The Future Is Strong

Why do you run? 

That's what I've been chewing on ever since I crashed and burned during the disastrous London Marathon. Do I run because it's how I make a living, or because I love it? Do I run because it makes me feel happy and strong, or because it's who I am? 

It's complicated.  

Earlier this year, I caught myself making a joke about feeling like I was in purgatory. And we'd laugh and laugh because running is easy to laugh about. Running. This crazy thing we pay hundreds of dollars to willingly partake in.  

But portraying health and wellness as "cool" is a new thing. For decades, working out was sold as a means to an end. It was what you did to lose weight so that you could fit society's standards of beauty. 

Running was never really about the simple joy of running for me. All through school, I was a big, loud fish in a small pond. I had unwavering confidence in who I was and the second I stepped foot into the real world and felt a twinge of self-doubt and uncertainty, I retreated. I moved back home with my parents. I pressed pause and anxiously awaited the moment when someone would find me and say, "You're so smart and talented! Here, come with me! I'll help you be successful." 

I was living in my brother's old room and as my grief crept up on me and the walls of the safe hideout I built for myself started to crumble, I was just desperate enough to find a way to feel productive, strong, and in control.  

Running isn't something I'm naturally good at. The self-doubt and fear of failure is something I grapple with every single time I set a new goal and running helped me see that it doesn't matter if I don't know what's to come or if something feels impossible, as long as I was willing to work and fight for it, with enough patience and perseverance, anything is possible. 

A post shared by Kelly Roberts (@kellykkroberts) on

That sounds cheesy as hell but it's the God damn truth. Because running is so f*cking hard and painful, it teaches me over and over again how to believe in myself when I feel the urge to give up. And that's often. I mean right now, after a few months off, there are days when I won't bring money or my phone to stop me from hailing a cab or a Lyft a mile into a bad run. Getting started sucks. It always does. But that's the evil beauty of running, there are no shortcuts and I lack the talent to BS my way through.  

I'll never forget the wave of confidence and regret that body slammed me the moment I saw the finish line of my first marathon. I literally thought to myself, "You idiot. If you can run a marathon, you can do anything. You just wasted a year of your life because you were too afraid to believe in yourself and possibly fail." I fell into that post-collegiate trap of, "What do I do now?" and it was in that moment that I decided to move to New York. I didn't know what the hell I would do or what my future would look like, but if I could survive a marathon, I could do anything. 

Last night, I went with my friend Bri to a live recording of the podcast "How I Built This". Bri knew that I was a fan of the show and had told me who the guest we were seeing was beforehand but I didn't recognize the name and quickly forgot. I didn't think I cared who the guest was. I was excited to watch one of my favorite hosts Guy Raz, talk about someone who was passionate about whatever it is they built. I was beyond f*cking excited to watch the recording unfold and as I forced Bri to sit with me in the front row, she commented that she was excited to hear about how Jonah Peretti built the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.

Buzzfeed? 

Today's guest is the guy who built Buzzfeed?

I flashed back to March of 2013 when my sister, my friend Justin, and I sat at my reception desk and created a community post on Buzzfeed titled...well, I don't remember the title we gave it because before it went viral, Buzzfeed went in and changed it to "Girl Takes 13 Instagram Selfies With Un-Suspecting Hot Men As She Ran The NYC Half Marathon". 

Ladies and gents I present to you, hott guys of the nyc half #hottguysofthenychalf #nychalf

A post shared by Kelly Roberts (@kellykkroberts) on

I thought nothing of the selfies at the time. I did it to make my sister laugh but my sister possesses a keen eye for shareable content and pushed me to do something with it. I was a receptionist with downtime and I remember Justin, Samantha, and I laughing while we created the article, unaware of the attention it would soon receive and after it went live. We finished, I posted it on my Facebook wall, and because my friends shared the hell out of it, the next morning, I sat on a call with Good Morning America. 

