I Am a Runner

I am a runner.

Those were words I thought I would never say.

Last week I found myself in a local bike shop looking for some Hammer nutritional items. The fellow helping me kept talking about cycling and how he uses them while he cycles.  It was a bike shop after all but I found myself saying to him,  “I am a runner.”  After I said it, I thought to myself, I am a runner!  Even though I thought I would never be one.

This past summer Cali came home from college and announced that we were all going to run a 5K.  She downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my phone and we started training.  My daughter Cali became my exercise inspiration.

The first day we alternated 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking.  I could handle that but as I looked ahead to the coming weeks I thought there was no way I was ever going to be able to run for 20-30 minutes STRAIGHT.  Without stopping! NO way!

My Exercise Inspiration or Lack Thereof

You need a little background history on my athletic ability and involvement to totally understand my fears and lack of belief in my ability.  All through school I hated, yes, hated gym class.  I could handle it in elementary school.  Each day our gym teacher put on the “Chicken Fat” record and we “worked out.”  Go you chicken fat go!!

But then in middle school I attended a private girl’s school and we spent every PE class playing lacrosse or field hockey.  I did everything I could to avoid getting the ball.  When we played volleyball in the winter I always tried to position myself behind the tallest girl so I would not have to hit the ball – I was terrified of breaking my fingers.

In high school I did the same thing, hid out as much as I could and when you are 5’2″ it’s not that hard to do.  Fortunately, our PE grade did not factor into our GPA!  I think I had my period just about every week when we had our swimming unit.  Anything to get out of it. I would have literally rather have had my period every week than get into a swimsuit at 8 a.m. in the morning and swim!!  Who schedules a girl’s swimming class during the first hour of the day anyway?

I mean was I suppose to go around all day looking like a drowned rat!!

Then I went to college and I had to take a couple of PE credits.  I signed up for tennis and that was fun.  I had played tennis and golf growing up at our local country club.  I can handle country club sports.

But in college we were also required to take Fitness for Life.  This class was a Pass/Fail class.  All we had to do was run a mile at the beginning of the semester and time ourself, set up a workout schedule and then improve our time by the end of the semester.  Well, when you walk the mile the first time and then run for part of it at the end of the semester you improve your time!  I guess you could call that cheating but it got me a Pass and that’s all I cared about at the time.  I was young!

Since college I have tried various exercise programs.  I don’t like going to the gym and I don’t like to sweat.  So I discovered that walking as well as yoga and pilates were my exercise programs of choice.  They have served me well until my young adult daughter asked me to run a 5K with her.

When Children Ask

When your children ask you to join them in activities, you say yes (as long as they are legal!)  That is why I have attended midnight premieres of certain vampire movies.  Not because I really wanted to, but because my teenage daughter asked me to.  You have to take advantage of those moments.  And that is why I started running.

Much to my dismay we completed the Couch to 5K program and although we didn’t run an official 5K we did run our own “Wilkes Girls’ 5K.”  It was quite a sense of accomplishment.  Honestly, I couldn’t believe I did it.  Well, the girls went back to school and my running career ended, or at least I thought it had.

This fall I got an email from a group of  “younger” moms at church.  I am old enough to be some of their mothers!  They were going to form a running group and work towards running a 1/2 marathon.  Everyone was invited to join in.  Much to my dismay I actually considered it.  I think maybe I just wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t “old.”  I talked to my friend Marsha about it and we decided to join in.  I have discovered that having a buddy to run with and share in the pain with is very important!

Exercise Inspiration: running buddy

We bought the book The Non-Runners Marathon Trainer and started following the program.  The group was running at 8:45 p.m. at night and I decided I preferred to run in the daylight so I decided to run on my on in the mornings  and with my friend Marsha joining me two mornings a week.

It is hard.  I sweat.  But I am a runner.

Our little group completed our very first official 5K a few weeks ago.  It was a run up Mt. Tabor here in Portland.  Mount is the important word here!  The course was half up and half down and I don’t think there was any level ground the entire time.  It was hard.  But I finished.

I was the last one of our group to cross the finish line but I did it and they were all there, along with my husband, to cheer for me as I crossed the finish line.   That is one advantage of being the last of your group to finish.

I did it.  I am a runner.  And I have the medal to prove it!

Our next goal is a 1/2 marathon later this spring.

Running is still hard.  I am sore alot of the time.  I still haven’t experienced “the flow” or that “runner’s high.”  But I am doing it.

Lessons Learned

I have learned that there is more to running than just running.

I have learned I can do hard things.

I have learned how to use my mind over my body.  Running is as much mental as it is physical.

I learned quickly what my limitations were but it also gave me the opportunity to go beyond those limitations and really push myself.  Each week or so I am able to push myself a little harder, run a little farther and it is amazing the sense of satisfaction that comes with that (along with some pain!) A few weeks ago I ran 5 miles – all at one time!!  What a sense of accomplishment that was.

