Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon and Becoming A Runner

The air is electric here in New York as we gear up for the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon. Watching watching all of my co-workers, friends and family members who are getting ready to run the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon tomorrow (many running their first half marathon) makes me giddy with pride and excitement. Running your first half marathon is truly terrifying. I love being around first time runners because they take nothing for granted. Everything is huge and their energy is infectious. Some people love watching elites, I love watching first timers.

If you've never had an opportunity to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon, do it next year. It's one of my favorite races because of the pre and post race festivities. (Sure the course if fun and flat but it's what happens before and after the race where the magic lives.) This year Airbnb, New Balance and the NYRR SLAYED the expo this year. Their expo isn't a line of booths in a convention center, it's a Pre-Party. There's banging music and live bands to watch, mini golf, incredible race tees, swag and apparel, free local food, DELICIOUS local beer from Coney Island Brewery, food trucks and amazing people. (Brooklyn > Manhattan. There. I said it.)

It's the community, camaraderie, passion, drive, fun, and people that make running so rewarding and the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon is everything I love about the running community rolled into one giant party. I'll be live-instagramming throughout the race, as per usual, but this time I am going to be on Snapchat and making videos as well! So follow all the madness via @KellyKKRoberts.

I had a bit of an "AHA!" moment this past Wednesday after the Lululemon Brookfield Place Group Run hosted by my friend Gregg. I was walking out to the subway with a woman who is a new runner. Gregg is wonderful and does a really good job making everyone feel welcomed and encouraged regardless of their experience level so I knew she was still a little nervous about the idea of running a marathon.

We got on the topic of whether running ever got easier. I told her that in my opinion it doesn't. I told her that it's not that it gets easier, it more that running becomes a normalcy and a necessity. You eventually can't help but sort of become addicted to the training routine or the feeling you get when, after months and months of hard work, you cross the finish line. It's really, really addictive. Runners become adrenaline junkies who are always in pursuit of their personal best. 

A personal best doesn't exactly mean the amount of time it took to run a certain distance. It's a state of mind. One of the reasons why I fell truly, madly, deeply (insert Savage Garden joke here) in love with running and the running community is because runners give everything they have to be their personal best. You're surrounded by people who are fighting for their lives (both figuratively and literally) or people who have sacrificed and given everything they have to run and running isn't cheap! We all pay exorbitant sums of money and time to do what we do and there's no monetary payback. There's no world record or gold medal for a vast majority of us. We do it because our lives depend on it. We do it because running 10, 20, 30, 40+ miles a week gets us through each and every day.

Look this isn't a secret, I'm not a natural athlete. I've never liked sports or being active. I grew up feeling a bit like a black sheep because most of my family was really, really active and I couldn't relate to them. Naturally athletic people don't understand what it's like for someone who isn't athletic to strive to become more active. It's a daily struggle to muster the courage to go out and do something so foreign and uncomfortable for extended periods of time. I still cannot believe I am doing what I am doing. I cannot believe I love to run.  

Try not to define yourself or put yourself in a box. We're all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Just because something feels impossible today doesn't mean it's not worth a try. The day I ran my first half marathon I actually spoke the text, "I will never run a marathon. I feel like I will never walk again, I can only imagine what doing a marathon would feel like. I would rather die than run a marathon." Four months later, I ran a marathon. 

The unfamiliarity of doing something that feels impossible is why I love to run. I need that constant reminder not to listen to the voices in my head that tell me I'm not good enough or that I'll never be good enough. I need that constant reminder that I am strong and capable of doing just about anything if I put the work in. Running helps me push my limits to places I never dreamed were probable. Being able to do that with friends and like minded runners is only icing on the cake.

Happy running everyone and if you're running Brooklyn, I'll see you there! Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

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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.