No One Deserves To Feel Like An Outsider

I, like so many others, used to believe that in order to be a runner, you had to be born a runner. 

Truthfully, I wanted to be a runner because I thought that running made you skinny. I remember when I saw the movie The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, I thought that if I could run like Bridget (the tall, slender, strong blonde who races her foxy soccer coach on a beach in Mexico), then I would look like Blake Lively and I might finally feel beautiful. So that summer, I decided that I was going to become a runner so that I could look like Blake Lively.  

Bridget Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants

Every day of the following week, I’d try to run around my parent’s neighborhood and after a few minutes, I’d slow to a walk and spend the rest of the mile tearing myself apart because I knew that I would never become a runner.

Different forms of the same scenario played out every summer until I graduated from college, some ten years later. Honestly, I can’t help but wonder why, after a decade of attempts, I finally came to terms with the fact that running is a struggle regardless of your athletic level. I always joke that I was “just desperate enough” to become a runner but truthfully, I think I was desperate for something to work towards and feel proud of. But despite the fact that there were days that felt insurmountable as a new runner, I loved how each milestone made me feel.  

But running has always been and continues to be a struggle.

Kelly Roberts Struggle

I don't run because it's always this fun and easy way for me to keep my cupcake habit in check or to blow off steam. I continue to run and set intimidating goals because running has taught me more about grit, dedication, and overcoming self-doubt than I ever thought possible. And I hear you, it's just running. How can running change your life?  

Well, turns out the magic isn't just in the running. It's in the running community as well.

For an entire year, I ran alone. The story I made up in my head was that runners were an exclusive, cliquey group of people who could smell an imposter in synthetic spandos a mile away. But truth be told, the running community isn’t an exclusive one, it’s the antithesis.

One of the reasons I started a blog was because I felt like there was a portion of the community that wasn’t being celebrated. I wanted to give the gift of running to people who were convinced like I was that they’d never be able to enjoy being active or feel like they belonged in the running world. So I wrote about the struggles and the crazier elements of running that made me laugh. I set out to validate their struggles, set backs, and fears. And most importantly, I tried to spread the word that the only way you’ll fail is if you fail to try because speaking from my own experience, I'd tried and failed so many times that I was incapable even entertaining the idea of success. 

Will Run For Ice Cream.gif

But there will always be people who don’t get it. And while the running community is an incredibly supportive and inclusive one, there will always be a few rotten apples.

Example: "When did mediocrity become something we celebrate. I understand she’s relatable to the hordes of medal chasers, but come on."

This comment that was made by one the bad apples about me is the reason I started my blog. (And it’s important to note that the small, exclusive group of our incredible community, isn't the majority.) But what they define as mediocrity, I define as success. Because not everyone runs to be the best, some of us are running to survive. Whether that means finishing four hours after an official cut off time or breaking two hours in a half marathon, there’s nothing mediocre about having the courage to show up.

I haven’t felt like an outsider in the running community for years but a few months ago, I found myself retreating and fighting the urge to wave my white flag and throw in the towel. I was already struggling post-London Marathon and reading some of the things that were being written about me and my family was enough to throw me into a tailspin. That’s when the badass lady gang showed up for me. My inbox blew up with heartfelt, encouraging, vulnerable, brave, and selfless emails from all of you along with emails from my Oiselle Volee teammates, most of whom I'd never met, who wanted me to know that they had my back. 

Oiselle GOT Bras

For most of my life, I built walls. I was ashamed of what I'd been through and even though I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a fierce family and community of women who fought to give me laughter, resources, and a future, I fought tirelessly to control what people outside of my family knew about me. I thought it was safer to be alone than it was to trust my friends with my past.

It’s always painful when someone tries to diminish your voice, speak for you, define you, or make you feel small and ashamed. But here’s a gift that the badass lady gang gave me: No matter how hard you fall, there will always be someone there, willing to lend a hand, help you through, and remind you that you matter.

It doesn’t matter if you win races or if you never cross a finish line in your life, running is an individual journey that should be free from judgment. It’s open to people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. Running is a source of empowerment and if you’re willing to stick with it long enough, it can teach you how to love who you are.

The running community isn’t a perfect one but magical things happen when we build the sisterhood. We all come from different pasts, athletic backgrounds, and walks of life. Regardless of what motivates you to pull on your sports bra, we’re all running towards the strongest versions of ourselves possible and we’re a hell of a lot stronger when we’re flying together.