My life changed in an instant and it was all because I took selfies with "hot guys" behind me while I ran a marathon. But four years later, that's not what I'm known for. Going viral gave me the push to create Run, Selfie, Repeat but in the four years since going viral, I've come into my own. I've become a voice for strength creating movements like the #SportsBraSquad and last month, I was on the cover of Women's Running Magazine. 

And while I haven't taken a selfie with a hot guy behind me in years, (strike that-I haven't POSTED a selfie with a hot guy behind me in years), I still think #HottGuysOfTheNYCHalf was funny as hell. But that is just one piece of my story. It doesn't define me. It's not why I run, it's not why I blog, and it's not what gets me out of bed in the morning. It was just the thing that set the ball in motion. (And I still think it's funny as hell.)

Sitting in that theater last night, listening to Jonah Peretti share how he got his start with his own viral stories, I couldn't stop thinking about how the only reason I was sitting in that theater was because Buzzfeed helped me go viral. 

Three years ago, I read a book that sparked an idea for the direction I wanted to start to move in but because of Run, Selfie, Repeat, that idea has been sitting on the back burner, waiting patiently while I find the courage to take my next leap of faith. Then the London Marathon happened and I had an aha moment. I'd done everything I could to make an impossible goal possible and because of an outside factor, things didn't go my way. BQ or Bust helped me realize that I pushed my next project to the back burner because once again, I was using the excuse, "I'm just going to figure this out and get it perfect before going for it".

Nothing happens when you sit around waiting to have it all "figured out". You learn by doing from the mistakes and missteps you make along the way. The only way you can build and strengthen your courage and confidence is if you flex those muscles. That's something I'm reminded of every week when I listen to How I Built This

I can't share what this new project is just yet, I can say that Run, Selfie, Repeat isn't going anywhere. My mission has always been and will always be to help people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds laugh at the struggle that is putting their strongest foot forward. This new chapter is just helping me cast a wider net.

But one thing is for sure, none of this would be happening had it not been for running, selfies with hot dudes, and a community post we made on Buzzfeed. Every time I see someone try to smear that chapter of my story, I'm reminded of what I'm fighting for. To stand firmly, proudly, and honestly in my past. Because it's easy for someone who knows nothing about you and what you stand for to pick and choose ways to try to knock you down. That's why you have to know your worth and what you're capable of when you dare to fail. But if you can learn to listen with an open heart and a sassy spirit, there's no failure, misstep, or troll that can stop you from kicking ass and taking names.

All my life I wanted to be a runner so that I could lose weight and be skinny like the women I saw in the media. Today, I'm so f*cking grateful that I'm a runner because I now know that skinny doesn't equal strength. Strength doesn't look a certain way, it feels a certain way. And that feeling changes lives. It changed mine and I'm hell bent on helping the badass lady gang discover it as well. 

The future is strong. I can't wait to share with you what's next. 

1 Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

The #BadassLadyGang5K

As former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I understand why so many people f*cking hate running. It hurts. It feels impossible! And according the media, unless you're slim, you will never feel like you look like a runner. (LUCKILY, that's changing. SHOUTOUT TO THE #SPORTSBRASQUAD!) 

When Women's Running Magazine asked me if I wanted to include a training plan of some sort in my July issue, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I didn't want to create a plan for runners who already discovered the transformative and empowering gift of running, I wanted to challenge those people to get their #BadassLadyGang running as well. 

With the help of my Coach Josh Maio, we created two different plans: 

Run Your Strongest 5K Training Plan & The Badass Beginner 5K Training Plan

Here is my challenge to all of you, set a goal that scares the crap out of you. Maybe that means running the entire 5K without having to stop to walk. Or maybe that means breaking 21 minutes. As long as the goal is one step outside of your comfort zone and feels a tiny bit insane, THAT is all that matters. (Runners looking to build speed and endurance, THIS IS THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU! The only way you'll run faster is if you run faster! Start with this plan. It will kick your ass and spit you out a stronger and more badass runner in just 4 weeks!) 

Next, challenge the women in your #BadassLadyGang to join you. Challenge your mom, sister, best friend, boss, acquaintance, next door neighbor, frenemy, mortal enemy, mother in law, or your ex's sisters to join you because no one should have to chase down their first finish line alone.  

