Why Do I Run?

It is officially the last day, of my last full week of work, for the next three weeks. To say I am excited is an understatement. I am linking up with HeatherKatie, and Clare this week to talk about my ALWAYS Friday Favorite – Running. This might be a somewhat lengthy post but I have some good pictures in there so skimming is always an option : )

I grew up swimming competitively. Maybe some day I’ll go into my background with swimming (probably when I train for a triathlon LOL) but for now, all you need to know is swimming was my life. But it didn’t make me happy. I grew up active involved in a lot of sports, but I was just a naturally fast swimmer. I was lucky enough to be a gifted swimmer. Which is unfortunate, because I hated it. Every day it felt like a job. It was not something I looked forward to, and for the most part the only reason I continued to swim was because I was good. Maybe great.

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Properly refueling post swim meet. Yes that’s Five Guys. Yes I used to eat meat.

I think one of the best things that ever happened to me was when I got injured. My shoulders were shot, my rotator cuffs just completely fried from 70+ hours in the pool, two a day practices, and 10+ hours a week dryland. My body couldn’t handle it anymore. So when I went to college I decided to be as sedentary as possible. And as social as possible. Which as we ALL know, does not lead to a slim and fit figure.

The fall of my freshman year of college I came home to run our local Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. I ran every year with my family and usually ran, because the great thing about swimming was that my aerobic capacity was EXCELLENT. So maybe I wasn’t breaking any records, but a 5-mile run wasn’t exactly the most taxing workout for me. Well… after months of sedentary life, I sucked wind. When I was walking at mile 2, freezing my butt off, my mom floated on by yelling, “HI! YOU LOOK GREAT!” I wished I could disappear. As I hobbled on home and subsequently ate my body weight in waffles (we have odd, but delicious, holiday traditions) I realized I wasn’t happy with the way I felt, or looked. I wanted to feel proud and accomplished again.

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Mom about to embark on a 50 mile sand-only relay. Casual.

Both my mom and step-dad were incredible runners, with intense dedication and a handful of marathons under their belts. I figured, maybe I can do that too. So I started running. And the weird part about it, was I LOVED IT. I loved the fresh air. I love the feeling of pushing myself again. Maybe the aqueous life wasn’t for me, but running was. Running was fun.

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Expos. The best part of running.

When I started running in 2008 I never thought I’d run a marathon.

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Stolen. Whoopsies.

And after my first marathon in 2011 I never thought I’d qualify for Boston.

Running has even allowed me given me the excuse to travel to some pretty cool places to run. Dallas. Philadelphia. Boston. Chicago. DC. Just to name a few…

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Cherry Blossom 10 Miler – totally over dressed. Also why am I wearing a skirt?

It is incredible what we can do when we find something we love. Hard work wasn’t work anymore. It became passion. And commitment. And to be as cheesy as possible, love.

Running has given me confidence.

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“Am I there yet?”

Running has become “me” time. It’s when I feel the most at peace.

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Most recent Turkey Trot #Cropped

What’s next? Welp, I’m not too sure. I love running and that will never go away. But, while I’m still young ish I’d like to complete a half ironman, maybe even a full. But I should probably learn to ride a bike first…. #Details.


How did you get into running?

Have you always been a runner or did you change sports like me?

What are you looking forward to the most this weekend?

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50 thoughts on “Why Do I Run?

  1. I know exactly what you mean about being at peace while running, that’s the feeling that keeps me coming back! I actually started running at 23 because I had a big crush on my husband who at the time was an avid runner and had run 3 marathons. He sort of handed over the torch though but still loves running and coaches 🙂

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  2. I got into running because it was post college, I was bored and I was a SMOKER! Not like a huge smoker, but I wanted to quit. I signed up for a half marathon, never touched another cig. I was always a skier and briefly a swimmer, but mostly not athletic! This weekend I leave for vacation so I’m looking forward to that! And you need to do a tri. You would be SO addicted. You’ve got the swimming and the run, so you will be naturally good at it!!! That was why I started it – it helps to learn how to push a pedal, but the tri is all about the run!!

