Couch potato to 5k: how I got off my butt and started running

I was not an athletic child. Or teenager.

Tyler Kent Liesl Heidi Kurt 1997
I’m the tiny one – the monster attacking me is my sister

I blame my parents. As a proactive human being I shouldn’t necessarily go the “object-relations theory” route and blame everything on my parents, but I very directly and adamantly and unabashedly blame my non-athleticism on my well-meaning parents who I love.

Back in 2nd grade, I sat outside and watched a soccer demonstration done by a boy that I openly hated but secretly liked and decided that I, too, wanted to play soccer. I approached my mother and asked if I could do soccer like my brother did. My mother, wonderful as she is, is a very intimidating person (all of my friends were scared of her) and I was shy about asking for things.

BUT – she decided to do a test run before signing me up. So as a family we went out and played soccer. Keep in mind that I am the youngest child of ELEVEN kids, and already I was small for my age. Like 40 pounds or something.

After running around for approximately 20 minutes, one of my brothers who was at least 9 years older than me kicked the ball and


Right in the stomach. That ended the game.

Other 7-year-olds were probably tough, but not me. I started crying.

And my pragmatic parents were basically like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

“That’s what happens in soccer!”

So I said no thank you and swore off soccer. They were probably right, but I don’t think that 7-year-olds as a practice were getting kicked in the stomach by someone AT LEAST 120 POUNDS HEAVIER THAN THEM.

So, no soccer. No sports. I ran a 5k in 9th grade, and by “ran a 5k” I mean I trained a few times and then got hives the day of the 5k and proceeded to walk the whole thing while my dad took embarrassing pictures.

I wanted to be athletic, but figured I was just not ever going to be that person. I was too small. Too small for everything – never mind that one of my friends who was the same size as me played on the varsity basketball team.

I remained somewhat stagnant, aside from the occasional bursts of “LET’S START WORKING OUT” and would go to the gym and work the ellipticals or bike or something and then it’d get hard and I’d stop and return to my resting state. I knew exercise was good for me, I tried to have a decent attitude about it, but HOLY HANNAH IT WAS HARD.

Last May, I ran my first ever marathon. How the hell did I ever get into running?

I’ll write about it tomorrow.

Published by Liesl Hammer

Copywriter. B2B, B2C. I've written in the travel, ecommerce, health, and marketing niches.

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