Monday, September 19, 2016

A Personal History of Running

Once upon a time, I did not like running. At all. I played soccer from fourth grade through high school and running (aka "conditioning") was a necessary evil. 

I would never ever have worn this shirt in high school!

Then I went to college and I replaced year-round daily soccer practice with eating all the food and drinking too much beer. Let's not discuss how far over the "Freshman 15" I went. My sophomore year I started running with my roommate Ali several times a week and returned to a healthy weight. My parents were living in Boise at that time and I started running with my dad on the river trail when I was home from college. 

This is the earliest running photo I could find - From 2009.

[Semi-unrelated note: It was a struggle to find any running photos pre-2011 (aka pre-getting-my-first-iPhone). Isn't it weird how "undocumented" life was before iPhones?]

I know that it was at some point in college when I started to like running, but honestly it's hard to remember a time when running wasn't an intrinsic part of myself. I remember doing a 12 mile run with my dad one summer in Boise and learning for the first time how you can be stronger at Mile 8 than Mile 1. In April of 2003 my dad and I ran the La Jolla Half Marathon in 1:49 (and I spent the subsequent 10 years trying to go <1:50 again).

Running twins with my mom in La Jolla circa 2011

After I graduated from college I lived in France for a year teaching English and joined a running club. I did a couple 10Ks and a half marathon over there, but I have no idea what my time was for any of those races. I also think it's weird that I didn't keep track of my race times in the early years.

At the Thirsty 13 Half Marathon with Jenny in 2014.

When I moved back to the U.S. I ended up in Orlando, Florida, for a couple years, and that's when I really became serious about running. I did many 5Ks and 10Ks, a few half marathons, and two full marathons. I trained with a group through the Track Shack, and was even a sponsored Track Shack runner for a season! My best ever race was a 10K in 47:33! I'm pretty sure that PR will stand forever.

At the Platte River Half Marathon with Chesleigh in 2012.

I moved to Colorado in 2007. [Almost ten years ago!] Since then... In 2007-2009 I was focused on going back to college and then starting my new career. Running was always a part of life but it was on the back burner. 

At the Frosty's Frozen Five-Mile with Megan in 2010.

In 2010-2011 I was really into trail running, culminating in the Trans-Rockies Run. 

I met Dean Karnazes!

In 2012 I was dead set on chasing down my half marathon PR from 2003 (and finally succeeded at the Denver Rock 'n' Roll). I ran six half marathons that year including the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll with some friends from my Florida days. My friend Chesleigh and I were running buddies that year, meeting weekly all summer for speed work at the track and doing many long runs together on the High Line Canal trail. 

Gumball enjoyed speed work at the track as well.

In 2013-2016 I've been alternately pregnant and getting back in shape. My goal for the next few years is to PR the half marathon again. That's my favorite distance of all time. And I'm maybe kinda sorta thinking about trying to do another full marathon in, let's say, 2018, but I'm definitely not committing to that. 


That brings me up to the current moment. A harder question to answer than all the facts presented hereto is WHY do I like running so much. And the answer is... I don't exactly know. The Type A numbers nerd inside me likes adding up miles, setting up training plans, tracking pace, recording data. I like the feeling of accomplishment after training and completing a race. I like that it can be solitary (just me and the road) or social (race day camaraderie and talking running with like-minded people). I love the rinsed-out feeling after a long run. I love the way every now and then you'll have a magical run when the miles scroll by effortlessly, and I will trudge and slog through many less inspired runs to recapture that feeling.

I'm linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! [I know I didn't stick to the designated prompt but I've been meaning to do this post for a while now and today seemed like the day.]

PS: And thanks to Lindsey for this idea!

20 comments:

  1. Kelly, I just LOVE this post! I was never a runner growing up. In fact, I HATED it. I only ran because we used it as cross-training for swimming, and I was always the slowest. After I married my husband, we had a goal of doing a half marathon - but I got pregnant and sucked. After I had our first baby though, I started running, and I realized I LOVED it! I'm going to have to do this post because reflecting on why I love running is so neat :)

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    1. Thank you! I really love hearing about everyone's journey to becoming a runner. It's so fascinating the different paths we've taken to this same shared joy.

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  2. So much to love about this post! I can relate to a lot - especially how when in my early days of racing, I never paid attention to my races times. It blows my mind! I love seeing your runner pictures from over the years, it is fun seeing people evolve. Your PRs are smoking fast, holy cow!!! And I know you will totally set another half PR in the coming years. Go get 'em!!!

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    1. Isn't it crazy that we didn't keep track of our race times in the early days? And I really wish I had some runner photos from my early running days in college, France, and Florida. I hope I can get that half PR but it's going to take lots of hard work & dedication.

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  3. I love that you shared this story! I too am a data nerd and love the idea of recording runs and tracking data.
    I also agree that in this day in age it is so much easier to document our time ( even the most trival things are documented due to smart phone!). I will say though that it has been forever since I actually printed off a race pic (or any pic) and put it in my photo album.

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    1. I never print out actual photos either but I do make Shutterfly albums every day and try to include some race photos. One nice perk about the small local races I do is that the race photos are usually free.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading about your running journey! You're super speedy! I've been running for 5 years now and I want to be able to do this for the rest of my life, and maybe get a little bit faster one day, lol.

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    1. Aw, Thank you! I look back on my earlier times and can't believe I was ever Thai t fast... It'll take some major effort to get there again. Ultimately like you I want to do this forever!

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  5. It was fun to get to know you via your running history. How great you ran with your parents. What great role models. I can relate to running getting pushed to the backburner sometimes but it's always nice to return to it. Thanks for linking up.

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    1. Running with my parents has been a great way to connect over the years. I hope that I can pass along the same love to my kids.

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  6. I hated running in school and played no sports! It was not until my mid 20's I started to run. I loved reading this post :)

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    1. I've been wanting to write this ever since I read your version a while ago. I love seeing the different ways we all get to the same place of being runners (and loving it).

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  7. Your first part was totally me. I played soccer from kinder to junior year in HS and HATED running. Which sounds so weird since you are basically running during the whole game. Ha! Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Isn't it weird how we could have loved played soccer but hated running?! I guess during soccer there are other distractions and goals (literally!) whereas running it's just YOU. Took me a while to see the beauty and simplicity in that.

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  8. Your last paragraph summed it up for me. That's exactly why I like running, too. Every reason!

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    1. It was hard to find the right words but I'm glad that you understand what I mean!

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  9. Great post! I probably had never run a mile straight-up until my 20's (didn't do any big school sports). I'm a numbers nerd, too... and "rinsed out" is a great description of post-long run.

    Loved reading this. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Sometimes I think it was easier for me to get into running since it was something I'd always done. Very cool that you've managed to get into from square one later on and have really embraced it wholeheartedly.

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  10. I hated running growing up too. I did play a lot of soccer, but actual "running", nope, didn't like it. I definitely don't have a love for running like you do, but I enjoy it more now than I ever did (when I am in a running phase that is, haha). And I enjoy sports with running (soccer, ultimate frisbee) that incorporate a lot of running in them way more as an adult!

    It's funny how undocumented things of our lives were pre-smartphones. Or even pre-blogging! It's one of the things I like best about blogging - keeping track of things that I probably wouldn't do otherwise.

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    1. I wish that I had started blogging so much sooner. There are so many things that happened (wedding, vacations, baby Swede) that I wish I had a better record of. It's been fun now that I'm in my 2nd year of blogging that I can look back on what we were doing at this time last year. I imagine it gets better every year having those memories well documented.

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