What Made Me Start Running?

running

Why did I start running?  Let’s go back to my adolescent years: Growing up I would ask my parents to let me participate in sports, such as soccer, softball or even cheerleading. The answer was always NO. My parents could not afford to put me in sports, so I needed to find a hobby that was free, that did not require my parents to invest hundreds in uniforms and equipment. Thus I picked up running and I liked it!

Throughout high school I would go running around The Great Western Forum located in Inglewood, CA. This was way back before we had smart phones with running aps and music. Yes, I would run with a huge Cassette Player. I found running as my escape, it was the only time I could have me time and destress. I did not keep track of how many miles I put in or for how long I was running. Each day was different, one day I would run one lap around the Forum and I would give myself goals, two laps, three laps, four laps, five laps, six laps, etc.

Upon graduating college I moved to Santa Barbara where I attended UCSB. The first couple of months were rough, it was a complete culture shock. I was always use to living in a low income community with predominantly Hispanics and African American. I was homesick and found it hard to acclimate, so I picked up running again. I would run around Isla Vista and around the coast, I didn’t keep track of distance or speed. I ran because it made me happy. It wasn’t until one of my neighbors asked if I was training for a marathon. “What the heck was a marathon?” So I went back to my apartment and Googled marathons..26.2 Miles?!? “Why would people pay to run?” But I told myself one day I would get there, so I started tracking my miles once I got a smartphone. To my amazement I was running up to 18 miles! I was rather impressed.

After graduating from UCSB I had the brilliant idea to move across the country where I ended up in Herndon, Virginia. Why was I in Virginia? Because I wanted to try something new and not be stuck in Southern California.  Once again I found it hard to acclimate to a new environment, this time it was because of the weather. I wasn’t use to anything below 60 degrees. Surprise!!! Virginia gets to be below zero. I started researching 5ks and signed up for my first one, “Race to Rid Sids”. I started to train since I hadn’t run in months and didn’t know what to expect. Then Race Day came and it was freezing. It was 40 degrees so I was layered up while all the other runners were wearing t-shirts and thin pants. I was extremely nervous but once I finished I felt a great accomplishment. I didn’t know anyone so I just lingered around the food table. Then they started to give out awards and they called out my name. I was shocked so I went up and picked up a $200 gift certificate. Apparently when you run you get prizes if you’re first in your age group which I was, a 5K in 26 minutes. I was so excited!

Fast forward 2 years, I’m back in LA and through social media I found Blacklist LA; a running group that would meet up at night and run. Decided to join back in 2014 and felt extremely welcome and through them I discovered Movement Runners. It’s been now 2 years since I’ve been running with these groups and now I not only run to destress but also because of the wonderful people I have met. You meet people from all walks of life and it’s truly amazing.

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