Why Do You Push Yourself When It Hurts Like Hell

It's easy to lose sight of what you're chasing. 

I'm not an elite athlete. My finishing times and average pace per mile aren't exactly impressive to anyone besides me. But winning or being the best never motivated me to want to start running. Being the best version of myself did.  The more I ran, the more I started stepping outside of my comfort zone and proving myself wrong whenever I told myself that I couldn't do something.

Like the first time I ran 3 miles without needing to stop to walk.

This is so painful BUT I JUST RAN 3 MILES! I AM BASICALLY AN OLYMPIAN. WOAH WOAH WOAH.

A photo posted by Kelly Roberts (@kellykkroberts) on

Or the first time I ran a timed mile. (Only a casual 3 years after I started running...)

Or the first time I ran a sub 4 hour marathon, a feat that took 4 tries.

Hell, here I am crying my brains out after I ran a 3 hour 41 minute marathon last year. 

All the tears.

All the tears.

While a 3 hour 41 minute marathon isn't groundbreaking, it felt like a world record to me. It didn't matter that I was still 5 minutes off of my goal. I truly didn't believe I could run that fast. I didn't think I would be able to finish the training without quitting when the going got tough.  

And while time goals have helped me continue to push myself out of my comfort zone and re-remind myself time and time again that I'm stronger than I think, running what I think are really fast times isn't what keeps me going. That's just a piece of the puzzle. I'm inspired every time I tell myself that I'm not capable of something. 

That's why I'm trying to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time. Because I believed that it was impossible. That I'd never be able to take myself seriously enough to make it happen. 

And after one failed attempt and a really tough first few weeks of training, a part of me still isn't sure I'll be able to do it.

This weekend, I had my very first race of 2017 and my goal was simple, run as fast as I possibly could. My coach Josh Maio wanted to see where my fitness level is at and if I'm being honest, I needed a confidence boost. The way I've been working towards BQ or Bust, you'd think I was training for a world record. And I'm embarrassed that I've let my bad attitude influence my experience

Which is ridiculous because no one is forcing me to run. In the grand scheme of things, my fears and doubts about running faster aren't just petty, they're a little ridiculous.

So you could imagine how stupid I felt on Saturday night when I was sitting with my friends, explaining how I was dreading racing the 5K. I knew it was going to hurt and I was really terrified that I'd choose to get comfortable when the pain train left the station.

I couldn't stop asking myself why I was so nervous. It was just a 5K. My only job is to give it my all. No time goal just no regrets, no excuses. 

But the truth is, I was nervous my irrational fear that my athletic level isn't where it needs to be would be validated. I was nervous I'd finish knowing I'd given everything I possibly could and see numbers that were nowhere near where I needed to be running in order to qualify for Boston.

Luckily, before I went to bed I started pulling clips from last year's BQ or Bust vlogs for a project I'm working on. As I started watching, I quickly realized that I was neglecting the biggest lesson I'd learned from my first BQ attempt. That the only way I'll embrace pain and race my heart out is if I'm having fun doing it.

And saying that is easier said than done. It's hard to have fun when your legs feel like they're going to explode or fall off. Or when you can't focus on anything besides the voice in your head that is screaming, "SLOW DOWN! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS! THIS HURTS! STOP RIGHT NOW."

It took some practice but the best way to have fun when everything hurts and you feel like dying is to slap a smile on you face, tell yourself that you're going to fun 100 million times before and during the race, and then get REALLY, REALLY, REALLY present. Like "time is moving in slow motion" present. 

So I ran my warm up miles and toed the line ready to see how I do embracing the pain. I spent the first mile running just outside of my comfort zone but not in the place that is all out no regrets, no excuses. Basically, I was pushing my pace but was nowhere near the place where I feel like I'm going to puke or I ask myself how long I can hold it for. But that was fine, the race was 3.1 miles (5K) and I didn't want to go there until I was halfway in.

Unfortunately, I never got to go to that place because the course was off by over a half of a mile.

Once we took off, I quickly realized that there weren't mile markers and to add insult to injury, my watch was off. I was looking around the course for any sign of how far we'd run when we started approaching the finish line. I was confused. The clock read 17 minutes 50 seconds. There's no way in hell I can run a 5K in just under 18 minutes. That's 6 minute miles. 

Turns out, the course was about 2.5 miles and at first, I was a little angry. I paid money to run a race and I really wanted to push myself to see where I was at. I turned to my friend Rachel who ran with me and after maybe a minute of confusion, we turned around and went back out to get 3.1. 

