From Hate to Love: A Running Journey in the Making

by melissa on January 31, 2012 · 24 comments

Let’s be clear right off the bat: I’ve never been a runner.

I played softball and soccer when I was a kid. I never understood how the cross country kids had the endurance. And when I finished college, I started teaching a few group exercise classes at various gyms. So, other than the time we spend hiking, that’s where the last 12 years of exercise has mainly been.

At the gym.

But when I decided to simplify my life this year, teaching group ex was one of those things that I needed to let go of. But letting go of that meant letting go of a free gym membership too.

And so I contemplated running.

I’ve always loathed the idea of running. When I ran before (sporadically), I hated nearly every second of it. In the past, I could do group exercise all day long but my lungs just couldn’t handle running, especially in the cold. I have mild exercise-induced asthma (like use-my-inhaler-once-a-year mild) and running just set it off. Plus…


Group fitness always seemed so much more exciting. Time flew by. My mind constantly worked in class, calling out one move, then the next. If my mind wandered for a second, my students knew it because I wasn’t cueing what to do next. (Oopsie.)

But I always liked it that way. I’m one of those annoying go-go-go people. I’m always doing something. My mind is nearly always occupied. And teaching or going to a class at the gym passed the time and gave me a good sweat.

Yet times change and without a gym membership, I dared to head outside.

To RUN, by golly.

With nothing but a good iTunes playlist and the thoughts in my head.

And then something strange happened.

I loved it.

I couldn’t get enough.

My lungs? They’re actually holding up better than I thought they would. In less than two weeks, I was running for 30-minutes straight (I can’t say I’m fast… but whatever). I started off trying to alternate running and walking but I found that I just didn’t want to stop running. So I ran.

And that part about running being boring? Well, I changed my mind about that too.

I actually enjoy being inside my own head for half an hour.

Sometimes I think. Not about checking off my to-do list, but rather I think about life, my dad, the things I want to achieve and the things (and people) in my life that I love and am grateful for.

And sometimes I just zone out and think of nothing. I savor the music I listen to. I enjoy how the sole of my shoe pounds the pavement at the perfect beat in a song. Then the music picks up cadence and I dash a little faster. I inhale the rhythm and let it carry me on.

When I run, my mind sweeps out all the clutter of the daily grind. And I’m left with myself, my music and the view around me.

Who would have thought the girl who hated running would now love it so much?

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1 Stephanie January 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm

The difference may be that now, as a parent, time in your own head is so rare. It is go go go all day and a lot of listen to and doing for others. This is just for you and that is awesome!
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2 melissa February 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm

That’s totally true! And yes it’s been pretty awesome!

3 Ann January 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm

So happy you have found a love for running. My favorite part of it is my ability to zone out and just be. I find my stress levels are much lower when I get that me time :).
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4 melissa February 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Yeah I rarely get to just zone out these days so it’s a welcome change!

5 Dianna Kennedy January 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm


I was in the home stretch of training for my 2nd half marathon when I got pregnant. That totally sidelined me.

Now, in my area (Louisville) it’s prime training time for the spring half marathon. I’d love to be able to run right now. Maybe I’ll take it up again this week.

So proud of you!
I’m like Ann … and I’m a HECK of a lot nicer when I’m running.

6 Beth January 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I want to start running so bad, but I am stuck in frozen Minnesota, on a treadmill. I’m scared to try running, because I have horrible balance, and I’m pretty sure I would pass out. I may try to run tonight if the kids go to bed.

Keep it up!

7 melissa February 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Well I won’t tell you what the weather has been like in NC these last few days! :)

When I first tried running years ago (and stopped after a while cause I hated it), I did 30 minutes and started 5 min walk/1 min run for 5 cycles. Then when I felt okay with that it was 4 min walk/2 min run and so on. It was a nice, steady way to ease into it!

8 Brittany January 31, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Good for you! I ran for so long in my youth I might never go back. I am so happy you found a happy place with hitting the road!

That time alone is precious and something I contemplate running for, but I am not there yet!
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9 Andrea January 31, 2012 at 10:20 pm

I am running, too! I am walking and running, but I am getting there. Yay! I am so excited for you. This is the perfect post for me to read tonight. Motivating and inspiring and fun! Yay, Mel. ;)
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10 melissa February 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Glad it was encouraging! I think the walking/running thing is perfect and what I did to start. You can do it, girl!

11 Jessica February 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I am not running now, but I hope to get back into it as soon as my baby gets a bit older. There truly is nothing as freeing as running. I used to run to relieve stress. Now, I eat chocolate, which is not good. At all. :)
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12 melissa February 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Maybe we can eat chocolate WHILE we run… that would be a great idea, right?! :)

13 Karen (Tricia's mom) February 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm


If you think you LOVE running now, get the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall and read it! Tricia bought it for me. I couldn’t put it down. I’d let you borrow my copy, but you’re kinda far away! Happy Trails! Karen

14 melissa February 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Ahhh thanks for the suggestion! I just might have to get that book!

15 Charitzzie February 2, 2012 at 12:12 am

This is really an inspiration to all of us here…I hope you can post more and continue your beautiful journey..
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16 Tinna February 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

Hi…I want to run every morning but I can’t really get up…
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17 Kelli MW February 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I have never EVER been a runner. In fact, I tell people that if they see me running, they better run too, because there’s probably a lion or bear chasing me. However, this post… has me a little intrigued to try to challenge myself. Hmmm…
Kelli MW recently posted..Adventures in Reality

18 Alyssa February 3, 2012 at 7:38 am

I love the pink shoes! Where did you buy it?
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19 Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things) February 4, 2012 at 9:10 am

Oh girl you are speaking my language. I too, HATE running. After I had Oscar I did 2 different 5ks because I thought having something to rain for would help me. But I really hate it so very much. I finally re-joined the gym. Well, like you I had to cut back so my membership ends this month. Will I learn to love running too? Is it even possible? Thanks for the inspiration :-) I just may give it a shot.
Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things) recently posted..Starting Preschool {Becoming Mom}

20 Brian Dernbache February 5, 2012 at 5:08 am

It’s so great that after all these years of softball, soccer and exercises, you finally found your love in running. How often do you participate in these cross country events?

I loved your post.
Thanks for sharing.

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21 Marquita09 February 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I understand you Melissa.. I have in this situation. I really hate to run, I have many reasons not to until my friend encouraged me to run with her. Now, this is part of me. Running makes me feel so light and healthy.
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22 Michèle February 7, 2012 at 1:14 am

Let’s call it growth. Okay, maturity to be exact. The good thing is that what you thought as a senseless exercise (no pun intended) will be one of the best workout you have done for yourself.
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23 Lindsey February 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm

I bribed myself into exercising with audio books. I would pick books I knew I would really get into then banned myself from listening unless I was exercising. Pretty soon I was fine just exercising with the thoughts in my head. My body learned to LOVE it. Looking forward to starting up again after this blasted pain in the #$@@ pregnancy!

24 Sarah@ThereSheGoes February 14, 2012 at 12:33 am

I loved reading this! I had a grin from ear-to-ear the entire time. My blog is all about running! Last year I started my bog to track my (1st ever) marathon training and then it has just evolved into so much more. I have since started a running group where we live and I have met so many women who struggle with the love/hate relationship running seems to whop on you. It does seem that (for most) running with a friend makes the time zoom by! and even downloading some great podcasts makes the time fly by too! I love to listen to the ladies over at Another Mother Runner chat it up on their podcast while I run. Keep running – it just gets better and better!

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