I have always loved running. I was in the run club at school, I did a learn to run workshop with the Running Room in my early 20’s. I ran short 2-3km here and there. It was not too long after my now 10 year old was born that my love for the sport really blossomed. I was at a strollercise class at the YMCA, I had just purchased a second hand running stroller, and was looking for another Mom to be my running partner. Turns out another Mom, Echo, was a runner.  made plans to go out for a short run later that week. On our run, Echo tells me that her and her friends run half marathons and marathons an that I should join them. I told her she was crazy, no way was I going to do that. Then, she tells me how fun it is, and that everyone gets a medal. “Everyone?” “Everyone.” That was enough to convince me to give it a try. I started training with the group, and fell head over heels in love. There’s a freeness I feel when I run. All of my worries melt away, and my mind is clear. Sometimes running is hard, sometimes it’s really hard but for me it’s always worth it. We trained using a 10 minute run, 1 minute walk principle which I still often use today on my long runs. We ran hills, we did short runs, long runs, speedwork. I ran my first half marathon May 2008, finishing in just over 2 hours.

IMG_7013     Since then I’ve taken my running with me all over the world. I’ve run across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, down the beaches of Bucerias, the streets of Nuevo Vallarta, the hills of Sayulita, the highways and Jungles around Puerto Vallarta, Mismaloya, Boca de Tomatlan, Los Colomitos and Las Animas. Along the ocean in Isla Mujeres, Florida and California, through the streets of Freeport, Bahamas and around the track on cruise ships in the middle of the ocean. To beautiful lookouts and viewpoints in Hawaii. In Iceland, I ran through Reykjavik, and the trails of Mount Esja. In SE Asia I ran through the streets of Ubud, and through the hills of Phi Phi Don.  Closer to home, my favourite place to run is the mountains. Hands down. I get out to the Rockies as much as possible, I feel so fortunate to have those mountain only a few hours away. Jasper, Banff, Canmore, Nordegg, Crosnest Pass…I could go on.

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In the Edmonton area we are so lucky to have tons of gorgeous trails at our disposal. Whether you prefer running on pavement or dirt, long distance or short, there’s something for everyone. Did you know that at 18,000 acres our Edmonton River Valley is the largest stretch of Urban Parkland in North America?  We have over 100km of interconnected trails to run. Combined with gorgeous views, and lush greenery it’s an amazing resource. Outside of Edmonton there are some great options if you want to run trails. To the west of the city: Chickakoo is my favourite. Beautiful trails, great hills, and easy access. If you’re heading east, check out Blackfoot.

Now you have the where, what about the how. If you’re new to running, start slow. I suggest starting with 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week. Start with intervals of 1 minute run, 1 minute walk. Every week, increase your minutes of running by 1 (2 if you’re feeling great). Once you’re at 5 minute run/1 minute walk intervals try increasing your run to 30 minutes. There are lots of running groups in the Edmonton area, check out The Running Room, Fast Trax, and Edmonton Trail Runners for some group runs. Get out there and enjoy!