Meet Chalaine (Guest Blog, Ottawa)

Chalaine shows up with her accountability buddies, Diane and Jean, every week, and are usually the first ones to show up. They come and leave together, no matter what, no matter what the weather, the conditions, the darkness, whatever is going on. Chalaine leads by example every week, showing up and giving workouts her best and giving others who show up her best as well. We have seen her come out of her shell, connecting with others and the new people who show up to the flame. Thank you for showing up and being part of this community. Thank you for sharing, meet Chalaine. 

Wait? What? You mean to tell me that you wake up at what time to go workout in the morning? The workouts are outside? What about when it rains? When it is -30 degrees Celsius outside? These are the types of questions people constantly ask me when I try to recruit them to come and try November Project (NP). 

Crazy… Insane… Out of my mind… are some words that have been used to describe me in the past after I answer their questions.  Little by little, those words are changing todedicated, committed, inspiration…  Ok! I won’t hide that some of the other words are still being used but in a joking matter now.

To go back a few years… As a child, I had a defect in my heart that prevented me to be active and was making me very sick.  Luckily with the miracles of modern medicine (even in the 80s), I survived an open-heart surgery.  There are no side effects and most doctors would say that I am probably healthier than most people.  I was not athletic at all. In fact, I found a way to avoid taking a gym class in high school. Ballet was my activity. I was, and still am, very shy and most people would not know that I was in the room as I was so quiet.  That has changed with time, however to make initial contact with people when it is not a work context is still something I am working on.

Moving forward to my adult years, about 8 years ago, a colleague of mine told me that one of their friends gave up his ticket to a Spartan Race. This was at the beginning of the obstacle racing craze that we know now.  To entice me, she showed me the promotional video. While I was watching it, I saw a guy jumping over fire that seemed to be higher than me and then another person leaving on a stretcher. I was terrified and really did not want to do this.  My response was: “I don’t run and why would I go through all that pain”.  Well a week passed and that was the beginning of an amazing experience. It is when I decided to live my life trying new experiences and saying yes.  I can never thank her enough for getting me involved in the OCR community.  I since had a chance to run in close to 100 different races ranging from beginner races (Bootcamp Race) to the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships. 

About 5 years ago, my life became a little rocky. I became a single mother of two kids that had to take on a majority of the parenting responsibility. When this happened, most of my friends (or what I thought were my friends) disappeared. I have no family in the area, and frankly, I never really became close to most of my family members as my parents moved away from their families when I was 3 months old.  I also don’t have a great relationship with my parents. So needless to say, solitude became my world. I also live in a small community where I felt like a stranger in my own town. 

I am not the type to live in self-pitty. So all this doom and gloom that I have been living could not continue.  I needed to find new friends, new activities.  I saw a post through social media about the November Project in March of 2017. Like others, I could not imagine that I would wake up at 4:30 am to come into town. I then saw this group eating what seemed to be bagels in May in front of my office building and knew I needed to be part of this group. The group seemed to have a great camaraderie, to be very positive. Just what I needed.  I do admit that it was not an easy thing for me to do since I am shy and I was going there alone not knowing anyone.  This was June 2017.

I got to the Parliament and saw Liz who immediately welcomed me and gave me a hug. And then, Lauren, who did the same thing. Both took the time to learn my name. I thought that they were so incredible to know everybody by their names. It made me feel so welcomed and instantly part of the group. I never looked back and now am craving for my Wednesday morning hugs and workout. I never used to be a hugger but NP changed me.  I have been going week after week without question to the workouts. In fact, it is probably, the best day of my week.  To be greeted with smiles, hugs and people that have common interests means the world to me.  I finally found a group where I can be me and push myself as much or little as I want and no one will judge me.  I have found a group where I am making friendships, where I feel that people can understand my need to stay active. I don’t feel alone anymore because of this great community.

And of course, I can’t forget to say that I was able to connect with others and to find other great groups of free community fitness around town because of this group.

Thank you for sharing your morning, your day and your energy with us. Congrats to fastest male and female today, Seumas and Caroline. And congrats to our PR winners and the brand new PR chain, representing progress and the community that supports that progress, Mel, Diane, Jamie, Marcie and Jean. Track your progress to qualify for this award! 


  1. Next Wednesday is boxing day and we WILL workout, because it’s wednesday and NP is never cancelled. Meet at Supreme Court! 
  2. Track your PR progress
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