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#WhyIMove: Kriss S.

Me in 2007

When I think back, some 10 years ago, to the days when I first started to run, I have to be proud of the girl I used to be. Even though I was scared, out of shape, self conscious and didn’t have a clue (really) as to what I was doing by trying to run, I kept at it. I was easily 50 pounds overweight. Hated to see pictures of myself. Here, I found one, I will show you my ‘before’ picture. Yep, that’s me, in the extra large shirts and size 16 pants. Well now, this picture takes me way back. To days filled with dinners out, parties and zero exercise.

My running journey started shortly after leaving Washington state to live in Dover, DE. Military reassignment. Time to search for and start yet another new job, be the new one on a strange base, time to meet new friends and find my way around a new city. This was 10 years ago people, I don’t think Facebook was even a thing. Not for me anyway. I started working fairly quickly and met another brand new co-worker, I will never forget her, Carrie G. She was also a military spouse and lived close by. One day she asked me if I would like to walk with her. She was a size two. Talk about intimidation. I decided I could ‘hate that skinny girl’ or join her on the walk. Me getting out of my comfort zone…. I took her up on the walk. So, what to wear for my walk?? I had ZERO work out clothes, a couple of old sports bras and a pair of Nike tennis shoes. Off we went! I wore Khaki capri pants and a t shirt, this was before dry fit!! We walked for I think 5 miles and my face stayed red for at least 3 hours after we were finished.

I decided then and there, enough was enough. Carrie had filled me in on her routine, she only walked on Sundays, ran I think every other day… I was determined. I never ran with her, as she was really fast. The ‘running’ if you could call it that, was done at night, or early in the morning on the weekends. I would start to run, make it to a telephone pole in base housing and walk to the next pole, repeat, for 5 miles. In the dark, where no one was even paying attention to me. Cul de sac after cul de sac, street after street. On I went. My shins hurt, it was AWFUL. I had no clue about shoes or being fit for shoes, so I stuck with Nike. My feet slapped the sidewalks, I was so pissed, near tears many times, felt like giving up. But I didn’t. I kept up with my goal. The weight started coming off. Carrie would tell me to buy new work pants as mine were looking like clown pants, baggy. If you don’t have a friend who keeps shit real with you, find one.

Me hitting my first 1000 miles, such a badass!

Christmas 2007 found me asking for a Nike+ running sensor. I wanted to track my distance. With this tracking device I had to sync it to my stride and it would measure how far I went, and how fast. To sync was a quarter mile around a track, I opted for exactly the quarter mile, and it didn’t work, F*&% My Life. I had to do it again, or give up. Yep, all or nothing. I am an ass like that. So, in tears and pissed off, I ran that quarter of a mile again, and it worked. I was synced up! I then got hooked on Nike+ challenges.

Next came races… my first race was sponsored partly by the credit union I worked at…it was the Dover Mile, May 2008. I chose to walk it, the one mile, and I placed third!! I walked a 12 minute 3 second mile! My first “race” and I placed. Hell! Yes! I was hooked. I was competing in so many Nike+ online challenges and Facebook was becoming a thing. Lots of us runners got super pissed at Nike and migrated over to Facebook, they were my first ‘friends’ you know, people you have never met… interestingly I have met some of them, and they are just as awesome in person as they are online. Second race, Buffalo Stampede, a run for beer. YEP, IN!! So, not only was I running for a beer, I managed a 1st place in my AG and got a Buffalo plaque for a trophy! Ran the same 5k a year later and placed 2nd in my AG. Competed in my first half marathon in 2008 as well, 2nd in my AG. I was totally digging this!

Behold! My buffalo trophies and my first bibs

I was working so hard and putting so much effort into running. I ended up losing 50 pounds. Trust me when I say, ‘if I can do this, so can you’ I am by no means athletic, or never identified as one, at all. I am a prissy girl who hates dirt, sweating was never something I wanted to do outside, I never understood runners.

Run like a girl? I got that move down! I work on my form to this day, but the hands are generally always like this….

How have I changed since my journey began? I am WAY into running and runners are pretty much the ONLY people I understand. I have morphed into ‘one of them’. My circle of friends, one or two non runners, the rest, yep, all runners. Some of my very best friends are runners, those folks cheer me on, encourage me to keep going, they are there in the planning stages with me, conversations are like this ‘we don’t have a half marathon in May yet, which one shall we do’? The clothes have changed as well, no more Nike… I got tired of shorts creeping up my ass. Got tired of wearing leggings under my shorts. No more Nike shoes either, at least not for running in. I am not a Nike hater, I still use Nike+, have over 10k miles on my profile with Nike! I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador, 3 years now (a captain for 2 years) I run happy in my running skirts. I try to run at least 100 miles a month and go thru a shit-ton of shoes. I am also an ambassador for Snohomish Running Co, Nuun, Honey Stinger, Zensah and Boco Gear…. see a trend, running is my deal. I control how often, how far, how fast. Well, I also have a training plan I try to follow…I plan out my meals for my runs, I test new products to see what works for me. I review products for anyone that wants to listen. I also mentor a training group for Fleet Feet. This has been an amazing experience. To have someone tell you it was because of you that they stuck with a run, signed up for a race, or followed your advice and beat a previous run time of theirs… seriously, the best feeling.

Me, wearing a short skirt- gasp! Who knew?!

My running besties… these girls mean the world to me

My journey is not uncommon, there are hundreds of people just like me, same story. We all have goals we have set, obstacles to overcome, we have to learn to be our own cheerleaders. You are worth it, and you matter. If you need a boost, someone to tell you to get your ass off the couch and outside and go for a walk, run, or whatever, let me know, I will text you, message you, call you out on your bullshit excuses.

In case you were wondering just how the madness has progressed…

Had to start a second frame

The marathon medals have a place for themselves..
See you at the next finish line.

Follow my journey on Instagram, I post not only about finish line cupcakes, but things like my epic fail on donkey kicks, really bad! Food choices, my journey to find a nice light colored beer that isn’t a lite beer, races, friends and training. I am @PinkBetsy on IG. Also random pix of flowers, my cats and assorted shenanigans.