My first running idol

Since February seems to be the month of reflection over here, this topic fits right in. 

For my next post in the Nike Women’s Make Yourself Movement (first and second posts) I was able to pick from a few different prompts and this one jumped out at me:

Tell us about one person in your life who has inspired you to Make Yourself healthy and fit?

Which pretty much was interpreted to me as: who was your first running idol?

As I have said before, when I started blogging I really didn’t know much about the blogging community or that one even existed.  I honestly didn’t really know much about the running as a sport either, or who the big runners were.  I didn’t know who had won the Olympics or who the top contenders were in any of the big marathons.  I really didn’t have anyone to look up to as my running idol, and as a new runner, I definitely needed one.

A few weeks into running and blogging, I started searching the internet for running blogs, specifically ones in the bay area, and stumbled upon a couple, one of them being Running Stories (now creating space), written by Jen.  She had been blogging for a few years, was training for her second Boston marathon, and was a very experienced runner, especially in my newbie eyes. 

I read her blog for a few weeks before commenting, and distinctly remember being kind of freaked to comment on hers, but I did and it was the first blog I had ever commented on (yes I found it!):

I was one of the ones running by on Sunday :) it was my first real "race"… I am training for my first marathon right now so I love reading your blog and seeing what I will hopefully be able to accomplish down the road!! Great job on your runs!

It didn’t take long for the back and forth comments to start, she always had something encouraging to say or some great advice to pass along to me.  I read her blog all the time for advice on marathons, for bay area routes and just generally for inspiration for what I wanted to be as a runner. 


After my first marathon, we were training for the same marathon, my first CIM.  She told me all about the course and gave me some advice on choosing a marathon training plan, and ended up being a big reason I got into the Pfitz programs.   

Anytime I had a doubt, question or just general wondering I could go to her for a good answer and I definitely considered her to be like a coach to me.  We ended up meeting in real life for the first time that weekend of CIM and actually ran the last couple miles of that painful marathon together.  She was also there when I had my first big race heartbreak at Eugene and definitely had some helpful words to help mend my broken heart. 


Since then Jen has not only become like a coach to me, but she has become one of my very good friends.  Whenever I have a doubt about myself, feel bad about something, need to vent or just need a little bit of a cheerleader, I know I can count on her.  When I get excited about a random little run that really boosted my confidence, she knows exactly where I am coming from.  We just tick the same when it comes to running and training, and I know she understands exactly how I feel. 

Over the years, she has become a constant source of inspiration to me, especially as I have watched her change her focus over the last year.  She makes me want to work hard, she makes me want to be a better runner, and even more so, she makes me want to be a better person and live life to it’s fullest.

03.10 sf run 015

Thank you Jen for being all of those things to me.  For being my very first running idol, turning into incredible supportive friend and being my kindred spirit in running.

Do you have a running idol?  Do you remember your first one?

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22 Responses to My first running idol

  1. Jess February 16, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Aww I love that your idol is another blogger. I guess my first running idol was a super fast friend of mine in high school who was two years older. Kind of a mentor, I guess.

  2. katie February 16, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    what a wonderful tribute!

  3. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate February 16, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Kara Goucher ;)

  4. Marlene February 16, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    Great post/topic.

    My first running idol was hubs. :)

  5. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair February 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    YOU! Yours and Danica’s were the first running blogs I started reading when I was training for my first half-marathon in 2009 :)

    How cool you found your first ever comment on Jen’s blog!! Crazy to think how much has changed since then and from blogging!

    • Aron February 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

      LOVE this :) thank you, this comment has totally kept me smiling for days.

  6. Nelly February 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Awesome post. I hope Jen reads this (if she hasn’t already), she will be amazingly proud.

    I’m not sure if I have a running idol since I sort of started running when I was like 10 or something, but if I could pick anyone I’d probably pick my Dad. When I was growing up I remember him telling stories about doing track in high school and I was always fascinated with it. He was fast in high school, coming up just short in going to the State meet in the 100 yard dash. (they didn’t run 100 meters back then, haha)

    As for a current runner I look up to – I’d go with Haile Gebrselassie. He has set tons of world records at distances from 3000 meters all the way up to the marathon (current marathon world record holder at 2:03:59). I’m always amazed how easy he makes running look, and I really look forward to seeing him race at the London Olympics next year.

  7. Michelle February 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    I’ve got to ask since Eugene is only 10 weeks away for me….what was your heartbreak? Yikes!

  8. Karyn February 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    i don’t know if i have a “first” idol. i definitely look up to many of the blogs that i read. and the people that i post with on RW. but there’s no one that i really want to be. which is what i consider to be an idol.

  9. Jen February 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Aron, I am speechless! This is so embarassing and so awesome. I am so proud of you and am honored to be a “mentor” to you. It has been great watching you grow as a runner and now you are MY go-to running girl. I’m so glad we’ve become friends and get to share all this. Thank you so much for this great post!! XOXO

  10. Jen February 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Oh what a sweet story! How awesome that your idol is now a close friend :)
    My first running idol was my high school track coach. He ran (at least) one mile a day for an entire year, and I thought that was the coolest thing ever!

  11. Laura February 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    What a beautiful post! My good friend and co-worker Kelsea (who I mention frequently on my blog) is definitely my running idol. She’s totally not into racing and just loves to run. I know she’ll keep running until her legs fall off. Even though I have my days when I really enjoy running, there’s still a part of me that worries I’ll just quit one day. Man do I wish I had Kelsea’s spirit!

  12. Kim February 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Wow, this post made me cry! I love reading about how your friendship and support structure has grown over the years. I have so many great friends from swimming and running, and I truly feel that the people I have met, and the things I have learned about myself from endurance sports has truly made me the person that I am today. It’s friendships like yours with Jen that make all of the pain we endure during hard runs and obstacles we encounter in life easier to handle. Thank you so much for this post and having such a wonderful blog. I thoroughly enjoy following your training :)

  13. Alisa February 17, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    She’s my running, cycling, swimming and all around awesome girl idol too! Jen’s pretty much the BEST.

  14. Toronto Girl West February 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Idol is a HUGE word………….but in terms of running bloggers I looked up to . . . you and Danica!

    Honestly, I don’t remember which one of your two blogs I found first. But you seemed like nice normal girls that just happened to be great runners!

    And then I went to Long Beach and realized you two are just as great as you seemed! :)

    So thank-you for the inspiration!

    • Aron February 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

      You are so sweet, thank you for the amazing comment <3

  15. Jo Lynn February 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    And she has that beautiful smile I love so much! Nice to know you think the world of her. ;)

  16. Christine February 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Great story!! My running idol was my former roommate, she was already running marathons at the time and I had no desire to even walk a mile. I watched her at her first marathon and thought I could never do it and somehow ended up months later to start training for my first 5k. We start having “runner’s talk” at home and I got more and more involved. Now I can not stop running :)

  17. Susan - Nurse on the Run February 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    I’m not sure if I mentioned this before (I probably have), but you and Jen were both two of my main inspirations to start blogging…your blogs were some of the first running blogs I read, and sometimes I couldn’t keep you two straight since you were both from the west coast. I love how you two seemed to become friends and have a little community of runners…sooo thanks for being my running blog inspiration!

  18. Shortskirts March 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    This is such a great story. My running idol is one of my friend’s Kristen. I was a lacrosse player all through high school and college, and became an ultimate frisbee player when I moved to Seattle. But I never really saw myself as a runner. I never really ran distance until my friend Kristen was telling me about her training. She totally inspired me to start running during the winter frisbee hiatus and I love it!


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