In honor of the month of LOVE, we asked our runners to take the challenge in February and tell us what they LOVE about running. We asked them to tell us their story of when they fell in love with running, when their devotion, obsession, addiction to running began!
Here are their stories…
- 1: “Like Douglas, I ran my first Miami ING 1/2 marathon last year and was addicted! (I live close to Miami). Shortly thereafter, I ran the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon and have done a couple of 5K’s. Waiting for the weather to cool down, I went for a quick run 2 days before Christmas and broke my ankle. I’ve been so do…wn since. Therapy is getting me back quickly and I may be running by next month. Running is truly MY therapy. I sort out my personal, professional and spiritual issues during my runs. I miss it sooo much. I would love to make it to San Francisco, this summer since it is so hot in FL. Who knows? :o)” -Dee M.
- 2: “I got into running because my brother signed me up for the ING Miami Marathon as a birthday present. He handed me a training plan, covered entry fee, hotel, and airfhttps://sfjogblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin/page-new.php#are so I couldn’t say no. I had to switch from Cheez-itz and beer to Gu and water, but I haven’t looked back since. As for when I fell in love with runn…ing, well, there are almost as many stories I could tell about that as there are number of times I’ve laced up my shoes. When I really love running though is when I can share it with someone else the way my brother did for me. I re-fell in love with running when my girlfriend told me that she wants to run the San Francisco Marathon as her first, and most importantly that she wants me to run it with her.”- Douglas C.
- 3: “I was diagnosed with a heart murmur when I was 31, they wanted to do a treadmill test. I had done no exercising since high school and was concerned I would collapse. I started doing the Par Course because my whole body was out of shape, passed, kept up the Par Course for a few years until told I had an enlarged heart, no anaerobic exercising. So I … See Morestarted jogging. Been doing that for over 25 years now and loving it more. With the jogging no evidence of any heart trouble. In the last four years I have completed four 1/2 marathons (two SF 1/2s). Looking forward to July 25th for my 5th 1/2.” -Jim S.
- 4: “I started running in Sep 08 and I was very overweight. I began it as just a fitness thing but then I began working towards running my first 5K race and I did that in Feb 09 , and then another, and then a 10K, and it was then that I knew I had fallen in love with running! Now fast froward 1 year later and 75lbs gone, I have now ran my very first Full Marathon just this past Sunday. I ABSOLUTELY am in love with this sport and it has now become a way of life for me! =) ” – Julie M.
- 5: “Someone asked me recently why it was that I run… so I figured it would be worth one post… although I try not to get too personal here on account of me being personal on every other media outlet known to man and the Internet.I digress… I started running in October of 2008 when I had reached a dark point in my life. I’ve always thrown myself head first into everything that I did: work, relationships, school, family, etc. I found that I eventually got to the point where I would be so accommodating to everyone and everything else that I would lose myself in the process.So I ran… my co-worker challenged me to train for a half marathon with her at the time and when we didn’t run together I would run alone high up in the Santa Monica Mountains to escape my troubles and somehow find myself. I ran that trail at least 150 times to date (and counting) who knows how much blood (I’ve fallen and tripped on a few rocks), sweat and multitude of tears I’ve ended up dropping on that gravel.Since then I haven’t gone back, I’ve been half marathoning, marathoning (#2 is coming up with the next LA Marathon) and just running for the love of the sport ever since. I don’t consider myself an athlete by any means but if anything: I am a runner. ” –Anotorias
- 6: “two years ago today i ran my first mile of my first marathon training program. i decided to sign up with a fundraising team on a whim to train for a marathon, never having been a runner at all before. i pretty much hated running actually. i never ever would have thought i would be where i am now.two years ago today i had no idea what a garmin was, what lactate threshold meant, that there was a difference between running and racing, that running was not a cheap hobby, what the letters BQ stood for, or that i would actually look forward to waking up earlier on the weekends than the weekdays.in the past 2 years i have…ran 25 races including 6 full marathons and 11 half marathons, my first race – a 5k – became my marathon pace this year, ran a total of 3704.4 miles since day one. running has changed my life for the better. it has given me something to always strive for and to look forward to. it has taught me that i can do anything i set my mind to, and that i am tougher than i thought i was. it has introduced me to some of my very best friends. it keeps me sane, focused, dedicated and happy. it has made me stronger, both physically and emotionally. it has taught me that hard work pays off, but the things worth working for don’t come easily. it has flown by and seems like so long ago i was that newbie runner, but at the same time it seems like yesterday i was out there in my too small cross trainer shoes and cotton shorts running that first mile. who knew it would lead to so many more?” – RunnersRambles