I didn't get the test I wanted and yeah, that's a bummer, but I did walk away feeling really grateful that I didn't have to waste time not committing to having as much fun as humanly possible while I run down my BQ.

It doesn't matter what you're training for. Maybe it's your first 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon. Or maybe you're working towards a specific goal time; to break 2 hours in the half or to qualify for the Boston Marathon, at the end of the day, you have to know why you're doing it. Because if you don't want it for the right reasons, you'll never push yourself to the place you don't think you're capable of getting to. 

For me, I have to have fun because that's the best way to stay present when I get really uncomfortable and doubt set in. If I know that what I'm doing is going to be worth it, I end up enjoying my ride on the pain train.

It's a waste of time to spend the day before a race drowning in dread and fear. I know better than to doubt the work I've put in. The hardest part about running down a goal is training for a goal. If you give 100% in training, all you have to do on race day is go for it. You just have to trust that you're ready.

Running really is a mental sport. It's learning how to say I can do this and actually believe it when you look at your watch and see that you're behind. It's remembering that every painful step is worth it after you've spent months making sacrifices and working your ass off. 

If you can figure out how to have fun and enjoy the process, it's a hell of a lot easier to embrace pain.

You just have to believe in yourself.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

1 Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

The Fastest Way To Get A Perfect Body

I'm tired of being made to feel like I'm not working hard enough because the bodies the women who personify "fit" or "in shape" don't look like mine.

I'm tired of feeling like I'm different because when I look around the room at an industry event, I'm the only without a stereotypical "runners body".

I'm tired of scrolling through my social media feed and seeing only highlights and never struggles.

I'm tired of people saying, "Giving up isn't an option" when I know from experience that giving up is always an option.

I'm tired of seeing young girls talk about feeling like they need to lose weight.  

I'm tired of seeing women tear one another down because they think they're in competition with one another.

And I'm really f*cking tired that I have to keep writing how frustrating it is that fitness brands fail to represent women of all different shapes, sizes, and athletic levels.

I remember when I was a brand new runner back in 2013, I was training for my first marathon. I was getting ready to run my first 15 mile long run and 15 miles felt like a pilgrimage. Before I left that morning, I woke my Mom up and nervously asked her to keep her phone near her just in case I couldn't finish and needed her to come save me.

I wore a fuel belt around my waist with a water bottle in it for hydration and as I slowly jogged up to my house, having successfully ran all 15 miles, my Mom snapped a picture of me approaching to capture my triumphant success. I remember looking at the picture, excited to share my accomplishment on Facebook, and feeling a tidal wave of embarrassment wash over me. Insecure and uncomfortable with how I looked, I asked her to delete the photo.

My fuel belt amplified my disgusting love handles and instead of seeing my strong body that was capable of running 15 miles, I saw my love handles that proved to me that regardless of how far I ran, I'd never look like a real runner. 

Looking back, it's not surprising that I was embarrassed by my love handles because no one ever gave me a reason to embrace them. Strong, in shape women don't have love handles. I know because when I scroll through the social media feeds of the brands and publications who have defined what fit and in shape looks like, it's photo after photo of the same exact body type. And when anyone who isn't rocking a low body fat percentage is represented, it's always a body positive post. 

And let me just say, I know how hard those women work for their strength. I'm don't want to discredit their drive and perseverance because in addition to being total badasses, I know how inspiring and motivating they are as well. But when we fail to represent a range of body types and experiences, we are telling women that how they look is more important than feeling proud of what their bodies can do.

Why do we continue to support brands who perpetuate the narrative that fit looks a certain way?

Photo by Oiselle.

Photo by Oiselle.

Why do we glorify people who share only their successes and not the soul crushing shitty days where you cry one mile in because your calves are screaming and you have to stop to walk? 

Why do we glorify diets and people who refuse to promote a balanced diet? 1,000 calories a day isn't what health looks like. Eating a well rounded diet of lean meats, fruits, veggies, and whole grains is. If I have to see one more health and fitness guru promote eating a burger without the bun, without the cheese, and without the sauce one more time, I'm going to explode. Have a cheeseburger every once in a while. You won't turn into a pumpkin when you indulge in moderation. I promise. 

