You have heard from the trail runner and the triathlete. For the next installment of our How I Got Into Running series, I would like to share how I went from being an all-star school athlete to simply running for pure enjoyment. I hope you find inspiration in my story and are encouraged to share your own!
I was the active kid in my family, always jumping at the chance to try something new. My parents signed me up for many activities including jazz dance (yes, I mastered “jazz hands”), karate, soccer, and gymnastics – just to name a few. They never missed a game, performance or competition, and were always positive no matter how I did.
Unlike most kids, the walkathon was one of my favorite school events. I loved it so much that I would actually jog the whole time around the track instead of walk.
Track Star Status
In middle school I started to shine in track and field, but I thought running on its own was sort of dull. So I decided (once again) to try something new: hurdles! I fell in love with them and from 7th grade on I dedicated myself to mastering the challenging race. This is where my true love of running began.
One of my first and proudest competitive moments was when I won the 50 meter hurdles at the middle school finals track meet. There were only two of us, but I remember feeling really good about it. After that, every race was important. All the way through high school I excelled in hurdles and the 4×400.
When I was asked to run on the track and cross country team for the University of Washington, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take my skills to the next level. But although I was college athlete, running felt more like a job than a fun thing to do. When I first got into running I enjoyed it, but when it absorbed my life it didn’t give me the same satisfaction. I unexpectedly quit the team and somewhat lost my identity. I still ran throughout college but only to stay in shape and connect with ex-teammates.
My New Run Happy
After college my love of running was revived while training for my first half marathon. Before this time, I thought long distance runners were crazy. But one day when I was running my usual 3 mile route, I decided to push myself to go two loops instead of one, and ran just over 6 miles. I then branched out to nine and ten mile runs. I just loved it! I ran the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in June 2009 with a time of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It was then I realized running longer distances was actually fun and taking in the beautiful Northwest scenery was an added bonus.
The icing on the cake was landing a job at Brooks. I could run at work and meet up with new running friends on the weekends. I was set! Finally in December 2010 I ran my first full marathon in Palm Beach Florida.
I continue to run for fun and have participated in relay races like Hood to Coast and Ragnar. I enjoy running with friends no matter what pace, and running alone for some self-reflection time. Running no longer is a job to me or requires a time to beat. Instead, it just makes me happy!
My latest “Run Happy” experience was The Color Run. A group of my colleagues and friends from Brooks ran in all white while getting splashed with a rainbow of colors at each mile-marker.
How do you Run Happy?
Share your experience by leaving a comment below.