A four-minute mile or a twenty-four-minute mile, as long as you have the courage to come as you are, there will always be a place for you in our badass lady gang. I wanted to step back and open up about feeling like an outsider because I know I'm not alone. And without your words and support, and without my sponsor Oiselle, the by women, for women company who stood up for me and continues to believe in the stories I'm telling and the movements I'm creating, I'm not sure what would have happened. No one deserves to feel like an outsider or feel alone.

If you're looking for a tribe of women who will show up for you both in sport and in life, I hop you will consider joining the Oiselle Volee. It's an incredible tribe and sisterhood of women who showed up for me and continues to show up for me in a huge way. We all need a team, a support system, or a badass lady gang. If you're looking for a fierce tribe of women to fly with both in sport and in life, CLICK HERE and check out the Volee. 

Let’s build the sisterhood.  

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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.

Why I Embraced My Acne and Stopped Wearing Makeup

When I was 12, I got acne. I remember sitting in the Doctor's office with my Mom, desperate to find a fast cure. My Doctor told me what every tween doesn't want to hear, "You're going through puberty. We can help keep it under control but it won't clear up until you're an adult."

Only, we never got it under control. My acne was milder but always present. Painful blotches, cysts, and wounds on my face that made me feel ugly and exposed. Just like those cliche acne commercials, I felt like all anyone would see when they looked at me was my acne. I was insecure and I caked on makeup and foundation in an attempt to hide it while I tried every antibiotic, birth control, and prescription on the market. 

Then, I became an adult and my acne didn't clear up. 

Kelly Roberts Why I Dont Wear Makeup Anymore

I've spent thousands of dollars (that could have gone to my student loans), on peels and prescriptions, all because I used to be insecure about something I have absolutely no control over.

It was frustrating. It was annoying. It was painful. It made me insecure. And I used to lose sleep over it.

Because as a runner, I can't hide from it. I'll wear tinted sunscreen and mascara, but other than that, I no longer feel the need to hide the fact that I have polycystic ovary syndrome which causes me to have adult cystic acne and subsequent acne scars.

Last year, I launched a daily vlog and one of the greatest gifts my vlog gave me was the chance to embrace my skin. Because even though my acne has its better and worse moments, I realized that I was feeling insecure about something really, really silly. It's almost identical to the struggle I faced with my body image. No one cares. People don't see my cystic acne when they see me, they see my smile or whatever emotion I'm conveying in my eyes and face. 

In college, my therapist asked me to start looking in the mirror and tell myself I'm beautiful. I thought it was stupid, refused to listen to her, and four weeks later, she asked me how it was helping me feel. I told her that I hadn't been doing it and she got real with me. She said, "Look, you can either try it or you can make the decision to hate what you see when you look in the mirror. It's your call. Just try it. If in four weeks you don't think it's changing the way you feel about yourself, you stop doing it. And then you can tell me I was wrong." 

I listened to her. It took years to fight through my body dysmorphia, but it changed my life. BUT, I only focused on weight and my size. Because my acne was something I thought I could and should "fix". So I chose to let my skin continue to make me feel insecure and imperfect. That was until I was forced to look at my face, close up, every single day while I edited my vlog. And I came the realization that I've spent so much time hating myself for something that really isn't that bad. 

Photo by Jess Barnard x Oiselle

Would I get rid of my acne if I could? Absolutely. Do I use products to keep it under control? YES. (SHOUTOUT to the amazing Dr. Zoe Perfect Face for helping me understand that perfection is in the eye of the beholder.) But do I think that my acne or acne scars make me ugly and undesirable? Hell no. And the only reason I feel that way is because I've put in the work to build that mental muscle. 

I used to put makeup on because it made me feel like I could hide. And without my acne, I thought I was a more attractive version of myself. I used to worry what other people would think of me if they saw me with my makeup off. Today, I rarely wear makeup. Every once in a while, sure. Because it's fun. I have friends who are incredible makeup artists and when they do my makeup, I look like a work of art. It's transformative. 

But I no longer feel like I need to hide what I used to see as imperfections anymore. I don't spend time ruminating over how my acne makes me less beautiful or desirable. The only person I'm concerned about is me. And if I love myself, then it's easier to allow someone else do the same.

Your acne doesn't make you ugly. It doesn't make you any less beautiful than you would be without it. The sooner you can learn to love yourself as you are, the happier you will be. But it takes hard work.  

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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.

Finding Strength In Both Darkness and Light

"We want women to run outside."

Those are the words I saw when I was introduced to my inspiring sponsor Oiselle's new fall line Eclipse.

Oiselle Eclipse

I couldn’t help but think back to my first year as a runner when there was nothing scarier than being seen running outside. (Lies, dying or being stranded two miles away from home was pretty high up on the list. Mind you, this was pre Lyft era.) Every night after I got home from work, I’d wait until nightfall and peek around my parent’s fence so that I could make sure that none of my neighbors were outside.  

