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A Start to Running

For the last four years, St. Patricks day has held a much more sentimental reason to me than drinking beer, wearing green and Holiday spirit.  Four years ago I ran a road race in college that would forever change my life.  Forever.

You can read my entire running story here or in the tab above.

Four years ago, I saw a sign at the gym stating if you completed the annual campus 5k you would get a free long sleeve t-shirt.  As a college student you can never have enough things to stuff in your dorm room.  I had plenty of short sleeve shirts but long sleeves were something I was always looking for.  All I had to do is sign up for a 5k and complete it?

Okay sign me up.  Sign me up and I didn’t run an ounce beforehand.

Keep in mind my running history previous to March of 2010 is lackluster.  After failing the mile countless times in middle and high school or passing by a couple of seconds (passing was 12:30 and my mile PR was 12:12).  I had no idea where this race would take me.  Since 10th grade gym class I had avoided running like the plague.  The only two times I had run was to “impress” upper classman on the swim team.  It wasn’t impressive and I made a goober out of myself both times.

During the off season from swimming I went to the gym and used the elliptical or lifted weights.  It was nice to keep cardio and strength when I wasn’t swimming.  Long story short I had no idea what I was getting myself into but the phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” comes to mind with this race.

The race itself is pretty much a blur.  I don’t remember much other than I didn’t really hate it.

I finished the 5k is around 24 minutes.  I don’t remember the exact time but I remember not dying, texting my shocked dad that I had run a 5k and picking up my tshirt and wearing it proudly.  (of course I didn’t tell my parents I was running this 5k…I didn’t want them to ask if I didn’t finish).

I wore that tshirt all around the following day.  I was going to wear my badge of honor.

After the race, it wasn’t as if I magically became engrossed in running at that point.  I ran 20 miles off and on weekly for the rest of the spring.  When it was sunny I would run the same 5k loop around campus.  When it wasn’t nice out,  I wouldn’t run.  I would just go to the gym.

I mark St. Patrick’s Day as the official day I got my running start because after that point I considered myself “a runner”.

I didn’t run everyday.

I didn’t run fast.

I didn’t log my mileage.

I didn’t run when it was cold, windy or not perfect weather.

I had no desires to run with anyone or at a certain time…

I didn’t run anymore races until July.

But I ran…and when I did I enjoyed it.  

Questions for you:

When did you get your (workout) start?

What are you up to this St. Patricks Day?

After a jam packed amazing weekend at Shamrock, I’m on my way back to NJ.

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37 responses

  1. I was an athlete from baby age, soccer beginning at 3 and swim team at 5, basketball at 5 or 6. I played all of the above until college then soccer in college. I didn’t start running until 21 and not REALLY running (aka consistently or with any sort of training in mind) until a year later.

  2. You might kind of know my story already. I ran my first race – a 10k – in 2007 at age 36, and things sort of took off from there. However, getting to that point took some work. At the end of 2005, I was badly overweight and on my own (that’s a whole other story), and I knew I needed to get healthy again. My first run was probably no more that a mile and a half through my neighborhood…and I thought was going to die. It would have been easy to quit, but I’m sure glad I didn’t.

    St. Patrick’s Day is a workday for me. I will wear green, of course, but I think this year will be pretty tame. In fact, it is going to be gorgeous so I think I’ll come home and run! 🙂

      • I can’t believe I dodged the snowstorms in the few days I was back East last week! OK – here is a synopsis of my story, but a lot of it is already written. I was always athletic all the way through high school. Three sports a year for 4 years (football, alpine skiing, shot and discus on the track team), but I was never a runner. In college, I stayed active, but nothing like the years prior and grad school was pretty much the same. I got married right out of grad school and after a couple of moves, I ended up in Colorado in 1999. Within a couple of years, things weren’t going so well in the marriage and I let a lot of things slip – including any attention to diet and exercise. That’s about where my very first blog entry in Feb. 2010 picks up – http://kevinbommer.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/the-beginning – and the few entries right after that paint the picture as to how I ended up running marathons. 🙂

  3. I love how you’ve gone from never really running before your 5k to now running 70 miles per day! To have that much dedication and love for something is so inspiring 🙂 My running story didn’t really start until junior year of high school then went on a hiatus for a while. I was a gymnast until I severely broke my arm and had to stop, so I joined the cross country team. Running gave me that same exhilaration as flipping through the air did and I fell in love with it! I continued into my senior year, but freshman year of college was really difficult for me; I was really unhappy and stopped running all together. It wasn’t until last summer when I really decided to start running again because I wanted to feel that rush and I deserved to be happy! I ended up transferring for my sophomore year and I’ve never been happier! I’m running my first half marathon this April!

