I wear the biggest smile on my face when someone refers to me as a runner. It happens all the time now (because duh, I am a runner) but two years ago if someone were to tell me that I would go viral for something I did while running a half marathon I would pass out from laughing so hard. I spent my entire adolescence trying to get out of running the mile in P.E. I think I even once hid under a bush trying to get out of running the mile. (Desperate times call for desperate measures.) Up until a year and a half ago, I thought I hated running.
My name is Kelly Roberts and my story went viral when I took selfies with hot guys during the NYC Half Marathon. How did I come up with the idea? I wish I had been brilliant enough to plan it ahead of time, but truth be told, the morning of the race I was in my holding corral when I noticed a really handsome man standing behind me. I was stealthily taking a selfie with prince charming in the background to send to my sister when the idea popped into my head. I thought “I should take a selfie with a hot guy every mile of the race.” Chasing attractive men is a very motivating tactic, I highly recommend it ladies. I spent so much time chasing guys and live instagram-ing the selfies that I ended up running my second fastest half marathon to date. Thirteen selfies later I was doing a phone interview with “Good Morning America” and my selfies went viral.
So that happened. With the attention I was receiving I decided to create my blog www.RunSelfieRepeat.com, share my story, make people laugh and maybe motivate people to get active along the way. (I mean if I can do it, anyone can do it.) So what’s my story? Well, I started running on Thanksgiving Day 2012. I moved home after college unsure what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to move to New York so it made sense to take some time, save money, and save on rent/utilities. I felt stagnant, I wanted to be chasing my passion and living on my own. Then the guy I had fallen for broke up with me and I felt the familiar wave of sadness and hopelessness wash over me. The gym was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday and I really wanted to move. I put on my gym shoes and went for a run. I didn’t even make it to the end of my block when I was winded and had to stop to walk (so embarrassing). But it did the trick, being outside and being active helped alleviate some of my sadness. My best friend Irene who was an avid runner suggested I stick with it and try to run a half marathon with her.
I started using Runkeeper six days after my first “run.” I had tried two or three different running apps before I chose Runkeeper and none of them gave me what I was looking for. I was brand new to the running world and didn’t know what I was doing. I wanted something that made running easy. At the time, 13.1 miles seemed unattainable. I thought to myself “HA! I could never do this” but I looked at the plan I signed up for and thought, “What do I have to lose?”
The first few weeks were hard. I was sore in places I didn’t know existed for extended periods of time. But before I knew it I was running three miles without stopping. I found myself telling anyone who would listen that I run three miles just because. (It was very impressive at the time.) Within one month I found myself looking forward to my nighttime runs and then I fell head over heels in love with running. It’s ironic; I thought I was running from my problems when I signed up for my half marathon. But running was actually my solution.
I’m at a very exciting time in my life: I’m young, I’m single, I have an exciting job, tons of opportunities, (I’m broke), and I live in a city that doesn’t sleep. Runkeeper keeps me on track. In the past year and a half I have run one 10k, one full marathon and seven half marathons. I know what it takes to train for an endurance race and despite knowing I should go out and run I still find myself making excuses not hit the pavement. Runkeeper sweetly reminds me “that marathon isn’t going to run itself, maybe you should put the beer down and stick with water for the rest of the night.” And I think “leave me alone Runkeeper, I am just being a girl.” To which it responds, “You will thank me later. You don’t have any money to buy that beer anyways.” And I think, “Dangit Runkeeper, you win this time!” But it’s true; I am happier and healthier when I am running.
Running keeps me healthy physically and mentally. It has helped me through the loss of my brother, huge changes in my life, and breakups. Ironically, I ran the NYC Half Marathon because I was having a hard time with a breakup. I just needed to run to clear my head. (Then going viral for taking pictures with hot guys was icing on the cake.) Running my marathon last year was the proudest moment of my life. I trained for it all by myself and Runkeeper made it possible. Last weekend I ran my seventh half marathon, The Brooklyn Half, and I just teamed up with the charity “Team for Kids” to start training for my second marathon, The New York Marathon coming up this November. My goal is to qualify for Boston which means I need to run it in 3 hours and 30 minutes. (FYI: I ran my last marathon in 4 hours and 40 minutes.) So I have an overwhelming amount of work to do to make that goal possible but I am up for the challenge. And with Runkeeper how can I lose?