My favorite part about running is that it's something that I'm not innately good at. I was never athletic growing up. I didn't play sports because I didn't enjoy being physically active. I used to force myself to go to the gym because I thought working out was something I should be suffering through so that I could lose weight and eventually look the way women who were in shape looked. I didn't think my body was something I should be proud of because I had love handles, cellulite, and stretch marks. 

Running taught me that that was bullshit.

Strength doesn't look a certain way, it feels a certain way. And as liberating and empowering as that strength feels, it's not easy to acquire. It requires hard work, perseverance, and sacrifice. But most importantly, it requires you to get honest, raw, and ugly.

For every win, share a struggle or a set back. Because it's in those moments of vulnerability that we really shine. There's nothing more gratifying than crossing a finish line but if I'm being honest, it's the moments that used to fill me with shame and embarrassment, like seeing that picture of me with huge love handles, that I find the most empowering and liberating.  

Anyone can be pretty and flawless, that's why photoshop is a billion dollar industry. But not everyone can stand proudly displaying the parts of themselves they've been told make them imperfect.

In order to destroy the idea that fit looks a certain way, we need to get real. We have to get raw, ugly, and vulnerable. 

Don't be afraid to share your doubts or insecurities. They make you human. And the more we talk about them, the less intimidating they'll feel. We'll never strip away the power they have over us unless we all decide that we aren't just enough, that we're already the best versions of ourselves. 

A perfect body isn't the one you'd think you'd have if you could hit your goal weight, it's knowing that you're doing everything you can to be the healthiest, happiest, most vulnerable, and strongest version of yourself possible. 

That's what real perfection looks like. 

Try it. See what happens.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.


Thank you GURMINDER BANGA for waking up at dawn and encouraging me to get as real, vulnerable, and ugly as possible. It's so rare to meet photographers who understand the beauty that comes from raw, unapologetic vulnerability. 

And thank you Oiselle for sponsoring this average 165 pound lady. I'm so honored to be apart of your badass lady gang. Thank you for embracing the shape of the everyday runner and understanding that we don't run to look a certain way.

14 Comments

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

When It Comes To Running, Attitude Is Everything

It happened about 12 and a half miles into my long run this weekend. I was running with arguably the world's kindest and most selfless human being Carlee Mcdot. Carlee, 18 miles into her long run, had just thanked a police officer for being out on the course and he told us, "Have fun!". I started to laugh like an a-hole and as he quickly tried to explain what he meant as we ran away, I yelled back that I was struggling but he was right, I should be having fun.

The problem wasn't that I wasn't having fun. The problem was that I've been suffering from a really bad attitude ever since I started training for this second BQ attempt.

The hardest part about running is always getting started. Regardless of whether you're brand new to the sport or if you're new to a training plan, building that first few weeks of physical and mental strength will crush your soul and leave you wondering why the hell you ever thought that running was a good idea if you don't take the necessary steps to work on your attitude. 

And that's where I'm at right now. I'm a little over two weeks into my training for the London Marathon and I want to set everything on fire. My easy runs are hard. My long runs are even harder. Oddly enough, my hard runs have been fun but it's because they force me to stay in the moment. I don't have the brain space to throw myself a pity party when everything is happening so quickly.

It's not a secret, running isn't easy. Even after you fight your way through the first really painful weeks, it still doesn't get easier. You just develop the strength, resilience, and confidence to actually enjoy the experience. But regardless of where your athletic level is at, if you have a bad attitude, you're going to have a bad time.

I realized that I was being a total Debbie Downer after running with Carlee this weekend. As I struggled to stay on pace, I watched Carlee thank volunteer after volunteer, offer support to other runners, and give out high fives to anyone that offered it. While I focused on feeling sorry for myself, Carlee stuck by my side the entire time. Around mile 9, I started telling her to leave me because I could tell I was slowing her down. I actually told her that if I were in her position, I'd leave me. Even after that, she wouldn't leave me.

But it wasn't until I turned full run monster on the Police Officer that I realized how bad my attitude was. Immediately, I understood why I've been crashing and burning on some of my easier runs. I have a bad attitude. And while taking your negative attitude and making it a positive one isn't an overnight fix, here's how to take your first steps towards turning your frown upside down.

1. Psyche yourself up for a workout.

Easy run or crazy intimidating workout, get excited. If you look forward to the time you get to spend kicking ass-falt, you're already winning. Early wake up call? Start telling yourself, "I can't wait to get out there." Fake it until you become it people!

