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Change the Way You Move October: Toronto Girl West - Geek Turned Athlete

Change the Way You Move October: Toronto Girl West

This was supposed to be published last month, but as always life > blogging. Karen just got this to me this week, and I love her story so much that I don’t care if we are in November now. I hope this inspires those of you who haven’t taken the “half marathon” leap, that it IS time!!!


Hello everyone! My name is Karen and I blog over at . I try to write about the things I love – like traveling, my puppy, the fiance, food, working out, and lately . . . running. That’s right. The girl that once upon a time said “running is just walking fast enough to feel really uncomfortable,” has become a runner.

Which is all to say, that you too can try something new! And maybe, even learn to love it! I don’t look like a runner. And I’m not particularly fast. In fact, some may call what I do more of a glorified shuffle than a run. But that doesn’t matter to me. I love getting out there and feeling the wind blow through my hair, experiencing the art of movement for miles at a time, and the sheer joy of my stride matching the jam playing on my iPod. In those moments, you’d have a pretty impossible time convincing me that I’m not actually Kenyan.

Now, I should warn you. Trying something new may be scary. It may hurt or feel uncomfortable. I know running sure did for me. But if you persevere you may find a new joy. And really, what have you got to lose? Years ago, I decided I wanted to try running. I still remember that very first mile along the ocean in Victoria (British Columbia, Canada). My lungs were on fire. My legs hurt. And it seemed like it would never end. But it did. And I was so proud that I’d somehow managed to go that far. I never thought I was capable of running any distance at all. Turns out I was wrong.

Two years ago I did a 10k and surprised myself; it went well! And something inside me kept telling me I could do a half marathon. This past October 17th, I boarded a plane bound for California and the Long Beach (Half) Marathon. I was nervous. I was worried about the “what ifs.” And I was anxious. But I knew I could hang on and finish that baby. 13.1 miles or bust. It took me 3:01:24 to get across the finish line. And nothing will ever take away the feeling of accomplishment I felt at the end of all those miles. I had done something that seemed impossible five years ago. Honestly, I couldn’t stop the tears. I’ll even confess that I’ve carried the medal around in my purse every day since the race (Nicole’s comment: This is sooooo freaking cute. And I cried after my first half marathon too!!). It reminds me that I’m strong.

Trust me, if I can do it . . . so can you! Whether your challenge is taking a zumba class, trying spinning for the first time, getting over the intimidation of weight lifting, or running that first mile . . . I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new!


Because you’re stronger than you know.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Danica November 4, 2010, 11:49 am

    Thanks for coming out again and glad you enjoyed yourself. You CAN do it and you are strong enough! <3 Great job out there and way to take the plunge!

  • TorontoGirloutWest November 4, 2010, 12:27 pm

    Awww…..thank-you so much for posting this Nicole!!! ?

    and Danica – I would do Long Beach again in a heartbeat!

  • Book Worm Runs November 4, 2010, 3:37 pm

    What a great inspiring story!! Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your first half marathon Karen!!

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair November 4, 2010, 4:13 pm

    Aww this is a great story, Karen! So proud of you for doing that half-marathon! You’re right, ANYONE can do it if they set their minds to it. We are all stronger than we think!!

  • Bekah @ runtrackmind November 5, 2010, 7:14 am

    Running has been a passion of mine for about 10 years, but it is stories like this that reconfirm my commitment to the sport. Way to go Karen!

  • Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather November 5, 2010, 11:07 am

    Way to step out of your comfort zone, thanks for sharing!!

  • Joanna Burgraf November 5, 2010, 12:47 pm

    What a great story, thanks for posting. I know I have a tendency to quit things and with running it’s one of those things the longer you do it the better it gets. I’m running my first 15k here in Chicago tomorrow. I’m so close to a half, I think I’m going to keep training and just take the plunge. (That’s not a promise just yet, just a thought). After all, it’s just one foot in front of the other, right?

    Oh and I’m slow too, but I’ve shaved off about a minute and a half from my mile time since August. So keeping with it pays off.

  • Melie November 5, 2010, 1:00 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration! I am running my first half marathon this Sunday and I am seriously freaking out. But if you can do it, I can do it too! 😛

  • kate November 8, 2010, 12:26 pm

    Such an inspiring story! And its true we are all stronger than we know!


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