I’m so honored to be contributing to the Salty Running team! I first came across the website when I decided to start getting more “serious” about my running. I’m still not quite sure I’ve achieved that goal, so I feel a little awestruck that I have the chance to give my two cents about different running topics. I still have so much to learn, but I’m excited to share what I’ve soaked up on the running journey so far.
A little about me: I’m a community organizer living in Lexington, KY. I’m engaged to a wonderful man who will become my husband in October. And I love to read, write, and binge watch any movies or TV shows with a love story.
As for me and running: My first memory of running is a negative one – running laps around the gym building for my middle school PE class. The fact that I could barely do it without having to stop was one embarrassment. But the biggest source of shame was the plastic back brace that was clearly visible from underneath my cotton shirt. Middle school gym class couldn’t get any worse.
Skip ahead to my junior and senior year of college. I was trying to get over a guy, and I decided to take up running. Looking back, I’m not sure about the logic in that decision since I had such poor memories of the sport. But, hey, all’s well that ends well. A year later I completed my first half marathon.
Unfortunately, I didn’t prioritize running when I moved to Los Angeles to complete a year of service with the Episcopal Service Corps. Between my internship, corps gatherings, and responsibilities to the seven strangers with whom I was living in intentional community, there wasn’t much time for long runs. I tried to get my roommates to complete a Couch to 5k program with me, but we never got past the third week.
Skip ahead another year and I signed up to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with Team in Training. Honestly, I signed up to get the Tiffany’s necklace at the end, and running for a charity was the only way I could get an entry into the race. But over those few months, two things happened.
First, I started connecting running to something outside myself. Whenever I was in pain, I thought about the people we met who could barely walk. And as a recent convert to Christianity, I saw a lot of connections between what I was learning about my faith and my running life.
Second, I started making better, healthier decisions because of my running. Maybe this is still connected to the first point, actually. It’s hard to spend your evenings drinking heavily and your weekends binge eating when you’re connected to something greater than yourself.
Running had changed me so much by the time the Nike Half Marathon came around that I was afraid to let it go. I signed up for the Los Angeles Marathon, and I finished that race on Valentine’s Day in 2016. A fitting milestone for someone who had started running because of a broken heart.
Then came another cross-country move – this time to Kentucky, where I still live today. This time I did prioritize running. I had signed up for another marathon before I moved just to make sure I would. Unfortunately, it was a January marathon, and I had no experience training in cold weather. I finished that race, but I was so frustrated by my time that I stopped running for months.
Until my best friend told me she would run more if she could connect it to her Catholic faith. I had come into the Catholic Church recently, which would be a surprise to anyone who knew me in middle school. But so would running marathons. It took me a few months still, but I finally sat down and made a prayer journal to go along with a 12-week training plan for runners. Once again, I was inspired by running.
There’s so much more to explain, but this is just an introductory post. The truth is, running made me think differently about a lot of things. For one thing, I suffer from anxiety and depression, and those mental illnesses cause negative thought processes. The therapy I started helped – but running helped even more. Running made me more aware of my body; what I put into it, how I took care of it, and even what other people could say about it or do with it. Running also changed my faith. Both continue to challenge me to be more and to do more. So I plan to write about all of these things – faith, mental health, and the female body.
Like my fiancé (and even before I met my fiancé), running has made a better person. I’m excited to share that love with all of you Salty women.