Joyful Movement
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Why I ran my first (and maybe my last) half marathon

By Sports Nutritionist and Online Dietitian Jana Spindler

As a self-proclaimed gym rat…what was I doing??

Joyful movement to me, is moving my body in a non-judgemental way that is fun and makes me feel good. It does not feel like something that must be done or is a way to burn calories, but rather is something I look forward to and gives me all those feel good endorphins.

The ways that I enjoy moving my body continue to evolve each year and each season of my life. There was a long time, that I was happiest on the basketball court and would spend hours a day there. After retirement from basketball, my time shifted to lifting weights and lifting even heavier weights. Then when I moved to Calgary I discovered my love for hiking in the mountains. Now don’t get me wrong, I still whole heartedly love playing basketball, hiking and lifting weights when I am in the mood, but recently, I have added to my repertoire.

I started running more. And I liked it. So I ran further and that felt good, so I kept going.

What was working for me?


On a beautiful, sunny day I found myself craving being outside instead of indoors. It didn’t matter to me whether I was running for 20 minutes or 1 hour, I was enjoying being out there.

2. TIME.

Over the past number of months I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit and when I was not traveling, I had a very full schedule here at home. With the limited time available, I found running to be very time efficient. I could run on my lunch breaks from work or from my doorstep at home and spend less time commuting to the gym.


In recent months, I have gone running in Calgary, Langley, Invermere, Bali, Australia, and Montreal to name a few. It was easy. I always had my sneakers with me and there was no drop in fee to workout. Plus, I got to see some amazing views and discover new places that I would not have seen otherwise.

So why did I choose to run a half marathon?

Why would I voluntarily run 21.1 km? Well to be honest, it was a challenge put in front of me… and I hate to turn down a challenge. I guess I am competitive by nature.

During my coaching season with the Calgary Basketball Academy this spring, one of my fellow coaches was training for her own half marathon, so I started going on some of her training runs with her. It was so fun to run with someone else and socialize while we ran. She asked me every so often if I would ever run in a half marathon, but I would always give the same responses – “I am too tall for distance running”, “I max out at 12km”, “No, I am more of a weight lifter”, or “I don’t want to add to my already busy travel schedule to go run a race”.

My co-coach listened to my excuses and never pushed… until she found a virtual race that I could do on my own schedule and it even came with a training plan to build up my tolerance to longer distances. So I took the challenge! I did some of the training, but not all of it, because following a strict schedule took the fun away from running for me.

Then I did it. I raced my virtual half marathon in mid-August this year! The race is GPS tracked and I still got the finisher medal even though the run started from my very own doorstep. I ran a distance that 5, 10, or 15 years ago I would never have imagined or myself and I am really proud of that!

So will I race again?

I don’t know. Training schedules and following paces for runs was counter intuitive to me.

I am more of a “run when the weather is too nice to be inside” kind of person.

I am a “run to the beat of the music” kind of person.

I am a “run to enjoy moving my body” kind of person.

So am I super proud of accomplishing something that I never really thought I could? Absolutely!!!

Will I race again, maybe, but maybe not, and I am okay with that. I will see where joyful movement and the next challenge takes me.

If you are curious about joyful movement, learning how to enjoy exercise without it feeling like a chore or how to better fuel your body for the exercise you are currently doing, please reach out! I would love to help you achieve this.

If you are seeking support to help to make achieving a healthy lifestyle more fun, we can help. We specialize in health without guilt or complexity. Our Registered Dietitian team can work with you in person at our Calgary office or online through our virtual private and secure video conferencing services. Contact Us.

For more information about our Calgary Nutritionist / Online Dietitian services by our experienced nutrition counseling team visit: NUTRITION COUNSELING.

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