Look, it doesn't matter if you're a brand new runner or if you're 5K goal feels impossible, running is really, really, really hard for everyone. But with the support of your #BadassLadyGang, the entire ordeal is a hell of a lot more fun!

Running is so much more than just an amazing way to stay healthy. Give that gift to the women you love! Encourage them to join you and train for the #BadassLadyGang5K!

A few tips--

  1. If you're worried about making it through 4 weeks without falling behind, just focus on today. If you miss a day or two or three, just get back on track. Keep your eyes on the prize and focus on what you can do TODAY.
  2.  If you're super busy, block out time to get that run in in your calendar. Treat it like an appointment that you can't cancel and make it a priority! It's just 4 weeks!
  3. Make it fun! Listen to a podcast (Might I suggest the Run, Selfie, Repeat podcast on iTunes or Google Play?) or listen to some music! Or unplug and have some alone time. Find what works for you!

Otherwise, keep your eyes on WomensRunning.com every Monday for some new 5K training tips, tricks, and training jokes or follow me on Instagram!

And share your own training journey by using the hashtag, #BadassLadyGang5K! 

Now set your impossible goal and build your badass lady gang! Only 4 weeks until race day! We can do anything in 4 weeks! 

Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

Join Us Tomorrow For Global #SportsBraSquad Day!

What are you doing tomorrow, Saturday, June 24th? Showing the world what strength actually looks like during Global Sports Bra Squad Day? HELL YEAH YOU ARE! 

The #SportsBraSquad started as a way for women to ditch their shirts along with their insecurities, and show the world what strength looks like. In 2015, the National Eating Disorders Association found that 70% of women don’t like their bodies. 70%! That’s a disappointing and frustrating statistic and the only way we can combat the self loathing and disappointment women feel towards their bodies is to change the way we see strength!

But ditching your shirt for the first time can feel terrifying! There's strength in numbers which is why on June 24th, Sports Bra Squads in 5 countries and over 50 cities will be coming together to show the world that our bodies are strong as hell! 

Arkansas

Fayetteville!

California

Los Angeles!

Long Beach, CA!

Hollister, CA!

Encinitas, CA (North San Diego)!

San Francisco! 

Sacramento!

Oakland!

Colorado

TitleNine Colorado Springs (9am 210 N Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

DC

Washington D.C.!

Florida

Boca Raton/Deerfield Beach!

Orlando!

Belleair Beach!

Georgia

Decatur, GA!

Augusta, GA!

Hawaii

Kailua Kona!

Illinois

Chicago, IL! 

Indiana

Indianapolis!

Lafayette! 

Iowa

Des Moines

Ohio 

Cincinnati, OH!

Toldedo!

Kentucky

Paducah

Lexington

Massachusetts

Boston, MA!

Worcester City! 

Maryland

Baltimore!

Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI! 

St. Joseph, MI!

Missouri

Kansas City, MO!

New Jersey

Jersey City!

Louisiana

New Orleans!

Oklahoma

Norman!

Oregon

Portland!

Minnesota

Stillwater!

Nevada

Reno!

New York

Albany!

New York City!  (with me!!!!)

Syracuse, NY!

Pennsylvania

Philly!

Pittsburgh!

Hatfield!

South Carolina

Columbia!

Greenville!

Tennessee

Nashville, TN!

Texas

Dallas

Austin

Virginia

Fort Monroe, VA!

Roanoke, VA

Washington

Seattle!

Wisconsin

Oshkosh, WI!

Madison, WI!

British Columbia

Nanaimo!

Denmark

Copenhagen!

Mexico

Guadalajara!

U.K.

London!

But if you're going to be in New York City on June 24th, join me for a 2.5 mile run/walk and a post run discussion! DETAILS! 

Where? We will be meeting at Finish Line Physical Therapy at 3pm.

To check out the route, CLICK HERE.

Will there be bag drop? YES!

Do you need to run in a sports bra? NO WAY! Only if you'd like to!