2. Take "have to" out of your vocabulary.

I know this is hard because I'm still struggling to break the habit myself. You won't turn into a pumpkin if you stop running. Remember, no one's forcing you to do it. It's a choice. You don't have to run, you get to run. 

3. Investigate what's upsetting you.

Right now, I'm letting the fact that I took a break to recover upset me. I'm feeling frustrated that I took time off and lost fitness. I'm not running the mile I'm in, I'm wishing I were running the miles I was in a few months ago. Stay present. Stay focused. And don't forget to smile. It's a lot easier to enjoy something than it is to hate it which brings me to...

4. Make the choice not to suffer.

Remember this one? It's a Dr. Bob classic that totally blew my mind during my first Boston Marathon qualifying attempt. Right now, when my calves start to hurt mid run, I'm making the decision to suffer instead of giving myself permission to walk or run. I throw pity parties and yearn for easy running. Run the mile you're in and make the choice not to suffer. 

5. Find your badass lady squad. 

Dudes are always welcome to join a badass lady squad. 

When you're struggling, having a supportive badass lady squad is a game changer. They distract you when your mental game starts to waver and they build you up whenever doubt sets in. AND, let's be honest, it's just a good time whenever you get to be with your badass lady gang. Find people to run with if you can. Always remember that we're stronger together.

I know how hard it is to put on a brave face when you're having a hard time. But working on your attitude really does make a huge difference. If you're struggling to find your running mojo, start working on your attitude. Remember, running should be equal parts hard work and fun. It's a balance.

Head up, wings out.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

5 Comments

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

Taking Flight, Why I Joined Oiselle

Why do I do this? 

That was a question I started to ask myself last year. I was working 15-20 hours a day building Run, Selfie, Repeat and BQ Or Bust. I was exhausted, overworked, stressed out, and discouraged. Blogging is hard. And I don't say that for sympathy. No job is easy. What makes my job is hard is finding the balance between selling myself and staying authentic. (And not feeling gross about selling myself.) As hard as it is to find that balance, the silver lining is that I go to bed every night knowing that I'm making a difference in people's lives.

When people ask me what I do for a living, I rarely say that I'm blogger. I say I'm in sales, marketing, journalism, and entertainment. And if I'm feeling really confident, I'll say that I'm an "athlete". (That guy is in quotes because I'm still insecure about it. Say what you want, I'm working on it.) This horse and pony show is a gamble. I'm constantly fighting with companies who want me to bare my soul, reveal my grief, my joy, and parts of myself that I spent decades shrouded in shame for free. And as much as I love inspiring and motivating people to say yes to themselves, it's really hard to do it when you're being taken advantage of.  My soul dies every time someone asks me when I'm going to get a "real" job.

Had I not been running towards BQ Or Bust, I'm not sure what the hell would have happened in 2016. I felt like the walls were caving all around me and as much as I wanted to just lay down and give up, I was running full speed ahead towards a BQ, this light at the end of the tunnel that helped me put one foot in front of the other.

But around September of 2016, I was ready to throw in the towel. I needed to step away to reevaluate whether or not Run, Selfie, Repeat and being a social media circus clown was worth doing anymore. 

Then I got an email from Oiselle

The two badasses who changed my life.

It's very rare to find a company who believes in and empowers women. Most brands run campaigns throughout the year targeting women, trying to sell clothing to women, but very rarely do you find a company whose mission is to connect, motivate, celebrate, empower, and inspire women to show up for each other.

Oiselle is more than just a women's apparel brand. They've built a diverse community of women and a space for them to pursue the strongest versions of themselves possible. Just looking at a roster of the women they support and empower is staggering. From Lauren Fleshman, Kara Goucher, Steph Rothstein Bruce, to ultimate lady boss Devon Yanko, these are women who not only kick ass and take names in the sport, but have found ways to empower and inspire women along the way with their grit, vulnerability, and tenacity. 

Having Oiselle invest in me and believe in what I'm creating is a difficult pill to swallow. Yes it's humbling and exciting but it's infinitely more intimidating and scary. I feel like I've just accepted a job that I'm not qualified for. (Which I know is my own insecure BS but I had to admit it.) I can't help but feel insecure about what I bring to the table. I'm not an elite athlete. Hell, I'm not a very good athlete at all! Right now, I'm struggling to run 3-6 miles. Why me?

And honestly, I started to back away because I was afraid of messing up. Of failing. Not living up to expectations. Of looking stupid and making this incredible brand that I look up to disappointed in me. 

