Katharine Switzer, the first woman to officially run Boston, kind of captures my relationship with running perfectly:
If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.
I grew up with one of those incredible people. My mom has been a runner for as long as I can remember. A marathoner who runs because it brings her joy. A runner because it brings her closer to herself. Because it’s therapeutic. Because, no matter what, she’s got legs and lungs and can keep going – on her terms, at her own pace, on her own time. It’s hers and no one can take that away from her.
I run today because my mom taught me to love it, but I didn’t fully appreciate what that meant when I was younger. I thought she was nuts. I didn’t like running, I only did it because it was part of the other sports I played. When she asked if I wanted to go for a run with her, I would usually say no. On the rare occasions I said yes, I would mope around and complain. I didn’t get it. And I wouldn’t, for a long time.
I’ve always been an athlete – from the time my parents strapped skis to my little toddler boots and when I flailed alongside my mom in local 5Ks.
Spending my childhood in Alaska with parents who loved camping and hiking bred in me not only a love a nature, but also the need to be active. I played basketball, volleyball, ran track, skied, snowboarded, hiked, biked, and swam.
But I didn’t become a really real runner until after I graduated from college. I played college basketball, but when that was over, I became more sedentary than I had ever been in my entire life. It felt weird. I needed to do something to change it, but not having a two-hour practice to go to every night or teammates to hit the gym with made it hard. So, I started running. Not too seriously, but I’d get a few miles in every day. Treadmilln’ it. Then, I signed up for a local five-miler that I’d done a number of times growing up. I felt so good with my finish that I went home and told my mom I wanted to run a half marathon. Of course she told me to go for it.
That was 2012. Now I’m training for my third marathon. I don’t even know what my life is. But I like it.
In addition to the running and the sports and the being outside, I’m also a pop culture aficionado (read: I watch A LOT of movies and am really good at trivia), a fan of writing (obvs) and learning (I can’t get enough of it). I’m sometimes funny.
Things that will definitely engage me in conversation: movies, television, English lit, crosswords, running, hiking, music, advocacy, nature, red wine, dark chocolate, endorphins. I probably try too hard to get people to like me. I’m a big dork and have been told on multiple occasions by many people that I a) have an old soul, b) am at least 45 on the inside, or c) was born in the wrong decade.
You can follow more of my nonsense on the twitter: @kylepjennings. Join in on the fun!