My Journey from hating running to loving running

I put up a picture the other day on my Instagram that talked about how I feel that I can confidently call myself a "marathoner" and when I started, I had a hard time even calling myself a runner. I always wanted to be a runner, but how did I finally make that leap to actually DOING the thing that I wanted to be known for, and maybe even actually enjoy it? 

I played traveling soccer growing up as many of you know, and as you can imagine, running was always the punishment. I HATED it. I told people I don't eat green things, and I would refuse sometimes to run when my dad told me it was good for me. I was such a little brat. I just liked to eat McDonalds and sit until I went to practice and didn't realize at the time that if I would even just try for half of a second outside of practice, I could actually probably go far with it. Oh well. 

State Championship our senior year and I clearly had just got done running! HAHA!! I also still have and wear those shorts and this was 10 years ago! LOL! 

State Championship our senior year and I clearly had just got done running! HAHA!! I also still have and wear those shorts and this was 10 years ago! LOL! 

The first time that I ever started "running", I was a junior in college at Gardner-Webb University and I would run 1.5 miles around the campus with my friend Valerie before practice. We genuinely felt like we were running really long distances, and every time we would get to practice everyone would be so impressed that we had ran before. We felt awesome. I loved that.

When I left GWU to go to pharmacy school, Valerie started running marathons and I remember thinking how amazing I thought that was and how had she gone from our 1.5 mile runs to THAT?! I would text her and be in awe and she would reassure me every time that it's totally possible for anyone, I just needed to sign up and go. 

I gained around 10lbs when I went to pharmacy school within the first 2 months, and then I met Tanner and he suggested that in order for me to feel better, maybe I should run. He ran on occasion and offered to go for a three mile run with me. I thought "Oh just a little further than me and Val-this will be easy." I HATED IT. HATED IT. HATED IT. 

My pride was so huge that I was just angry that he was in super good shape and I was embarrassingly not. I thought it was running. For some reason, I couldn't use logic that I just wasn't in shape, and I just thought "RUNNING SUCKS! NEXT ACTIVITY PLEASE!" 

My friends started talking about doing a half marathon, and I was embarrassed that I felt I couldn't so I told them I'd sign up. I remember being so upset because I did NOT want to run, but I also had such an ego back then. It's funny looking back now because if that were my friends today doing something I didn't want to do, I'd say "Uh guys, I think I'm going to sit this one out." But, I'm thankful that I continued. 

I "trained" but not really. I hated it all. Every run felt awful. The furthest that I ever ran before the half was 8 miles, and I was supposed to be doing 10, but got so mad at how much NOT fun I was having, so I called Tanner at 8 miles and asked him to come pick me up. I actually don't think I'll ever forget that day. I was going to hang up this running thing. It just wasn't for me. 

The half marathon was in two weeks, and I had decided not to do it. For whatever reason, I wanted to impress these girls that were doing it. They were so athletic and I thought so cool, and I didn't want to be the one who didn't show up. So, I cried the night before the race, said I'd NEVER EVER EVER run anything ever again, and I showed up. I ended up having an incredible time and feeling more proud of myself than ever! FIRST POSITIVE OF RUNNING!!! 

At the time, I was really struggling with binge eating (hence the 10lb gain in 2months thing). I'll never forget that we went to Ruby Tuesday's brunch as like a celebration of the half, and I ate literally everything that I could get my hands on. I decided in my mind that I hated running, but I had done the half marathon thing, and I deserved it. My hips hurt so bad, and I went and laid down on my bed after brunch, fell asleep for 4 hours and when I woke, I knew I'd never touch running shoes again. 

OH, HOW WRONG I WAS. 

Typically, continuing to run is propelled by race day and feeling that high and recognizing the training was worth it, but that wasn't the case for me. I didn't run for 2 months, period. I did however think that I needed to do SOMETHING to stay in shape, and I knew nothing about lifting weights. I was under that impression that cardio was the only thing you needed to do and elliptical seemed like I didn't get a good enough workout, so I felt I "had to" run to not be "fat" in my head. My brain was SO WHACK at the time.

I had a friend who was doing the Palmetto 200 and putting together a team. She asked if I would run 3 legs of it, and I told her yes. I trained a little bit, but not much but I figured I'd show up and see what happened. I didn't realize I had one 10 mile leg, but nevertheless, I finished it. I didn't enjoy it, and I got in the car, unknowingly to everyone, and just said I was really hungry and kept eating tons of the food we had prepared for the trip.

The problem was in my head, but I believed it to be running. Part of the problem was my diet, but I didn't see it that way. Running was a means to an end-a way to lose weight or keep it at bay. I needed an intervention but no one knew but me. 