And we have amazing neighbors. My parents live on a street full of families who would drop everything if anyone needed help. Even crazier, everyone genuinely likes one another. And even with the world’s most supportive neighbors, I still felt insecure about being seen running outside.

Mostly because I thought I’d never stick with running. I wasn’t a runner. I thought I could never become a runner. Me attempting to run was something I was forcing myself to do because I had nothing else. Where I was in my life was so painful and uncertain that running, as horrible as it was, was a welcome way to hurt. Because the hurt made sense. It meant that I was getting stronger.

And shockingly enough, it wasn’t just a phase. Even when things didn’t get easier, I still kept going. Running gave me something to feel proud of along with tangible finish lines to work towards. I felt like I was finally going forward. With time, I found the courage to run during daylight hours. I was terrified to do so, and I would still laugh nervously whenever any of my neighbors told me how proud they were to see me running, but I wasn’t hiding.

Eventually, running became a part of who I was. It took years, and I still feel an overwhelming sense of doubt whenever an online stranger tells me that I don’t belong, but I’ve come a long way since that first year when everything felt so painful, foreign, and terrifying.

I never want to take running or how it’s changed my life for granted but these past three months have been rough. I fell flat on my face and I've really struggled to come to terms with the hurt I felt after missing my goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon. (I know, I'm tired of hearing about BQ or Bust as well. I promise I'll stop talking about it soon.) A part of me hated how seriously I was taking myself and I was ashamed to admit that I cared more about the time than I did about putting in the work and not giving up when shit hit the fan.

Shame pushes us into the darkness, to that place that makes us feel small and helpless. But in order to embrace the light, we have to learn to find strength in the dark. I don’t believe that I’d be who I am today if I hadn’t spent as much time as I have in the dark.

I’m not a very good runner and more often than not, I still feel like I struggle more than I cruise. And yet, despite the fact that running still humbles me and kicks my ass, I choose to keep going. Because running has changed my life and given me a community that I never knew I was missing. It’s helped me run down self-doubt, a fear of failure, and it’s liberated me from the shame I hid in the darkness of my shame cave for most of my life.  

And I, like so many in our sisterhood, found running (hell, and physical activity) later in life. I spend more time hating running than I do loving it. People always get angry when I talk about my love hate relationship with it. "I don't understand," they say. But they don't have to. It's wonderful that they've never felt what I've felt and experienced but it is what it is. I know I'm not alone. And those days when I love running, they outshine the bad days ten fold. I don’t run because I love it, I run because I need it.

After my brother passed away, the moon became a sort of talisman for me. I held the lyric, “I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you” from Billie Holiday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You” close to my heart. I wore a necklace the shape of a crescent moon around my neck to remind me that even in the darkness, I can still find a light.

I just want to take a second to share some of the storytelling and images from Eclipse because after reading these powerful words, I couldn’t help but step back and reflect.

I so identify with the light and the dark. Reading these powerful words took me to a place I haven’t gone in a while. It’s hard to give myself permission to feel sad or nostalgic because honestly, I don’t always have time to lean into those complicated feelings. I'm so used to moving as fast as I can that I don't give myself permission to slow down and look up.

One of the reasons I fell so madly in love with the theater was because it gave me a way to examine the human condition. And I never in a million years thought I'd find that in an athletic environment. But here we are. 

I find it so inspiring to be apart of a brand that tells the story of what it means to be a woman. Both the ugly, difficult, strong, courageous, and the beautiful. It's hard to bring your story into the light. It's dangerous to be vulnerable. But it's the only way. The only way you can be strong in both the darkness and the light is if you're honest with yourself. 

Take a moment to sit with this idea of darkness and light. Or of what it means to risk, rise, and persevere. I hope it was as powerful for you as it was for me. 

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 Future Is Strong

Why do you run? 

That's what I've been chewing on ever since I crashed and burned during the disastrous London Marathon. Do I run because it's how I make a living, or because I love it? Do I run because it makes me feel happy and strong, or because it's who I am? 

It's complicated.  

Earlier this year, I caught myself making a joke about feeling like I was in purgatory. And we'd laugh and laugh because running is easy to laugh about. Running. This crazy thing we pay hundreds of dollars to willingly partake in.  

But portraying health and wellness as "cool" is a new thing. For decades, working out was sold as a means to an end. It was what you did to lose weight so that you could fit society's standards of beauty. 

