We absolutely love ambassadors that have already participated in so much that we offer. Christina came to our second Costa Rica Adventure and Wellness Retreat and she absolutely loved it… she then participated in our first annual Be Fearless… and attended our first Peru Adventure! Now she is gearing up for her biggest goal yet… The Coastal Challenge!! Here is here story…
Hi RLAG community! I can’t tell you enough how I excited I am to be part of this fantastic group, it means a lot to me to have been chosen to represent so many amazing women! To know me is to know that I wasn’t always a runner, in fact, I used to consider myself to be anything but a runner, however, over the past couple of years my passion for the sport has continued to grow.
Growing up in North Vancouver, BC I was lucky enough to be surrounded by the mountains from an early age, and spent the weekends skiing and snowboarding on Whistler Mountain, a mere 1.5 hours away. As a child, my parents always encouraged me to try new sports, and so I did – we’re talking soccer, field hockey, rhythmic gymnastics, karate, swimming – you name it. Despite my athletic childhood, running was never a part of it, except as a side effect of the other sports I loved, and so my passion for running took me by surprise. Although I was actively engaged in sporting activities, I had struggled with my weight throughout my childhood, and into my early twenties. Taking on a Bachelor’s Degree, while working full-time as a travelling sales representative, contributed to a lifestyle that was filled with studying, partying, and long days working on the road – not exactly the recipe for a healthy lifestyle. Finally, in the summer of 2014 I decided to change my story.
For me, hiring a personal trainer was the start of my journey to ultra-marathoner, however, it was the trip to Costa Rica with RLAG that ignited the spark within me that said “why not me”. Hiking alongside such amazing and inspiring women for that week changed my perspective on what a “real” runner looks like and made me question the beliefs I held about myself and my capabilities. Not even a week passed after returning from Costa Rica before I booked my first 10K, a mere two months away.
I started slow, reallllllllly slow. Despite playing soccer every weekend, and partaking in other activities, distance running did not come comfortably or naturally to me, and perhaps because of this, every single mile I put behind me during training was all the sweeter. My first 10K was June 2, 2015 and I walked away from that race meeting my goal (sub-60min) and totally hooked! The rest of that summer was filled with 10K’s, 15K’s, and even my first half marathon. It was also that summer when I started incorporating trails into my training and found that was where my passion was. In 2016 I made the decision to switch almost exclusively to trail running and began pushing myself to go further. Almost one year to the date after my first 10K I completed the Run Like a Girl Be Fearless Half Marathon and loved every minute of it.
I have never been known to do anything halfway, and in December, 2016 I made the decision to sign up for my first 50K.
I used to think I knew what dedication meant, but it wasn’t until I started training for the Squamish 50 that I truly understood what true dedication was. Training for my first 50K meant that I was training 5-6 days a week all while finishing my Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and continuing to work full-time. When I wasn’t working, I was studying, and when I wasn’t studying, I was training – that became my life, and I don’t regret a moment of it. On August 20, 2017 I completed my first ultra-marathon in less than 10 hours, and less 3.5 toenails. In the three months following, I completed another trail marathon in 7 hours, and a second 50K in 8:40. Currently, I am training for the Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, which will take place in February, 2018. Covering 230K in six days, the race will likely be the most challenging week of my life, and I am equal parts excited and terrified!
Training during the winter months has been, and continues to be, incredibly testing, and is again taking my definition of commitment to another level. With the bulk of my training taking place before and after work in the dark, and on the weekends in the (often) pouring rain, I have had to push myself further than I could have ever imagined – and I love (almost) every minute of it!
While the running community is one of the reasons I love the sport so much, the bulk of my training is done solo, with just my trail puppy for company. This solitude, although lonely at times, has become a refuge from my go-go-go lifestyle and gives me time to draw inwards and reflect on my life and goals. In order to document some of my races and experiences, I recently started a new blog www.savedbythetrail.com to share with the community that continues to inspire and support me.
RLAG first inspired me to start running, and had you asked me whether I pictured myself taking on these humongous challenges two years ago when I laced up my first pair of running shoes, I would have laughed, but now, I can’t wait to see what is yet to come! Running has taken me all over the world, and to some truly stunning vistas and has not only improved my physical health, but mentally I am so much stronger than I ever could have imagined. When we push ourselves, and challenge ourselves, and dedicate ourselves to our passion I truly believe that is when we experience true growth, and I can’t wait to grow with this amazing community!