October 01, 2018

For the Love of Running

I am so overwhelmed with just about every emotion there is--thank you all so much for your feedback on my post about being at my heaviest weight in eight years!

I was SO nervous to post it, as you can imagine; which is ridiculous, because when I share my struggles here I usually get a ton of support. Having my weight loss success and struggles here on the internet for anyone to see makes me feel a lot of pressure to keep the weight off, so when I gain weight, it sucks to admit it.

After reading several supportive comments on Facebook in response to my post on Saturday, I felt motivated to go for a run. It wasn't just a "I should go run" thought, but more of a "I really want to go run right now!" thought. The weather here has finally turned fall-like, and consciously choosing to go for a run in that moment felt like a small victory.

This sounds hokey, but the run was almost magical. I felt so good and so happy to be out there! It wasn't even the "I'll be so glad I did this once it's over"; it was one of those rare runs that I felt truly happy in the moment.

My pace for the first two miles was 11:05 and 11:08, and I wasn't aiming for anything in particular. I was listening to Korn and Eminem, which made me run a little faster than an "easy" run. ("Easy" these days is between 11:30 and 12:00.) About a quarter mile into the third mile, I thought maybe I could try for sub-11:00.

I picked up the pace a little, and it was the kind of pace that felt uncomfortable, but in a good way. Toward the end, I picked up the pace a little more, and finished that third mile in 10:22--which made my overall pace 10:50. I was pretty happy with that!

Oh, and I found 31 cents while I was out. I love finding quarters!

Anyway, let's get to the point of this post... "For the Love of Running".

I miss "feeling like a runner", which is kind of hard to describe. I don't mean just calling myself a runner; I mean feeling like a runner on a daily basis. Like back when I didn't put any thought into it; I simply threw on some running clothes, laced up my shoes, waited for satellites to find my Garmin, and then ran.

I didn't constantly wonder when it was going to be over with, or question why I was doing it at all.

Instead, I looked around at my surroundings, finding humor in the fact that I could tell you every detail of each house along the route because I'd run past them so many times. I knew where each mile marker (or half- or even quarter-mile marker) was.

Sometimes I would play little games in my head. "Oh, my average pace is 9:16 right now; I wonder if I can get it under 9:00 by running faster during this last mile?". Or, I would play the "what if..." game: something on the ground would catch my attention, and then I would imagine a scenario that had to do with the object.

For example, if I saw a garbage bag in a ditch... I might think about what I would find if I opened it. Maybe it would be a bunch of kittens that someone left on the side of the road to die and I would be horrified but then of course I would want to adopt all of them and I would wrap them in my arms and carry them home and then Phoebe and Estelle would love them too. Imagining scenarios like that during my runs would make the time pass so quickly!

I remember LOVING the feeling of a good tempo run. I generally hated it while I was doing it, because tempo runs are so hard, but if I hit my pace for the distance I was aiming for, I would feel fantastic when I got home. And that amazing feeling would last all day. (When training for my 10K in 2016, this tempo run was, by far, the best feeling I've ever had after a run.)

After nailing my tempo run

And a runner's high... there is no feeling like it. I've only felt it a handful of times in all the years I've been running, but it feels amazing! Again, the tempo run I linked to above gave me the best runner's high I've ever had.

Oh, and I even miss getting "runner's lung" (a term I made up, similar to "runner's knee" or "tennis elbow" or "smoker's cough"). "Runner's lung" is what I call the feeling I get in my lungs all day after a very hard run. My chest aches to take a deep breath, and I usually cough after a deep inhale. It sounds terrible, but that is the best indicator (to me) that I really busted my ass during that run.

I liked having a running schedule and actually following it. I would check off the runs as I went along, and it was so satisfying. I was always thinking of the next big goal (or even small goal, like beating the time from a run the previous week).

I enjoyed writing on my blog about my daily runs, even if it was a plain-old-boring-easy-three-miler. Reading those past posts motivates me to want to get to that point again. (I think I'll round up the 10 most motivating posts--to me--and link to them in a blog post.)

Running always makes me feel strong. Listening to some good hip hop music and without a particular goal or target is a great feeling. And then feeling achy for the rest of the day just reminds me that I'm getting faster/stronger.

I miss planning out a "long run treat" each week. When I was counting calories or Points, I always used to plan on having some sort of treat after my long run that week. Somehow, a piece of cake or a cookie sandwich tastes so much better after running 8 or 10 or 16 miles!

cookie sandwich with frosting

While running, I saw "regulars"--people who were frequently outside along my route. In fact, today I went for a run (I started this post yesterday--Sunday--and now finishing it up today) and a man totally made my day. I was running one of my regular routes (with Joey!), and as I passed by a house, the owner was outside. I'd seen him outside several times over the years, but never chatted with him other than a friendly "Good morning!".

Today, I smiled and said "Good morning!" as I ran by, and he replied, "Good morning! I haven't seen you out running here for a while!"  I explained that I'd taken a break from running and was trying to get back into it, and then went on my way. Such a simple interaction, but I thought it was so cool that he actually noticed. So, just as I notice the regulars on my route, I guess they notice me, too!

Joey and I had a good run. I was deliberately trying to slow him down, because he pulls on the leash for the first half mile or so (I have a hands-free leash that I love!). I figured that with the added stress of having Joey with me, my heart rate would be higher than normal. I was surprised that my heart rate stayed in the 140's for almost all of the run. I really want to be able to get it down to 144 without having to walk.