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  3. Love this. Also, DAMN YOU HAVE AN ATHLETIC FAMILY. Your parents are seriously BA. I think that a lot of swimmers become runners–I have several friends who made the switch–it is a natural progression from something rhythmic to something rhythmic! I pretty much crossed over to running after my time in the saddle–same principles of rhythm. But I actually got into running long thanks to my mom and Team Challenge. There are a few posts about it on my blog.

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  4. I love this! I started running cross country in Kindergarten because my parents worked late and it was cheaper than after care, but college is where I started getting serious about it as well. I want to do a half or full iron man too! Thats definitely my next dream. I have a good road bike, but thats my least favorite of the trio.

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  5. I grew up swimming too! While I didn’t spend as much time in the pool as you, I was definitely in love with the sport and had planned on continuing to swim in college. My senior year of high school I had a boyfriend and, as most stories go, I decided to go to the same college as him – one without a swim team – and end my swimming career (but it was for true love, right?! wrong-o). I loved swimming, mostly because I was really good at it. But if you don’t swim in college, it’s hard to find a rec-league to swim a where I’m from, plus they’re pretty expensive and practice at weird hours so it was hard for me to fit it in my schedule. I still love swimming and I still think about joining a masters program and would love to do that one day. I fell into running because it was free, kept me from gaining 800 lbs after I stopped swimming, I could do it whenever I wanted, and like you said, aerobic capacity was on point. I’ve yet to really fall in love with running because it doesn’t come naturally to me like swimming did, I’m not as good at it and that’s discouraging for me. But I’m working on this mental toughness thing so hopefully I’ll continue to push through and eventually come to love it! Thanks for sharing your story!! Have a great weekend!

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    1. I can totally understand the frustration. It took me about 5 years to finally feel like a “runner”. It tok a while for me to get the same competitive drive with running as I did with swimming.

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  6. I feel the same way about running.
    I actually was a ballet dancer growing up and didn’t to much of anything in my 20’s… just 20-30 on the elliptical 2-3 times a week.
    I got into running in my late 20s kind of on a dare and it stuck! Never in a million years thought I’d love it and turn into a marathoner. I would have laughed at you then!

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  7. I loved reading about your journey! So interesting. Although I’ve always been a runner, I also played lots of sports growing up- softball from age 6 to 20, soccer, volleyball…I’m also hoping to do a tri and learned to ride a bike this month! Hopefully you can learn too (it’s really not bad..kinda fun too!) Hope you have a great weekend girl!

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  8. I was a swimmer too in high school! Granted, I was no where on your level it sounds haha. I have always been a water baby, so swimming was a nature and fun fit for me. Running, however, was not a natural fit. Part of the reason I love running now though is because I have fought very hard to become the runner I am today.

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  9. I can totally relate. I was always active growing up, playing all kinds of sports. I played softball my entire life, continued in college and still play occasionally. I loved it and I still do, but maybe in a different way now. I give lessons to younger girls which is really fulfilling, passing it on to another generation I suppose. Anywho! I started running going into my junior year of college when I realized I was really unhappy with where I was in life, physically. I couldn’t (didn’t like to) even run for 10 minutes up until that year. Now that I’m out of college I tell people that running is my “adult hobby” whatever the heck that means! I used , and still do some times, identify myself as “I played softball in college” but now its like ” I’m a runner” so I think it’s neat how things sort change and work themselves out.

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  10. So THAT’s how you got so speedy – swimming! *takes notes* LOL

    This is such a cool story and I loved reading it. It continually amazes me how many successful runners are “late bloomers”. That’s what I love about this sport and what made it “stick” for me – it’s never too late, and anyone who wants to can jump in, put in the work, and see results.

