Occupation: Manager of Critical Care, Respiratory Therapy and Infection Control, GBHS
Hobbies/Interests: Marathons & Ironman Triathlon
Steps in a Half Marathon: 22,000
Steps in Colleen’s Workday: 15-20,000
Critical Care Manager Runs On and Off the Job
Colleen Ouwendyk is a veteran competitor of triathlons and marathons. But ask if her if you have to be an elite athlete or a fitness guru to follow in her footsteps, you’ll get an emphatic “no.”
“People are capable of doing so much more than they give themselves credit for, they just don’t have that confidence to sign up or to get out the door,” said Colleen, Manager of Critical Care, Respiratory Therapy and Infection Control at GBHS Owen Sound Hospital. “They feel it’s beyond them because they’re not an elite athlete, but 90% of the people that go in these events are not elite athletes. They’re recreational athletes who are getting exercise and having fun.”
Colleen started competing about 12 years ago, admitting she was nervous at her first event, a half marathon. What she discovered was that fellow racers were very supportive, and the feeling of accomplishment had her signing up for more events right away. She typically does five or six events a year, some local, some further afield such as the Boston Marathon and a recent Ironman triathlon in Mexico.
She started with local groups, of which there are several for running, biking and swimming. She has her own social group now that she exercises with five to 10 hours a week, and recommends newbies start with a group, which is both social and motivating.
“They will be welcoming and they will take the time to teach you and encourage you and to build you up to that level. You don’t have to show up to those groups already running marathons.”