- 7: “I can still remember sitting on the doctor’s table, the crinkle of the white paper underneath me. My mother sitting in one of the awkwardly positioned chairs pressed up against the side of the sterile room. We had waited two hours at the walk-in to find out why I received such strong, pulsating pain down my right leg. The first time I noticed it was in my seventh grade ceramics class. My over-weight teacher, Ms. Higgins, stood in front of the class and droned on and on about the inner workings of a kiln when my leg stiffened in front of me, bucking like a rodeo animal. Sharp pain shot from hip to toe like an electric jolt. I passed it off as a harsh twitch, but after six months of increasing occurrences, it was time for something to be done. The doctor entered the room carrying my freshly photographed x-rays. “You have developed a condition known as spondylolisthesis,” he said, plugging the developed images into the clip on the wall. The quick flick of a switch revealed my skeleton.He explained how my L5 vertebrae had become disconnected from the one directly above it, causing the two to wear against each other and eventually slip out of place.”That’s why you’re getting that sharp pain,” he explained. “The slipped vertebrae is pulling on your nerve.”Fast forward ten years. Visits to specialist passed, talk of surgeries faded, and hours of physical therapy logged. An hour long car ride to the airport. A friend’s experience in Chicago shared. The excitement and sense of accomplishment I felt as he spoke of crossing the finish line. “It’s not only the day of the race that’s the accomplishment, it’s the work put in the weeks and months before.” I run because I can. Every day I am reminded of the condition I have, but I can run. I haven’t gotten used to the discomfort, but I can run. To overcome the pain, to do what I have been told I can’t, and to cross the finish line is a physical victory I am able to have. Each run is a reminder of what I can do. My race began in a seventh grade ceramics class.” –Tyler W
- 8: “violets are blue…I love running, how about you? With Valentine’s a few days away everyone is twitter-patted, smitten, and doting their loved ones while I am celebrating my own anniversary…my runniversary 🙂 It was two years ago today that I ran my very 1st training mile for SFM and I have been running ever since. It was not love at 1st sight for running and I. In fact it took us quite awhile to get to the serious committed level we’re at now. That 1st year we spent many hours getting to know one another. It wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies. In fact there were some days I cursed running and the pain it caused me. We had good miles and bad, but through it all we stuck together. Once running and I started communicating better we were able to take it to the next level and our relationship sped up quickly. Before I knew it running was my ♥OTL♥ or one true love as you might call it. In our 2nd year together, running and I accomplished much more than I ever imagined. We celebrated birthdays together. We traveled and got to see different parts of the country. We took it to the extreme and in December earned maniac status (Marathon Maniac #2033…woot woot!). Never in a billion years would I have thought running would bring so much excitement, love, and lifelong friendships into my life. Recently running and I had to take a break. I tried to fight it, but alas running broke my heart *I sprained my knee* and we needed some space. Running is now back in my life and I am happy to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year with my passion! Running I love you ♥” –Tara
- 9: “i fell in love with running when i met my husband. at 21, he had spine surgery and could no longer do the things he loved – running, camping, surfing, etc. the pain and depression progressively became worst, and last year, he underwent spine fusion, in which metal rods were implanted in his spine. it turned out to be …a horrible mistake, causing severe nerve damage and subsequent health problems which have further limited the things he can do. for months, he was unable to perform the simplest tasks, like showering or dressing himself. it’s been difficult on both of us, to say the least. i’ve always enjoyed running, but i find that it has now become my sole source of happiness. i can wake up early, go on a long training run, watch the sun rise, and be home before my husband is even awake. my motivation comes from making him proud. every time i train hard or cross a finish line, i close my eyes and pray that a tiny piece of him can live vicariously through me. :)” -Leila N.
- 10: “Born and raised in Southern California, I moved to San Francisco in 2004 after High School graduation to attend SFSU. While I managed to do okay in my classes, college slowly but surely turned into vice city for me. Two years, a nasty drug and drinking problem, and a suicide attempt later, I moved back home. I continue…d to spiral downward for three more years. I finally got my act back together in 2008, getting clean and getting a job. Before college, I had always been healthy and worked out from time to time but I was never a runner. I started running six months ago, inspired by my Ironman boyfriend to test my abilities and limits. It started out as a love/hate relationship. I’d love to put my running shoes on, hated running, but loved how I felt after. Pretty soon I started hating the actual running part less and less. The day I knew running and I were meant to be together was the first day I ran in the rain. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so amazing. Rain had previously been a trigger for me to use or smoke a cigarette, and now it will forever be a trigger for me to go run. I’ve decided to make the SF marathon my first one. San Francisco has haunted me as the place where I let everything go wrong, so I want to make it a place where I make everything right again.” -Lauren S.