Running was never really about the simple joy of running for me. All through school, I was a big, loud fish in a small pond. I had unwavering confidence in who I was and the second I stepped foot into the real world and felt a twinge of self-doubt and uncertainty, I retreated. I moved back home with my parents. I pressed pause and anxiously awaited the moment when someone would find me and say, "You're so smart and talented! Here, come with me! I'll help you be successful." 

I was living in my brother's old room and as my grief crept up on me and the walls of the safe hideout I built for myself started to crumble, I was just desperate enough to find a way to feel productive, strong, and in control.  

Running isn't something I'm naturally good at. The self-doubt and fear of failure is something I grapple with every single time I set a new goal and running helped me see that it doesn't matter if I don't know what's to come or if something feels impossible, as long as I was willing to work and fight for it, with enough patience and perseverance, anything is possible. 

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That sounds cheesy as hell but it's the God damn truth. Because running is so f*cking hard and painful, it teaches me over and over again how to believe in myself when I feel the urge to give up. And that's often. I mean right now, after a few months off, there are days when I won't bring money or my phone to stop me from hailing a cab or a Lyft a mile into a bad run. Getting started sucks. It always does. But that's the evil beauty of running, there are no shortcuts and I lack the talent to BS my way through.  

I'll never forget the wave of confidence and regret that body slammed me the moment I saw the finish line of my first marathon. I literally thought to myself, "You idiot. If you can run a marathon, you can do anything. You just wasted a year of your life because you were too afraid to believe in yourself and possibly fail." I fell into that post-collegiate trap of, "What do I do now?" and it was in that moment that I decided to move to New York. I didn't know what the hell I would do or what my future would look like, but if I could survive a marathon, I could do anything. 

Last night, I went with my friend Bri to a live recording of the podcast "How I Built This". Bri knew that I was a fan of the show and had told me who the guest we were seeing was beforehand but I didn't recognize the name and quickly forgot. I didn't think I cared who the guest was. I was excited to watch one of my favorite hosts Guy Raz, talk about someone who was passionate about whatever it is they built. I was beyond f*cking excited to watch the recording unfold and as I forced Bri to sit with me in the front row, she commented that she was excited to hear about how Jonah Peretti built the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.

Buzzfeed? 

Today's guest is the guy who built Buzzfeed?

I flashed back to March of 2013 when my sister, my friend Justin, and I sat at my reception desk and created a community post on Buzzfeed titled...well, I don't remember the title we gave it because before it went viral, Buzzfeed went in and changed it to "Girl Takes 13 Instagram Selfies With Un-Suspecting Hot Men As She Ran The NYC Half Marathon". 

Ladies and gents I present to you, hott guys of the nyc half #hottguysofthenychalf #nychalf

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I thought nothing of the selfies at the time. I did it to make my sister laugh but my sister possesses a keen eye for shareable content and pushed me to do something with it. I was a receptionist with downtime and I remember Justin, Samantha, and I laughing while we created the article, unaware of the attention it would soon receive and after it went live. We finished, I posted it on my Facebook wall, and because my friends shared the hell out of it, the next morning, I sat on a call with Good Morning America. 

My life changed in an instant and it was all because I took selfies with "hot guys" behind me while I ran a marathon. But four years later, that's not what I'm known for. Going viral gave me the push to create Run, Selfie, Repeat but in the four years since going viral, I've come into my own. I've become a voice for strength creating movements like the #SportsBraSquad and last month, I was on the cover of Women's Running Magazine. 

And while I haven't taken a selfie with a hot guy behind me in years, (strike that-I haven't POSTED a selfie with a hot guy behind me in years), I still think #HottGuysOfTheNYCHalf was funny as hell. But that is just one piece of my story. It doesn't define me. It's not why I run, it's not why I blog, and it's not what gets me out of bed in the morning. It was just the thing that set the ball in motion. (And I still think it's funny as hell.)

Sitting in that theater last night, listening to Jonah Peretti share how he got his start with his own viral stories, I couldn't stop thinking about how the only reason I was sitting in that theater was because Buzzfeed helped me go viral. 

Three years ago, I read a book that sparked an idea for the direction I wanted to start to move in but because of Run, Selfie, Repeat, that idea has been sitting on the back burner, waiting patiently while I find the courage to take my next leap of faith. Then the London Marathon happened and I had an aha moment. I'd done everything I could to make an impossible goal possible and because of an outside factor, things didn't go my way. BQ or Bust helped me realize that I pushed my next project to the back burner because once again, I was using the excuse, "I'm just going to figure this out and get it perfect before going for it".

