How I Accidentally Became an Ultra Runner

So, you’ve found your way to my blog. Thank you! I have long since said I don’t think anyone would ever be interested in what I have to say, but others have told me that maybe people would like to hear my story, hear about my adventures, so here I am. For my very first blog entry, I thought I would tell you a little bit about myself, and a little bit about my journey. My name is Carolin, I am a 50 year old mother of 3 gorgeous, independent daughters, and wife to David, my biggest fan and unflagging supporter. We live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, gateway to my backyard playground of the Canadian Rocky mountains.

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My running journey began 16 or so years ago. I had 3 kids under 6, I was obese and out of shape, and I had decided that I needed to make some changes in order to become the person I wanted to be. So, in my typical fashion, I ruminated on this for some time. “What if I started running”, I thought? “Could I ever be a runner?” “Doubtful”, my mind said. “You don’t have a runner’s body”, I told myself. But, as with most things, this little seed took root, and one day I decided today is the day. Today, I will go for a run. So, I got up in the morning, got dressed in my “running” attire, laced up my shoes, and stepped out the door. After a warm up walk around the corner (out of sight of everyone I knew on my block), I began to run. “This is great!” I thought to myself. I ran and I ran until I started feeling tired and my breathing grew ragged. “I’d better not overdo it on the first day, and really, this is pretty hard” I thought as I ground down to a walk. “Phew, that was awesome!.” I looked at my watch to see how long I’d been running, sweat pouring down my face. Two minutes, said my watch. “Two minutes? That can’t be right, it’s been at least 20” I said, tapping the face of my digital watch to make sure it hadn’t stopped. “Well, two minutes is better than nothing, I’ll do better tomorrow.”

 

Fast forward to tomorrow. I wake up in the morning and leap out of bed (not), OMG, what happened to my legs??? I can’t sit on the toilet, I can’t walk down the stairs, I think I am dying!!! However, that, like everything else in life, passed. I kept on going for the 2-minute, then 5-minute, then 10-minute, and longer runs. On a banner day, some months later, I ran all the way from my house to the top of a hill 2.5 km away WITHOUT STOPPING!!! It was a breakthrough day for me, and I still remember doing a little victory dance at the top of that hill.

 

Now, 16 years later I have made it to the top of that hill countless times. I am no longer obese, though my weight is still something I struggle with each and every day. My journey has taken me through marathons and Ironman triathlons, and has settled, for the current moment at least, on trail races and Ultra-marathons. It has not always been easy, I have not loved it every day. Some days are a struggle to get off the couch and lace up my shoes, but most days, I make the effort and manage to get out the door. I never expected to be an ultra-runner. Had you asked me 16 years ago if I would ever run a race of 50k, I would have said, “no, I am a fat, lazy, housewife. You must be insane if you think I could ever do such a thing.” Yet, here I am having done that and more. I never expected this to happen, it just did. I still don’t have that “runner’s body”, yet I have discovered that this body I do have is capable of so much more than I ever thought it could be. It has led me on some amazing adventures, and yes, it runs. Not quickly, not with agility or grace, but it runs. It gets me there. I keep pushing it to see where its limits lie, but so far I have not found those limits. They are out there somewhere, and I will keep looking for them, one race at a time, one adventure at a time, one step at a time. The journey continues. Just keep moving forward.

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