I wouldn't exactly say that I'm a safe bet. I'm loud, opinionated, and hard to predict. I've worked with a vast majority of the big fitness brands and I can honestly say that I see the world and running very differently than they do. 

But Oiselle and I see eye to eye across the board.

Oiselle understands the everyday runner. They strive to showcase women of all different shapes and sizes. They're hard at work expanding their sizing in a way that will make women of all sizes feel strong, confident, and kick ass. And most importantly, they aren't afraid to stand up for what they believe in. I hope you all understand how valuable and rare that is because it's hard to march to the beat of your own drum.

When I first started Run, Selife, Repeat, the Editor and Chief of a huge big wig magazine brand gave me one of the worst pieces of advice I've ever received. She told me to do what everyone else was doing because if it worked for them, it would work for me. 

Oiselle isn't doing what everyone else is doing and honestly, that's why I believe in them. They're not encouraging their flock to share their picture perfect photos, they want you to get real. They want you to get ugly. And they want you to woman up. 

At my core, I'm an artist. Telling stories and exploring laughter, joy, sadness, despair, doubt, hope, hopelessness and everything in between is what I do best. It took me a while to figure out that that was my voice in the running community. That I didn't need to be the world's best athlete, or like anyone else. After the #SportsBraSquad was born, everything changed. I realized that while I will always be a champion for brand new runners, I want to do more for women as well.

2016 was an overwhelming year filled with some of the highest highs and pretty low lows. But going into 2017, I run stronger knowing that I not only have the support of my Run, Selfie, Repeat family, but in Oiselle as well. A badass tribe of trailblazing women who aren't afraid to ruffle feathers and stand up for what they believe in. 

I can't wait to share what we have in store for you. In addition to running full force towards qualifying for Boston during the London Marathon in April (#NoRegretsNoExcuses), I'm hard at work planning one of my biggest feats yet! Epic is probably the only word to describe what's in store. So stay tuned because big things are coming. 

One things for sure, we're starting 2017 off on a strong foot.

Oiselle 2016

Head up, wings out. 

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

6 Comments

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

Women To Watch In 2017, Alison Desir

Before I knew the mastermind behind Harlem Run, a free fitness movement connecting and inspiring the famous NYC community, I knew of Alison Desir. We both belong to the November Project New York City tribe and we'd often exchange hugs and high fives but I'd never actually talked with her about what she was creating. That was until we both joined forces with Candice Huffine to become ambassadors for Project Start.

The Harlem Run community Alison has built is incredible. She's not only bringing people together, but she's created a safe space for brand new runners to get started. She's inspiring, passionate, smart, foxy, patient, full of grit and optimism and she's a woman we all should be watching in 2017. 

Most runners spend the first part of the year setting goals and building fitness. Not Alison. She, along with three other badass women are hitting the ground running. 

Introducing Four Women Run For All Women.

On January 16, 2017, MLK Day, Alison and her sisterhood of badass women will begin a 240-mile run from Harlem to Washington DC in an effort to raise money and awareness for Planned Parenthood and the power of women. (That is roughly two NYC Marathons every single day.) Then they'll arrive in DC on January 20th just in time for the Women's March on Washington. 

And that is why she is one of my Women to Watch in 2017.

Sometimes it's difficult to feel like we can make a difference. It's inspiring to see women come together to do something to make the world a better place.

Alison's devotion to her community is making a difference, changing lives, and now her Four Women Run for ALL Women needs our support.

In Alison's words, 

I read somewhere, “No one person can change the world, but we can each do our part.” I'm from Harlem. I live to run. What can I do?

To see the route, CLICK HERE. This cause is unreal. If you're feeling helpless in today's politcal climate, this is an awesome way to get active. From donating in the form of one dollar to all the dollars (CLICK HERE), to joining segments of their powerful run, to hosting your own solidarity run, to simply spreading the word, please do what you can. For more information on how you can help, email desiralison@gmail.com. 

No one soars alone. Head up, wings out.

You can follow Alison on Instagram and Twitter. Let's band together and show her that we're all flying beside her.

GIRL. POWER.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

2 Comments

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

BQ Or Bust Take 2: The London Marathon

The seed was planted in April of 2016. I was eating dinner with my friends after cheering my brains out on the sidelines of my first Boston Marathon. 

