Interview with Carrie Corsiatto

Carrie Corsiatto is a positive force. If you’re looking for optimism or inspiration, Carrie is it. She’s a trail and ultra runner. But if you met her in her high school years, you probably wouldn’t have guessed she’d be hitting the trails running.

Carries says, “Although I was very outgoing and had many friends in different groups, I was very self-conscious about participating in sports and competition and therefore chose not to, even though many of my friends were, and my teachers were constantly encouraging me to get involved. I was always active, just not in organized sports or competition.”

After finishing first in her AG race in Red Deer, she ended up sending a note to her Junior High Physical Education Teacher. She shared with him that although his encouraging words didn’t convince her back then to participate, they stayed with her. It had become part of why she believed in her physical abilities now. Carrie adds, “Never underestimate the importance of your encouragement; if it doesn’t seem to make a difference at the time, it will, at some point, make a difference in that person’s life.”

As for her positive vibes, Carrie says, “Running has given me so much value in my life, I know it is what creates the ‘good mindset.’ Almost all my runs are positive in some way and I run year-round, outside for the most part. Even the coldest and wettest runs have value and can turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Spending time in nature is special to me and the thought of taking incredible journeys by foot helps to create the drive for more.”

Her first trail run dates all the way back to 1997. Carrie was new to running and wasn’t entirely sure what a trail run entailed. Yet, she still recalls the exhilarated feeling of finishing. And that feeling stuck with her.

Carrie went onto run ultra trail runs and Ironman triathlons. She further recites one of her favourite memories from when she ran Havasupai Falls on her 50th birthday, “The solitude of being alone for hours in a place completely unknown to us, with huge pillaring canyon walls that directed us, the warm air on a mid-January day, the beautiful scenery that filled every moment, meeting the people who live on this land so remotely, the children’s smiles, the contrast of leaving from bright lights and sounds of Vegas the sunrise… Everything felt symbolic to where I was in my own life – of my own strength and determination. I felt both the significance of my accomplishments and the insignificance of my strength and tenacity to the fragility of life.”

And interestingly, it isn’t the push for the podium that motivates Carrie.

In fact, she says the more competitive she gets, the less she enjoys the journey. She claims to be an overthinker. As such, she finds running to be an escape from her busy mind. She says out of everything in the experience, she craves the freedom to be present in the moment and loves being surrounded by the simple and fragile beauty of nature.

And this trait floods into other aspects of Carrie’s life. Her and her family foster rescue dogs. With her and her husband’s love of running, they frequently will take these dogs out for runs in the river valley. She says, “These frightened, anxious and uncertain dogs come out of their shells and become completely different. The physical exertion releases the anxieties, being in a pack creates connection and safety, being outside feels familiar, and the shared energies are positive. It is so incredibly rewarding watching this transformation. I’m sure coaches must feel the same way.”

Undeniably, Carrie’s positivity and zest for nature continue to fuel her motivation to get out and run. She claims that her main motivation has always been grounded in well-being – both physically and mentally.

Yet, she’s faced hurdles along the way.

In 2007, Carrie became very sick with an antibiotic resistant gastrointestinal infection. After a rough recovery, she was back at it. She did a half marathon and a few triathlons. However, she was thrown another wrench. During one of her triathlons, she had a bad wipeout on her bike. She hurt her shoulder and became fixated on the idea that her active days were over. She became depressed. Yet, Carrie says, “It was a climb up a mountain several months later that made me realize that everything was going to be okay and that I was stronger than what life was dishing out, and there is so much more I had left to experience in my life. I was ready to fight back.”

From there, trail running became a significant pillar in Carrie’s life, particularly for moving forward. She emphasized living life to the fullest and being grateful for each and every experience.

And Carrie’s still looking forward. She says she plans to retire in 5 years and is oh-so-ready for it. She’s excited to explore her life more and gain the freedom to train, volunteer, give back, travel, and spend more time with her family and friends. She adds, “I plan to be active as long as I can be!”

As for those wanting to start trail running, Carrie offers the following advice, “Just get out there and give it a try but stick with it because it takes a while to get comfortable running on uneven terrain.” She adds, “Don’t worry about being last – it just doesn’t matter where you end up, the value is in showing up and pushing through the challenge.”

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