Nothing happens when you sit around waiting to have it all "figured out". You learn by doing from the mistakes and missteps you make along the way. The only way you can build and strengthen your courage and confidence is if you flex those muscles. That's something I'm reminded of every week when I listen to How I Built This

I can't share what this new project is just yet, I can say that Run, Selfie, Repeat isn't going anywhere. My mission has always been and will always be to help people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds laugh at the struggle that is putting their strongest foot forward. This new chapter is just helping me cast a wider net.

But one thing is for sure, none of this would be happening had it not been for running, selfies with hot dudes, and a community post we made on Buzzfeed. Every time I see someone try to smear that chapter of my story, I'm reminded of what I'm fighting for. To stand firmly, proudly, and honestly in my past. Because it's easy for someone who knows nothing about you and what you stand for to pick and choose ways to try to knock you down. That's why you have to know your worth and what you're capable of when you dare to fail. But if you can learn to listen with an open heart and a sassy spirit, there's no failure, misstep, or troll that can stop you from kicking ass and taking names.

All my life I wanted to be a runner so that I could lose weight and be skinny like the women I saw in the media. Today, I'm so f*cking grateful that I'm a runner because I now know that skinny doesn't equal strength. Strength doesn't look a certain way, it feels a certain way. And that feeling changes lives. It changed mine and I'm hell bent on helping the badass lady gang discover it as well. 

The future is strong. I can't wait to share with you what's next. 

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 #BadassLadyGang5K

As former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I understand why so many people f*cking hate running. It hurts. It feels impossible! And according the media, unless you're slim, you will never feel like you look like a runner. (LUCKILY, that's changing. SHOUTOUT TO THE #SPORTSBRASQUAD!) 

When Women's Running Magazine asked me if I wanted to include a training plan of some sort in my July issue, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I didn't want to create a plan for runners who already discovered the transformative and empowering gift of running, I wanted to challenge those people to get their #BadassLadyGang running as well. 

With the help of my Coach Josh Maio, we created two different plans: 

Run Your Strongest 5K Training Plan & The Badass Beginner 5K Training Plan

Here is my challenge to all of you, set a goal that scares the crap out of you. Maybe that means running the entire 5K without having to stop to walk. Or maybe that means breaking 21 minutes. As long as the goal is one step outside of your comfort zone and feels a tiny bit insane, THAT is all that matters. (Runners looking to build speed and endurance, THIS IS THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU! The only way you'll run faster is if you run faster! Start with this plan. It will kick your ass and spit you out a stronger and more badass runner in just 4 weeks!) 

Next, challenge the women in your #BadassLadyGang to join you. Challenge your mom, sister, best friend, boss, acquaintance, next door neighbor, frenemy, mortal enemy, mother in law, or your ex's sisters to join you because no one should have to chase down their first finish line alone.  

Look, it doesn't matter if you're a brand new runner or if you're 5K goal feels impossible, running is really, really, really hard for everyone. But with the support of your #BadassLadyGang, the entire ordeal is a hell of a lot more fun!

Running is so much more than just an amazing way to stay healthy. Give that gift to the women you love! Encourage them to join you and train for the #BadassLadyGang5K!

A few tips--

  1. If you're worried about making it through 4 weeks without falling behind, just focus on today. If you miss a day or two or three, just get back on track. Keep your eyes on the prize and focus on what you can do TODAY.
  2.  If you're super busy, block out time to get that run in in your calendar. Treat it like an appointment that you can't cancel and make it a priority! It's just 4 weeks!
  3. Make it fun! Listen to a podcast (Might I suggest the Run, Selfie, Repeat podcast on iTunes or Google Play?) or listen to some music! Or unplug and have some alone time. Find what works for you!

Otherwise, keep your eyes on WomensRunning.com every Monday for some new 5K training tips, tricks, and training jokes or follow me on Instagram!

And share your own training journey by using the hashtag, #BadassLadyGang5K! 

Now set your impossible goal and build your badass lady gang! Only 4 weeks until race day! We can do anything in 4 weeks! 

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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.

Join Us Tomorrow For Global #SportsBraSquad Day!

What are you doing tomorrow, Saturday, June 24th? Showing the world what strength actually looks like during Global Sports Bra Squad Day? HELL YEAH YOU ARE! 

The #SportsBraSquad started as a way for women to ditch their shirts along with their insecurities, and show the world what strength looks like. In 2015, the National Eating Disorders Association found that 70% of women don’t like their bodies. 70%! That’s a disappointing and frustrating statistic and the only way we can combat the self loathing and disappointment women feel towards their bodies is to change the way we see strength!

