12 Years Ago I Began Running

Over the last 12 years, the time around St. Patrick’s Day has held more of a 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! 12 years ago, I ran a 5k in college that would change the path and direction of my life. I started this blog the summer after, which means the blog is nearly 12 years old.

A recap of the blog is another story. It’s changed as I’ve changed. I haven’t run every day since starting a blog. When I started blogging, I didn’t expect to be here 12 years later.

But back to running, I don’t know if I anticipated running 12 years later either. I don’t know, I didn’t think about it, and I didn’t define myself as a runner when I started running in March 2010.

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

How did it start?

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 free things.

I had plenty of short sleeve shirts, but long sleeve shirts were something I was always looking for. All I had to do was complete a 5k?

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

It wasn’t as if I was a runner beforehand. In fact, I hated running, and my running history previous to March of 2010 was lackluster. I swam competitively through high school and most of college, but I thought running was “the worst.”

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). After gym class, I didn’t run again. Because…why would I?

During my first two years of college, I ran twice. Both times were to “impress” upper-level students on the swim team. It wasn’t impressive, and I made a fool out of myself. During the offseason from swimming, I went to the gym and used the elliptical or lifted weights.

Long story short, I had no idea what I was getting myself into running the 5k, 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. It was the first time in my life I didn’t hate running.

I finished the 5k in 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 free long sleeve shirt.

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… My dad has been running for years. In fact, the same weekend I ran my 5k, he was getting ready for a marathon the next week (The Shamrock Marathon).

I didn’t want the embarrassment that his daughter couldn’t finish a 5k.

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 wasn’t “hooked.” I did realize running wasn’t terrible, and I occasionally ran when it was nice out.

I ran 10-20 miles a week depending on the weather. When it was sunny, I would run the same 5k loop around campus. When it wasn’t nice out, I wouldn’t run.

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. It’s hard to like it when you fail the mile test multiple times in grade school.

I began to consider myself a runner even though:

I didn’t run every day.

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 desire to run with anyone or at a certain time…

I didn’t run any more races until July.

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

Crazy to think that was 12 years ago.

Questions for you:

When did you start running? 

What are you up to this St. Patrick’s Day?

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  1. Was that photo above from your 1st 5K? I do appreciate this blog. I started running somewhere in early 1999. For about 10 years I did not time myself. I placed in the 60s among 500+ runners in my first race- a 10K- when I was in the seminary (2002). A few 5Ks until my first marathon in 2013. Eight marathons in all, two of them Boston. For the past five years racing has been sporadic, and more recently so has running. Since Pi Day I have resolved to have “pi every day for a month” (run or walk 3.14 miles).

    1. Thank you Christopher and yes it was! That is awesome! What was your first race?

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