marathon roller coaster

    How do you train for a marathon if you can't run? Funny that you should ask. Welcome to my roller coaster of optimism and anguish. After publicly committing to running my first marathon in New York . . .

    Denise HelmAugust 29, 2013

  • Top tips for running in the wilderness

    When I encountered a German family on the edge of the forest where a towering bluff offers a spectacular viewing platform for the lake far below, they were a welcome sight. I was running in US . . .

    Denise HelmAugust 20, 2013

  • My Sweaty Little Secret

    Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone. Especially don’t tell my legs. I’ve signed up for my first marathon, in fact one of the most famous marathons in the world – the New York City marathon in November. I’m . . .

    Denise HelmJune 20, 2013

  • Can you sin your way to heaven?

    I’m a sinner, I’ll admit it. I’ve shown up for the Victoria Goddess Run half-marathon having violated the golden rules for success. Well-rested? Nope, a week of insomnia. Well-trained? Negative – a . . .

    Denise HelmJune 4, 2013

  • Victoria Goddess Run beckons, hills and all

    Have you ever noticed that it seems to take longer the first time you travel somewhere, but the same route home seems shorter. That, and the fact I don’t want any ugly surprises, means I drove out . . .

    Denise HelmMay 26, 2013

  • Who inspires you?

    The chalked messages on the paved pathway along the Dallas Road cliffs were like tangled spaghetti noodles. Obviously left over from an event in recent weeks, the phrases were half-sentences of . . .

    Denise HelmMay 12, 2013

  • When to quit running

    I was so prepared for the longest run of the training clinic – 21K – that I was actually looking forward to it. I went through my get-ready list in my head. Plot a route. Check. Carbo-load on Girl . . .

    Denise HelmApril 14, 2013

  • Surviving a run in the desert

    The risks of running in extremely hot weather is not something that’s top of mind for runners in Victoria. We’re more concerned about battling headwinds that reduce our pace to something akin to . . .

    Denise HelmMarch 27, 2013

  • Thousands raised for Baby Madrona

    Looking out at the crowd of people gathered to walk and run to raise money for an ill young child, Baby Madrona's uncle was on the edge of tears even as his voice spoke with strength and faith. &. . .

    Denise HelmMarch 3, 2013

  • Hawaii’s friendliest 10K

    The day after we arrived in Honolulu, my husband spied in the newspaper a local 10K race. With him being a cyclist, the fact that the event also featured 35K, 75K and 100K bike rides made us both . . .

    Denise HelmFebruary 8, 2013


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