I have had quite a few people ask me recently how long I have been running. It’s a question among many runner friends when you meet and it’s always fascinating to hear the diversity of reasons behind how we got started and why we keep going. While the reasons are all different, I think that many of us can say it transformed our lives in some way or another.
My “running career” didn’t start exactly at zero. Athletics and sports have been in my life since I can remember. My parents started me in soccer and dance by age 5. By age 11 I was playing soccer on a competitive traveling club team and by age 14 was on the high school dance team. I played JV and Varsity soccer in high school until my junior year when I just wasn’t feeling the passion I once had for it. I continued to dance through my senior year, but by the time college rolled around I had zero desire to play any organized sports any longer and I was never going to make it on a D1 dance or soccer team. While soccer and dance were my main sports, at some point in my life I gave basketball, volleyball, tennis, cross country, and even middle school track a try. I quit track, mid-season and my cross country season ended half way through with shin splits so I started to believe I wasn’t “built” to be a runner.
After college, I moved to San Francisco to chase my dream of living in this city. I didn’t know anyone before moving out here so one of my goals was to pick up a sport, maybe meet some people, and loose the extra pounds I picked up in college. I originally though about tennis, but after looking into lessons and club memberships, I realized that after picking up my life and moving out here with little money to my name, I couldn’t hardly afford rent, much less a tennis club and lessons! No go.
My roommate at the time was a runner and could run foreveerrrrr. I thought that seemed pretty cool and hey! all I needed was a pair of sneakers, right? I can afford that! I also realized that San Francisco is pretty unique because you can literally run every single day of the year. It never gets too cold and rarely gets too hot, you don’t get thunderstorms, and when it rains, you just run in the rain.
I was enjoying it, it was active, I was outside, and my runs were getting longer. I would even make my routes around the city to see the sights I hadn’t seen yet. I quickly signed up for my first half marathon and the rest is history!! The very next day after my half marathon I put my name in the lottery for the Nike Women’s Full Marathon with my running buddy, Allie. And we both got in! And in October of 2011 I ran my first full marathon. It was pretty painful, I wasn’t properly trained, but I finished. I continued to run, but not religiously. I’d sign up for a race, train a little, run it, but I wasn’t getting much better and running was so on and off and it was missing the social aspect that I missed from being on a team.
Fast forward to 2015 when I started running with the Concrete Runners and Nike Run Club (NRC), here is where the party started. Quite honestly, NRC made me fall in love with running. I wasn’t running alone anymore, but with dozens of other people, pacers, and coaches. It was a whole new community of running that I never even knew existed. The energy, the knowledge, the encouragement, and positivity was so addicting that after my first track workout with them, I hardly missed a workout, unless I was out of town or felt my body needed a rest. I was instantly hooked and hooked hard. I have been training with Nike Run Club for just over a year now and each race I watch my race PRs get faster, my body feel stronger and healthier, and my whole outlook on running become more positive. Every week I look forward to the hard workouts, the long runs, and seeing the friends I’ve made through NRC.
Running isn’t just something I do occasionally anymore. Running is a huge part of who I am, my schedule is built around my workouts, and I am absolutely head over heels in love with this sport and what it’s brought to my life. And yes, I am 100% absolutely built for running and guess what… you are too.