09.29.13 • 2:55:pm #340
Fort Rucker, AL
I started running begrudgingly when I joined the military, because it wasn’t an option. Even then, I hated it and only ran when I was forced to. I’d never run more than 2 miles on my own time, and I always felt tortured before, during and after a run. But recently, someone told me to read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and it changed everything. I read that and then Eat and Run by Scott Jurek and finally understood what it was like to truly love to run. The day that I ran 3 miles on my own time I came home on such a runner’s high I almost went right back out and did it again.
I’m training for a half marathon and no one thinks I’ll actually do it. I’m out to prove them wrong. Then I’m onto a full marathon and an ultra. I’m not even telling anyone about the ultra goal.. they’ll just call me crazy. That’s my deep down goal that gets me through those last little torturous bits when my knee pain flares up or a migraine hits me in the middle of a run.
In the end, I started running because I needed an escape, and with a little bit of help I learned how running could be that escape.09.30.13 • 9:15:pm #348
I started running again because back in March 2006 I lost my brother he was only 24 years young. He was my side kick my partner in crime and I looked up to him even if he died by accident or suicide we will never know. In high school I ran both Cross Country and Track and Field so I always say “Once a runner,always a runner” so in 2008 I signed up for my first Marathon training in Miami Fl it was the best decision ever made. Running helped me get out of depression. I completed the training up to 22 miles in 3 hours and 30 minutes but to my luck I got injured. So now I run half marathons and when I run I feel somehow connected to my brother I feel as if he is running behind me protecting me. I run to feel connected to my brother and to no longer let depression rule my life.10.04.13 • 3:50:pm #368
Following is an article our local newspaper ran in May about our family as a promotion piece prior to our Brookings Marathon (Brookings SD)
The Family That Runs Together
By Amy Dunkle (Special to the Brookings Register)
Last fall, Scott and Carla Kwasniewski sent off their firstborn child, Kaitlin, to her freshman year of college Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, Minn.
“The day after she left, I started running,” laughed Carla, 42, and the owner of Second Glance Salon in Brookings. “I figured I could either lay in bed and cry that she was gone or get out of bed. And, that’s when I started.”
Today, with the end of Kaitlin’s freshman year in sight, Carla is gearing up to run the Brookings Half Marathon on Saturday, May 11. Kaitlin will run the half marathon, too, and Scott will tackle the Scotty Roberts 5K the night before. Son Carter, 17, and a junior at Brookings High School, will be cheering on his sister and parents.
For the Kwasnieskis, though, the focus hasn’t been so much about the race, but rather the journey in getting to the starting line.
A cheerleader in high school, Carla said she never felt stirred by competitive fires. She ran on and off throughout the years, but nothing steady or serious. Ultimately, hip pain discouraged her and she stopped.
About two years ago, Carla found herself weighing in at 175 pounds. She said she lost “a bunch of weight,” but still wasn’t working out.
Meanwhile, Scott, 43, a former high school athlete who played football and ran track, discovered the years had taken a similar toll on him. In the Marines after school, Scott, who never enjoyed running any distance, started racking up the miles in training and ran several 10K races.
“Then, life happens and you start getting older,” he explained, sounding the familiar call of the family, work, aging cycle. “You hit 40, your metabolism starts slowing down. You go to the doctor and get your physical, your cholesterol screening. You read articles and see other people in the community out running, and you think, geez, I really should be working out.”
A program specialist with the state Department of Labor and Regulation, Scott said the pace of his life shifted when he left his radio career five years ago.
The early mornings and hectic schedule as an on-air personality and doing sports play-by-play left little time for working out. He stayed active with golf, hunting and fishing, but that wasn’t enough.
A new way of life
Carla started out on her new regime slowly: “I’d run a block and walk a block. Then, I gradually just increased my mileage.”
Then, someone asked her about the half marathon.
“I guess it sounded like a good thing to do,” Carla said. “It was right after I had come home from a good run. I said, sure, I’ll go sign up. But, I think it’s helped keep me going, having a goal to work toward.”
For about the past year and a half, Scott made the effort to do something active every day. Like Carla, he’s been running for about the last eight months. And he, too, began gradually, walking on the family’s treadmill in the basement.
“I started out walking, but got bored with walking,” he said. “You can only watch so many movies. So, I started running. I’d run a mile here, run a mile there. Then, I’d go outside and run.”