- 11: “Top 10 signs I’m obsessed with running- You’ve watched and re-watched “The Spirit of the Marathon” multiple times, yet still root for Deena and Lori near the end.- Your netflix queue has multiple running movies on it.- You are on Dailymile, Facebook and Twitter and STILL find new ways to talk to runners about – running.- You have enough tech shirts to outfit the Duggar family, yet you still check them out each time you are in that sporting goods store.- When you see the words IT you don’t think Information Technology,you think ‘band’- You’ve gone beyond mapping routes around your neighborhood and town because you can now calculate mileage in your head.- If you don’t run for a good length of time, you get cranky, irritable, and become downright mean!- You have a drawer dedicated to race shirts.- You’ve experimented with every “goo” product out there. And my final sign for me, and a personal Happy Valentines Day shout out to my coach, running partner and team captain – my wife :)- Your valentine plans consist of going to fleet feet to get fitted, followed by a romantic carb filled brunch afterward (yes, I am excited about this weekend!) Happy ❤ Day Everyone!”- Jose
- 12: “I’ve been running since high school and never really enjoyed it. I did a few 10k and 12k races but never really was motivated to do anything longer distance. I usually trained on the track or did the same route on the street. A few years ago, my father convinced me to do a half marathon and see how I do. My father loved to exercise and stay active. So I signed up for the SF Kaiser Half Marathon and I was so nervous that I started at the back of the pack. Well, as soon as the race started I started passing people and my confidence in my running ability grew. I believed that I could do this and I ended up with a decent time.Now, I run with a team and I’m expanding my running routes and doing more trails. I’m training to do my first full marathon in April and hoping to finish with a decent time. It was just a little motivation from my father that inspired me to run happy and enjoy life.” -Payam R.
- 13: ” “I’m not a runner.”That was my most common response whenever my friend, Raciel, tried to convince me to run a race with her. I just never thought I had the capability to run. It seemed to be something only really fit people do. Chubby girls like me don’t run, we walk.I held on to this belief until one day, it dawned on me that my 20s were almost at an end. Whoever told me that time flies by once you hit 25 wasn’t kidding! I turned 25 and before I knew it, 30 was staring me in the face. I guess you could say I had a quarter life crisis. I wasn’t sad to be leaving my 20s behind. What saddened me was that a lot of goals I thought I would’ve accomplished by the time I turned 30 were still unrealized. At the top of my list was my goal to lose weight and to become more physically fit. This is actually something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school. I just have never been very successful with it.So, last year, I decided that this would be my year. I’d lose the weight for sure and I’d do it by running. And I thought, what better way to motivate yourself than to sign up for a race? I looked for a few local races and was instantly drawn in by the surf board medals given out by the Surf City Half Marathon. I registered and vowed to start training immediately. The months before the race, I was running 2-3 miles pretty consistently. But for some reason, I couldn’t follow the half marathon training program. The month before race day hit, I had completed only 3 runs: a 3 miler, a 5 miler, and a 7 miler. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Surf City was disastrous. On top of being physically unprepared, race day conditions were horrendous. It was extremely cold (in the 40s/50s) and it never warmed up. It rained pretty much the entire race, and the rain drops were flying almost horizontally because it was SO windy (gusts up to 35mph). There were puddles everywhere. My thighs were red, rubbed raw by wind and rain. And if that weren’t enough, I also didn’t have the right race nutrition (no supplements) and I was wearing the wrong running shoes… which incidentally led to me developing plantar fasciitis on both feet and a bone bruise on my right heel. I spent the last 5 miles hobbling to the finish line. Yeah…. Surf City sucked the big one. When I crossed the finish line, I was incredibly grumpy and I vowed I would never do anything like this ever again. But the funny thing is, as the days and weeks passed by, the pain eased away. And when the excruciating pain you felt begins to fade and get fuzzy in your memory, you start to think crazy things like.. “hey, I can do that again!” and “not only can I do it again, I can do it better!” haha The fading memories of that horrible experience were only part of why I decided to give running a second shot. What really got me going was realizing that as horrible as my experience was at Surf City, I didn’t quit even when I had every opportunity to. I tell this part of my Surf City experience a lot because it was a huge turning point for me. I remember the moment vividly. The medic buses were driving up and down the course route, picking up the injured, and I won’t lie, I was really tempted to wave one of them down. By the 9th mile I was completely ready to throw in the towel and just ride one of those damn buses to the finish line. No shame, just absolute relief from this torture. Just then, a woman with only one leg