Jun | 12
Inspiration, Running Tips

How I Got Into Running: The School Athlete

Expressing my "Run Happy" at Seattle's first ever Color Run! Can you find me in the pyramid?

Expressing my "Run Happy" at Seattle's first ever Color Run! Can you find me in the pyramid?

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!

Family Foundation

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.

2003 UW Track & Field/Cross Country Team © University of Washington

I was on UW's Track & Field/Cross Country Team in 2003. Can you find me? Top row third from the left! © University of Washington

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.

Brooks' 2010 Hood To Coast Team. We placed Second!

Brooks' 2010 Hood To Coast Team. We placed second!

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.

About Jess
I work at Brooks in the fun and energetic marketing department in support of our athlete events. I ran at the University of Washington and now run marathons and just daily for fun. I love to eat pizza or waffles after my runs. My favorite Brooks shoe is the Launch!
  1. Chantal

    I loved this story SO much! It was as if you were telling my story. I LOVED running, but I, too, let it take over my life. The better I got, the more myopic I got. As an elite athlete on a full college scholarship, surrounded by amazing runners, the pressure was immense. Then I suffered my first major injury that sidelined me for 3 months. My indentity suffered. I was lonely and depressed. I missed running, my team mates and the endorphin rush from training. My coach really pressured me when I was hurt and held my scholarship over my head. He actually implied I was robbing him for the fact I was on scholarship and couldn’t run!  It took me years to recover psychologically though my body healed in months. I walked away from my scholarship and transferred to another university and half-heartedly finsihed my running career there. IT was a decade after having my two children that I began running again and rekindled my joy and love for running. 

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