Giveaway Winner and Lauren’s Running Story!

The winner the the ALTRA running shoes is……..

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Congrats!! Email me and we will get you your awesome shoes!


Ever since I was little, I was always enthralled by sports. I watched Braves games with my dad, sumo wrestling with my Grandma (it’s not totally random: I’m a quarter Japanese), and as many Olympic events as I could take in. I always wanted to play sports myself, but my coordination has always been on about the same level as a blind-folded drunker giraffe on one leg.

I spent my childhood trying and quitting various sports: Basketball, cheerleading, ice skating, etc. I finally gave up and took up theatre in high school, which I loved, but I still wished I could be one of those super cool athletic chicks.

Fast forward a few years, to the spring of 2010… My husband (Aaron) and I have just gotten married a couple months earlier on New Year’s Eve, and he is currently at Fort Huachuca in Arizona for morse code school (yes, they still use morse code in the military). I’ve decided to keep myself busy by working out, so I’ve tried running (but no more than 2 miles at a time). I decide to time my 2 mile run, and I fight to finish in less than 25 minutes. 

Fast forward a bit more to January 2011… Aaron and I are now in Korea (where we still are now) and have been since June 2010. Shortly before we got to Korea, I had stopped running. But then I found myself in a foreign country (after having only lived in a small town in Georgia for my entire life), dealing with the unexpected stresses of military life, with no way to relax or clear my head. 

I started reading Runner’s World magazine and kept seeing all these things about how people use running to relax and as a form of therapy. I knew that I wasn’t naturally good at running and that I had gotten frustrated with it in the past, but I decided to try just once more. I talked to my dad (who has been running for a few years) and we decided to run a half marathon together in June when Aaron and I went to the states on leave. So, I found myself a training plan and on January 17th, 2011, I became a runner.

The next few months consisted of injuries (IT band at my hip and shin splints), frustration, and serious considerations of just quitting all together. But, I kept pushing and maintained my focus on the race my dad and I had registered for: The Pacific Crest Half Marathon in Sunriver, OR.

10miler5After all the doubts, questioning, and frustration I had felt during my training, it all paid off when I ran my first ever race. My dad and I ran together up until the very last mile, and the whole day was such an amazing experience (except for maybe when I almost got taken out by a stray golf ball that narrowly missed my head around mile 11). I sprinted across the finish line at 2:19:35 and felt amazing. Right after my dad and I caught up with our many spectators (of course Aaron and my mom were there, but so were my mother in law, brother in law, and one of my husband’s best friends), my mom disappeared into the expo tents and came back with an awesome 13.1 shirt for me.

I knew right then and there that I would never stop running again. That runner’s high that you always hear about is real. The excitement of race day really does stay with you. And the lessons running can teach you, not just about fitness, but about life, are far too valuable to pass up.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to be perfect at something to enjoy it.

I’ve realized that being athletic isn’t about being genetically gifted, but about dedicating yourself to a sport that you are passionate about.

I’ve learned that I am not defined by a number on a scale or a tape measure, and that my body’s abilities are far more important and impressive than the size of my clothes.

I’ve learned to live with (and now love) my smaller boobs (and am pretty sure I’m just one marathon training plan away from applying to that committee… yeah, you know the one).

I’ve learned that burgers are the perfect recovery food and chocolate milk isn’t just for little kids.


I’ve learned that I can do this, simply because I say I can.

I’ve learned how, not just to admit my shortcomings, but to find ways to better myself… And I don’t just mean doing speed work to improve my pace. I mean realizing all the ways in which I can better myself as a wife, daughter, and woman. 

I’m grateful for running and what it has given me. I’ve managed, not just to save my sanity while being an Army wife (and living overseas), but to learn the importance of the time we spend here. I’m not going to lie, Aaron and I would still jump at any opportunity to go back to the states early, but the fact remains that we are here until June 2012, whether we are happy about it or not, so shouldn’t we at least try to embrace it, rather than suffer through these last months? Though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dying to be able to be stateside again where I could be running races as often as my body would let me!

Through all of this, I believe my running journey has been enriched by the blogging community (which I joined when I started running). I get such amazing advice and encouragement, that I sometimes wonder how different my view of running would be if it weren’t for all of the amazing people I’ve met through blogging. True, I haven’t met of them in person (yet!), but I still feel that we share this bond through running, because it does take a certain type of person (*cough*crazy*cough*) to want to go out there and run for miles on end for fun. I am extremely grateful for my blogging friends and I hope to meet each and every one of them some day. 

I plan to keep running (and blogging!) while we’re here in Korea, when we get to our next duty station, when Aaron gets out of the Army and we finally become a civilian family, after we have a baby (jogging stroller and all), and for as long after that as I can. 

261868 2219464091187 1385192629 32723512 1884946 nNow go check out Lauren’s AMAZING blog and have an amazing day!


Have you ever lived in another country?

-I haven’t but Billy lived in Ukraine for a little while!

Did you ever experience any of those same injuries (IT band, shin splints ets) that Lauren did when you first started running?

-Shin splints for shizzle.  I thought my legs were going to explode.

Do you usually buy things at race expos?

-I never have but I am thinking that I will in NY……Billy might have to give me a budget otherwise things are going to get crazy.

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Lauren, it’s so nice to ‘meet’ you! You have a wonderful story and such courage with moving to so many new and exotic places. Running is clearly something that keeps you calm during such big changes. I love it! :)


Whooo, Lauren! Freaking lucky winner. Stinker. I’m heading over to your blog to see what this fuss is all about! :P

… And, yes, I lived in Mexico as a kid. Mi familia has a casa down there, just a little south of Rosarito, in Las Salinas.

