Running Memories

Running in the ARMY: The 1-Mile Run at Reception that Changed My Life

It took me three years of running to realize I love running.

Skateboarding, then snowboarding were the first sports I fell in love in with. I started snowboarding at 16 and moved to a ski resort town after graduating high school so I could snowboard all winter long. It was snowboarding that introduced me to running. During my first winter snowboarding every day, I got to know other young people living the dream and eventually went on a few back country hikes that led to big jumps, untouched powder days after a fresh snow, and lots and lots of hiking in snowboard boots and full gear. During these long days I realized how winded I was and struggled to keep up. I was already a foot shorter than everyone I was riding with and I was the only girl. I realized that I needed to build cardio stamina if I was going to keep up with these fellas in the future.

After the winter was over, I headed back to SoCal and eased back into a routine of community college classes, part-time work, and then started running. I think I picked up my first pair of running shoes from Big 5 Sporting Goods, most likely it was something that resembled what I thought runners wore. Running bras weren’t an issue as I had already found some bras with serious compression that worked well for snowboarding and skateboarding. I started run/walking a route through the neighborhood. As I built up distance, I would run to the local park, do a few laps around the park, and then head home. Eventually, I found the Ballona Creek Trail and Bike Path and built up to running 9 miles. I figured out my mileage by using The Thomas Guide of Los Angeles County. It was a paper map book drawn to scale.

Over the next few years (ages 19 to 22) I ran all year long (usually from 2 to 4 days a week). I mapped out runs during my winters in Mammoth Lakes, at the beach in SoCal, through many neighborhoods and city centers. I generally ran for distance (3, 4, 6, or on occasion a 9-mile run) or for time, giving myself anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. I generally started slow, eased into a comfortable pace, and once in a while would push myself to go faster. To assess if I was improving, I would record my time on run routes I did frequently and then see if my time improved over weeks or months. I generally enjoyed running and the cost was minimal – a pair of cheap running shoes twice a year, running bras that were already in rotation, running shorts and basic cotton t-shirts. I ran with an MP player and then an iPod.

Continue reading