    On another note, I love reading your blog! It’s helped me through so much, so I owe you a big thanks!! 🙂 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

  4. I think it’s cool you ran the race for the long sleeved shirt! You are right, they are a hot commodity… especially a long sleeved tech shirt, I love those (when they actually fit). I still remember your post about it too and it’s neat to see how far you’ve come in such a short time really (short in terms of years running).

    Today… I’m just working and probably cycling later to help my legs feel better after a weekend of racing. We celebrated St Pat’s this weekend.

  5. January 2011 is when I officially became a runner. I wanted to lose the rest of the baby weight and really enjoyed running around my neighborhood. Today is a snow day, so I am hanging at home with my kids.

  6. That is a great story, and reminds us that everyone comes from a different place as runners.

    I started running in Feb ’89 a year out of college … because I was terribly obese. Seriously. I started with about a mile, and eventually got to running about 15 miles a week and had lost more than 175 pounds by the end of the year … and never looked back – well, until my thyroid died and took my metabolism and I slowly gained weight.

    2012 after Easter I started again (lost 100lbs) and ran my first 5K … at 46. Have now run several marathons and half-marathons and will never go back! 🙂

    For me? The kids have school and my wife and I work all day, both kids have activities (which thankfully start at the same time) so I’ll be driving around tonight … exhausted already. Got my run on my ‘normal winter route’ … 2F this morning … so done with winter!

  7. My first 5k was so slow – but addictive. It’s really what started me running, but it took me a year to do my next race, which was a 10k. Since my first half-marathon, I’ve never done a shorter race! I’d say I’m going to integrate them back into my life but they are just too expensive!

  8. I love your running story. <3

    I've been an athlete my whole life, playing basketball, volleyball, hunter horseback riding (jumping), and being a dancer, a sprinter and hurdler in MS and HS. I did bodybuilding for a bit, then moved onto endurance, and here I am. 🙂

  9. Two years ago was my first race too as a freshman in college. It was a St. Patty’s Day 5K and I definitely did not like it haha or at least not as much as I do now! I was on the back-end of the Freshman 15 and finished in 32 minutes. Now I am 25 pounds lighter and have completed a marathon!

  10. Since high school, I was overweight and non athletic. It was easy for me to be lazy and let myself off the hook due to a torn knee ligament I suffered in high school. For years after that I used my sore knee as an excuse to not do much of anything.

    16 years later, after my wife and I had our first child, I was carrying my son (then only 12 lbs) up the stairs in our home and was left breathless and aching at the top of the stairs. It’s then that I realized, something had to be done. I started walking, I bought an elliptical, and after only about a month I had enough. I was so discouraged, couldn’t lose a pound, and couldn’t get motivated.

    We then went on vacation in St. Thomas and stayed at a condo resort at the bottom of a hill. One morning I decided to walk to the top of the hill and take some photos. When walking back down to our condo, I started to jog. Of course, it was downhill, so it was easy, but I began to realize that it wasn’t so bad. I did the same thing the next day, and the next day after that. Suddenly I realized, hmm, maybe this IS possible.

    3 years later, several 5ks, 8ks, two half marathons, and multiple weekly workouts I lost 40 pounds, developed muscles I never knew I had, and developed a love to run. I’m not fast, and I don’t need to be. Just finishing races standing up and being able to leisurely run when I have the time has been so gratifying. These goals that once seemed impossible, are now a reality. There’s nothing better when the emcee at a race calls us athletes and I’m able to finish with my arms in the air as if I accomplished the immortal. I never thought I’d be anywhere close to the category of an athlete. Knowing I can partake in athletic events with my two boys now is absolutely priceless. Fear not – go get it!

  11. Pretty inspiring. I started running not quite 2years ago after I bought myself a Nike GPS watch for Father’s Day. I was very overweight and wanted to lose it. I worked in an office with several runners including a buddy who is a sponsored tri-athlete. Hearing them talk is what gave me the itch, so I bought the watch and started a couple days later. I have gone from dragging my way through 1 mile runs to where I’ve run several races including a 20k and am training for Tough Mudder this Summer.

    Thanks for sharing your story, cool to see someone as athletic as you and knowing you weren’t born a runner and have come so far in 4 years.

  12. Nice story! I’ve always run, but it’s only been the past 6 years that I’ve gotten into these longer distance. It has taken over my life – even recently forgoing my first love (soccer) so I could concentrate on running. Crazy!