    I started running two years ago. I hated running my whole life and just assumed I’d never be good at it. I thought I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have any stamina (so funny looking back on that viewpoint now…). Two summers ago I signed up for a Color Run just because it would be something different to do. I wanted to be somewhat in shape for it though, so I started running a little bit and going to the gym. And that’s when I decided – why stop here? What if I have the potential to be really good at this? And I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. It was July and I set my sights on a half in May, giving me plenty of time to build up. And the rest is history!

    There are a lot of reasons I run, but I think the big one is because it is a competitive outlet for me. It allows me to set and achieve tangible goals and literally see progress happening. And it has added a lot of structure to my life that I think I was missing for a long time.

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    1. I agree. I love the competitive side of racing… me against myself and the clock. Otherwise then I start getting competitive playing Jeopardy at night with my family and that never ends well 🙂

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  11. Your little descriptions under your photos are always SO FUNNY. Ha ha! You’re hilarious!! Your writing always makes me laugh. I can’t even believe how much you swam. WOW. I’m surprised you even have any rotator cuffs LEFT! You’d think they would have just unraveled one day in the pool and you’d have to pull them in like a rope, gather them up in a heap and just walk away. You’re such a gifted runner, so I’m sure whatever sport you decided to do you’d do really well too.

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    1. Thank you xo 🙂 It does amaze me that my arms are still attached. Most dramatic moment of my life… having to buy a size 16 dress my sophomore year of high school because my shoulders and lat muscles were so big…. thank god THOSE went away….#ManBod

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  12. I never really workout a day in my life until I started Couch to 5k after losing some weight. I wanted to keep it up, and it seriously changed my life. It was the first workout I did that I felt like doing without having to force myself. Now I love working out and I’m doing what I can to run (with a messed up knee)

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  13. Love reading your running story! I was a soccer player growing up. I played year round until I was a Junior in high school. It was a tough time in my life and needed to stop. I didn’t start running consistently until April of last year but quickly it has become such an important part of my life!
    Its my husband’s 30th birthday tomorrow so we have a fun day and a surprise planned 🙂
    Hope you have a great weekend.

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  14. YAY! You made it to Friday! Seemed like it would never come for you thins week, haha. I loved everything about this post.Yes it’s cheesy, but we run bc we love it. My fave part, “Hard work wasn’t work anymore. It became passion. And commitment… and love.” #yes #onpoint

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  15. this is such a great and inspiring post! your shoulders must have been so messed up – that much swimming is insane! Glad you found your heart in a different sport. I definitely think that you’ll compete in Ironman and go so far with it 🙂
    I started running when I got really serious with rugby, and my conditioning coach said I had to run 4 mornings at week for 30 minutes. It helped so much with my endurance and circuit sessions that from then on I just couldn’t stop!

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  16. Jamie!! I love your story and so freaking cool your mama did that 50 miler! I have 50 mile dreams one day…maybe your mom can give me some tips?! haha your story is awesome and you are a very talented runner. Looking forward to you dominating NYC in November!!

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  17. I love this because I was similar to you. I grew up really serious about ballet (and gymnastics, for a time) but when I stopped enjoying it I was hesitant to stop because it was my “thing” – how I defined myself. I then coxed in high school and college which was so much fun and a great experience in being part of a team (the real brains of the boat 🙂 ) but it wasn’t getting ME what I needed physically or mentally. When I started running, I vowed to do it for myself, and not to let external pressures or goals influence me. I ran my first race (a 10K) and then my first and subsequent halfs for personal fulfillment, and that’s why I am aiming for NYC Marathon in 2016 – I decided I want to be a marathoner once in my life, and running has brought me so much more mental peace than I ever imagined, I know it will be tough but it will be the best feeling ever too.

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  18. I think a lot of people have that resentment towards swimming. It’s SO easy to get burnt out staring at the bottom of a pool. I don’t miss those days at all, but I do miss competing. Which I hate with running. I feel like running helped my swimming more than my swimming helped my running, but I definitely had the breathing part down. Everyone always asks when I’m going to do a triathlon and I always say “when I stop hating swimming and get sick of running.”