 

At dinner, my friends asked me why I didn't want to try to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time. (For my age group, my Boston Marathon qualifying time aka BQ is 3 hours and 35 minutes.) I told them I didn't think I could do it. I said it wasn't a matter of surviving the training, I didn't think I'd be able to stick with it when I started to doubt myself and not quit. 

After I left dinner, I couldn't stop thinking about what I had told them. I was disappointed in myself. I was frustrated. I wasn't proud that I thought I was a quitter.

Then, the next day I watched Beyonce's visual album Lemonade and I was so inspired, I announced that I was going to spend the next six months dedicated to running down my BQ. It seems silly that the power of Beyonce tipped me over the edge, but it's an important part of the story. Without Beyonce, I'm not sure I would have gone for it. God bless Beyonce.

I didn't know what to expect but I was scared. 

I set my sights on finding a coach and knew after sitting down with Josh Maio, I knew that he was the one for me.

He was funny, tough, but most importantly, I could tell that he believed in me. PRO TIP-- When you don't believe in yourself, surround yourself with people who do. They will be your life vests when you feel like you're drowning. 

Without Josh, I would have quit. He knew what to say, when to say it, and he let me fall on my face without telling me "I told you so". He let me learn what it meant to say yes to myself and why I needed to trust my strength both on the track and on race day. He gave me space when I was struggling and let me ask for help when I was ready for it. He's an incredible coach and a kick ass human being. His humor and ability to make me laugh when I wanted to cry my eyes out made the entire experience fun. 

He's also one of the reasons why I wanted to keep going after finishing Chicago 6 minutes shy of my goal.

He and Dr. Bob. But I mean Dr. Bob isn't human. He's a magical wizard of a sports psychologist who gave me more gifts than anyone ever. No regrets, no excuses changed my life. Making the decision not to suffer? GAME CHANGER. He gave me the tools I needed to change my mental game.

So here we are, with 108 days left until my second Boston Marathon qualifying attempt. Am I terrified like I was during my first attempt? No. I'm excited. I'm intimidated by the amount of work it's going to require. That hasn't changed. This time around, I know what I have to do and I know that I can do it.

My biggest takeaway from 2016 is that I need to push myself further than I think I can. In those moments when I'm hurting and I don't think I can keep going, I need to keep fighting. I need to get uncomfortable as much as I can and I need to have fun doing it. Because the only thing I know about myself is that if I'm not having fun, I won't do it. It's possible, it's just going to require patience and grit.

I have one hell of a team behind me and once again, I'm daily vlogging the entire experience on my YouTube channel.  You'll see all the highs and all the lows. Every single doubt, set back and breakthrough. 

So whether you're thinking about getting ready to run your first 5K or if you're trying to BQ alongside me, know this, it isn't about the finishing time or the distnace. It's about saying yes to goals that feel impossible. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone isn't easy and it's a hell of a lot more fun when you're not alone. Let's prove to ourselves that we're a hell of a lot stronger than we think we are.

So this time around, don't just watch me push myself to see what I'm capable of. The London Marathon, my goal race, is about 4 months away. Join me by setting your own goal that you can possibly accomplish within 3-5 months. We can struggle, fight, fall back, and persevere together. 

The London Marathon is going to be here before we know it. Don't get caught up in the end result, focus on what you can do today. 

Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you're enjoying BQ Or Bust!

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

2 Comments

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

The Key To Believing In Yourself

There are moments in our lives that feel totally and completely unattainable. One of the hardest moments I've ever faced was admitting that I wanted to lose weight. It felt like defeat because losing over 75 pounds felt impossible.  I'd spent my entire life trying to lose 20 ish pounds and failed, how was I supposed to lose three times that much? 

I spent my entire adolescence and early young adult life struggling with body image. I thought I was fat. I'd tried every crash diet, pill, and dangerous fad in an attempt to attain a bikini body and I was anything but confident when I was at my healthiest so imagine how hopeless I felt when I was reached my heaviest. I hated going to the gym. I didn't want to starve myself. I didn't understand what healthy felt or looked like. And I was insecure about being seen trying to workout.

It's hard to explain just how intimidating losing that huge amount of weight was. Even today, it's hard to believe that I was able to make it happen. And yet, it was so simple. I ate really well, and I worked out. That being said, it's really f*cking hard. The amount of patience required is unparalleled. Losing weight is a lot like running marathon. It sounds impossible but step by step, day by day, if you trust and believe in yourself, you make it happen. 

NOT before and after pictures. Me in two different times of my life. Neither is more beautiful, one version is just a lot stronger and happier. I did what I could to survive. 