Scott ended up running outside through the winter, actually enjoying what he once hated — even as the piles of snow mounted and the temperature dropped to five degrees. He added in lifting weights and cross training
As running and regular activity became part of their daily life, the Kwasniewskis changed the way they ate. Daughter Kaitlin led the food evolution earlier last summer as she recuperated from an ACL tear at the end of her senior basketball season at BHS.
Always on the move in high school and club soccer, and basketball, Kaitlin was used to fueling her body. When she carbo-loaded with pasta the night before a soccer game, so did the rest of the family. But, once sidelined by the injury, she adjusted her diet. Gone were the staples of pizza, pasta and cookies.
Scott noted, “The biggest change has been the diet. We cut out sugars, cut out breads. We eat a lot of veggies.”
Even Carter, who hasn’t logged any runs, has been supportive of the family effort, said Scott, and he is willing to try new dishes and enjoys most vegetables: “He makes pretty good food choices of his own, but still likes those Culver’s bacon cheeseburgers and pizza.”
Said Carla, “We’re eating a lot better. We feel so much better.”
Going the distance
In two years, Carla has lost 40 pounds. Scott is down 30 pounds.
The combination of running and eating better has made a notable difference in the quality of life, Carla said. “I sleep better, I feel better. I don’t need so much caffeine and Diet Coke. I work 12 hour days sometimes, and I have a lot more energy.”
Scott said he noticed the difference in simple every day life, not getting winded when climbing stairs or hiking and lugging around decoys when he hunts.
Kaitlin said she probably is in the best shape of her young life and she is eating a lot healthier. When she got cleared for activity last spring after her knee healed, Kaitlin hit the treadmill, walking, with the goal of being able to run.
“Just to being able to say I ran a mile today on the treadmill, after not being able to do anything,” she said. “I kept running at college, running three or four miles at a time, before I got cleared to play basketball.”
Looking back at her progression, Kaitlin said she felt good to see how she went from not being able to walk to running distances on a regular basis. At first, though, the running was the means to an end, to stay in shape to play.
“That was my main goal,” she said. “Getting ready for basketball. But, I actually ended up liking running.”
That her parents were running at home in Brookings and exploring healthy recipes added to the enjoyment and provided a connection, Kaitlin said. “It was a lot of fun. We’d call each other and say, I made this really good recipe, or I ran eight miles today. It was an activity we could do together with me at school. It was fun to share the experience.”
10.05.13 • 3:40:pm #372
- This reply was modified 5 months ago by ScottyKwas.
fort bliss, TX
Another military story, but mine non the less. My first run was a one mile pt test which I ran in 7:48. I came in first which was great minus feeling light headed fatigued and panting frantically. From there I just kept on running during pt sessions two to three times a week and progressively got better. I found myself excelling past others during group runs and was placed in Alpha run group where I would consistently rank amongst the top 5 – 6 finishers during our three and four mile runs. I wanted to be the best and started training on my own during the weekends uping my mileage to five and sometimes six. It wasn’t fast but I was adjusting. It completely changed my life. I found myself a better person and more outgoing when I would start my day off with a run, and coming to the end of my AIT training was able to occasionally finish top three and came in first a few times as well(In my wave creation 13′s). I kept up my run routine through out my start in the military, and over these past ten months in Afghanistan developed myself into an everyday runner with the help of a warrant officer who motivated me to take myself to the next level. He would work out in the morning do a twelve hour shift and run afterwards. He would also challenge me to total miles within a certain time span and even to a race. He challenged me and I accepted and now I know I can do more than what I thought I could. And that’s my story of my past four years of running. I haven’t participated in any races as of yet, but will likely in the near future.10.10.13 • 1:48:am #381
San Diego, CA
I started running early on as a kid. Growing up in a close-knit community in a neighborhood in the Philippines, the kids would always be outside, playing games. My childhood friends loved being active, and the kids on my blocked loved running. It was the “thing” to do–to race against each other. The fastest kids were admired by other kids. I used to race with them, and the feeling of adrenaline was just amazing. As a kid, pain didn’t mean that much. I always thought I’d be a track person, but that changed when I moved to California. Basketball was my life for 10+ years. As you can see, speed/sprinting was my game. It was only recently that I started doing long distance running. The numerous ankle injuries from basketball have taken a toll on my ability to run consistently, but I run as much as I can. Last week was my first time ever running a half-marathon distance, and that was on a treadmill (usually I run outside). Running long distance just gives me an amazing feeling after persevering through the pain and blisters. It makes me feel accomplished, at peace, focused, calm, and most of all, it gets me closer to God. I’m blessed to have bounced back from so many injuries and to be able to run the distance that I do now. It’s humbling, and at the same time, it’s empowering. Five years ago, I never would have imagined that running would be a big part of my life now. I always thought basketball will always be my passion. I must admit, it still holds a special place in my heart, but running is what feels right for me. It always has, and I pray that it always will. I’ve never ran in a half-marathon or a full-marathon event before.. I just run on my own. One day, when I’m financially secure, I would like to start running in those events and improve. I started running for the love of it, and I hope to continue for the same reason.10.11.13 • 4:09:pm #383
