Who or what inspired you to run for the first time?
Growing up, I hated the required mile run in gym class. It was my least favorite gym activity. For exercise in high school, I did Tae Kwon Do, played tennis, and was in the marching band (not a sport, but definitely a work-out!). In college, I tried out yoga, pilates, and rowing classes.
Most of these exercises involved special equipment, instructors, or at least a partner to play with me. And while I wouldn’t have been considered thin, I was never quite overweight enough to need to diet or exercise heavily in order to stay in shape. So nothing really stuck.
It wasn’t until I gained the DC 15 and met my now husband that I began running. After college, I moved to Washington DC for a think tank job that paid pennies. I survived on happy hour beers and fried appetizers and a lot of long working hours. Similar to the freshman 15, or the study abroad 15, I gained weight with this new routine.
At around the same time, I started dating my now husband. He’s one of those people who runs 3-4 times every week because he likes it. He has done so since middle school. He gets antsy and grumpy if he hasn’t run for the past 1-2 days!
So I tried it. I tried running from my apartment through Rock Creek Park. I remember mapping it out (check out MapMyRun – it’s the best running app I’ve found) and realizing it would take me about a mile to even get to the park, not to mention run through the park, and then back. In the stifling humidity, I remember being demoralized by my inability to just run 3 miles after never having run that distance EVER in my past.
Grumpy and feeling like running must not be for me, I tried a few more times, particularly running around the National Mall, which is absolutely stunningly beautiful. And it still didn’t quite appeal to me.
After two years in Washington DC, I moved to Monterey, CA, where I identified one of the strategies that continues to keep me running today – accountability. In one of my first classes, I met Liz, who quickly became a close friend. She mentioned wanting to start running regularly, and I said, why not!
We started with short distances and a slower pace than I thought could even be considered running. It didn’t hurt that our running routes looked like this, the weather was perfect every day, and we could run at 9am and still make it to class on time… and slowly but surely, we worked up to running 3-5 miles about twice a week. Our friend Allie joined us, and soon we had an accountable running group. It was thanks to these ladies that I built up to my first 10k!
We did the Big Sur River Run, and not only was it beautiful, but I did it surrounded by friends! That was 10 years ago, and the rest is history!
At that point, I wasn’t even a mom yet. My life hadn’t turned upside down and become dedicated to the parenting of two little boys. AND I was in school, not working a full-time schedule. But even at that time, one of my four strategies was already vital to my running success: accountability.
How did you get started running? Who or what inspired you?