The #WhatARunnerLooksLike Wednesday series features everyday women runners and their real thoughts on running, their accomplishments, struggles and bodies. We created this series as a way to help ordinary women runners tell their extraordinary stories. We have been inspired by the stories of other women runners and received much strength to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Some interviews are silly, some are long, some are short, and some are profound. We hope you enjoy, and if you’re interested in sharing your #WhatARunnerLooksLike story with us or know someone in your running circles that has an inspiring story to share, simply use this online form to submit your story.
This week’s #WhatARunnerLooksLike Wednesday feature is Exercise Physiologist Kelly from @kelly.taylor16.
Women’s Running Community (WRC): What Made You Take Up Running?
Kelly (K): I have always been a runner. Since my childhood, I was always running around with the neighborhood boys, which is when I realized I liked it! I ran cross country and track in middle school and high school but got burnt out by the time I made it to college. My senior year of college, I was planning my wedding and wanted to be able to hold myself accountable to lose a few pounds. So I thought, “what the heck, why not train for a half marathon!” And I’ve been in love ever since.
WRC: What Do You Love About Your Body?
K: I love my legs. My legs are the powerhouse of all my miles. I’ve never been that girl that had rock hard abs or a super firm booty so it has been hard to see myself as having an “athletic” figure. Throughout just the past couple years I’ve been able to notice a big difference in not only the tone of my legs, but the strength and power they hold. So I like to show them off every chance I get!
WRC: How Has Running Helped You Appreciate Your Body?
K: Running has made me more confident in my self image. I used to think I would never compare to the countless number of sport models we see all over Instagram and in magazines. But now I know I don’t need all of that to be a real runner. No matter how flabby my midsection is, or no matter if I have cellulite on my butt, I’m able to run miles and miles each day and complete numerous races and that’s the most important thing!
WRC: How Has Running Helped You Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and/or
Generally In Your Life?
K: The biggest thing running has helped me with is my confidence. But it is also the best outlet of stress. It is the best form of therapy. Whenever I’m anxious, stressed, sad, or mad I know I can go hit the trail, put on some good tunes, and unwind.
WRC: What Do You Think About When You’re Running?
K: Usually, at the beginning of my runs, I think “why am I doing this?” After about 10 minutes when I get into my groove I start to think “hmm this is feeling much better!” If I’m out for a long run, I begin to think about food. It’s usually either donuts, pizza, or a combination of sweet and savory treats. Food often tends to be my motivation to get me to the end of my long training days.
WRC: What Do You Love Most About Running?
K: What I love most about running is the pain that I feel during an intense workout always leads to feelings of invincibility afterwords. There is nothing more satisfying than the endorphins of the runner‘s high!
WRC: What’s Your Favorite Part Of Being A Runner?
K: My favorite part of being a runner is being a part of the wonderful running community! I’m so grateful for all the friendships I’ve formed just from putting myself out there for the world to see. Social media has been a good tool to reach out to other athletes that I would have never had a chance to meet or connect with otherwise.
WRC: Do You Engage In Other Sports or Activities? If So, What And How Often?
K: I do! I’m an Exercise Physiologist so my job entails being active and teaching numerous fitness classes. I also cross train with yoga (although, I’m not always the most graceful) and leisure bicycling.
WRC: How Do You Stay Motivated When You Don’t Want To Run?
K: The biggest way I stay motivated is sticking to a strict training plan. I’m training for my first marathon in October 2017 and I have 2 calendars that map out my daily runs. Also, having a very close running buddy is a good motivational tool. We help motivate each other daily and we also run together during races. If one of us is starting to slip, we pick each other up. No man left behind!
WRC: Most Memorable Race Or Running Accomplishment?
K: My most memorable race would have to be when I broke 2 hours in the half marathon. This was at my hometown race so there was a lot of pressure on me because I knew all my family would be watching. This was also the first time I ran a race with all my running buddies and we were all training for the same goal. When I was coming to the home stretch, I saw my husband, my parents, and my in-laws waiting for me with all their cameras out. I was in so much pain but I saw 1:59:00 on the clock and could feel the tears starting. I practically collapsed at the finish but I immediately saw my other running buddies and realized we ALL reached our goals. So it was a huge celebration!
WRC: What Is Your Best Tip Or Advice For A Newbie Runner?
K: My best tip is to run because you love to! Don’t try to run to get that first place medal or trophy. Run because it’s your passion and makes you feel good. And don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You are your only competition.
WRC: What Is THE Ultimate Quote You Live Your Life By If You Could Only
Choose One (explain)?
K: “Will run for pizza” – because like I explained earlier, pizza (and all food) motivates me through my toughest workouts.
WRC: Is There Anything Else You’d Like To Tell Us?
K: I’m so thankful for this wonderful group of women runners! Seeing everyone accomplish their goals and help motivate others is so empowering. Thank you!