My Running Story

beginningrunner

“I feel like going for a run…” These words sealed my fate as a runner seven years ago. I knew nothing about running when I had this thought. I figured I would throw on any old pair of sneakers and run around the town I lived in at the time until I’d put a few miles under my belt and decided to return home sweaty and happy. Haha! Instead, I put on an old t-shirt, a pair of shorts, and a tread-worn pair of sneakers, headed out my door at a jog – and made it halfway down the block. Not even a city block, a short suburban block. Pretty demoralized, I didn’t run again until a few months later when a friend of mine who was an avid runner said she would run with me and help me along the way.

Still wearing the same worn out clothes and sneakers, we drove to a nearby park that had a great dirt trail that was both flat and easy on the knees. The conditions couldn’t have been more ideal – blue skies, no humidity, warm but not too hot. Birds were chirping, the trees spreading their leafy canopies over the trail providing blissful patches of shade. I managed to jog with intermittent walking for about twenty minutes before being completely wiped out. Even with walking breaks, my lungs felt like they were on fire, my limbs ached, and I felt like I was running in slow motion – definitely not like those glossy pictures of fit runners in magazines like Runner’s World with their toned, sinewy muscles and lean midriffs. But even with all that, I loved it. Maybe it was the masochistic side of me, but I wanted more.

I had only run a couple of weeks when a friend of mine told me about a race called Bay to Breakers that was happening in May. It is a 12k run through the streets of San Francisco, up the notoriously difficult Hayes Street Hill, with most of its participants donning costumes for the event. I would have only been running for a little more than a month, but feeling that having a goal would help motivate me to continue running I agreed to join her. While this goes against the rule of only increasing mileage 10 percent each week, running this race actually worked in my favor. I think that if I hadn’t had the goal of that upcoming race I might not have stuck with my weekly runs and wouldn’t have gotten the love of running rooted deep in my life.

My first race through the hilly streets of San Francisco officially sealed the deal for my love of running. I had two goals during the race – to finish and to not stop running. Bay to Breakers was a perfect race because there was so much to distract me as I ran. People everywhere were in costumes (I wore a pink tutu), most everyone was there to just have fun so there were a ton of people cheering runners along the course and the mood was happy. It got to the purity of the run because I wasn’t worrying about negative splits or checking my pace on my Garmin or aiming for a new PR.

After that first less than stellar run, I’ve grown a lot as a runner. But I haven’t forgotten where I started and always try to keep those initial days in mind whenever I’m encouraging others to put on their sneakers and go for jog.

Happy Running! 😀

  1. I love hearing about peoples’ first hook into running – this is a great story Nice one Sama 🙂

  2. It’s been so long since I’ve been for a run, I think I be just the way you were on your first run – worn out sneakers and all!

  3. Love this type of story, and this is a great one.

  4. Great post Sami! Really enjoyed it… So great to hear about how you got started with running and fell in love with it, and then your first race was Bay to Breakers? Wow. So cool, and what a great way to get “into” running. I have always wanted to go to SF for that race. Maybe soon… I agree that having an event to aim for helps with training whether running for the purity or a PR. The Falmouth RR on Cape Cod has many similar “distractions” on the course too, so you just enjoy it and the scenery and forget you are running. I am inspired to go running today now (before winter returns to NH).

    • That’s so funny that you mention Falmouth. I’d love to run that race. I was just there on vacation this past summer and saw all the road markers – what a fun time! 🙂

  5. inspired!

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