But ditching your shirt for the first time can feel terrifying! There's strength in numbers which is why on June 24th, Sports Bra Squads in 5 countries and over 50 cities will be coming together to show the world that our bodies are strong as hell! 

Arkansas

Fayetteville!

California

Los Angeles!

Long Beach, CA!

Hollister, CA!

Encinitas, CA (North San Diego)!

San Francisco! 

Sacramento!

Oakland!

Colorado

TitleNine Colorado Springs (9am 210 N Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

DC

Washington D.C.!

Florida

Boca Raton/Deerfield Beach!

Orlando!

Belleair Beach!

Georgia

Decatur, GA!

Augusta, GA!

Hawaii

Kailua Kona!

Illinois

Chicago, IL! 

Indiana

Indianapolis!

Lafayette! 

Iowa

Des Moines

Ohio 

Cincinnati, OH!

Toldedo!

Kentucky

Paducah

Lexington

Massachusetts

Boston, MA!

Worcester City! 

Maryland

Baltimore!

Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI! 

St. Joseph, MI!

Missouri

Kansas City, MO!

New Jersey

Jersey City!

Louisiana

New Orleans!

Oklahoma

Norman!

Oregon

Portland!

Minnesota

Stillwater!

Nevada

Reno!

New York

Albany!

New York City!  (with me!!!!)

Syracuse, NY!

Pennsylvania

Philly!

Pittsburgh!

Hatfield!

South Carolina

Columbia!

Greenville!

Tennessee

Nashville, TN!

Texas

Dallas

Austin

Virginia

Fort Monroe, VA!

Roanoke, VA

Washington

Seattle!

Wisconsin

Oshkosh, WI!

Madison, WI!

British Columbia

Nanaimo!

Denmark

Copenhagen!

Mexico

Guadalajara!

U.K.

London!

But if you're going to be in New York City on June 24th, join me for a 2.5 mile run/walk and a post run discussion! DETAILS! 

Where? We will be meeting at Finish Line Physical Therapy at 3pm.

To check out the route, CLICK HERE.

Will there be bag drop? YES!

Do you need to run in a sports bra? NO WAY! Only if you'd like to!

Is this women only? HELL NO. MEN, we need your support!

Can I bring my children? PLEASE DO!

Are all athletic levels welcome? YES!

It's supposed to rain, are we still running. YES WE ARE!

Will there be a kick ass panel on strength, women in sport, and the body positivity movement? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! Joining the panel will be...

Me! Kelly Roberts!

Kelly Roberts

You may know Kelly Roberts from her popular blog and podcast "Run, Selfie, Repeat". A force in the body positivity movement, Kelly created the #SportsBraSquad initiative in 2016 encouraging women to ditch their shirts and their insecurities and show the world what strength actually looks like. She was named by Women's Running and Competitor magazines as a woman who is changing the sport of running and is currently on the July 2017 cover of Women’s Running Magazine. The self-proclaimed former President of the "I hate running club" encourages runners of all different athletic levels to set impossible goals and find a way to laugh through the pain. "Running isn't impossible, it just isn't easy. But through running, I've found a way to remind myself that even in the hardest times, as long as you can put one foot in front of the other and find a way to laugh through the pain, anything is possible."

Laura Ingalls

Laura Ingalls

LAURA J INGALLS began her career as a professional actress at the age of 22 and was blessed to enjoy 10 years of great success on the stage. However, at the age of 23, an inspired moment of weight-loss induced insanity at a pig roast sparked a second passion and career path in the field of wellness, coaching, personal training, and holistic health. After leaving the theater world at 32, she worked for several years in corporate wellness until 2016, when she co-founded Vivacious Life, LLC, a business that offers online and in person wellbeing programs and retreats for women. In addition to Vivacious Life, Laura is a personal trainer at the Greater Boston YMCA, a running coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and a public speaker. Her book, “F#@k Skinny: How I Quit Dieting & Found My Health,” is available on Amazon. She recently gave a TEDx talk titled, “Forget Skinny. It’s About Healthy," was featured by Reebok in a documentary, and hosts a weekly podcast, #VivaLaDiva, on iTunes. Laura is a runner, an ultra distance triathlete, and proud member of the #SportsBraSquad. You can learn more about Laura at her website, laurajingalls.com