ran by me. She’ll probably never know this, but without her, I never would have finished the race. As I watched her run by, almost as if she were moving in slow motion, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind. First, I thought about how pathetic I was for wanting to quit when I had two perfectly healthy legs and here was this woman who only had ONE LEG running the race, finishing. And second… if she can do it, I can do it. So I gritted my teeth, put my head down and I ran as much as I could and I walked when I couldn’t run any more. I was hobbling and in a lot of pain. But I crossed that damn finish line, and I did it on my own. It’s funny how one terribly horrendous race started my running odyssey =) Before I knew it, I was signed up for another half marathon. And by the end of the year I had committed to doing my very first marathon, the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon. As I started running more, the pounds started to melt off and I got stronger and faster. Sitting here now, almost 2 years since I started this journey, I’m completely amazed. I never thought I’d enjoy running. I never thought I’d ever lose the weight. I never thought I’d ever run a marathon. But I’m doing it. And if you were to ask me now if I am a runner, I would say, “You bet your ass I am!“ ” –Running in Pigtails
- 14: “falling in love with running hasn’t been an easy ride … to make any relationship last, it takes time to learn about each other, commitment, consistency, the hard truth, and most of all love itself. attending college at the University of Hawaii, i had a few running friends, who would take me through the hills and houses in Manoa Valley, all the way to see Manoa falls … or a slow jog to the Ala Wai canal or all the way to Waikiki beach, just to see the ocean on a non-weekend . running was a great get-away from homework and the lab, from the feeling of a numbing butt from sitting in the library all day … in essence, it became a taste of freedom. and isn’t that what love is suppose to feel like, freedom?! it wasn’t until a few more years of playful jogging (flirting with running) that one of those friends had me sign up with them to run the Great Aloha Run … 8 miles … a seemingly loooong run for me at the time. Thinking of the challenge was fascinating, stars in my eyes, yet at the same time i was so scared of the commitment I was making to show up that morning, ready to run 8 miles. I ended up running that day, coming into Aloha Stadium with the feeling of a winner, my heart in my throat and tears falling from my eyes, like meeting the love of your life (maybe … cause i have yet to meet mine . long story short, i ran a few more Great Aloha Runs, some 5 Ks and eventually graduated to a Half-marathon. My first one was Kole-kole pass, which is a CLIMB up and through the Waianae Range … but as you come down that mountain, feel the salt build on your arms and face from the ocean breeze, and as you look out into the Pacific Ocean, the aching muscles seemed to melt away. Coming into the finish of that first half was amazing because all my friends who ended up running only the 6-mile downhill were all there, waiting for me and cheering me on to the finish. Isn’t that what love is, there to encourage you to the finish, no matter how long it took to get there, love will never fail to be waiting … a few more runs here and there, and then i (unforgivingly) stopped running, as i moved away from home and went to graduate school. time flew by so quickly, having fun, finding other loves (or so i thought), but three years into graduate school, i felt it, not a nagging call back, but a peaceful loving call back to running. i got two other friends to join me in the SF-half marathon … run the ‘golden gate bridge’ it said … i felt i could do it, i felt i could come back. tho i rushed into it soon, with too much confidence that i could just be embraced; i ended up with a bad sprain after jumping over some bushes to get to a running trail … failure settled in over the three weeks of being off my feet, feeling my muscles start to wane, my spirit failing. but i couldn’t let it go that easily, i couldn’t because deep down inside i knew that i loved running, and that it loved me. i got well enough by the time of the run to do the 5 K … this time, i was there cheering on my friends who completed the half-marathon, encouraging them through the finish line. i learned the hard truth that i wasn’t always going to be the strong one in the relationship, that sometimes you just have to know when to give in and let go. after finishing school and moving to LA, i found the love for running again. I live near the sierra madre foothills which provides both nice gradual hills, long straight runs all the way to Pasadena and back, and the long enough 3-mile Rose Bowl loop that takes edge off “boring”. I signed up for my first full marathon last year: Long Beach 2009. Went onto runner’s world, learned a few tricks of the trade of how to prepare, got a 16-week program, and told my friends about it (so that they would understand why i couldn’t stay up late on Friday nights … or any night for the next 4 months). Consistency and Commitment, here I was again, facing great fears. I pulled through the program and finished just under 4:50 that day … tears swelled up in my eyes as i thought about the wall i hit 4 miles back and how i told that wall that i was here, that i was not giving up because i was in love. I just finished Huntington Beach half marathon in the beginning of this month just under 2 hrs., and now psyching myself up for the commitment to train *and show up* for SF Marathon in July. It has taken me awhile to see that I loved running, and that yes, running loves me back. Even when you walk away from it, feel defeated by it, get hit by a wall with it; running never failed to tell me in the end that ‘I love you’. I’ve come to find that relationships are not about the individual days, the ups and downs or the daily grind, it’s about the entire journey. my relationship with running took time, consistency, commitment, the cold hard truth, and most of all love. <3″- Rowena