During my third year of pharmacy school, Tanner somehow got me to come lift weights with him one day. Instagram had just kind of started and I saw all of these girls with abs and doing these competitions and lifting weights. I WANT TO BE THAT GIRL. OMG LET ME BE THAT GIRL! I knew I could do hard things, so I hung up the running IMMEDIATELY and jumped on the 12 week training program to the competition and lifting weights. My body TRANSFORMED. For the first time in my life, I had it figured out. I had finally figured out how to get the body that I ALWAYS CRAVED. THIS.WAS.HEAVEN.

Nope, sure wasn't. ha! 

Soon after that 12 weeks was over, I was like "Uh am I supposed to eat 6 meals of chicken, broccoli, talapia, etc etc for the rest of my life?" But I forced it. Day after day, week after week, I was too scared to do anything different so I didn't. It's what I knew worked, but eventually the cracks started to form. I couldn't keep it up. When I gained weight but also lifted, I began to really look down on myself. {{It's funny how in the moment you are like "I'VE FOUND FREEDOM!" and then soon after realize you were lying to yourself. Yes, clearly, again, not right in the head and I'm well aware and shared this like 47,000,000 times so this is not new info because I know they'll be someone who tries to act like I wasn't ever honest this entire journey. LOL! }} I felt I was "hulking out" of everything I owned, and remember going shopping with my best friend who doesn't work out at all and is just tall, lean and beautiful, and I just broke down in the dressing room. I felt I worked so hard to look "so awful" next to her (puh-lease). She was super sweet of course and gave me encouragement. 

still my best friend to this day- 6 years strong <3

still my best friend to this day- 6 years strong <3

At some point, I discovered macros-who knows when? I FINALLY felt like I had FINALLY FINALLY found something that taught me about nutrition in a healthy manner which I've talked about in GRAVE detail but this is more about running, so I want to move on. However, that's a huge part of the story line. I was FINALLY at peace with food. I built up my metabolism, and I finally felt like that maybe that marathon idea was something that I could do. 

So I looked online and found that the Philadelphia marathon timeline would be perfect for me and we lived in NYC so it was a short bus ride over. That was in June 2014. I started training. For the first time ever, I didn't associate it with weight loss. AT ALL. I was running to conquer a goal. I was running to do this marathon thing that I had always said that I wanted to do. Every single day was a new advancement and because I wasn't so focused on obsession, I was able to relax. I hadn't binged before the run, I wasn't going to binge after in reward for the run, I wasn't going to starve myself so I couldn't run. I was just going to run because I simply wanted to run. 

Everything changed. 

Every single time I got to go for a run, I was so excited. I loved the freedom that I felt as I ran. I loved the way that I felt when I was done. It DEFINITELY didn't hurt that I lived on the Hudson River in New York City (where the Statue of Liberty is) so I got to run looking out at this beautiful life every day. I had done an absolute 180 on running, and I knew that would be the rest of my life, and we are going on 3 years strong now and I'm more in love with it than ever. It has only grown and grown. I feel as if it's my own personal slice of heaven, and when I was able to remove the barriers, be in shape enough to do it, and relax into it, it became so much more to me than just a run. It helped me to reshape the way that I viewed exercise. It helped me to see lifting in a different light as well. 

Working out no longer became about what my body could look like, but about what my body could do. How much could I lift? How far could I run? It was a challenge. It became my testimony versus my personal tragedy. It became my escape from anything versus the one thing that I dreaded that I had to get done. It was like finally being able to be free of unhealthy thoughts and see "WOW! This is really WHO.I.AM. Like, THIS right here is what I was born to do and love SO MUCH!"

When I went on that first run with Tanner six years ago, I had NO idea that my life would lead into what it is now with running. None. I would have told you that you were crazy. 

Now he has to keep up hehe! ;) 

Now he has to keep up hehe! ;) 

If you are someone that feels like running sucks the first few times that you do it, give it a few times. Sometimes you might be like me and just simply be out of shape. If you are someone that is struggling with your diet, and feel that this makes a huge impact on your running, then I would say that it would help you to STOP running completely until you get that fixed and revisit how you feel about running when maybe those variables aren't there. If you are someone who thinks that you are dying every run that you go on, maybe relax a little bit. As Desi Linden says, "You just have to let the run come out of you." 

There is not a truer statement. The run must flow out of you. The first mile is ALWAYS hard. It's always the body's way of letting you know that it's adjusting to what you are doing and doesn't really like it very much. You will get moving, and relax into it. 

Maybe running isn't your personal slice of heaven, but I know there's something out there that is. Search for it. Try many different things, because when the passion strikes and you are able to place your finger on that one thing that makes you feel alive, you won't ever be the same. 

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