So let me start out by stating that running began as my worst enemy.

My arch-nemesis.

I hated it. Despised it, even.

While I was fortunate enough to have a natural affinity for fitness since a young age, running was the one obstacle I couldn’t overcome.

And it bugged the hell out of me!

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    The Early Years

    When I was super little, my parents would sign me up for a bunch of kids races.

    It seemed I had a knack for the sport, cause, you know, I was a hyped up six-year-old on a sugar rush 24-7.

    All forms of activity are easier when you’re a twiggly little child.

    But still, this gave me high hopes for the future.

    Fast forward to high school, and this is when I kind of established in my mind, that running and I were just never going to work out.

    In attempts to pick up running as a healthy habit, I joined the high-school track team for a season as a side hobby.

    All in all, I absolutely hated it.

    Nothing about it brought me joy.

    Just disappointment that running still didn’t feel easy.

    I resorted to taking advantage of my teenage metabolism and never (seriously) exercising.

    Then college came around, and while I would go to the gym to keep up with my fitness, there was always running in the back of my mind.

    It was that cloud hanging over my head, that I knew I’d never accomplished.

    And for some weird reason, it always bothered me.

    It was something I resented about myself.

    During my senior year of college, my life started to feel out of control.

    Through lack of purpose, anxiety + depression started to surface at this time in my life.

    I just felt stagnant. 

    Constantly, I would wake up and pick myself apart each day.

    I would routinely think how much happier I’d be if I was smarter, skinnier, prettier, etc.

    This unhealthy mindset plagued me for a while.

    All areas began to suffer, my grades dropped severely, my friendships were neglected, and I rarely did anything that made me happy.

    I felt completely out of control.

    The Tipping Point

    I craved feeling in control more than anything, and something I stumbled across that I felt I could control, was my weight.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was perfectly healthy.

    But I felt in my mind, if I could achieve the perfect level of “skinny-ness” that I aspired to, all my problems would go away.

    I began restricting calories. I was eating, just not eating enough.

    But to my excitement, I was losing weight.

    Then after a few weeks, my weight stalled. I established that I needed to add in workouts, and I knew that running was a simple way to burn calories; however, I still couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    I thought, why make myself do something that I KNOW I’ll fail at? 

    I’m not even sure why…but one day I decided to go out for a run.

    Something inside me had ENOUGH and was ready to start fighting these feelings of inadequacy.

    I ran, and huffed and puffed through maybe two miles, when I started crying my eyes out.

    But not because I was upset…

    But because I felt this release that I finally was ready to start fighting for my happiness.

    After this, I continued running little by little.

    I started out running for 10-minutes at a time. Then by the next week 20-minutes, and then a couple weeks later 30-minutes.

    It didn’t take long for running to become a habit.

    After 3-months went by, I was running on average 6-miles a day.

    I had finally gotten into the running groove and established a routine.

    The real kicker was, in those few months, while I did see those changes physically that I desired…

    …I ended up having the most intense mental transformation of my life.

    My Transformation

    I was visibly happier, my grades were up, I was being social again, and I no longer had any body image issues.


    I was able to transform my calorie restrictions into healthy eating habits.

    I’d never felt more secure or confident in my life.

    Running ended up being my most dependable source of self-love and guidance.

    In times of anxiety, it was my therapist. In times of stress, it was my release.

    Then I did something in a fit of inspiration, that I would have before thought was insane.

    I registered for a marathon set for a year later, to acknowledge that completing something of that magnitude would indicate my transformation as a person.

    A year later I ended up achieving my goal and crossing the finish line of that marathon realizing, “I Did It“.

    I am a runner. 

    As I crossed that finish line, I knew I could do anything in this life that I set my mind to.

    Since then, I’ve completed multiple marathons and half-marathons.

    I’m now focusing on getting some new PR’s and seeing how far running-wise my body can take me!

    If my journey taught me anything it gave me the realization that, it’s okay to hate running sometimes.

    It’s okay to suck at something.

    It’s okay to fail.

    Because the bigger your failures, the greater your successes.

    To fail, makes those successes SO much more worth it.


    Kat Rentas

    Founder, A Next Level You

    P.S. If you’re interested in forming a running habit check out my Run Your Life 7 Day Training, where I’ll teach you the tools + tactics necessary to start running right now. 

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