My Running Story

By Daniel Nickels

Putting my race book together made me think back over my running history. I used to hate running. I was the kid in PE that complained about doing 10-minute runs because “it’s stupid to run for that long”. The one year I went out for track, I faked shin splints to get out of practice. I never would have imagined that I would run a half marathon or that it would even be in my vocabulary.

I have my mom to thank for getting me started. My mom has an amazing weight loss story that’s not mine to tell. But with her weight loss, she started walking and then running 5ks. I was very much a self-absorbed college student at the time so I had no idea that she was doing 5ks or even what a 5k was. That is until she signed all of us (herself, my dad, my brother, my sister-in-law, and me) up for a Turkey Trot.

So I started running. I didn’t want to be the only one in my family who couldn’t do it. There was a small park across the street from my apartment and I started running three loops around it. I didn’t even know how far or fast I was going until my dad introduced me to RunKeeper.

Race day came. I was so excited and so nervous. My brother and sister-in-law decided to walk but my mom and dad were going to run. My goal was to run the whole thing. My dad is pretty fast and my mom had been running longer than I had, so when the gun went off, I settled into running my own pace by myself. Imagine my surprise when in the first mile or so, I came upon my mom. My goal then shifted to keep up with her. It was tough but I was happy to have her by my side and cross the finish line together.

I ran off and on for the months that followed. I did a few more 5ks with my parents but wouldn’t have considered myself a runner. A coincidence changed that when I signed Ryan and I up for a local 5k and agreed to do Race for the Cure with a friend. The races were supposed to be two weeks apart, but that’s when the flooding happened in Colorado and the first race was postponed. I ended up running a 5k on Saturday, running another one on Sunday, and then walking the same course immediately after (I did the Race for the Cure competitive run followed by the walk). 9.3 miles, 6.2 of them running, in one weekend. I felt pretty good. I had gone through a lot in the months before that (nasty breakup, graduating college, etc.) and was in a place where I was rebuilding and remaking myself. Why couldn’t I be a runner?

I started training for my first 10k then. Three half marathons later, here I am, still somewhat in disbelief and so proud of what I’ve accomplished. Two years ago around this time, I started training for my first 5k. A year ago, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run an entire 10k. I can’t wait to see what I’m working on a year from now. I can be pretty hard on myself and feel like I’m not improving. It’s neat to look back and see how far I’ve come.

What or who inspired you to start running?

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