Secret Ingredients: How We Started Running - Alex's Story

Each of us has a story about why and how we started running. The reasons vary, but the results are all the same. The motivation. The determination. The sweat. The blood. The tears. Today we wanted to share our individual stories on how we became runners and then bRUNchers.

Over the next week Alex and Cortney will both be sharing their stories.

Alex’s Story

Let me start this show, with how much I used to hate running and how when I was in high school and training as a ski racer, I tried to get out of running during dryland practice on almost a daily basis. If I could tell the 15-year-old me that in 15 years, you would run a marathon, she would have said you were crazy. She is still right, I am crazy, but the good kind!

Back in the day I forced myself to run. As a competitive athlete, each sport I play somehow involved running in the sport or the training of it. Soccer and basketball had lots of sprints. Once I decided that I wanted to be a ski racer I started running for fitness. I was not very fast, but I did it.

My freshman year of high school I ran a mile during gym class twice a week. That mile on the track felt like a marathon at the time. I then moved to Steamboat and got more into skiing and ultimately started running more. We started each dryland practice with a short one mile run. We had to run up Howelsen Hill and the ski resort. Then in the winters I would wake up at 5 a.m. and run laps around the gym on campus. In the spring I would run down the road and get chased by the occasional dog.

By the time I graduated high school I could run a 5K at a pace of about 11 minutes per mile. My thought process back then was that running would make me fitter and ultimately a better skier which would lead to an Olympic gold medal. So that didn’t happen but I did become a better runner.

Throughout college I continued to run, but I still hated it. I hadn’t found my groove. I was also running on the treadmill a lot! After college I moved back east and was living in New York City. I was a poor, broke, college graduate doing internships during the week and working in restaurants on the weekends. I could not afford a gym membership so I got a pair of Nikes and started running daily. I would run along the East River. I would go for runs in Central Park. I still wasn’t really enjoying it, but I continued to hit the pavement.

I then started to think about doing a 5K race. I’m an athlete first and foremost and I am competitive, maybe doing a race would help motivate me to like running.

I finally completed my first 5K race in 2008 back in Arizona. It was ok. I cannot remember too much about. I moved to Phoenix in the middle of summer, so all my runs were on the treadmill. That fall I continued to sign up for more races. All 5K and 10Ks. I was trying to get back into shape. I really had been having too much fun while living in New York.

Over the next year I ran a lot on the treadmill and a few times outside. I finished races in Phoenix and San Diego. I came up to Denver a few times for weekends. Cortney and I talked about running and then she had a idea.

Let’s run a half marathon in Las Vegas!

By this time I enjoyed running somewhat. So I said sure, plus I love Vegas! We went to Vegas, but we did the weekend a little backwards. We partied that first night and we partied hard. The night before the race was mellow. My first half I ran most of it, but I had to walk other parts. It was the first time I had run that far. Four hours after that I got on a plane and flew back to Phoenix. The next day I couldn’t walk.

Running was still, meh. Then I moved to Denver in the spring of 2010.

This is when running really started to change for me. I started liking it. We would meet in the mornings and go run City Park. In the evenings we would do club runs like Wahoo’s and The Irish Snug. Free food and drink discounts.

My second summer in town we ran a race almost every weekend. From 5Ks to half marathons we were there. And of course, we went out to eat after each of these events. Medals and mimosas!

By this point, running had become a major part of my daily life. It helped to set up my day and the runners high is really the best thing in the morning. First coffee, and then runner’s high.

I am still not a morning person, but that does not stop me from running every morning. Every morning the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I make a cup of coffee, allow myself to wake up and then I run. The first mile isn’t always that great, and there are many mornings when I am asking myself why I am doing this, but as I continue along, watch the sunrise, chase a few squirrels if Nala is joining me, I find my groove and start to love the run.

Currently, I am focusing on getting faster. I have several goals for this year when it comes to running. The goal I am currently chasing is running a sub 2-hour half. This goal is helping me train and pushing me to become a better runner.

I’ve also become more inspired to run and that has a lot to do with bRUNch. When we run together the energy that everyone brings to the table, is awesome! I run faster at bRUNcher. I run harder at bRUNch, even when I am hungover. Today I can say that I am inspired to run by the individuals that come to our events and the conversations we have when sharing a meal. This inspiration was why I signed up for my first full marathon. It could have also been the mimosas that morning, but it was the energy and the excitement of those I was dining with that morning that encouraged me to sign up!

That is my running story, and it is only the beginning. I hope to be one of those 90-year-old runners one day!

What is your running story? Why did you lace up? Share your story with us on Instagram by hashtagging #bRUNchStory!