I have learned that running takes commitment, determination and hard work.   There are many mornings when it is cold and wet outside and I would much rather stay in my jammies.  But I have made a commitment to my running buddy and to myself.  I am determined to reach my goal and am ready to work hard to get there.

Because I am a runner!

What’s your exercise inspiration?

Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

Latest posts by Leigh Anne (see all)


  1. Kim Eastman says

    “I Can Do Hard Things” became my life motto a couple of years ago thanks to Sister Dalton. I started running around that time (age 37) and now I’m 40 and about to run my 3rd half marathon. Yea! for middle aged 1st time runners! Good luck in your training!

  2. says

    I love it! I started running last year and have run several 5Ks since then. I would like to work up to a half marathon, but I’m not there yet. My running girlfriends and I are going to do the color run 5k next month. Check it out. They look so fun! My favorite running quote says, “No matter how slow I run, I’m still lapping everyone on the couch.” :)

  3. Jennie says

    I started running about 10 years ago when I was in college and have been hooked ever since. I love reading about others getting the bug! If you haven’t already, check out Kristin Armstrong’s running blog on Runner’s World – – http://milemarkers.runnersworld.com/ – – it’s often just the motivation I need to add an extra mile to my runs.

  4. Erin says

    You’re hilarious! I hated P.E. too but when you’re 5’9″ its hard to hide out. I remember my 7th grade science teacher pulled out her Chicken Fat record for us one day and we all sat there thinking she was an alien or something. Funniest thing ever!
    Good luck with your running.

  5. Marci Olson says

    I have NEVER wanted to learn how to run before. I have not so fantastic knees and am 6’0″ (no hiding in gym class for me either. You could have hidden behind me! lol!) Recently, I have had the sudden desire to start running. I have NO IDEA what has come over me. Really. Thank you for your insights. With your inspiration I might actually try it out. :)

    I took Fitness for “Death” (as we “affectionately” called it at BYU) too. 😉

  6. Ashlee says

    I saw you out running this morning. We passed each other with the nod of “I am a runner!” :) I just started last summer. It’s hard. But I hope to keep it up. I finished my first 10k last June & hope to be ready for Hood to Coast this year. Keep up the good work! See you out there again soon! :)

  7. Valerie A. H. says

    Good job Leigh Ann “the runner.” Our PE teacher in elementary school also played the “Chicken Fat” record. We are dating ourselves here 😉 and I never liked PE either. I’m like you, I’d rather play tennis or golf but
    good for you for getting out there and running and just doing it! I’ll have to rethink my motto of “There’s nothing better than a good brisk sit.” Thanks for the motivation.

  8. Karen says

    Congratulations on your medal! It sounds as though the medal hasn’t been the best part of your running though, you obviously have had many benefits. I also hated gym in school. I would do anything to avoid it too, and I tried the same things as you did. I wish they would have had running as a bigger part of gym – I think I would have really enjoyed that.

  9. Kris Wolverton says

    Congrats Leigh Anne! I started running 30 years ago and then added swimming so i could rest my legs from the pounding. Then when I was getting fit for running shoes, the salesperson suggested I add cycling and enter in a all women’s triathlon. That started a wonderful adventure in overcoming many fears (open water swimming!) and doing something I never thought I would do. Then I did 2 marathons!!!

    Just look what adventures you have in front of you!!!

    • says

      Kris, I didn’t know you were such a big runner! Wow, 2 marathons. I am totally terrified of open water so don’t anticipate any triathlons in my future but I have definitely learned to never say never!! I’ve enjoyed my first spinning class so the cycling part doesn’t scare me – it’s just the swimming!!

  10. says

    Good going Leigh Anne!

    I have always “been a runner” but the thought of running a half marathon was very intimidating. Four years ago I signed up for one, finished and have committed to running one per year. This past year my husband joined me and now he is a convert. Now I am intimidated by the full marathon!

    good luck and if you train as diligently as you work on your wonderful blog you will sail through the half!

  11. Renee S. says

    Thank you for this post! You are an inspiration!! My husband and son both run (my husband has run marathons) and I have always said “not interested . . . I hate running!” I have no idea why, but recently I have been tossing the idea around. Your post may be just the push I need. : )

  12. Melanie Camphouse says

    I can’t wait until you start feeling the “runner’s high”. I don’t always feel it while I’m running but I sure get the good feeling the rest of the day. Everything looks better when I started my day with a run. Even though I know that, it is still so easy to skip a workout- too busy, too tired etc. That is why I am usually training for something big- it keeps me honest.

    • says

      Melanie – Thanks to you and Bryan for helping me set up my new program working towards my 1/2 Marathon!! Maybe I’ll work up to running Disney with you sometime!

