Sedentary to Ultra Runner: Taking Those First Steps

Disclosure: I received  free entry to the Great Climate Race as part of their ambassador program.

When I ran my first ever 5K in 2008 I could not have fathomed what the future held for me.

I was in my final years of college and spent most of my time sitting in front of a computer. A few friends had this wonderful idea to sign up for a St. Patrick’s Day 5K race. Running, yeah I thought maybe I could do that! I had played team sports all through elementary and high school and although I never enjoyed [read: hated] running, I still thought of myself as generally athletic. The winters in Calgary are cold, so I mainly ran on the treadmill at the gym very sporadically to train. It was so boring but I’d manage to do a couple kilometres and call it a day. I didn’t have a training plan and I’m not even sure I knew such a thing existed at the time.

The morning of the race was really cold out but at least it wasn’t snowing (much)! I had no idea what to wear so I layered up and was super warm. The gun went off and I started too fast, trying to keep up with everyone. After a while I saw the first distance marker … What!?! I’ve only made it 1 km!?! I slowed down and had to take walk breaks near the end. Runners, clearly able to tell that I was struggling, gave me encouragement, “Not much further now!” I was not in a happy place but I pushed onward. My time was about 35 minutes and I was ecstatic to cross the finish line! I was so proud of myself – plus now we got to eat whatever we wanted right!?

Unfortunately, my running took a nose dive and it wasn’t until five years later (2013) that I really got into it again. I had just watched my boyfriend (now husband) and a few friends run a half marathon and decided that I wanted to do one too! I had been eating well and had lost a few pounds since my previous 5K experience, plus I had a new-found determination. Running came a little easier to me this time and I really fell in love with it! I picked out a training plan, stuck to it, and four months later I completed my first half! By that time, I already had my sights set on the full BMO Vancouver Marathon (2014), and after that the Squamish50 km trail ultra (2015)!

There are a lot of things to love about running: getting in shape, maybe losing weight, and all the sweet race bling! … but the real benefits are the ones that improve every aspect of your life. Running has taught me goal setting, planning, time management, and dedication. I’m not only in the best physical shape of my life, but the best shape mentally too. I am more confident, less self-conscious, and I’ve learned to love my body for what it can do rather than how it looks. However, the hands-down BEST part of running is the community. I have met so many amazing, inspiring, and encouraging people through running who I am proud to call friends.

Over the last few years I went from a sedentary lifestyle to running ultras. I definitely did not see that coming, and neither did my friends or family. So ditch your preconceptions and set a big goal for yourself, whether that means walking 2K or running 10K! Everyone’s running journey will be different – it’s never too late to start yours!

The Great Climate Race

The Great Climate Race on Sunday, November 8th provides an excellent opportunity for new and experienced runners to have fun, walk/run, and help crowdfund solar panels in the community! I will be running the 10K  and rumour has it I might even be a pace bunny! For more information, visit:

Save 30% on your registration with promo code “Brie”!


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