  13. Sometimes I wonder if signing up for a 5K out of the blue isn’t exactly what I need to get my butt in gear and start running more… I’ve been putting it off because of the weather, but I have a feeling that it just might happen this spring. Bonus points if free shirts are involved 😀

  14. Nice post!! My running start actually has two parts. I ran in junior high & high school then completely fell off the wagon during my 20’s balloning to just over 180 pounds. Then when I realized I was short of breath even talking I knew I had to make a change. I started run/walking then one day I went out to run a mile which turned into 2.75 miles, then I figured I could do a 5K. I signed up for that 5K that was only going to be a “one time” bucket list deal right … uh NO!!! I finished that race and then I was hooked haha! Now, nearly 7 years later this is where I’m at, still running strong and planning on doing so until my legs fall off 🙂

  15. I started working out on a regular basis after I quit soccer, ever since then I have found my love for running, lifting, yoga, heck anything active!

  16. love this, and love seeing how far you have come!

    I started playing soccer when I was young, and was good but not GREAT (because I refused to devote my life to it like the other girls) one thing I had was I could outrun everyone. Running was my release from everything. I signed up for track as soon as I was able to- and that was how it all began.

  17. Thanks for sharing Hollie! Your constant improve and dedication has been a joy to follow on DailyMile the past couple years. My running ‘career’ started in 2007 on a cruise ship in the Bahamas while I was soaking in a whirlpool. I was overweight, overfed and out of shape. Our cruise provided plenty of time to expand on those 3 points. But as I sat in the whirlpool some very fit people came into the gymnasium and hit the elliptical machines with vigor and finesse (later I learned they were ship board entertainers, dancers). I decided to try out the elliptical myself since I had never seen one before. Dang, I really enjoyed it. I immediately told my wife, we either get one of these machines or we join a gym as soon as we get home. She wisely selected the gym option as we all know what happens to home fitness equipment. This story turns into a one-thing-leads-to-another stories and eventually running ended up the thing I just gotta do!

  18. You’ve progressed into an incredible runner since that first 5K and I think you have many more ridiculously speedy races in your future. I appreciate that you’re humble about your abilities (many could learn from you…) and I truly enjoy reading about your journey.

    I got started in 2010 while trying to kick a decade long smoking habit. YIKES. I fell off the wagon a few times but continued running while smoking, even through 4 months of marathon training. Still not sure how I pulled that off. But I officially quit on the 10/28/11, two days before running the Marine Corps Marathon. SO glad those days are now behind me!

  19. My earliest running memory is from 1st or 2nd grade when we ran the time mile in gym class. I was actually in first place, but then two boys caught up and passed me. People don’t forget. 😉 And even though I ran track senior year in high school, I never though of myself as a runner until college. Yeah, we had conditioning for basketball, but it wasn’t until study abroad when I started running regularly. And then I discovered triathlon after college … and here we are. 🙂

  20. I love hearing how people get started running, and the distance/time of their first race, versus their times for the same distance, now. So awesome. You’re an awesome runner Hollie.

  21. I ran my first half marathon in 2009 after a bad breakup with a long term boyfriend. I trained alone and mostly on the treadmill and it wasn’t that fun so I didn’t run another one for a year and a half – once I found friends to run with I got hooked! It’s fun to think back to the beginning – I was SO proud the first time I ran 4 miles without stopping!

  22. This is the most random time to start a love for running…and I love it. While others associate St Pattys day with beer, green and leprechauns, You have your own association.

    …I’m still waiting for my pumpkin run T shirt from Oswego.

  23. Isnt it funny how in college we will do anything for a free shirt! That is so awesome you remember the day and the experience so clearly. You will forever cherish this day. It is crazy how we can suddenly get that desire and want to do everything possible to be the best you can be.

    I remember beating a girl on my high school team who did not try, smoked, and talked about how good she could be without training all the time, was my inspiration to join a running club and try. From there I continued to improve enough to get a scholarship to the States! I wonder if that girl would not have taken her talent for granted the way she did, would I still have developed that desire to go get her? Probably not!

  24. This is awesome!
    A race did NOT get me into running but until a year ago (and coincidentally or not, the acquisition of a Garmin) time was the last thing I cared about, I ran to run. I am so grateful to largely maintain that same mentality. I think never running competitively growing up gave me that ability!

  25. I didn’t know this about you! My story is comparatively lame. I joined the track team my freshman year of high school. It was either that or lacrosse and track was co-ed so I figured I would rather hang out with boys and girls rather than just girls.

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