February 13 2018
Colleen Kelly Alexander discusses the accident that changed her life and how she has rebounded in spite of the trauma to her mind and body.
LAURA GORJANC PIZMOHT
WILLOUGHBY HILLS, OH
FOUNDER OF SALTYRUNNING.COM
I ran cross country and track in high school. But by the time I started law school, I had stopped exercising completely. The three years I spent working to become a lawyer were the most sedentary of my life.
After I passed the bar, I knew it was time to get active. I was completely out of shape, so I started walking at first, mixing in a bit of running along the way. My first workouts consisted of a half-hour of walking in which I’d run every fourth minute. I slowly got stronger and faster and began to run more and walk less.
But even after I ran my first 5k, I didn’t feel like a runner and was extremely self-conscious. When I went running on the trail near my house, I would wait at the trailhead until no one was around before starting my workout.
Then I met the man who would become my husband, and everything changed. He was an experienced runner and after we started dating, I went to cheer him on at one of his marathons. It was so exciting—I knew I wanted to be a part of the experience.
My then-boyfriend began coaching me. He would tell me not to get discouraged, and he helped me understand that training, patience and consistency together yield improvement. It takes years, not days, to truly improve as a runner.
I kept adding a little more time to my runs and increasing my speed. Before I knew it, I was training for a half marathon. I shocked myself by finishing my first half in 1:38—way faster than I anticipated. I set my sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
I pushed myself while training, and a few months later, I ran the Columbus Marathon in 3:25—good enough to qualify! It was incredibly rewarding to see how my hard work had paid off. I thought back to the days just a few years prior when I was so out of shape that I could barely run at all. I am still amazed by how far I have come.
Running has become an integral part of my marriage. My husband and I now have two children together and one on the way.
These days, when I’m not running, I edit a collaborative women’s running blog. I love sharing what I’ve learned with other women runners. My readers and fellow bloggers keep me accountable and motivated to get out there and keep on moving!