My Start to Running.

Tomorrow is St. Patricks Day!

Since 2010 St. Patricks day has held a much more sentimental reason to me than drinking beer, wearing green and pots of gold.  Although if you would like to send me a pot of gold that is fine too!  Five years ago I ran a 5k in college that would change the path and direction of my life.

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

When I was a college sophomore, 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.  My roommate appreciated my hoarding I guess.  I had plenty of short sleeve shirts but long sleeve shirts were something I was always looking for.  All I had to do was 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 was lackluster.  I failed the mile countless times in both middle and high school…or passed by a couple of seconds (passing was 12:30 and my mile PR was 12:12). 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 but I didn’t use running as cross training.  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.

A photo of me at the same 5k the next year...
A photo of me at the same 5k the next year…

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.  (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…).  DadLOLZ had a marathon the next weekend and I didn’t want the embarrassment that his daughter couldn’t finish a 5k.

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.  I did realize it wasn’t all that bad and ran occasionally when it was nice out.  I ran 10-20 miles a week off and on 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 someone who didn’t hate running anymore.  When you fail the mile test multiple times in grade school, it’s hard to like it.

I began to consider 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. Patrick’s Day?


18 thoughts on “My Start to Running.”

  1. Haha that’s so crazy that you not started 5 years ago! My fitness journey began when I fell in love with gymnastics as a kid! They taught me a lot about the importance of conditioning and it’s stuck with me!

  2. Hated running in elementary/middle school. Was usually one of the last kids to finish the mile. Ran cross country freshman year in high school (but only to get in shape for basketball) and hated it. Joined the Marines right out of high school and hated running still… It wasn’t until my first deployment to Iraq that I enjoyed it. It was the only time that I felt “free” and where I could escape the stress of being away from home, at war. I did my first 10K over in Iraq, and came home and signed up for a half marathon and loved it. Since then its been several half marathons, 3 marathons, and numerous other races. It’s funny how in certain times in our life something can fit so perfectly, and other times it doesn’t fit at all.

  3. That’s a fun story! I was thinking about my college days and how all I did was sit on my ass and drink beer–I wish I had been more like you! I didn’t start running until I was over 30–I wanted to do triathlons and obviously needed to run. It was my least favorite of the three sports but clearly, things changed!

  4. I love how laid back you’ve always been about running. It’s funny how that works with a second sport sometimes. I just took up swimming as an adult and love it compared to the relentless pressure I’ve often felt to set running PRs!

    I started running pretty young because my mom was one of the early wave of female runners! She ran a half marathon when I was 8 or so and I’d go running with her on shorter training runs. Sadly, I used running as part of my anorexia in my teens, so the association there is hard to break, especially because my disease meant I would later battle multiple SFX. So it goes. I’m glad running is such a positive thing for you… I am jealous.

  5. Such a cool story! I’ll totally drink green beer to that. 🙂 I have been running forever. I grew up playing competitive soccer but lost interested in my second year of university and ran my first marathon when I was 20!

  6. I remember this story and about the long-sleeved shirt. I have to say it is neat when a race has a long-sleeved shirt… seems like more are doing it now (along with tech shirts) than 5 years ago. I’ve been running a little over 5 years myself, 5 years ago was my first 10K, I had run 2 5Ks before that but that was the first race I really “trained” for (i.e. just followed a printed internet plan haha). St. Pat’s is a huge weekend for road races so it’s neat that you started with one!

  7. I love this story! I remember my first 5K – I had never run 3 miles either! And it was the free t shirt that lured me. I was so excited about wearing something that told people I could run 5k without dying. 🙂 It’s incredible how a free t shirt can completely change the course of your life.

  8. I ran track for our local club starting in grade school. The only reason I got started was because my best friend was in track so it seemed like a good choice to spend more time together! now 20+ years later I’m still at it!

    No plans for St. Patrick’s Day other than work.

  9. Amazing, Hollie! You are a natural runner. Such a gift you have — to have accomplished so much in such a short time!
    I started running in high school to prep for the softball season and fell in love with it. The solitude, it gave me time to escape and think, the ‘runners high’…not to mention I began to lose weight and get in shape!
    Took me almost 10 years until my first 5k…then I went straight to marathons.

    I still love it as much as i did back then…24 years and counting!

  10. I wonder if my friend who went to Potsdam did that 5k…probably not she hates anything athletic…but she probably would have stolen a teeshirt from the sponsors.
    I started running in 8th grade to stay in shape for volleyball by doing track…and I was afraid of the softball…and sitting in a field is boring.
    Needless to say, out of boredom came a life passion.
    Tomorrow I am working all day…but our bagels will be GREEN! 🙂

  11. I was terrible at running in grade school but now I’m starting to like it. I was just about to up my mileage two weeks ago when other stuff got in the way, but over the next few weeks I plan on running more.

  12. That is so great!! I love that picture of you too – you look so light and happy 🙂 I started running after I moved back home from LA and I broke up with a boyfriend. I just started getting up at an insane hour and brining my dog for a 4 mile run, everyday. Presto.

  13. Neat story! Doing the timed mile was a big deal back in the day. I remember coming in third place when I was in first or second grade–and I still remember the two boys who passed me the last lap!

  14. I liked this story too! My first road race was the summer after my Freshman year of college – August 1997 at the Falmouth Road Race – 7 miles. When I was a freshman in college, I was reallllllly home sick. To keep me less sad, I would go to the bookstore every weekend and became kind of obsessed with reading books about running. So I created a little training plan for myself and trained well for the race. It was fun and gave me something to do.

  15. Holy cow! I can’t believe you finished your first 5k in 24 minutes, that’s awesome! Also, can we pause to appreciate how wonderful long sleeve shirts are? My mom, brother and I were lamenting the fact that race shirts have gone high tech this weekend.

    I got into running when my dance career was coming to an end. I began because I sucked at it, an that was a good enough reason to motivate me.

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