I realized I’ve never told you guys how I started running. It’s kind of a funny story actually.
I was in 7th grade and my gym teacher was offering extra credit for participating in a 5k after school one day. I had run a couple of 5k races in the past (Race for the Cure, I believe) but never anything where I cared about my time. I remember running that race. We only lived a few blocks from the middle school, so my dad and little sister came to watch and brought our dog, Dax. I also remember seeing my next door neighbor, Becca, there with a boy (this is important to the story, I promise) who were both a year older than me. At the end of the race, I found out I had placed (my pride wants to say 1st in my grade but I really don’t remember) and I won a little bit of money, something I totally and completely was NOT expecting.
Becca then came up to me with this boy. Little did I know, my whole future was about to change. They were both on the high school cross-country team, which you could start training with as an 8th grader and then competing with starting in 9th grade. Becca told me that when this boy (if I remembered his name I would use it…) has seen me running he had told her “She needs to be on the cross-country team!”.
And that was that. Had it not been for that dumb, after school race, had it not been for that boy who came with my neighbor to the race, I would probably never have even considered joining the cross-country team. But when school got out, I found myself joining the high schoolers for their 7 am practices all summer long. Since I was in 8th grade that next year, I couldn’t compete, but I was able to take part in a couple of invitationals. My coaches told my mom I was a natural and better than the fastest girls on the team had been at my age. I had potential!
Unfortunately, I was an idiot, as most teenagers are, and didn’t do cross-country my 9th grade year. I really wish I had because when I decided to go back my 10th grade year, I was way behind girls I had been better than the year before. I lost so much in the one year of training! Of course I got better. I ran cross-country my 10th and 11th grade years and my high school PR ended up being 21:53, a time I can only dream of hitting right now!
Right before my senior year, my family moved to Texas. My new high school was 40% Asian (not kidding) and true to stereotypes, the school excelled at academics and music but struggled in sports. Seriously, I wish I was making this up. I was heavily involved in all three of those areas (I played the violin) but because I had to take some extra classes to fulfill Texas high school requirements that Utah didn’t have and because you had to have a class period to devote to a sport, I had to choose between orchestra and cross-country and orchestra won. I really don’t know which choice I would have regretted more. I don’t currently play the violin but I miss it constantly! I do run now, but what if I could have run that year and received an athletic scholarship?! Where would my life be now?? So many what ifs. But you can’t live in the past. I chose violin and didn’t run my senior year.
I ran a little bit on and off through college but really college was me learning through experience all the unhealthy habits I SHOULDN’T be doing. Too many carbs, too many treats, too much soda, not enough veggies, fruits, exercise or sleep. Regardless of the fact that my major was all about exercise and a healthy human body, I was a horrible mess, health-wise, and I’m still trying to dig myself out of that pit I created for myself. You have to learn somehow right? 🙂
One day during my senior year of college, I thought about how I’d always wanted to run a half marathon. Then I realized (as I so often do) “wait…why don’t I?! What’s stopping me?!” So I went home that night and signed up for my first one. After that race, I was hooked. I had caught the bug and I wanted to run every half marathon in the world, but I never dreamed (or wanted!) to run a marathon.
Then earlier this year, I had been reading Janae’s blog about a women’s running retreat she was speaking at and wishing I could go. I then had another “wait…why don’t I?!” moment and signed up! This was another life changer for me. Not only did I have an incredible experience, make wonderful new friends in Janae and Elizabeth and run my 3rd half marathon, I realized again how much I LOVE learning about the human body and all the ways to make it healthy! I was also reminded how much I love running and how I wanted to help other people lead healthier lives. I came home, started this blog, signed up for my first marathon, changed my future career plans, and have been on this crazy journey ever since.
I’m so grateful for the boy who told a little 13-year-old girl she should join the high school cross-country team. My life has never been the same since and I couldn’t be happier about it.
How did your love affair with running/exercise/fitness journey start?
Did you compete in anything in high school?
Any other orchestra nerds out there??