… I had terrible, terrible knee pain that was so bad I almost quit running. It took me almost two years before I was ever able to run a half marathon, I had to be so careful with scaling my mileage.

…. Yes, I buy things at Expos. Bad, bad, Courtney. Such a sucka.


Way to go Lauren!

My Dad was in the air force growing up so I lived in England for 3 years and Germany for 3 years. I loved them both.

I didn’t have major injuries starting out, but I started out so slowly that you would hardly even believe it. Soooo slowly.


Great story! I love reading these- they are so inspiring and exciting!! :)


My little sister lived in the Ukraine for two years and is now in Slovenia. Sadly I have not been able to visit her overseas!!


I have lost my sensible cool at too many expos to admit to. In 2006 at the Chicago marathon expo I think I spent somewhere around $500 that I did not have on crazy stuff that I thought that I needed to have. I used to get so excited about all of the race gear that I wasn’t paying attention to the quality of the fabrics and how durable they would be over time. So make sure you don’t get crazy like me and check the quality of the work to make sure you buy something that will last over time.


Never lived outside the US. But London is calling my name.
No repeat injuries here. But I did land a stress fracture after my first half marathon. Trying to increase my pace too fast. So now I stay in the turtle zone.
I do buy things at the expo’s. Mostly stickers or tshirts. Got my compression calf sleeves (Zensha) at the Vegas Expo.

The Kidless Kronicles


Great choice for a story! I’ve followed Lauren’s blog for awhile and she has some great running (and living abroad!) stories!


Great post! Congrats to the winna :D It would be cool to live in another country!


excellent story!

I brought a t shirt at my first 1/2 marathon expo. NYC will be my first marathon so I’m planning on buying a few things. :) I may or may not have been saving some money for a nice hoodie…


Aww Lauren at Duck on the Run is awesome, I’m already one of her fans!
Thanks for featuring her!


Love Lauren – she’s super sweet! Her story is great and one that we can all relate to in some way.


The hubs and I lived in Taiwan for 5 months right after we were married. That’s when we ran our first half marathon. Wow I never realized how I took deodorant for granted, it took a third world country to make me forever grateful for bo blockers. But I loved it. We are actually planning on moving back and I can’t wait to do that race again…


Aw, yay! Thanks again for letting me share my story on here!! :) :)


Super love the post. It feels like my relationship with running. It’s something I have to work at but finishing a race feels so good.
I’ve dealt with IT band, shin splints, and plantars and they are such frustrations. Thank goodness for my awesome chiro/podiatrist/ and family doctors who know better than to tell me to stop training (they would if injury were a serious concern) but just help me with my issues.
I’ve never bought anything at a race – but the races I’ve done are super small so who knows.


Can’t wait to be back to read this! Love her! And love her red shirt. Nice rack…um I mean shirt. But nice rack too….green with envy here. :) ha ha


Bahaha! Thanks, Amanda! The girls are still slowly diminishing though… I’m curious to see what I’ll look like the next time I buy a race expo shirt (in roughly a year)… I’ll have to compare the two…err, four. lmao.


Hey where did my previous comment go??? Sorry if it offended anyone…I really was serious. Lauren is awesome!


Yesssss Lauren!!!! Love love love your story :) You keep going sister (you know all of us are running sisters right?!?). Don’t ever doubt yourself – embrace your inner GRIT!


Injuries love me. BOOOO! Shin splints, plantars fasciitis, achilles tendonitits. All 3 are horrible :( But, pain is temporary!

Yes, you have to buy something in NY!!! I so wish I was running that race! The auto qual is much harder for 2013 so I either need to bust out a 1:37 or pray to land a lotto spot!!


I got two adorable long sleeve Nike shirts at the Chi Mar Expo…I coudn’t resist! I also got an ear warmer with the St Jude log at the Memphis half that I use all the time and totally motivates me!


Boobs? What boobs?

IT Band issues are the bane of my existence! And Lauren’s story reminds me a lot of mine. (Well, the uncoordinated theater freak part :)). Thanks for introducing her to me!


Such a positive post- great thing to read first thing in the morning, Lauren :)! So far, I have lived in Nigeria, England and now India…who knows how many more countries the future will add on to the list!


I lived in another country before. It was called Maryland. It snowed there. Scary, huh.


I’ve lived in Andorra (I was born there), Spain, USA and now I live in the Netherlands. :)
Why didn’t I win???


Great post! I lived in Japan as an exchange student in high school. I loved the experience but I was very homesick and it ruined a lot of my experience. So enjoy Korea! You will only be there until June! Get out and explore it! Find some running friends!


I have lived in so many countries and am in Delhi, India at the moment. WIll keep travelling for the next years- its an exciting but also stressful live. I never buy stuff at race-expos but love getting anything for free. haha


I lived in vienna for a month when I was in college for a summer semester. It was pretty awesome.

I have ITB pain now, but not when I started running. Yucko


Awesome, awesome story!!!
I lived in Cuba for a year and Italy for a Summer!


That’s so awesome! Definitely checking out Lauren’s blog. I’ve never lived in another country but I totally wish I had studied abroad. I would love to have lived in England or Australia for a semester.


I live in NY and plan to be a spectator for the marathon! A meet up would be fun!! You mention you suffered from shin splints..can you give some advice on how you overcame them? I’ve been battling since May …I just found compression socks and when I ran 7mi last Sunday, they def helped. But I’m still needing to ice/roll a few times a day and speed work is always killer. So, how’d you overcome them?

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