Hi! My name is Jen Ruland, and I am extremely thankful that you have taken the time to read about who I am and what brought me into the world of distance sport. My journey to endurance sport didn’t come without struggle, but here I am ready to tell you my story because I want to say, with utmost conviction that running truly saved my life. It has given and taught me things I never knew I had in me and the love to inspire you to be the best version of yourself you can be.
This is my story…
Growing up where I did had me in fear many of my days, and had me doing many 2 km sprints home on many occasions (I blame some of that on my best friends mouth). Kidding aside, it definetley shaped the person I am now. Going into highschool I went into a deep depression in grade 9. I dropped out of many sports I excelled at, stopped hanging out with my friends, and basically came home and to eat and sleep. I finally found my mojo a year later and began getting back to the Jenalizer as my friends called me, because I kept going, and going, and going…right into 2 city championships and a provincial championship in basketball. I was on top of the world, until I wasn’t. See, change for me has always been difficult. Routine is my best friend. So at the end of highschool again I went into a deep depression for almost 2 years of university. I began to really detest my lack of fitness, when I was once so fit, the weight gain, the lack of motivation.
City Champs in 2000. Girl hugging me has been my mouthy best friend since elementry school. She was the primary cause of all the miles I did during those early years!
Unleashing my old self came in 2002.
I discovered theUniversity Gym, where I began to start working out. I had never really, “workout out,” it was always about team play for me. I was never on my own. Needless to say, I wasn’t very consistent. Until one day I met a friend from high school who was on the treadmill and she would run 6 miles every time! I was awestruck, so I began my torturous year of run/walking…it took me almost an entire year to run 30 minutes without stopping. Coincidentally, this was the year my husband and I began dating and being an active guy, I was overflowing with motivation…love, weight loss, friendship, and just feeling good.
By 2006 I had lost close to 25 Lbs and felt phenomenal. I continued to run daily until one day in late 2006, a co-worker suggested I sign up for a 10km race and we would run together. That day re-ignited the flame of accomplishment and competition. It didn't take long to convince me to sign up for a half marathon, and the following year, I was finishing my first half marathon, the emotion of that day was so exciting, I was satisfied as a half marathoner…until I wasn’t.
Entering the “Dark Side” (as my funny running friends put it…)
By 2010 I had met an old friend from high school and he asked if I wanted to come run with his marathon group. Marathon group?! Was he nuts! I don’t run marathons! Until I did. Easily convinced by a local legend, I signed up for my first full and was told to run a certain time and I would go to the Boston Marathon. Boston Marathon? What was that? That, turned out to be my goal for three marathons following my first until I finally made my time. Crossing the finish line gave me chills and it was an experience of a lifetime in Boston. But I wanted more. My mentor saw this in me and soon after qualifying for Boston I was on the road to becoming an ultramarathoner and distance running coach. Starting at 50km, I became hungry for more distance and every time I hit a milestone distance, I knew my body could go farther and be challenged more. Ultra running began to teach me things about myself I never knew I had…mental toughness, extreme focus, patience, love for nature, but most of all it taught me humility, discipline and that I was stronger then I thought I was. Since starting I have done over 80 running races which includes 17 Full Marathons, 18 Ultramarathons (50-160km) and many other distances, with a few tri’s and du’s in there!
My first 100 mile race in 2015!
My parents and grandparents have always played an instrumental role in my life. I have a blended family and family time has always been very important to us. I met my husband in 1998 we became best friends and in 2002 became a couple. We were married in 2009 and he is by far the funniest, most loving person I know. He has been my rock and biggest fan and I love him with all my heart. We have a love of travel and outdoor adventure, although there is usually never a dull moment at our home with his humor!
Sharing my love affair…with running
I decided that because I love running so much, I wanted to give the gift of running to others, because unlike what most people may think, running is more than just, well…running. I want to teach others, they also have so much inside of them that is just waiting to be unleashed. Hidden talents, will, courage and most importantly confidence that they are extraordinary. Endurance sport ignites so many awesome traits we have that we just never dug deep enough to find before. I coach because I want you to be the best version of yourself you can be, not only as an athlete but as a person. I take a very holistic approach to coaching and feel as if my life experience, athlete experience can help you discover your best self. Since 2011 I have coached over 100 athletes from the beginner runner, to the 100 mile ulltrarunner. The best part about I coach every ability, every distance and especially love beginner runners. My nickname now is the Jeneral, but don’t be fooled, I am a very compassionate love bug at heart :)