  13. says

    I am so freaking proud of you!! It took me a while to hit that this-doesn’t-hurt-like-the-dickens-the-whole-time-and-might-actually-be-fun point. But I stuck with it, and I am so glad. I agree 900% with everything you said about it, and I love sharing the journey of running with other people. I am training with my Ethan to do a half marathon this summer and it just tickles me to no end when he says how much he enjoys being out in the sunshine, or at the end of a good run when he realizes what a big accomplishment it was to run that far. I love this line – “When your children ask you to join them in activities, you say yes (as long as they are legal!)”. I’d dare say this applies to children of all ages. He’s begging me to take him back up Mount Timpanogos again this summer and I am happy to oblige. I know there will come a day that he won’t be as excited to spend time with his fuddy duddy momma :).

    If there happens to be a 5k or 10k race while you’re out here in April, Ethan and I will come and join you.

      • says

        Eh, I don’t mind a slower run every now and then :). I’m a runner that likes good company. I do need to get my speed/distance workouts in, but lately I’ve been doing plenty of slower miles with Ethan and it’s been kinda nice to kick back and relax a bit.

  14. says

    I’m a runner too–and from Oregon as well. :) Our state caters to runners and has some great races of all distances and all running abilities. I’m currently training for the Newport Marathon. My PE experience is so similar to yours. I was so unathletic, self conscious, lacking in confidence all through school. I dropped out of track in 9th grade after getting bursitis and shin splints. I quit and never tried running again until I was 23. My goal was to run to the gas station at the end of the road and back. It was about a mile and I could hardly do it. I kept pushing myself and finally did my first 5K about six months later. Since then (about 10 years ago) I’ve done two 25ks, two marathons, and a bunch of 5ks. It gets easier and it gets more fun too. I have enjoyed running the last couple months more than ever before.

    • says

      I must say I have appreciated the dry winter we have had here in Oregon – it has made my intro to running a bit easier to not have to run in the rain every morning! Thanks for sharing!!

  15. Catherine says

    Leigh Anne,

    I am so proud of you! Way to go!

    I have been a runner off and most of my life. I hated PE too, and I remember in elementary school we always had to do the President’s Fitness tests that always involved running. I remember in 4th or 5th grade it involved running 1 mile. I walked every time, knowing that there was NO WAY I could run a mile. That’s just too far!!! At least, it seemed it was to me back then.

    Finally, my PE teacher told me that if I just tried to run as much as it as I could one day, then she’d time me and I’d be done. Otherwise, I’d have to walk it EVERY day! So, since it seemed the easy route, I agreed.

    Imagine my surprise when I not only finished the mile easily, but I had a really good score! All of a sudden, I was hooked. I constantly tried to run in PE because I wanted to improve my time and get the best score! I’m a little competitive . . .

    Anyway, I have since run off and on . . . I agree, the Couch to 5K program is about the best program ever to get you up and started! It really eases you into it, and I love that I can just plug in my music and just run – or walk – whenever the nice lady tells me to. No timing!

    I haven’t run in a while; I’ve had two abdominal surgeries the past two years, and it seems every time I get the urge to get back into shape I have to go back to the doctor. But I love this post, and it has definitely inspired me. With the warm winter we’ve had so far in Oklahoma, it might not be a bad time to break out the old Couch to 5K program again!!!

  16. Beth says

    Wow! You have devine timing! I downloaded the C25k app in January and I am in week 4. I have been putting off the 3rd leg of week for all week!! After reading your post today I knocked out the run/walk tonight. And frankly, it was not bad.

    I am not a runner. I have said that for years. Actually, what I say is that I only run if I am being chased or for an amazing sale on shoes. I am hoping if I follow through on this program, I too might say “I am a runner”! Who knew!! Thank you for sharing. I love your blog!

  17. kelly says

    congratulations! that is really an accomplishment! i have been doing insanity with my husband, it is so hard and i can’t do it all but i figure whatever i can do is better than sitting on the couch and my heart is getting a good workout!
    elaine dalton has so many stories of running, it sounds so great, but i am definitely not a runner!my ankles and feet just can’t take it, i am definitely a yoga girl too! keep up the great work!

  18. says

    You are awesome. I laughed and related to your PE experiences! I was the girl in the outfield picking daisies and trying to dodge the softball while making bouquets. I downloaded the couch to 5k after Crew was born but ummm something just came up I guess because I still haven’t run a 5K! New goal for me I guess! You’re lookin’ cute in those running pants!

  19. Lori says

    Good for you! Go, you chicken fat, go. I thought I was the only one in the world who remembers doing Chicken Fat! I even downloaded it to my phone and iPod to do it once in a while. I am still not a runner.

  20. says

    Hi Leigh Anne,

    What an inspiration you are! I have tried to “be” a runner several times now. Even did Hood to Coast a few years back. But I am afraid my baby years have the best of me right now. I love couch to 5K. Will try again after this one is born. Would love to collaborate with you sometime!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *