Let me lobby for my hobby: Running


Brian Norris

Kristin Kennedy, social media coordinator, runs in the Eastern Invitational in October 2010. Kennedy ran cross country and track competitively for Corydon Central for six years: two in junior high school and four in high school.

Kristin Kennedy, Social Media Coordinator

My heart is pounding, sweat is dripping down my face and my legs ache. I push through the pain as I stride down a hill with my pulled-back hair flying behind me.

I have been a runner for almost 10 years. Well, technically longer, because of gym class in elementary and intermediate schools.

Growing up, I was the complete opposite. I hated running with a passion.

I was different from my classmates in several ways. I had social skill deficits and speech deficits as the result of a disorder I have. In elementary school, I desperately wanted to be in the 10 Minute Club, which consisted of students who could run a mile around the track in 10 minutes or less. I knew this would have made me more like the other kids, but I was never a member of that club.

I was slightly overweight as a young kid, but I was far from obese. I was always the kid who finished the mile last, huffing and puffing.

When I was 11 years old, I discovered running wasn’t a horrible activity. I grew four inches that summer and lost about 20 pounds. I went from finishing the mile last to outrunning the majority of my classmates.

I realized running is freeing, and it helped me stay in shape. I loved the feeling. I always felt like I was flying. When I entered junior high the following year, I decided to run competitively by joining the cross-country team.

Little did I know that running in gym class is completely different from competitive running. We ran three miles during my first cross-country practice. Not only was I the slowest on the team, but I became injured.

I had huge blisters covering my feet, and had to miss practice for a week. I had to soak my feet in Epsom salt.

During that season, I learned it takes time to become a faster runner. It’s not an exercise people should give up on right away. The rewards that come with running are gradual but well worth the wait.

After my first cross-country season, I continued running competitively. I ran cross-country and track for a total of six years. I won several ribbons and made countless memories during the numerous meets.

Since high school, I’ve ran a couple of 5Ks, but I mainly run for fun. Sometimes I run fast while other times I slow down and enjoy nature’s beauty.

Here are just a few reasons why I believe running is so awesome:

  • Running helps people become healthier. According to Runner’s World, running helps people lose or maintain weight, and it reduces the risk of cancer. Running also strengthens knees, other joints and bones, and it improves blood pressure.
  • Running relieves stress. I have two internships and five classes this semester, and they cause a lot of stress. After I complete a run, I feel drastically freer and happier.
  • Running can be done anywhere. I prefer running outside since it allows me to become one with nature. I love seeing trees, flowers, ponds and even wildlife as I run, and these sights are calming to me.
  • Running is an exercise that enables a lot of variation. Some runners jog short distances, while others enjoy doing sprint workouts. Some run a few miles a day while others train for mini marathons, marathons and triathlons. I’m a mid-distance runner, so marathons aren’t appealing to me, but I love running three to six miles at a time.
  • I’ve found that the experiences gained from running cannot be beaten. Throughout my time as a runner, I’ve bonded with other runners and acquired several notable memories. For example, I came in second in the 15-19 year age group during Corydon’s Panther Prowl 5K in 2012, and I participated in Louisville’s Color Run in 2014.

If you’re convinced, and you want to start running, it’s important to do a couple of things first. Running is a high-impact exercise, and it’s important to take steps to avoid injuries.

Make sure you have proper running shoes that fit well. According to Lucky Foot, runners should buy running shoes that are a half-size to a full-size bigger than their regular shoes, since feet swell about 5 millimeters each time they hit the ground when running. I normally wear size eight shoes, but my running shoes are size nine.

Also, warm up before running by doing dynamic stretches – which combine stretching and movement – instead of static stretches, which require people to stay in one place. According to Runner’s World, static stretches – such as toe touching and others – are ineffective and can cause injuries. Dynamic stretches – such as butt kicks, high knees and others – are extremely tough to explain through text, so I recommend that you watch videos and see photos of dynamic stretches online.

Are you convinced yet? If so, get some running shoes, lace them up and start moving your feet. It may be difficult at first, but you’ll never experience the rewards of running if you don’t give it a try.