I didn't listen to music or a podcast or anything today, and I found that I miss just running without earbuds. It was nice to hear the sounds outside, and I chatted with Joey ;) I'm going to make it a point to leave the earbuds at home more often.

Post run selfie with Joey

I feel like I'm getting my running mojo back. I've only run three times over the last week, but I've enjoyed each of them in the moment, and it feels good!

I've been procrastinating posting about this, because I hate asking for money (even if it is a donation for a good cause). I'll only post about it once, and if you can donate, that would be awesome! If not, I totally understand.

With me in these photos is Sarah, my closest friend from high school. We worked at Denny's together; made way too many things out of faux fur in sewing class together; and, regrettably, we went tanning at the salon together. In 2014, at only 31 years old, Sarah lost her life to melanoma after a long and frustrating fight.

Sarah was so funny! She was extremely extroverted, and always pushing me out of my comfort zone. She was a great mom to her son and daughter. She loved Elmo, ladybugs, hip hop music, and dancing. In fact, at her funeral, I went into the restroom--and heard "The Humpty Dance" playing on the speakers. I laughed out loud, knowing she'd be thrilled to have that playing instead of the usual piano music.

I wrote a whole post about her, which you can read here.

Since Sarah's passing, I've kept in touch with her mom, Theresa. Theresa asked me to join her team, "Sarah's Stars", in a Melanoma 5K Walk next month. I'm hoping you can donate toward the cause in Sarah's honor on behalf of our team. Benefits will go to AIM at Melanoma, a non-profit focused on finding a cure for melanoma.

Please consider donating--it would mean a lot to us! Here is the direct link to donate. Thanks so much in advance!


  1. Katie, so glad to read this! You have always been an inspiration to me! I would love to get back in the running game!

  2. That's so great you had such an amazing run! Woohoo! Do you think the hands free leash would work well for walking too? I have an 8 month old puppy and she is TERRIBLE on the leash. I've tried almost every method lol. You and Joey are just so cute!!

    1. The hands-free leash would work just fine for walking! However, it's not a leash that will make your puppy behave ;) It basically wraps around your waist, and the leash part has a thick elastic inside of it (so if the dog jumps or tries to run hard, it doesn't snap your spine in half! haha). I find that it's less tiring than using the regular leash (using my core rather than my arms when Joey pulls). He's gotten much better over the years we've had him, but he still gets excited and drags me along for the first half mile or so!

    2. She's a really good girl, almost perfect except for her dang walking skills! Lol. She's only 9 months though so I'm kind of at the point where I'm hoping its one of those things that just take time ;) I might try this leash just to save my hand and wrist if anything! Haha. Thanks for the reply!!

  3. Great to read, Katie! I would love to donate. Could I donate to you directly rather than via the platform you linked to? If so, would you link to your paypal here?

    1. Sure! You can send it to my PayPal-- katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com and I will make the donation if you'd like. Thank you so much!!

  4. Yes, yes, yes to everything about this post! Running can totally SUCK when you're in the middle of it, but the feeling of accomplishment when you have nailed a key run, or stuck with it during a difficult training week, is simply unbeatable. I look forward to seeing more of you runs!

  5. I just finished my first Ragnar race (DC). When I was looking at the results list yesterday, I saw that there was a "From Fat to Finish Line" team in the race, which made me think of your Ragnar. I wonder if doing something like that might help you feel motivated to keep running? I think I remember that you really loved it. I know I was surprised at how motivating it was to run in a relay. Whatever you do, best wishes!

  6. Glad you are getting the running bug back-I miss reading about your runs! I struggle at times with running as well, but it seems to be a key to staying at a healthy weight-for me. I’ve tried other things and nothing seems to work the same way. Once I get started, I always feel better-even when my pace isn’t great.

  7. I run through scenarios in my head, too, while I run. And I always check abandoned bags to make sure living critters aren't trapped in them. And I think tempo runs and hill repeats are the ultimate "suck while in it but the best payoff feeling" runs!

  8. Katie -

    Your post has been running through my head since I read it.

    We are on the same page entirely. I want to get back to running for all of the same reasons you do, the feeling of BEING a runner, and ya can't tell people you run if you DON'T, RIGHT? I also love the people I see running too although I usually run at the YMCA and my Y friends are so special to me. Some, I don't even know by name! They keep me running in public instead of at home. Some have oxygen, some have one leg and one prosthetic. Some are young and some are old. But they get there and I love their encouragement!

    I had a hip injury a few years ago and I haven't gotten my real mojo back since then. I run sporadically, sometimes running three times in a week and sometimes not running once IN THREE WEEKS lol. But it was after that injury that I discovered that I was most grateful TO GET TO RUN! Running is both a privilege and a blessing. I told myself after recovery from that injury that I should be thinking "I GET TO" about lots of things instead of "I HAVE TO". That totally changes everything.

    I'm going to get out there myself, Katie. Thank you for your posts. They are a gift to all of us to struggle to get out there. Charge on my friend! (...and I'll be happy to donate. I have a friend fighting melanoma also. Very good cause to support.)

  9. Thats great. Keep getting out there. Your top motivational posts would be interesting. I have a favourite.

  10. I will definitely donate in Sarah's honor and for my dad. He was diagnosed with Stage 3 metastasized melanoma two years ago this month. He's healthy now and all tests are clear but a cure would be awesome. :) and Kudos to you for finding your running mojo again!


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