Hey everyone! I’m Julie – I am a risk taker and a goal digger! I love getting outside of my comfort zone and I long to explore anywhere my two feet can take me!! I am thrilled to be a part of the Run Like a Girl Community! I live in Grande Prairie (waaaay up in Northern Alberta) with my hubby and two pups. I work as a full time real estate agent, am a former ER nurse, and can be found running, planning a new adventure, playing volleyball or softball with friends, drinking coffee or rooting on my favorite NFL football team, the Arizona Cardinals:) I am a firm believer that if you aren’t happy in life, you have the power to change it!
I was athletic in high school but struggled to keep a balance once I went to university. My health took less of a priority through my 20’s and I found myself feeling unhealthy and self conscious with my physique. Around this time I was working in a remote town where I didn’t know anyone and I thought it was a perfect time to start actually working towards my goals of getting back in shape and trying to run a 10k. I still remember how amazing it felt to reach that 10k distance for the first time – the thrill of reaching that unknown was exhilarating! I signed up for my first half marathon in Anchorage shortly after that and I was hooked! I have ran 10ks up to 50k’s, and everything in between. I don’t win any of them and don’t intend to, but I am super competitive – with myself. Like many of you, I chase my PB’s and strive to improve and tackle new goals that I never thought possible. I remember driving back from a half marathon in Banff with a friend a few years ago, and she said “do you think you would ever do a marathon? ” I laughed and said no way! Fast forward to the next year, and I am doing my first road marathon! Around this same time I had signed up with a team to do a relay leg of our local ultra, the Canadian Death Race. It is a 125km race through the Rocky Mountains that can be done as a solo or team effort. The energy and camaraderie around trail running was something I hadn’t experienced in road running. Chatting with people while running through beautiful trails was so refreshing and I knew I wanted to do more, whatever that looked like. I have travelled all over Western Canada chasing mountains, running countless hours in the dark and the heat, and meeting inspiring, determined and incredible runners along the way.
I set my biggest goal yet last Christmas when I officially decided to attempt a solo effort of the Canadian Death Race. My furthest race to that point was 50k. I knew this was an aggressive goal and that I should likely work my way up with a 50 miler or 100k. However, ultra runner mentality pushed me to just go for it! Around the same time that I decided to chase this goal, Run Like a Girl announced they were hosting a trail running retreat in Costa Rica with trail running champ and all around badass Anna Frost in the spring – I knew I had to go!
I was craving adventure and thought it sounded an amazing way to combine two passions -travelling and running! To say the retreat exceeded my expectations was an understatement! The location, the people, the FOOD…and those mountains. It was a trip I will cherish forever and the off the grid aspect of it was so welcomed in a world where we are all so connected and available. It felt amazing to just DISCONNECT and be PRESENT – to really listen to what people were saying and ask questions. To listen to the sounds of the outdoors and just be. The value that trip provided in my life has no price tag. It reminded me to slow down…to breathe… to focus. I came back from that experience recharged, energized and ready to tackle my goals!
I ended up achieving my goal of a successful attempt at the Death Race, and I credit a lot of that to the people I have met through the running community (as well as my family!). Whether in my own town or friends I have made who live thousands of miles away, these people will push you, believe in you, inspire you and challenge you, even when you think you can’t do it. People who get up early on Saturdays to grind hills and share a coffee after, or drive a few hours with you to summit a mountain or two. This is what is so amazing about the Run Like a Girl community – everyone is so positive and open about their experiences – you can’t help but be inspired and grow! I am so honored to have the opportunity to join this group of fantastic people as an ambassador, and I am pretty excited for 2018!
This year I am going back to the Sinister 7 100 miler with some of my best trail friends and entering an all women’s team. Most of us have run some of this race before so we are definitely looking to push our times and have a blast doing it! I will also be running and crewing for a few of these same rock stars who are going after their own Canadian Death Race solo finish! I will be hooking back up with Anna Frost this spring for an amazing running retreat in Madeira, Portugal and participating in my first Sky Race there! I have also just signed up for the Squamish 50/50! I am mourning my toe nails already! A long term goal for me is the Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica – due to injuries this fall I have penciled this one in for 2019! I will hopefully see many of you from the RLAG community at some of these races and would love to share some miles and cheer you on!