April Argill

April Argill

April Cargill, 53 years old, was born and raised in Harlem, NY and is the mother of teenage son Aubrey. As a fashion industry veteran for the past 31 years, April currently is the Director of Production for Shoshanna and has worked under notable names such as Isaac Mizrahi and Vivienne Tam. April began running at her local YMCA 7 years ago, after finally kicking her smoking habit of over 25 years. “I just ran for cardio because I was worried I would gain weight and I also wanted to improve my health and lifestyle. It quickly became a daily habit. I ran for an hour at least 6 days a week and became close friends with an amazing runner, Suzanne Nabavi.” It wasn’t until November 2014 when April went to cheer on Sue for her first Marathon that she was inspired by all of the energy that not only Sue had, but the thousands of runners at the race. April was eager to get out there and following Sue’s guidance, April signed up for the NYC Half Marathon in 2015 and since then, April has run 2 full marathons, 8 half marathons and countless races at smaller mileages. April is a core member of both November Project and Harlem Run, both free community fitness movements. April is one of 5 ambassadors of PS You Got This, the brainchild of supermodel Candice Huffine. A group dedicated to encourage women of all ages, backgrounds and at any fitness abilities to start running. The most heartfelt achievement of all is that she inspired her son Aubrey, freshman at Cardinal Hays High School, to take part in her training groups, nun several NYRR road races, and is now running with the Varsity team at his school.

Whitney McFadden

Whitney McFadden

Whitney McFadden is a third year PhD student and psychiatry resident at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine here in NYC. She treats patients with depression, anxiety, addiction, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Her research focuses on uncovering heritable and environmental effects on the genome in order to understand psychiatric disease with an emphasis on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Her current projects aims to create a human brain map of cells to better understand how our mind works. Her interest in the science of psychiatry began as a child when her father (a current psychiatrist) taught her about the power of the brain and her mother (astronomer) taught her about space science. She became passionate about exploring the brain and our genetic blueprint to help us understand our health in the context of the body, mind, and behavior.

To RSVP for the NYC meetup, CLICK HERE! 

Let's show the world what strength looks like!

Global Sports Bra Squad Day
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.

Do Not Give Up: The Transformative Power Of Running

Giving up will always be an option. Always. 

The running world is an incredibly intimidating one to anyone who has struggled to be athletic. All day long, I read emails from women and a handful of men sharing their stories about what feels like an uphill battle that will never end. Because for those of us who want to feel empowered or who need the constant reminder that despite the fact that we aren't innately good at something, it doesn't mean that we can't be successful, running is a sort of salvation.

So we fight. And we fight. And we work towards finish lines that make us feel inadequate and hopeless, struggling to silence the voice in the back of our heads that says that we just aren't cut out for this.

And in those moments when giving up feels inevitable, we remember why we're running in the first place.

Maybe it's for your daughter(s) or your son(s) so that they can look at you and know that Mommy is a badass who never gives up on her goals.

Maybe you're doing it for your badass lady gang, because you know that even though you're the weakest link, you're all stronger because you're a team. 

Or maybe you're doing it for someone you lost. You run in their honor, or to raise money for the disease that took them, or to manage the bottomless hole you feel in your heart every second of every day. Because running and grief are one in the same. Neither ever get easier. You just get stronger.

Or maybe you run for yourself. To challenge that inner critic that whispers destructive thoughts when you look in the mirror. Or to prove that you're brave enough to advocate for yourself in the workplace. Maybe you're running away from a broken relationship that led you to believe that you aren't worthy of someone else's love and affection. Or even worse, your own.

Or maybe you're running because it hurts so f*cking badly that you don't have time to hear yourself think and process the mess that has become your life.

I started running because I was desperate. I knew nothing about the sport and convinced myself that I was an outsider for a long time. And while it took me a while to realize that I didn't need to prove myself as a runner to anyone, I also learned how transformative running could be.

There's nothing empowering about looking in the mirror and feeling like you aren't good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, or strong enough. There's nothing liberating about slaving away in a gym, working towards a number on a scale. But running towards finish lines that you've convinced yourself you aren't capable of crossing? 

That's magic. 

When I started Run, Selfie, Repeat, I didn't have an end game in mind. I was a young woman who was trying to make the most out of a viral hurricane that I found myself in. And over time, I found a safe haven in the community we built here. I trusted the women and men who came to Run, Selfie, Repeat and in turn shared their stories with me. I discovered the courage to open up about my struggles with my weight, grief, and journey as an athlete. I've made mistakes and embarrassed myself. I've let you all down time and time again but with your selfless support, found the courage to continue forward.

I'm human. I'm vulnerable. And I'm hell bent on changing the way we see strength. 

The world is wide enough for all of us. For both the extraordinary women who dare to become the best in the world and for the women who may never actually cross the finish line of a half marathon but still have the courage to show up to the starting line. In my eyes, both are equally impressive and inspiring.

Here's the thing about ego, if you're looking to gain respect in anyone's eyes but your own, you're doomed. You cannot get your worth from someone else. It's something that must be bestowed upon yourself.

