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Seven Years of Running

If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you might know that March is my “runnaversery.”  My running journey started March of 2010 around St. Patricks Day.

For the last 7 years, St. Patricks day has held a much more sentimental meaning to me than drinking beer, wearing green and holiday spirit. Although I still do all three!  For the past several years, I have celebrated by running Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.

Seven years ago, I ran a road race in college that would change my life.

Forever.

Yay college

It’s funny how half an hour altered my entire path.  As someone who loathed running previously, the fact that I enjoyed the sport was a whole new experience.

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

So how did it all begin?

In 2010, I saw a bulletin board at my college 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.  Going to college in the arctic tundra, 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. 

By that, I signed up and I didn’t run a single time before the race. 

YAY swimming…

I swam through high school and college and that was my thing.  I liked it, I was decent at it and all my friends did it.  With the exception of my freshman year roommate, Kierstin, I had no friends that ran.  People don’t run outside when it’s -30 in the winter.

Keep in mind my running history previous to March of 2010 is lackluster.  I failed the mile test countless times in middle and high school.  If I passed (yes IF), it was by mere seconds (passing was 12:30 and my mile PR was 12:12).

Incase you wondered, I didn’t tell a single soul I was doing this race.  They would never believe it, and I didn’t want anyone to know.   My dad was an accomplished marathon runner, and at the time both brothers ran cross country and track. My brother, Matt, could run 2 miles faster than I could run one.

The only two times I ran in college was to “impress” upperclassman on the swim team.  It wasn’t impressive, and I made a goober out of myself both times.

Upon contemplation of my first ever cross country race. Am I real runner now?

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 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 and also texting my dad (who was shocked) and then picking up my t-shirt and wearing it proudly.

I wore that t-shirt 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 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. 

An early photo (2011) warming up for a race with dad.

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 every day.
I didn’t run fast.
I didn’t log my mileage.
I didn’t run when it was the cold, windy or not perfect weather.
I had no desires to run with anyone or at a particular time…
I didn’t run anymore races until July.

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

Since then, I’ve run off and on through my life.  I joined my college cross country team and ran for a couple of seasons.  I’ve run 30+ half marathons and 2 full marathons.  I’ve met countless friends as well as met my husband through running as well.

My brothers, dad and I all ran a half marathon before my college graduation.

Running isn’t the only part of my life, but it has been a huge influence for me throughout adulthood!

RnR VA Beach 2015 with my husband

You can read an extended version of my running story with progression to where I am now here.

Questions for you:
When did you get your (workout) start?
What are you up to this St. Patricks Day?

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7 responses

  1. So glad you joined the running world Hollie. I never knew your Dad was a runner before you were. I figured it was something he started when he saw your success. How awesome you have that to do together and Tim as well!

  2. It was great to hear your story. You and I got our start right about the same time. May 26, 2010 was the day I decided my pants didn’t fit any more and I had to do something about so I went for a 2-mile run. It took several months for it to become a habit, but a local race in August of that year got me hooked and I finished that first calendar year with 559 miles. Over the past almost seven years, I’ve logged over 14,000 miles including 3,000+ in 2016 and have completed 15 half marathons, 11 marathons (including Boston twice) and one 50K. More importantly, I’ve met some amazing people and have toured some great places on foot while on the run. I’m glad I found running. 🙂

  3. Ironically, I have been running about the same amount of time. I ran my first 10K 7 years ago and finished in 1:04 (I’ve now lowered my 10K to 44:41, it’s not a distance I race often though). I just did it because it seemed more impressive than a 5K, haha. I always love reading your running story and how you happened into the sport but it’s certainly changed your life. Your first 5K time of 24 minutes was definitely impressive but you’ve gotten so much faster and stronger. Love that you do the Shamrock half each year to celebrate too, it’s good to have a race you run over and over and a great hometown race (Charleston Half Marathon in January is the same for me).

    Best wishes to you this weekend, Hollie!

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