by Erin Kelly
For me, running is a love story. Eight years ago, I had a crush on a man who ran a lot. I slammed a glass of wine one evening and went out for a run, thinking my “running” would impress him enough to like me. My run lasted three blocks that evening. He and I ultimately married, and I also fell in love with running in the years since I took those first baby steps. The photo above is me with the man who introduced me to running and loving the mountains in 2011. Despite some, ahem, challenges.
My first 5k, I peed my pants because I thought it was a “decoy” pee. My bladder disagreed. My first half marathon, I got a side cramp and pinched the crap out of my side because I thought that was how you got them to stop. I got a mammoth bruise instead. My first trail race, I cried driving into town because the mountains I had to run through were too big and how did I ever think I could do this?
But those trails. Those long distances. They just made me fall more and more in love with running. Turns out, running made me love me all the more. I feel strong, confident, and authentic; I feel like all things are possible; I feel okay not always feeling okay; I feel my body is perfect the way it is; I feel comfortable being on my own; I feel connected to others who love these crazy adventures as much as me.
This year, my love story continues at the Leadville 100. Despite a few ultras and a 100 mile finish under my belt, I still feel a mixture of joy and needing to vomit when I think about the race. I think that means I am exactly where I need to be right now. I look forward to the race, and remind myself it is the fun and challenges of all of the preparation that are the true reward. Here my husband is surrounded by a crew of Runners Roost family at his 2018 Leadville 100 finish. This year, I will run the red carpet!