Guest Bender: Kerry from Running on Faith

by Jenn (eating bender) on February 25, 2010

What are you running from?

That question has always been noticeably absent from the way I approach life.

Instead, it’s always what are you running to?

  • A network of friends and family that I love — and bloggies, of course :)
  • A wedding — this one is exciting!
  • A new businessthis one is exciting and scary and thrilling!
  • A blog I enjoy — we’re coming up on the two-year anniversary and I can’t believe it!
  • A new blog — set to launch March 1st!

There’s a lot to be grateful for. But I’m not trying to bullet out everything to say “hey, look at me!” — the point I’m trying to make is that whether you are a runner through life or a runner on the pavement, many of us are always striving toward a goal, a passion or the “next big achievement.”

This is why I think Kerry’s story can relate to all of us. There’s one quote in particular from her post below that stood out to me:

“It is one of those memories that you wish you could remember what your reasoning was.”

Has anyone else ever had that experience? I know I have!

I’ll let her tell you the rest :)


Running on Faith

Hey Eating Bender Readers!

I remember telling my students a few months ago that “I’m a runner.” Now, I did not say,  “I enjoy running” or “I’ve ran a race,” but that I consider myself a legitimate runner.

(Photo via mikebaird on Flickr)

When I was in high school, I joined cross country. I did not join because I was recruited by a coach because I was fast as lightning in gym class. Rather, I initially joined because I wanted to stay in shape for softball winter conditioning. That summer between junior and senior year, I ran. A lot. It is a blur to remember how I trained or what I did, but as a teenager, it was quite easy to pick up running and see quick improvement. That is, until the season started and I realized that despite all the effort in the summer, I was never the one at the head of the pack.

I am sure I am not the only one who wishes at times that they stuck with a sport, a musical instrument, or a hobby after all its ups and downs. Being a fairly stubborn teenager, I gave in to the fact that running was hard and that I had to work at it. The minute that my knee started to bother me, I threw in the towel before my second season began. It is one of those memories that you wish you could remember what your reasoning was.

My short-lived, one season, cross country career was quite a learning experience that I never valued as much as I do now, almost 8 years later. And that is what I am going to write about as today’s Guest Bender — how I personally got back into running without a team, coach, or the ease breaking records. In addition, I hope to offer the little advice that I’ve picked up along the way for those, too, who want to improve or begin running.

I’m Kerry from Running on Faith. After occasionally running and training in college for long distance events, I moved to California and started a new job once after graduation. It took me a year and a half before I really fell in love with running and how it has made me a more positive and optimistic person, especially in such a demanding profession like teaching. In the summer after my first year teaching, I joined a running group and went religiously, training for a half and full marathon last fall/winter season.

(Photo via John-Morgan on Flickr)

After seeing success, I took the “necessary” time off after the marathon before returning back to running. I hoped onto the treadmill and cranked up the pace. I thought to myself, “I just ran a marathon. I can pound out a faster pace on the treadmill. No problemo.” Wrong. Fail. One mile into the run and my IT band went crazy.

(Photo via SashaW on Flickr)

Now, eight years ago, this would have been a similar moment where I’d say “screw this” and throw in the towel. I’ll consider myself wiser this time having approached it with a new mentality of working through a setback. In facing this setback and my recovery through this, I created my blog and in writing, I have been much more aware of my actions and the knowledge (or lack thereof) that I have accumulated about the sport of running. The following is a list of what allowed me to develop as a runner.

  1. Make it personal. Make it about you. What initially discouraged me was that I wasn’t under 8 min/mile pace and that I was not the Boston bound gal at first try (granted, I respect these runners and learn a LOT from them!). After 8 years of working through those insecurities as a teenager and a young 20 something, the beauty of this sport is that it meets you were YOU’RE at. Once I personalized why I run, it made it easier to see the small improvements that are there. Over a year, I’ve been able to improve pace and my endurance and know that with hard work, there’s more to be done.
  2. Read.Read.Read. I want to know SO much about the sport and what is best for me. Whenever I get my hands on a new book, website, article, training plan, I feel like I am back in school trying to study up on a new subject. In doing so, I am more aware of what is going on in the field, what is going on in my body when I run, and most important, how to prevent injuries. There are links on my blog that I use to gather new information.
  3. Set a goal. Back to making it personal, make a goal for yourself. Your goal can be to run a certain distance or time, or it may be that you want to train for an upcoming event. In the spring, I started running really short distances after school at the nearby gym. I spent about two months building to 4 miles comfortably before joining the running group.
  4. Be patient. It is pretty difficult at times to put work into your training without knocking off tons of time or seeing drastic improvement in endurance. The runners I’ve talked to have been running for years. I’m a newbie who is learning, so I must take that into account.
  5. Find others who run. When I realized I wasn’t in the setting like I was in high school with a team and a coach, I actively went out and found them. The “them” being the running community, whether it be my running group that I meet up with on the weekend (link is actually where I found my group) or the runners I’ve met through conversation on blogs, websites, in person, etc. Although I get amazing ideas for workouts from the books I read, some of the best advice and encouragement comes from others who have personally been in a similar situation and found what worked for them as they developed into a runner.

Thank you, Jenn, for letting me guest post! I love sharing my running story :)


So what are you running to? Do you run to exercise? Do you run toward your goals?

I like to ask a lot of questions :mrgreen:

Tomorrow is my last day at my current job. I have learned so much and have made lasting friendships and connections with people. Now I’m running toward “the dream” and hoping that it will be a slow and steady race. This next adventure is the “grad school of life,” as dubbed by my business partner, Jill. It will be a learning process every step of the way. But we’re going to do all we can to go the distance.

Pretty philosophical for a Thursday 😉 I hope that you all have a great weekend! Any big plans?


1 Kristie February 25, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Bed and Breakfast weekend here! So glad it is almost Friday!!!

At first when you had the link about your new business venture, I thought it was going to link to a new site for it. Mistakenly got way too excited about that 😉

2 Jenn (eating bender) February 25, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Ahh — not quite 😉 But soon! As in…next week soon!

Have fun at your bed and breakfast, Kristie!

3 John February 25, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Hopefully I’m running towards a healthier me. I may make an announcement myself next week. Make you look in on me Monday :-)

4 Jessica @ How Sweet February 26, 2010 at 5:35 am

I workout to exercise, but also for a healthier me in physical, mental, and emotional health! I feel more confident when I exercise, therefore more likely to achieve my goals. :)

5 eaternotarunner February 26, 2010 at 6:26 am

Great post! I’m running to train for events, I would love to try running with a group someday, I’ve never ran with anyone else before!

6 eatavegan February 26, 2010 at 7:17 am

Awesome guest post, and I’m loving Kerry’s blog already!
Have a fantastic last day tomorrow, Jenn — best of luck and congratulations on following your dreams and going for it!

7 Running on Faith February 26, 2010 at 8:23 am

Thanks for stopping by :)

8 Mae @ OhhMay February 26, 2010 at 7:41 am

I started running when I was 11 y.o and fell in love with the sport. It was my stress relese and my comfort, it gave me confidence and taught me so much disipline. Racing taught me a lot about self control and injuries taught me about thinking ahead.
When I was injured badly and had to stop, I felt so lost! Running helped me with every area of my life and it was my only way to cope.
Swimming was a really fun new sport to try, and though I’m not competitive in it, it replaces the outlet I lost.

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I love hearing about how other people fell in love with running. :-)

9 Rose February 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

This was a beautiful guest post. I read every single word. I joined CC in high school for the exact same reason as you – and it changed my life. Running is a funny thing. There are times when it may not be constant, but in the end – it is always one great love that lasts.

10 adrienmelaine February 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

I used to run from things- now I run to things- mainly my marathon goal right now, but health and fitness, and balance and clarity in my life all comes with that package.

Did you win your wedding?

11 Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce February 26, 2010 at 10:45 am

yay kerry! so funny, i was JUST about to email you, woohoo for norcal girls! loved readnig about the evolution of your relationship with running :]

12 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) February 27, 2010 at 9:15 am

I started running when I was 14 or so, and do it for the exercise and head-clearing benefits of it. It’s hard for me to run on a treadmill, but with all of the snow that I’ve been getting, it’s been my only safe option this winter. I love running :-)

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