NOT before and after pictures. Me in two different times of my life. Neither is more beautiful, one version is just a lot stronger and happier. I did what I could to survive. 

Change doesn't happen overnight. You have to celebrate every single teeny tiny win because it's the only way to stay present. Life is too hard not to enjoy the journey, however difficult or harrowing it may be. 

There's a reason I say the only way you'll fail is if you fail to try and that's because I'm a quitter. Personally, I hate the saying "quitting isn't an option" because I've quit on myself more times than I can count. And it was never easy. Quitting isn't the lazy option, I think it's a hell of a lot harder than pushing through whatever doubt, fear, or discomfort you're experiencing. But in the moment, you forget. It's hard to remember that pain is temporary when you don't believe that you can keep going. Especially when you're doing it for the first time.

But dare to surprise yourself. As long as you give 100% and push yourself a tiny bit farther than you think you can go, then that isn't quitting. That's a tiny win. You have to believe in yourself. Understand that whatever you've told yourself you can and can't do is BS. Those pre-defined limits aren't doing you justice. Your limits are meant to be pushed. 

Don't play by rules that don't work for you. Design your own game and make your own rules.

Compare yourself to no one but who you were yesterday.

There's no such thing as a right time to get started, there's only today. Treat every single day like today is the day.

Don't let doubt stop you from doing hard things.

Just say yes, and then see what happens.

I believe in you.

Now you have to.

Me doubting whether or not I was going to finish the New York City Marathon. Luckily, I have the greatest coach in the whole entire world Josh Maio who told me to just look at it like a victory lap, to take my time, and to have fun. He is a good human.

Me doubting whether or not I was going to finish the New York City Marathon. Luckily, I have the greatest coach in the whole entire world Josh Maio who told me to just look at it like a victory lap, to take my time, and to have fun. He is a good human.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

1 Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

How to Make a Change

There comes a moment when you realize that what was once working for you, isn't working anymore. Maybe you feel stuck. Or lost. It can be a huge realization, like deciding that you want to get your health back or it can be small, like deciding to see more of the world. Either way, making a change is never easy.

One of the most common emails I receive is from people struggling to find the motivation to either get started or to keep going. I wish I had the answers or some way to show how empowering it is to push through the doubts or hard days. I know what it feels like to give up. I understand how intimidating a huge change can feel. I never thought I would be able to lose the 75+ pounds I gained after my brother passed away. It felt impossible. I didn't believe that I would be able to do it. But I did. 

The key to making any change a reality is believing in yourself and focusing on what you can do today. 

Before you make a change, ask yourself these two questions.

1. How badly do you want it?

2. Do you believe in yourself. 

No? Well fake it until you do because doubt is one hell of a mother f*cker. It will drag you down and make you believe that whatever it is you're working towards isn't doable, worthwhile, or possible. But that's the nature of doubt, it's everything you fear about the unknown. What will happen if you don't hit your goal? Or if you quit on yourself? What will happen if you give everything you have and still fall short? Will you be able to live with yourself? What will people say? Will the shame be unbearable?

Is it worth it?

Yes. Of course it is.

It's impossible to feel disappointed in yourself when you give everything you have in pursuit of a goal. It doesn't matter if you "fail" to accomplish whatever it is you wish to accomplish because you'll find inner strength and confidence along the way. The end result is never an end game, it's just a benchmark to work towards. Growth happens in the journey and it's never too late to get started, re-start, or to make a change. Finishing without regrets and without excuses is a win in and of itself. 

But you have to take the first step. It's going to feel impossible. It's going to be really difficult. The doubts will be there and the only way you can fight through them is if you believe in yourself. You have to trust that every sacrifice, every doubt, set back, and every step you take will be worth it. No change is impossible if you're willing to work for it. 

Take a second to ask yourself if you're doing everything you can to make your goal a reality. If not, make a change. Focus on where you're at now and take some time to build yourself up along the way. We're quick to do the tangible work and we ignore how we feel about ourselves. Unless you take the time to build your self confidence, you'll never find it. Don't worry about the end result or the finish line. You'll get there in time. 

F*ck new year, new you. Come as you are. Remove any shame you feel about where you're at today. Embrace it. Love it. You're already the best you possible because you're the only you possible. Remember, strength doesn't look a certain way, it feels a certain way. And that feeling will change your life.  

Just take the first step. Then keep going.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.