- 15: “One day, I found myself wondering what it would be like to just start running – to not think, just run. A coach of mine in high school told me that running was all mental and if I embraced it, it would be easier for me. I remember lacing up my shoes, putting on my workout clothes, and heading out the door. I couldn’t focus at first. The butterflies in my stomach were taking over and I couldn’t help but think this was going to be hard. At that time, we lived on a farm. For miles and miles, in good old central California, there was nothing but farmland (still is) and I set off on a dirt road in a quest to conquer my fear of running. The first few steps were hard. I was almost ready to give up until a gentle summer breeze came along. Was it a helping hand? A reassurance boost? I’ll never know. It gave me the confidence to go on and before I knew it I wasn’t thinking about what my feet were doing. I was running with the wind, running past our farm, past the neighbor’s almonds, through the peach trees of the farm across the street, and back home again with a silly grin on my face. I’ll never forget that day. At the start of each race, I picture myself back on the farm again, let my legs do the rest, and breeze comes along I send a silent thank you.”- Sukhraj
- 16: “I started running in August of 2009- still hanging on to baby weight, post partum depression, and lots of stress. The more I ran the more “it” was easier (and by it I mean running, weight loss, depression, and stress). I feel like taking the time to run is like taking the time for me (very rarely do we get to do that as a wife, mom, and employee). I love running because it makes me a better version of me. Why wouldn’t I love that!?” -Trisha K.
- 17: “I am from Mexico City,I started running in 2004 because I was going to divorce and running was my Therapy and mygroup of runners were the best psoclogysts .Since that year I had run 6 marathons.In 2008 running in Chapultepec park I met a runner,we began running together and now is my boyfriend.We are now trainning for the Sf marathon first because that day is my 49 birthday and because is a marvelous city to run a romantic marathon with the person I love. Thats why I love running because Is my best therapy and running I knew the most marvelous person thatI love and return me to believe in love and enjoy life.” -Laura H
- 18: “I run to keep sane with 4 young kids at home. I’m not running away from them. I am running to gain patience, perspective, and calm. I do it for me and them. For me I get a sense of accomplishment, a great body, and better health. For them, they get a better mom overall.” -Brandy
- 19: Running for me, started as an extra curriculum activity I participated in while attending community college in 2003. As I completed every race throughout the season, I found running to be a sport I could do anytime, anywhere for the rest of my life. I had the itch to run a marathon; however I did not really focus on it, until last year. I ran my first marathon in San Francisco with a time of 4:15. I had the courage to train by, for myself and believe in my own strength to do so. Throughout my training I became more aware of my body, mind and spirit.
The activity of running is a haven I use to objectively look inside of me and asked myself what I truly want out of my life; my passions, my purpose, my mission. Running has become self awareness, self love, self discipline, self strength, self will, self choice, self… It allows to remember my true identity in this world.
It is not “falling in love” with running how I see it, rather it is choice to love running, which in turn permits me to challenge myself and grow mentally, physically and spiritually. Running is a gift I chose to give myself in order to dare to dream and create.” – Claudia C.
- 20: “Remember when a love is new? Fresh, rosy, star-struck head, heart-filled eyes, racing heart. Untested by time, yes, but unbound, flushed with desire and newfound energy. It took me fortysomething years to discover running for myself. The once-elusive running love had to happen, of all places, at some tropical beach in the backdrop of a glorious sunrise, after my SF-AIDS marathon alum sister challenged me to run a few yards with her. I huffed and I puffed after encircling one lagoon. I said, “That’s it for the day!” But having tasted it, I wanted to engage my mornings that same way…and I had 5 more vacation mornings to do it. I came back home with a rush to keep this new love running. And so I did. I ran my first mile within 2 weeks, my first 5K within the next month. Then my 7K. Then a 10K. The new love is now only 7 months old, tested by only 5 races so far. I still have two more races before I look at the SF Half Marathon straight in the face. What a way to mark the anniversary of my first running year! So why do I love running? Because it makes my heart (want to) race.” -Pen P.