Running To Survive

I can always tell where I'm at or what I'm struggling with by how vulnerable or closed off I am here on Run, Selfie, Repeat, on any of my social media channels, or when I get the opportunity to partner with the brands I love. To say that everything I do is calculated or planned could not be further from the truth. Yes, some of it is constructed, but the bulk of it is inspired by what I'm experiencing, enduring, and pushing through.

I shot this piece for Garmin the day before I ran the Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon. 

The Rock N Roll Philly Half was supposed to be my final gauge/test before going for my Boston Marathon qualifying time (BQ) attempt during the Chicago Marathon. My goal time was intimidating and after months of fighting my way through doubt and road blocks, I was feeling like a BQ may actually be possible. But I was nervous. I was invested and I was finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But the weather wasn't cooperating and after spending the morning with some elite athletes who all told me to forget my time and adjust, I was realizing I wasn't going to get that confidence boost or perfect race day.

I used to feel incredibly insecure about my pace. I was a slow runner and I struggled to assume the identity of a runner. After I ran my first marathon, I remember someone asking me about being a runner and I told them that I wasn't a real runner because I ran for fun. Kelly today knows how bogus that is because running for fun doesn't make you any less of a runner than someone who runs for strength, accomplishments, PR's, or time goals. If you run an eighteen minute mile or a sub five minute mile, a runner is a runner. I know now that it takes some people (like myself) time before they can feel confident in their new identity and strength. 

But when I met up with the Garmin team, I was just in a funky place in my life. I was feeling a little lost and intimidated about what was to come. 2016 has been a truly transformative year for me but to say it was easy couldn't be further from the truth. I struggled a lot more than I let on (which, if any of you watch my daily vlogs, I know you're probably laughing audibly right now) and watching myself in this video reminds me why I continue to run despite my doubts and fears.

I get a lot of push back whenever I say that I'm not a good runner. And whether or not you believe that to be true, it doesn't matter. Running has never gotten easier only more manageable for me. A lot like my grief. The pain I feel isn't as overwhelming as it was when my brother Scott first passed away or when I first started pushing my limits. Waking up in a panic doesn't shock me anymore. Falling apart in a grocery store doesn't leave me feeling out of control. I know what to expect and I just work through it. Exactly like what I do when I'm 19 miles into a marathon and I start to tell myself that I can't do this. I know I can in fact do this, I just need to keep fighting. 

Jake and Natalie, the two hilarious and wonderful people from Garmin who were on site to work with me during this shoot asked me how I beat yesterday. Honestly, I don't have a good answer to that question. As much as I want to beat yesterday, my real goal is to survive today and make it to tomorrow. To continue to fight to put my strongest foot forward, whatever that means on any given day.

The first forty-five seconds of this video are a pretty good representation of what this year was like for me. It hasn't been easy but that impossible goal I ran towards (and will continue to work towards come Christmas) has kept me going. The fear I feel every time I put my running shoes on reminds me that I'm alive and that I have so much to to be grateful for. Even if it hurts.

Not all pains are bad pains. Some pains really do mean that you're getting stronger.

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.