Diane Rizzardo, Physio Therapist & Marathon Runner
Diane is a Vancouver based licensed BC Physiotherapist, with a Kinesiology background, STOTT Pilates training, and is completing her Sports Physiotherapy and Manual Therapy levels. She also runs half marathons and middle distance sprints both locally and around the world. You can find her along the Vancouver running paths, with friends in a local fitness class or exploring the world-class trails throughout our local and whistler mountains, or back on the soccer field.
T: Can you tell us a bit about your journey as an athlete?
DR: When I was 2 months old I started spending my weekends on the sidelines while my dad coached a college soccer team, and soon as I could walk I was playing. When I was in high school I began focusing on soccer and wound up competing for UBC's Varsity soccer team and the Whitecaps FC Women's squad. After University soccer finished I felt like I had lost my identity, so I began running, and now I run half, full marathons and trail races. Just this year I have gone back to playing competitive soccer after 6 years away from it and I'm loving it.
T: Are there any changes you wish to see for women in the athletic world?
DR: Women in power positions. We finally have strong female athletes for young girls to look up to on the field or court (Christine Sinclair, The Williams sisters, Ronda Rousey, Danika Patrick, Lanni Marchant etc) but we need to see women in more executive positions for the major athletics clubs/associations to ensure that females are truly supported across the spectrum, from youth development to professional levels and into masters athletics.
T: What is the biggest thing you have learned in your job so far?
DR: Everyone just wants to be heard. The biggest feedback I get from clients is that they are frustrated with past medical treatment because they've felt rushed in and out the door and don't feel like the healthcare professional working with them is listening to them. I find that especially in the pilates physio environment, people's walls come down and once that happens they are more able to fully connect with their body during the rehab process.
T: Words of wisdom for anyone in recovery mode? (Or anyone wanting to start taking better care of themselves/get in shape)
DR: Don't make it a chore, find something you love. Exercise is your best preventative medicine and rehab tool. So if you hate the gym - don't go! Instead try swimming, yoga, pilates, Zumba, boxing, hiking...in BC we have limitless options indoors and out! I'm personally totally addicted to Lagree right now because it challenges the muscles I generally ignore.
T: What are some insecurities you face and how do you try to overcome them?
DR: The fear of failure drives my ambition both in sport and life. It's something I have been working on accepting more lately, and valuing my imperfections because that is what sets me apart from others. There are always physical flaws I can point out (my crooked smile, pointy left shoulder...things that I'm sure nobody else would even notice) but I'm working on cutting out negative self critical talk. It's definitely a work in progress.
T: On that note...What do you LOVE most about yourself?
DR: I love my scars. They each tell a story and are a reminder of a certain event, emotion or person. They are a physical sign of resiliency.
T: What is your approach when it comes to eating healthy/finding balance?
DR: 80/20. 80% of the time I'm a healthy eater and I'm lucky because I actually love the taste of (most) clean natural foods so it's not hard for me, but anyone that knows me knows that I have an insane sugar tooth. Especially when I'm running more and my body craves quick carbs. Training for the marathon this past spring I adopted Sports Nutritionist Sarah Cuff's advise and I would recommend any runner talking with Sarah about their specific dietary needs for marathons... she is phenomenal!
T: What is a personal goal you have?
I've always wanted to own my own physiotherapy and integrated health clinic. I think the public's needs are changing and people want their healthcare to be combined into one place where all of their physio, RMT's, personal trainers, dentists, etc. are in communication with each other. It comes back to the idea that everyone wants to be heard as a patient.