• Mark Villani

#4) "OH, DEER!"

With a shoelace in my hands, I snugly tug each band of thread to perfectly caress the outside of my foot.

With a pull.. an 'over and an under'... and a 'swoosh'... my shoes are tied. I'm ready to go.

It's the start of every single run. I'm fortunate to have shoes, let alone two legs to stand on.

Often times I find myself looking down at my feet when I run. It's a big mistake. I'm losing time. I'm losing energy and perhaps I'm losing my mind?

My headphones have been dead for the better part of September and October. I don't know about you, but listening to the sound of your own breath for a two hour run can get old real fast.

At times, all I an hear is the sound of the fall leaves crunching under the soles of my feet. In a way, it's peaceful tuning into the sound of of my own footsteps, but this month was different.

These footprints weren't mine.

I'm being followed. By someone. Or maybe some 'thing?'

They're quiet.

They lay low in the bushes, stalking me as their prey, watching my every move as they plan their attack.

The blades of grass hide their faces, but I can see those eyes glaring back at me.

They're graceful, strategic, filled with so much energy and...


Oh, dear (pun intended)

But seriously... They’re everywhere and I can’t escape them!

For most of the entire months of September and October, I’ve ran into these four-legged friends on my run.

So it got me wondering... what the hell could this mean?

According to the website,, 'seeing or dreaming of deer' symbolizes “the spiritualistic aspect of your life.”

Uhh what? 

Well it could mean a couple of different things apparently..

The deer “holds good news in life, new starts or even new love in the life.”

It’s interesting.. I just met a girl and we've been dating for a little while now.

Although... at the time time of this post I was single AF

Let's just say, there weren't very many prospects...

Oh, you don't believe me?

Well.. for the record... my skills include the following

#1) Hopelessly cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs... (it proves I’m loyal) 

#2) Making the perfect omelette... (A life necessity according to Gordon Ramsey)

#3) Breaking the 2011 record for the most pairs of women’s jeans sold at a southern Alberta 'American Eagle' store (Clearly I’m really “selling” myself with this list...)

And finally...

#4) Being able to carry all of my groceries into my apartment in one trip... (perhaps the most attractive quality a man can have)

Ok.. so at the time, it might not have been a love interest just yet.. but deer who appear from bushes (and scare the shit out of me) could also represent a good sign of “self awakening.”

I suppose that’s a good thing then. 

This is a whole new journey and that’s really what running has been for me these last few years


It’s my safe space to go to when I need to clear my mind and I find that it gives me a purpose each day to wake up and achieve something. 

As I entered these weeks of my training, I started to realize that running isn’t so much of a “chore” — it’s something I love to do. 

In week 12 of my training, my coach Travis understood that my body needed a break so we recovered and ran shorter slow runs, mixing in some shorter interval workouts. 

It gave me the chance to not put so much pressure on myself, but to go out and “just run.”

This is sometimes a “super serious” training program aimed at qualifying for Boston (which it is), but I realize my personal happiness is even more important. 

I got to spend time with my family this past month and try my hand at go-carting down Canada Olympic Park (only crashed once). 

I also tried a Pumpkin Spiced Latte for the very time (so much cinnamon.. blah) 

And I got to spend time with one of my favourite people in the world — my Nonna (it’s my grandma for those non-Italians). 

A focus on family and things I love helped carry me through leading up to my 25th birthday and it made me realize just how lucky I am.

The intervals are getting harder, but I’m feeling faster and stronger... even if these videos say otherwise ;)

No matter what happens, I know the best is yet come.

Qualifying for Boston or not, I'm growing up and I couldn't ask for better people to share my life with.

So... thanks, "Deer!"

RUNNING STATS (October to mid-November, 2019

Week 12 - 44.6 miles (71.777km)

Week 13 - 25.6 miles (41.199km)

Week 14 - 35.3 miles (56.81km)

Week 15 - 31.6 miles (50.855km)

Total distance to date  - 594.28 miles  (956.401km)

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