My Running History

Once when I was asked the question, “What is an item you would not like to live without?”, my response was simple… “my running shoes”. I think there are two, very different sides to running: you either hate it, or you love it. I have met few people who claim to be in between. Obviously, I love running. I will admit it… I am actually addicted.

Middle School

My relationship with running started at a rather young age. I was always an active kid, but middle school was a particularly active time in my life: I joined the local swim club in 6th grade, as well as started taking classes at a new dance studio that had opened up down the street from my house. I was also still tumbling and braving the bars and beam at gymnastics twice a week. Ironically, during probably the most physically active time in my life, I developed some unfortunate, and not particularly healthy, eating habits. I can’t recollect where the desire to start running originated, but somehow I found myself going to the university’s track with my mom on the weekends and running about 2 miles (in addition to our walk to and from the campus). Although I was swimming 8-10 hours a week, tumbling for 5, and dancing more and more, I still had energy to expel at the track. Don’t you wish you had the energy of a 12-year-old?

High School

After graduating 8th grade, I decided to end my gymnastics career of 6 years. I had rediscovered my passion for dancing during middle school (I actually started tappin’ in 1st grade), and wanted to make more room in my schedule for dance. I continued to swim competitively, practicing 4 to 5 times a week, with the occasional 5:30am practice before school…but nevertheless found time for a jog every once in a while. My friend Jane joined our high school’s cross country team freshman year, and when we both weren’t at one practice or another, we enjoyed running around town together. I was constantly getting pressured from friends and the school running coach (my dad’s old friend) to join the team. My response was the same every time someone tried to persuade me, “I just don’t have the time”. It was true. I was now a member of the Dance Team at the studio and had planned to compete for the high school’s swim team in the spring in addition to club meets. This is what I did. However, when the end of sophomore year rolled around, and the end of another swimming season, I did not want to swim another lap. That summer I quit cold turkey.

So…junior year I “gave in” and joined the cross country team in the fall – probably one of my smartest decisions yet. I think I have forgotten to mention that I am not the most competitive person you will meet, despite my athletic history. I loved every minute of being a part of the cross country team. Sure the races were exciting, but what I remember most are the long runs in the Redwood forest, the dreaded hill repeats, the sunny runs at The Marsh, the long van rides to state championships, and the endless talks about FOOD! If you are a runner, you know it’s a fact that all running conversations revolve around food : )

During the off-seasons, I ran with my dance teacher and participated in local runs to keep my running craving satisfied. The distance increased, and so did my addiction…


When I got to college, I was a bit worried about running. Who would I run with? Where would I run? After all, I had just left everything I had known, and was starting from scratch. Joining the cross country team was not an option. Did I mention I am not competitive? To my pleasant surprise I saw posters around campus the first week of classes about a running club. I attended the first club meeting and participated with the Walk Jog Run Club for the two years I was at Sonoma State University. The club was exactly what I needed: dedicated runners that enjoyed running with each other, not against each other. The club introduced me to some great people, including my future running buddy and one of my best friends, Courtney. I was relieved that I had a friend to run with. Courtney and I quickly became glued at the hip, running and discovering our new habitat together.

I participated in several races with the club, including several in beautiful San Francisco. At the end of my freshman year, we made the long trek to Eugene, Oregon for their annual marathon. I don’t think it could have been a better experience for our first (half) marathon. The training definitely paid off as Courtney and I finished hand in hand.

I have recently transferred to a different university and am unfortunately no longer a part of the running club. I miss my favorite running partner and friend – “long-distance running relationships” are difficult (no pun intended) – but we have no doubt that running will keep us connected no matter how many miles we are apart.

As my life continues to change, running is always there for me when I need it most. Putting one foot in front of the other is sometimes the most satisfying part of my day. Running is now a huge part of who I am. No matter what obstacle life decides to throw at me, running allows me to push through. I run to heal. I run to laugh. I run to breathe. I run in the sun. I run in the rain. I run for health. I run for me.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Courtney November 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm



Sarah Lowry Pilkington November 11, 2009 at 10:02 am

I need to join you on one of these runs…perhaps a shorter one.


Nicci December 27, 2009 at 10:14 am

Just found your page and I can’t wait to read more!


Michelle (Snacks and Field) January 3, 2010 at 10:30 am

“the endless talks about FOOD! If you are a runner, you know it’s a fact that all running conversations revolve around food : )”

hahahaha i loveeeee that you wrote this – it is sooo incredibly true! food is all me and my team EVER talk about : )


Kerry @ Running on Faith February 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Hi! I just found your blog and saw that you have ran a lot in San Francisco! Do you still live here…or no? I would love to hear about those races that you did because I am looking into some other spring events here in The Bay!


Hillary February 8, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Hi Kerry –
Yes, I have run quite a few races in SF, but I have never lived there. I have run the Bridge to Bridge race 3x (October), the Banana Chase (September), and Bay to Breakers (May) — all very fun!


Sarah March 2, 2010 at 7:23 am

I’m following your motivation and Moving More in March! Now’s as good a time as ever. Unlike you, winter is my least favorite season, but I live in Chicago and it’s been terrible. I can’t wait to see the green grass, watch the flowers begin to pop up and get to spend more time outdoors. Happy Spring!


Theresa March 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm

He there! I just found your blog through a blogroll on another site. I am interested in starting my own blog as well, currently brainstorming names :) I feel like we have some things in common and so I am thrilled to have found your blog to add to the list that I follow. Also, I am a Sonoma State Grad. I saw you went there for a couple years. When were you there? Thanks for the inspiration and great ideas!


Jill April 23, 2010 at 6:45 am

Ok, your blue Asics in the picture up top – LOVE them! They were some of my favorite running shoes – both in look and comfort.


Lauren May 7, 2010 at 6:32 am

Hi Hillary! I just found your site through your guest post on A Foodie Stays Fit…and I have to say that I LOVE your blog! :) I especially love what you said about running…I feel the same way. My running shoes are one of my most prized possessions, and I don’t ever travel anywhere without them. haha, ok…maybe that sounds a bit obsessive (I don’t mean it to!) but I started running as a kid and then ran XC in high school and in college, so it’s always been a big part of who I am.

Anyway…I like your blog even in addition to the running stuff, and I’m looking forward to following you! :)


Callie June 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Hi! I just randomly found your blog through Twitter and love it! I love how you’re in love with half-marathons. I think they’re the perfect distance! I just ran my first one this spring and am running a couple more this fall. My time was 2:04 like yours…so I hope I have as much improvement and success as you!


Amethyst September 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hey Hillary! I’ve been wanting to run a 1/2 marathon and there is one coming up in about 6 weeks. I run daily for about 30-45 min plus conditioning and dance. Do you think it would be possible for me to train to complete the 1/2 marathon? If so do you recommend any specific training schedule. I found a good one online but it was for 10 weeks. Thanks!


Hillary September 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Hi Amethyst! I think 6 weeks is little on the short side to train for a first half-marathon, but it’s probably doable. You’d certainly be able to run/walk the entire race. I have some training plans on my racing + training page that you can check out. Runner’s World would also be a good website to look at. Let me know if you have any other questions… is it the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon that you’re interested in?

Hope all is well :)


Hannah September 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Kudos to you! Just reading your blog made me feel like going out for a run. Unfortunately, today is a very much dreaded “rest day”. Don’t you just hate those?Please continue blogging your running stories! Love reading them! I need to find myself a running group, too. ;)


Kris October 3, 2014 at 10:04 am

I am so inspired by your website and now that I started running 6 weeks ago, I literally can’t wait to step outside the door and run!


Hillary October 3, 2014 at 10:09 am

So great to hear! :)


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