I am a college student. I have everything to be grateful for and no reason to complain, but I still wasn’t happy. This past summer I thought about killing myself. To a point where had my friend not randomly called me from a different country at midnight I don’t know what I would have done. It’s hard to talk about, but I needed something more. I needed to find a reason, find something. So I started running. I love it, it’s like nothing else matters. I am training for a half marathon and have run 4 5ks and am registered for 4 more. It’s my happy place. I would be lost with out it.10.18.13 • 1:13:pm #407
Moon Twp, PA
A few years ago I was over weight, smoking, recreational drug user, and just all around unhealthy. I had just turned 30 and spent my 20s working and living a life where I was going to die before I reached retirement age. I was already unhappy with myself and looking for a way out of my current life and a big change. I had a gig where I went to France and did field tech work for the Tour de France and while there met a pack of guys who were cancer survivors and now were riding the tour behind the race. One guy asked me what I did in terms of fitness and I said nothing. He told me how he was like me before he had cancer and now was in the best shape physically and mentally of his life all because of cancer. Essentially cancer was the best thing that ever happened to him as it was the catalyst that changed his life for the better. He and a few of the others told me I was wasting my youth and good health with my current lifestyle and that I would be much happier if I “made the change”. A year later I ran my first 5k and biked my 1st 100 miles. Now I have multiple 1/2 marathons down, run a sub 7min mile, and am training for my 1st full marathon. Since then I have discovered running isnt about time, distance, or pace but about being true to yourself and finding the inner you where you prove to yourself what is possible. I look back at the old me and wonder why I wasted so many years not running and how much better my life then would have been. Anymore, I am now an inspiration to others and have a few friends training for their 1st half marathons and getting their lives on track.
10.18.13 • 5:35:pm #409
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by jayrod422.
North Brookfield, MA
I started running because one day a co-worker asked me if I’d be interested in running a 6K and being on their team. I thought, “why not?” I struggled through that race but finished and never forgot the feeling of crossing the finish line and being cheered on by perfect strangers. I continued running and entering miscellaneous 5Ks but it wasn’t until this year that I stepped up my game and decided to set a goal to run a half marathon. I have significantly decreased my 5K time and increased my mileage and I’m proud of myself. I think I’ve always had the ability to do this and a lot of other things, but when I was young I was always treated like I couldn’t and like I wasn’t worth anything if I couldn’t be the best at something (this came from school and classmates, not from family; I have a very supportive family). Having attended a private school, the MO was that if you couldn’t be the best and contribute to a win or positive publicity, then you sat out. It’s taken me a long time to teach myself and I am capable and worth the effort. Running has given me the ability to be proud of myself regardless of where I finish. I enjoy the camaraderie of other runners and especially the feeling that I’m one of them and not their competition. I go out there and run for me and I do the best I can. Sure there will always be someone who is better. But I don’t care about them anymore. I care about me. I care about each and every run where I push myself and get just a little better each time out. This has given me courage and confidence.10.19.13 • 10:53:pm #413
Salt Lake City, UT
I started running right before my 30th birthday. I decided that I needed to make a positive change in my life. I used to drink and smoke a lot of cigarettes. I didn’t do much with my life until I got married. My wife helped me get on the right track. I quit smoking, and drinking. I went back to school to become an engineer. I knew that I needed something else to keep progressing my life for the better. Right before my 30th birthday, I decided to lace up my shoes and try a C25K program. I ran my first 5K in August right before school started and it was and amazing experience. Running has helped me become a better father, husband, and student. Running helps give me the answers that I am seeking and it clears my mind at the same time. It helps me progress, and slow down. I run to make me smile and to give me confidence. I have 2 more 5K’s before the end of the year and I will be running my first half marathon in the Spring. My son is also running as well. We will be running together next week. Seeing him want to be like me makes me proud and it is a sign that I have put my life on the right path.10.20.13 • 12:59:am #414
Tell City, IN
