Monday, July 7, 2008

how did you get started?

in maren's last post we had a question in one of the comments from sarah. she asked whether or not our group had ever thought about running for charity. i can proudly say that most of us have run for charity in the past and would absolutely consider it again. it prompted me to write about why and how i started running, because it was a charity that started it all for me.

jonathan and i moved to california in the summer of 2003 and the only person we knew was my uncle who lived in the city thirty miles away. after a few months of missing family and struggling to start a piano studio, i found myself in a much too early mid-life crisis at 21 years old. i was bored and depressed. driving in the car on a cold january afternoon, i heard a radio advertisement for team in training, an organization dedicated to raising funds for the leukemia lymphoma society. they also happened to train average people to run marathons. i attended an information meeting, cut a check for $100, and had officially signed myself up for the midnight sun marathon in anchorage, alaska. if i can truly confess, i had NO intentions of running a full marathon when i signed up for the program. i thought it was a good idea, i just didn't believe i could do it. slowly but surely, the fitness and determination came, and my life was changed.

having the motivation to run for cancer patients is a powerful one. fundraising for cancer research and patient care is also a powerful motivator. running with people who are working towards that same goal is exhilarating. i am forever indebted to this organization for changing my life in more ways than i can count.

we saw beautiful places (monterey bay: 20 miler)
i met lifelong friends and developed lifelong friendships
i now have memories that will last forever
(jeni and me at the finish of our first marathon in anchorage)
i ended up mentoring for the program the next fall; these five girls ended up raising over $33,000 for cancer research that season
we ran in honolulu together, december 2004

after that year long experience, i was hooked to the sport. i asked any girl that came within the four walls of my home or church if they wanted to run a marathon with me. i was addicted to the long runs, the chats, the "runners high", the PRs. all of it. i honestly can say now that i am a RUNNER and it is part of who i am and who i will be for the rest of my life.
so i want to know, WHY did you start?


  1. i started running because of my sister whitney. i had just had a baby, and life was very monotonous, and kind of felt like it had no purpose (not that taking care of my son wasn't important, it was just at an easy point, and I was feeling kind of useless at times). anyway, i felt like i needed a goal, a challenge, to do something that i never thought I could do, to prove to myself that i could do hard things, and that i could do whatever i put my mind to. i needed to know that for myself!

    that's where whit came in. she had just run the st george marathon, kind of randomly. she hadn't really been a runner before that, and i thought "if whit can do it, maybe i can do it", and she was so supportive from the very beginning. without her, i would have stopped after about 3 weeks of running. there were so many times that, like you julia, i never really thought i would do it... it was a nice thought, but just didn't believe i could do it. it wasn't until my 18 miler, that i FINALLY believed that i could do it, and finally signed up for the marathon that I had recruited pretty much my whole family to do with me, like one month before we were supposed to run it. and then, i did it, and it was amazing, and i was SO proud of myself, as well as my sisters and dad, who did it with me. it has been such a cool thing to say that we did it all together.

    after the marathon, i needed a break, and then i got pregnant. after my second son was born, i craved to get back out there. it went from being something i did to prove i COULD do it, to something that i honestly loved doing. it is now my "me time", a time to let loose, enjoy being outside, chat with whoever i am running with, and of course, to push myself. it's addicting, and i love it!

  2. I started because you asked me if I wanted to run a marathon! And you know what's weird? You must have been pretty convincing, because from that first (horrible) 5k all the way to the marathon, I never once thought that I might not be able to do it. Kind of funny now that I think about it. Considering the most I had ever run was 2 miles (if that), I should have been peeing my pants at the very idea!

    But a good training program and a motivating coach (you) are really all you need, right? Oh, and beautiful places to run. That helps. :)

  3. I LOVE hearing your stories. I just started running a few months ago. My in-laws live in southern utah (Bryce Canyon area) and know the kid that started the BC half marathon. We were scheduled to have a family reunion and my sis in law suggested we all run the half. I had always wanted to do something like that so to have others do it too, especially family, was the best motivation I could ask for. It has been a fun few months - and my first half is just 10 days away. Yikes! I want to keep it up and my husband and I are already talking about doing the San Jose half in October. Deep down I feel an urgin to sign up for a full marathon but I think I'll hold off until next year. I still am a big time beginner. I've looked into the Team in Training and think I will for sure do that after hearing your stories. What a great concept. Thanks!!

  4. the beginning i started to run because i was 20 lbs. to heavy from my freshman year (morgs, we look sooooo good in our black pants topped with boxer shorts...minus my 20 lbs.).

    i have to admit, i was not one who ever liked running with others. i've had off and on partners, but i always loved the alone time a bit more than the together time. i know, i know, you are all gasping right now.

    in the end, i still run for myself, but i've realized that the comraderie is a great way to motivate, encourage and help an individual reach beyond anything they thought they could ever dream of reaching alone.

  5. I find it interesting that our reasons for starting this journey of running are one and the same. :) I don't think I would have had the courage to do it if the cause wasn't bigger than me.