My Running Story – ChelseaFebruary 7, 2017
Still Forging AheadFebruary 7, 2017
by Kim Zoot Holmes
My name is Kim and I am not a natural athlete. I was forced to play sports growing up and I was terrible. And terrible is probably an understatement. In middle school I finally got a rebound during one of the few times they let me off the bench in basketball, and I was so excited I took the ball down for a layup AT THE WRONG GOAL. Luckily I was terrible and missed, but it was still plenty humiliating. I always stayed active growing up, I liked to find things to keep me healthy, but I was never athletic by any means.
This pictures is me after the Cotton Row 5K in 2009. My finish time was around 39 minutes and I thought I was dying when I crossed the finish line. I barely trained for the event and mainly just did it because my brother and husband were doing the 10K and I did not want to be left out. It was terrible. I swore off running indefinitely and consoled myself with boxes of donuts.
But I still needed to get healthier…so I had a dilemma. If I hated running, what should I do? I joined Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp in 2010 which was an all female group that met at 5:30am weekday mornings. After about a month with that group I started getting some confidence and thought…maybe I should try running again.
In 2011 I revisited the Cotton Row race, but this time I did the 10K and I LOVED IT. It’s amazing how much nicer running is when you’ve trained properly. The problem was, my past failures at running taught me that I’m not very disciplined on my own. The boot camp helped me get into 10K shape, but I knew I’d need more if I wanted to try longer distances. That is when I made the best decision of my running life…I joined the half marathon training program at Fleet Feet Sports.
Not only did that program help me to train for a half marathon, but it introduced me to the joy of running with people. I fell into a wonderfully supportive community that I have been a part of and expanded every since. After my goal race was over I kept signing up for new challenges and even started trail running! Since that half marathon in 2011 I’ve done 17 half-marathons/25Ks and I’ve done 18 marathons+. I’ve done one 50-milers and one 100K. I’ve done a local stage race (3 days of trail racing) twice.
In other words? I am now an athlete. It didn’t come naturally, and it took me a long time to admit it to myself, but I am.
I still like to refer to myself as a “completer” not a “competer” – meaning my goal is always just to finish. But I do finish.
The funny thing is, running not only made me an athlete, it made me a friend. I suffered from incredible social anxieties (still do in many ways) for years, but running has helped me cope with those because getting to know people during a run eliminates all need for pretense. You can’t fake be someone you aren’t when you’re discussing boob chaffing. That’s a fact. Running has become my therapy and I’ve made friends on the road and on the trails that will last me a lifetime. We do more that build strength and endurance in this community, we build support networks and families.
This weekend I just finished the toughest race of my running career so far. It was a local 50K (Mountain Mist) and the conditions were challenging, to say the least. I spent a lot of time during that race thinking about how lucky I am to be in a community that pushes me outside my comfort zone. I had friends on the course and volunteering. Smiling faces at aid stations pushing me along. I’ve come a long way since 2009 – both physically and mentally – and running has enriched my life more than I ever knew was possible. I earned my athleticism as an adult, I was not born with it. I like to believe this means I won’t ever take it for granted.
Find more of Kim’s posts on her blog Miss Zoot.