Running for good: Dani Lalonde

Dani running with her Dad at the Calgary Marathon, 1994
Dani running with her Dad at the Calgary Marathon, 1994

Dani Lalone is an Intern Architect at Gibbs Gage Architects, and she is running in the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge to raise $500  for Accessible Housing. So far, she’s raised 63% of her goal.  We chatted with her about her motivation, training and goals for her run.

Why did you decide to race for Accessible Housing?

As an Intern Architect working here in Calgary I feel very passionate about the way our built environment influences our community. In my mind – architecture is entirely about the people that use the space. For this reason, Accessible Housing’s mission is incredibly important to me. I would like to help in as many ways as I can to ensure individuals with limited mobility can enjoy accessible homes and community spaces. I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to run for Accessible Housing, which means running for the people that cannot.

What is your Marathon goal?

My goal is slightly more financial than it is time-related. When I made the decision to join the Accessible Housing Team the focus was entirely to support their mission through fundraising. I hope to accomplish this by reaching out to as many people as I can over the next few weeks in my personal and professional life. So far the support has been strong and I plan on continuing to be persistent with spreading the message. With that said, the possibility of achieving a personal best is always in the back of my mind. I haven’t been training seriously as a runner for a few years now so I’m not really expecting much. However, I have experimented a lot with different kinds of fitness in the last few years, so I’ll be curious to see how that impacts my race time.

When was your first race and what was it like?

My first race was when I was around four years old. My Dad has been a runner for the majority of his life, so along with other sports he introduced me to running at an early age. There was a lot of walking with some running here or there – but we had a lot of fun. He and my mom encouraged me to run the last distance across the finish line, so we actually have a photo of me finishing that race, which is pretty cool.

What do you do when you’re not running?

Admittedly fitness and nutrition really top the list of my interests. I love exploring different approaches and I try to find many ways as possible to get active, from weight lifting to hiking or skateboarding. In my non-running and non-fitness time I also love any opportunity to be creative. I really love anything design-related and especially now that I have been done school for about a year, I would like to get back into doing my own personal art projects. I work as an Intern Architect at Gibbs Gage Architects.

What is your training like? Any training secrets you can share?

My training has varied a lot over the years. I played competitive basketball for 17 years, so my anaerobic and aerobic cardiovascular systems both got worked. For that reason I always try to make sure my training consists of a mix of types, through long slower sessions, or higher intensity intervals like stairs. I have upped various forms of muscle building activities, as well as cross-training like cycling. I haven’t raced a lot recently, so I’m curious to see how this new program will impact my race.

In short, my secret is – keep it varied! Mix it up. Running is hard on the body, so don’t be afraid to experiment with other ways to improve your fitness. Also, make sure you’re fueling properly. Excelling as an athlete means finding a good balance through a holistic approach. Everything you do from sleep, to nutrition, mental state, strength, flexibility, cardio, will all contribute to your success.