I'm Kelley, the owner of Hippie Chick Running Company.  Nice to meet you!

A little bit about me and my running journey?

Well, I was an athlete in a variety of sports from junior high through college, but I never considered myself to be a runner until later in my adult life.  In fact, I hated running as a child.

I joined the track team in high school to help a friend spend time with a boy she liked (they eventually married, so in the name of love, it was worth it!).  My condition to join the track team: throw the discus and shot put.  At one point, the coaches asked me to fill in the roster for the hurdles because of my height.  I was OK in the 100-meter hurdles but in the 300-meter hurdles--HA!  I was dead last. Every. Time.  Beat by at least 100 meters.  OUCH!

I found that I actually could throw discus well.  Not awesome enough to be recruited by college teams, but decent enough to walk on to my college's track team.  I felt so powerful and graceful when I threw a disc.  The college track team became my second family.  The worst part of practice: running.  With the runners.  Luckily, I survived.

I started a full-time job after college graduation and like most people, couldn't "find" the time to workout.  Typical effect: gained weight.  Ugh.

At some point, I decided to get a handle on my health and my well being overall.  I joined a gym, tracked my food, listened to hypnosis CDs, lit scented candles...all the fun stuff!  At the gym, I still could not make myself run.  I found comfort in yoga sessions and boot camp workouts.  I felt strong again and the weight I had piled on since college melted off.

And, once I had a handle on my health, I got pregnant.  I slowly discovered how I could treat myself to snacks that I had religiously avoided for the prior few years without gaining weight.  Being a baby incubator worked well for my body.  Until it didn't.

I enjoyed weigh-ins through the first half of my pregnancy.  At the midpoint, out of the blue, my body was disobeying me and my weight skyrocketed.  By the end, I gained 60 pounds.  "It's OK," I consoled myself while eating a bagel slathered with an inch of cream cheese.

I breastfed my beautiful baby girl for six months.  I promised myself that as soon as she weaned, I'd start working out and track my food intake.

Truth be told, I did miss my yoga sessions.  So, I joined a new gym but just could not get into the groove with yoga like I did pre-pregnancy.  I was constantly worried about the baby.  And work.  And family.  And friends.

I quit the gym and decided that I would try running.  All I needed was a good pair of shoes.  We have lots of trails and running paths near my home.  I started a C25K program.  It ramped up too fast.  I was discouraged.  I tried a different C25K program.  Better than the first program, but I was still out of shape.  I decided to create my own C25K program based on several published programs with the biggest difference being that I repeated the same week once before increasing to the next step.  It took me twice as long but once I tested myself and ran a full mile without stopping, I found the confident me again.

Feet don't fail me now!

I (sort of) went overboard and signed up for a half marathon.  What was I thinking?  Seriously!  I was able to run a full mile...13.1 would be harder but do-able.

I approached race day with excitement.  All of the training paid off until halfway through I was booted off the course for my sssslllloooowww pace.  I was ahead of the race's minimum pace but because I was in the tail end of the runners, the race officials decided to open the streets on the course early.

My stubbornness refused to allow me to quit mid-race.  I scooted to the side of the road and thanked EVERYONE at the water stations who remained at their stations.  I was so grateful to see the finish line.  I walked to the car afterward and burst into tears as soon as I sat inside from the pride, sense of accomplishment...and the shame of being booted off the course for being slow.

Shortly after the half, I found out I was expecting my second bundle of joy.  Running needed to be put on the back burner through that pregnancy.  I was nauseous the entire 9 months and could barely keep my eyes open through the day.  Luckily (surprisingly!), I didn't pack on more weight with my second pregnancy.  But, I felt like a huge bump on a log.

I resumed running about six months after my second kid was born.  I ran a few 5Ks and was thoroughly enjoying running (although not losing weight because I was so ravenous after each run).  To keep my running momentum going through the winter, I joined a gym that had an indoor track in addition to treadmills.  On bad weather days, I alternated between the indoor track and treadmills using the treadmill days to catch up on my TV shows (how did we survive before Netflix and Hulu?????).  Good weather days, I enjoyed the local running paths.

Out of the blue, plantar fasciitis crept up on me in both feet one fall morning.  After trying gadget after gadget, different stretches, compression socks, shoe inserts, and ortho slippers, I think I finally have the PF under control.

Which leaves me where I am today.  My re-birth.  More like my re-re-re-birth into running.  This is a huge crossroads in my life with my other things also changing in my both my personal life and career.  I am mentally preparing for the changes I must accept in my eating habits in addition to my running.  My primary goal is to be healthy and fit.  The icing on the cake (yes, I did just go there!), is losing weight.

I'm so excited about running that as I started researching training plans, clothing and gear, I decided that I wanted to harness my passion about running into this blog.  It's my place to hold myself accountable.  Having a store attached to my blog is a bonus where I can showcase my special finds and creative designs as I move along in my adventure.

I'm thrilled to be able to create a supportive and encouraging space to connect with other runners from all walks of life at all stages of their running careers: the first wave runners as well as the ones who join me in the back of the pack; the Galloway Girls, the trail runners, and ultramarathon runners.

Click on "Leave A Comment" below and tell me about your story!  Where are you from?  Trail runner?  Road runner?  Treadmill?  5Ks? 10Ks? Halfs? Fulls? Ultras?  How did you start running?  What motivates you to continue running?