I am almost 50, overweight, and felt the need to make some changes in my life. I had to do some serious soul searching and face up to some serious truths about myself. I am legally blind and didn’t think walking outside or running would be much of an option anymore, but as the years passed, I found that my assumptions are often wrong. I have learned a lot about myself these last 5 years, since losing most of my sight an done of those things is to never doubt myself about whether I can accomplish something I put on my task/goal list. To make a long story short, I have started walking and running outside again and I have fell in love with life all over again! My sight wasn’t holding me back I was and I had to admit that to myself. Anyway, I find this site through a promotion and I am very glad I did. You all are so inspirational.10.21.13 • 4:40:am #421
About 10 years ago the Air Force changed the way they test for physical fitness and added a 1.5 mile run. I thought “I got this!” but I was wrong. All that time lifting in the gym hadn’t done anything for me as far as running goes. But I shrugged it off year after year until I deployed to Iraq in 2010. We had always done squadron PT (physical training) but I never had a commander that was very “in to fitness” until I met this commander. Distance running was his thing and he was very good at it. I have to admit I hated everything about running. I dreaded going out and pounding that pavement back then. Friday morning runs were the long runs, well long for me anyway, 5 miles minimum. The commander would show up in his Adidas and I knew it was going to be one of “those” days. But I found over the course of my 6 months in Iraq that I was enjoying the runs more and more. My time over there actually seemed to go by that much faster. Eventually I came back to the states and kept running. Nothing crazy…a few miles here and a few miles there but it was definitely part of my daily routine. I deployed again in 2011 to Oman and with the extra time on my hands and being away from home running just made sense. I stayed on my routine and gradually added the miles up. I completed my first half-marathon while deployed and ran the Deadwood Half-marathon when I got back to the states. Its funny when I look back on it all now because I never thought of myself as a runner. But its an everyday thing now and I just don’t quite feel the same when I don’t run. I have been in Korea for 10 months now and running has kept me busy as well as in good health. I’m not where I was a few years ago but I have devoted myself to running again. It’s a great way for me to end my days while I’m far away from home. I can think about whatever…or nothing at all. It just takes one step…then another…before you know it you lose yourself and just run.10.22.13 • 9:22:pm #445
East Longmeadow, MA
The short answer: to stop being so chubby and out of shape. Now, it’s much, much more than that to me.10.22.13 • 10:12:pm #446
Wow! All of these stories are inspiring. I have always been focused on health, had an exercise routine, ate well (for the most part), etc. Without the details, running for me was a way to deal with a brutal attack in college. And, even more so through an abusive relationship and subsequent nasty divorce. There is nothing better than taking an hour or two to focus on nothing but yourself and literally sweat out the pain and anxiety and to remind yourself that you can redefine what is possible. Today I am a PhD student and a newlywed to the most amazing man, and running is still apart of my daily life. Only now instead of running from life, I run in celebration of it.10.23.13 • 2:16:pm #452
I started running because a doctor told me I shouldn’t – and probably couldn’t – ever run or I would have arthritis by 25 following two reconstructive surgeries on my R knee at ages 16 & 19 (thank you soccer and torn, ACL, MCL, cartilage). I started walking and then running to just get back into shape following the frehsman 15 and sophomore additional 15… and then while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina I signed up for the Nike Corre 10k as a senior in college. It was my first race ever, and it is still possibly the most amazing experience of my life. Every runner was required to wear the blue race shirt to enter the corral (and they were strict about it), and once the race started, it was incredible just following and being a part of the 25,000 runner strong sea of blue weaving through the abnormally empty streets. Words still can’t describe the feeling from that run, but that was all I needed to be hooked. And now here I am at 27 and I’ve conquered everything from the 5k to marathon and last year completed my first 70.3, I have no plans to stop and I still don’t have arthritis.10.25.13 • 9:18:pm #460
Southern Pines, NC
I started running in junior high school on the track team and thought nothing of it. Then it was just short distances. I think the longest event I ran was the half mile and as far as I know I still hold the record at the school. In high school, I tried my hand at running cross country. I was a middle of the pack runner, mainly because I only ran when I had to run for training. I stopped running after graduation and when I went on to college. I would run here and there to try and get back into shape throughout my college career, however I have never been able to stick to a routine. Within the past few years I have been trying to get back into running and trying to see if I can train to complete a half marathon. It seems that anytime I get close to obtaining this goal I am either injured or my schedule changes drastically that I cannot maintain a running routine to train. I also started running again to loose weight and live a healthy life for my wife and boys. Running has also become a way to release stress from the day experienced.
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