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  19. Jamie, I started running in high school and actually left my soccer team for the track team; I wasn’t fast, at all, but the track girls were way more fun – ha! Oh, also, my high school boyfriend had baseball practice at the same time as track practice, so I could have an excuse to get a ride home with him…priorities! I’ve heard this a lot from other former swimming friends; y’all are hard core. I’m such a horrible swimmer; I’ve just never gotten into it, so I’m sure I’m doing everything wrong. This weekend, I’m looking forward to a race tomorrow morning and then trying to get settled in our new home! Hope you have a great last day at work!!

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  20. really enjoyed reading this post. that’s so great that both of your parents are marathoners and have helped instill your love for running in you! my dad did the same for me – he’s 65 and still continues to run now, even though he’s not doing long distance anymore. i got into running slowly — in college i just ran a few miles here and there 4-5 days a week to offset the eating/drinking, but then i got more serious about it and started doing half marathons (and one full) in the past few years. i’m with you — it has totally changed my life!

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  21. this is awesome, thanks for sharing. love reading other people’s running stories 🙂 i got into it for fun during highschool – i was heavy into martial arts and it was good cardio training. after i had back surgery at age 20, i had to stop martial arts. eventually i found running but it took a long time to get there after a full spinal fusion… i started slowly and took baby steps, literally. lol. here i am a couple ironman’s and 2 marathons later, doing something that i’ve grown to love and never thought i’d ever EVER do. ain’t life cool? 🙂

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  22. I can relate to a lot of your reasons for running. 🙂 Running is my me time too! And it definitely gives me confidence. When life gets tough, sometimes I think about tough times during races and thing- well if I can do that I can do ANYTHING.

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  23. this is such a fun post! I can run but I don’t quite love it as much as you do 🙂 It’s awesome you find your passion and love of running though, that’s a great feeling!

    I ran a 5k, 2 half marathons, and one full. I never thought I’d be a distance runner either. It’s amazing what your body is capable of!

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  24. 70+ hours a week? That’s some seriously impressive time spent swimming! I started running my freshman year of college to stay in shape, and I feel in love with it. Still, I would have never considered myself a distance runner until I got bored the summer between college and grad school and starting running 10+ mile long runs and fell even more in love.

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  25. I DEFINITELY changed sports! I always hated running. I hated being the slowest, the most awkward, etc. I did pretty much every other sport- swim team, sailing, horse back riding, soccer, t-ball, gymnastics, dance…. in 2012 (new years, im the most basic) I decided i would run at LEAST a mile a day. that first mile took me like, 14 minutes. it sucked. but I kept at it! and a little over a year later, I ran my first marathon despite being POSITIVE i would never be able to run one.

    this weekend i’m looking forward to… cleaning, doing some DIYing on a bookcase…. and generally relaxing haha.

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  26. I didn’t have anything else to train for once I stopped playing soccer competitively after college so I was at a loss in my workouts. They were boring me and I lacked motivation – enter half marathon number one. Now I’m training for number 4!

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  27. I got into running doing track in 8th grade but got into distances my first year of college when I started to not like collegiate volleyball anymore and wanting to do something on my own. I haven’t looked back 🙂
    I always say I want to do a triathlon…but I cannot swim, so that is a problem. I also do not have the $$ for a pool membership or classes. #IllStickToRunning

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  28. I seriously cannot wait until the day when you decide to sign up for a triathlon. With your swimming background, and running talent/speed, you would be a natural!!! Please, make your way into the triathlon world soon! 🙂

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  29. I ran with my aunt when I was younger and signed up for cross country my senior year of high school because I just wanted to be on a team and there were no try outs. Haha! Fell off the running bandwagon freshman year of college and once I got my fitness back up through Spinning classes, I fell back in love with running. Also NEVER thought I would do a full marathon but here I am training for one. Props to your mom for running a 50-miler in sand! That is so awesome! And I love your family tradition of waffles. That is not weird. That is amazing.

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