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 Laura from @respect_the_kitty.
Women’s Running Community (WRC): What Made You Take Up Running?
Laura (L): I first started running to lose weight. I continue to run because of the way it makes me feel. I have bipolar disorder and severe anxiety, and running really helps manage my symptoms.
WRC: What Do You Love About Your Body?
L: The fact that I was able to go from not being able to walk five minutes without pain to running a half marathon. I am so proud of the fact that I was able to become a runner.
WRC: How Has Running Helped You Appreciate Your Body?
L: I love the fact that I can “just go run.” I don’t have to worry about whether or not I can do it…. I just run. I love the fact that I have developed the fitness to be able to do that.
WRC: How Has Running Helped You Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and/or
Generally In Your Life?
L: Like I said before, running is a huge aspect of the treatment of my mental illness. I take medication too, but it only goes so far. I have to take care of myself in other ways as well, and running is what I do. I love the way I feel during and after a run. Also, running helped me lose about 90 pounds. When I started C25k in April 2016, I weighed 230 pounds. I completed the program and then kept at it, and thanks to running and watching my calories I was able to shed the weight.
WRC: What Do You Think About When You’re Running?
L: I don’t listen to music because I have to be able to hear my surroundings when I run. Therefore, I have to keep my brain busy. I’ll do things like count the number of shirtless men I pass on the trail, or try to identify the plants and trees I see. Things like that help me focus and not think too much about how tired or sore I am. 🙂
WRC: What Do You Love Most About Running?
L: I love the feeling it gives me during and after a run. I love the “runner‘s high!” I also love being outdoors. And I’ll admit it… I love shopping for new running clothes and shoes!
WRC: What’s Your Favorite Part Of Being A Runner?
L: I feel like I’m a part of a community. I frequently chat online with other runners and we compare notes and give advice. Everyone is so supportive, and it doesn’t matter what level of runner you are, beginner or elite, we’re always cheering everyone on. I love that sense of camaraderie.
WRC: Do You Engage In Other Sports or Activities? If So, What And How Often?
L: I also like to bowl. I’m pretty good at it, though not as good as I used to be. 🙂 I bowl in local leagues once or twice a week.
WRC: How Do You Stay Motivated When You Don’t Want To Run?
L: I just remind myself that going for a run is what I need to manage my moods and anxiety, and that I’ll feel really good after I’m done running. Also, I’m part of an online community which engages in monthly mileage challenges. We each set our own goal at the beginning of the month. I always want to meet my goal, so that’s what also keeps me going.
WRC: Most Memorable Race Or Running Accomplishment?
L: Today!!! I finally ran 13.1 miles for the first time! It wasn’t a race, just a test of my ability. I finished in 2:35:02.
WRC: What Is Your Best Tip Or Advice For A Newbie Runner?
L: Start slow. Use a walk/run program like C25k to build up to running longer distances. Don’t do too much too soon or you’ll get injured.
WRC: What Is THE Ultimate Quote You Live Your Life By If You Could Only
Choose One (explain)?
L: It does not matter how slow you go. You are still lapping everyone on the couch.” I am not the fastest runner (about 11:00/mile), so this really speaks to me and keeps me motivated.
WRC: Is There Anything Else You’d Like To Tell Us?
L: I celebrated my first 13.1 by planting a tree in my running clothes. (See photo)