I don't care who you are or what you think you are or are not capable of accomplishing, but you aren't just enough. You're more than enough.

Running is an empowering and transformative sport that I hope to bring to more women. Because everyone deserves to know what it's like to look in the mirror and feel so damn proud of the woman staring back at them. Everyone deserves to go through the process of setting a goal that feels utterly impossible, giving everything they have, falling on their face, brushing themselves off, and realizing that they are so much stronger than they ever thought possible.

Everyone deserves to discover that the only way you can actually fail is if you fail to try.

There's power in our stories, our missteps, failures, trials, and hardships. Because when we f*ck up, that's the real test of your resilience. Do you bury your head in the sand? Do you retreat? Do you listen to the people who never supported you but now come knocking, demanding to be acknowledged while they lie and define you? Or do you listen and try to give yourself vulnerably to your misstep? There's no right or wrong answer, just better and worse choices.

But here's the thing that running has actually taught me about life: You can always get back up. Giving up will always be an option and anyone who has actually given up knows that it isn't the easier one. Just sometimes it feels like the only one. But even when you give in to those moments of doubt, you can always pick yourself up and try again. 

Life is so very, very precious. Listen with an open heart but know that not everyone wants to see you succeed. When you come across these people, just smile and thank them for their time. You have nothing to prove to your father in law who asks you why you're not skinnier if you're training for a half marathon. Or your co-worker who tells you that you don't look like a runner. Or to anyone who thinks it's appropriate to tell you what you are or are not.

When Women's Running asked me to be on the cover of the July body issue, I froze. I thought about all the horrible things people say to me online both about my body and my character and in that moment, those very few disgusting comments rang louder than the thousands of emails, messages, and comments I see from women who are fighting to show the world what strength looks like alongside me. And luckily, the women in the #SportsBraSquad gave me the courage to woman up and humbly face my fears.

This issue is about redefining what strength looks like and celebrating the millions of women who are running for their lives. Who are embracing their strength, their health, and their bodies and supporting one another along the way.

In this issue of Women's Running Magazine, I wanted to find a way for women who have already discovered the power of running to give that gift to the women in their life who haven't yet discovered the power of running. So Women's Running and I came up with the idea for the #BadAssLadyGang5K. A virtual race that will go down after we complete a four week training plan that were created by the incredible Josh Maio. The first plan is for runners looking to run their strongest 5K and the second is for first time runners looking to kick ass and take names. 

This issue of Women's Running is dedicated to every single woman who has ever struggled to feel like they are or could be a runner. Or for anyone who has ever showed up to a race or run and felt like they didn't belong. Running has an incredible way of transforming and empowering women to live the lives they deserve to be living instead of the ones we've convinced themselves are just good enough. Giving up is always an option my friends. But so is going forward.

Let's give the empowering gift of running. Build the sisterhood. Thank you Women's Running Magazine for helping me show the world what strength looks like. Thank you Oiselle and Sally Bergesen for believing in me, sponsoring me, and giving me the courage to keep fighting. And thank you. Thank you for having my back, demanding the most out of me, and for never giving up.  

Head up, wings out. 

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.

I Made A Mistake

It appears that I've made a mistake. 

Race directors deserve the utmost respect and it appears that I've let some down. Banditting is a term in the running world that refers to someone who runs a race without registering. I wasn't aware that running even a piece of a race-- for example, jumping in to pace a friend for a few miles, was also against the rules. 

In San Francisco, I ran an out and back portion of a race a few times with a friend well before a race started. I didn't know it wasn't allowed. No officials ever asked us to leave the course and once the race started, we ran on the grass by the spectators until we found our friend who was going for a personal best. Once we found her, I ran a few miles with her to help her keep fighting. Then, I stopped to cheer with my friends for a few minutes, and then ran off into Golden Gate Park, off the course, to finish my 17 mile long run.

In Carlsbad, the exact situation was reversed. I was planning to run along the ocean and found out that a friend was running along the 101 during a race as well. I ran 10 miles with her and while I didn't pace her, she absolutely dragged me along because I was having a really hard day. I was grateful for her company but I didn't realize that I was making a mistake.  

I've reached out to the race directors to apologize and pay for my participation. I made a mistake and while my rationales don't make it all better, it's my hope that through my embarrassing and unfortunate mistakes, we can all learn from them. It's never my intention to let anyone down, rather the opposite. But I'm human and unfortunately, I made a mistake. I'm grateful it was brought to my attention so that I don't make the same mistakes again. 

The running community is an incredible one. Thank you for always having my back.

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.