Is this women only? HELL NO. MEN, we need your support!

Can I bring my children? PLEASE DO!

Are all athletic levels welcome? YES!

It's supposed to rain, are we still running. YES WE ARE!

Will there be a kick ass panel on strength, women in sport, and the body positivity movement? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! Joining the panel will be...

Me! Kelly Roberts!

Kelly Roberts

You may know Kelly Roberts from her popular blog and podcast "Run, Selfie, Repeat". A force in the body positivity movement, Kelly created the #SportsBraSquad initiative in 2016 encouraging women to ditch their shirts and their insecurities and show the world what strength actually looks like. She was named by Women's Running and Competitor magazines as a woman who is changing the sport of running and is currently on the July 2017 cover of Women’s Running Magazine. The self-proclaimed former President of the "I hate running club" encourages runners of all different athletic levels to set impossible goals and find a way to laugh through the pain. "Running isn't impossible, it just isn't easy. But through running, I've found a way to remind myself that even in the hardest times, as long as you can put one foot in front of the other and find a way to laugh through the pain, anything is possible."

Laura Ingalls

Laura Ingalls

LAURA J INGALLS began her career as a professional actress at the age of 22 and was blessed to enjoy 10 years of great success on the stage. However, at the age of 23, an inspired moment of weight-loss induced insanity at a pig roast sparked a second passion and career path in the field of wellness, coaching, personal training, and holistic health. After leaving the theater world at 32, she worked for several years in corporate wellness until 2016, when she co-founded Vivacious Life, LLC, a business that offers online and in person wellbeing programs and retreats for women. In addition to Vivacious Life, Laura is a personal trainer at the Greater Boston YMCA, a running coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and a public speaker. Her book, “F#@k Skinny: How I Quit Dieting & Found My Health,” is available on Amazon. She recently gave a TEDx talk titled, “Forget Skinny. It’s About Healthy," was featured by Reebok in a documentary, and hosts a weekly podcast, #VivaLaDiva, on iTunes. Laura is a runner, an ultra distance triathlete, and proud member of the #SportsBraSquad. You can learn more about Laura at her website, laurajingalls.com

April Argill

April Argill

April Cargill, 53 years old, was born and raised in Harlem, NY and is the mother of teenage son Aubrey. As a fashion industry veteran for the past 31 years, April currently is the Director of Production for Shoshanna and has worked under notable names such as Isaac Mizrahi and Vivienne Tam. April began running at her local YMCA 7 years ago, after finally kicking her smoking habit of over 25 years. “I just ran for cardio because I was worried I would gain weight and I also wanted to improve my health and lifestyle. It quickly became a daily habit. I ran for an hour at least 6 days a week and became close friends with an amazing runner, Suzanne Nabavi.” It wasn’t until November 2014 when April went to cheer on Sue for her first Marathon that she was inspired by all of the energy that not only Sue had, but the thousands of runners at the race. April was eager to get out there and following Sue’s guidance, April signed up for the NYC Half Marathon in 2015 and since then, April has run 2 full marathons, 8 half marathons and countless races at smaller mileages. April is a core member of both November Project and Harlem Run, both free community fitness movements. April is one of 5 ambassadors of PS You Got This, the brainchild of supermodel Candice Huffine. A group dedicated to encourage women of all ages, backgrounds and at any fitness abilities to start running. The most heartfelt achievement of all is that she inspired her son Aubrey, freshman at Cardinal Hays High School, to take part in her training groups, nun several NYRR road races, and is now running with the Varsity team at his school.

Whitney McFadden

Whitney McFadden

Whitney McFadden is a third year PhD student and psychiatry resident at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine here in NYC. She treats patients with depression, anxiety, addiction, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Her research focuses on uncovering heritable and environmental effects on the genome in order to understand psychiatric disease with an emphasis on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Her current projects aims to create a human brain map of cells to better understand how our mind works. Her interest in the science of psychiatry began as a child when her father (a current psychiatrist) taught her about the power of the brain and her mother (astronomer) taught her about space science. She became passionate about exploring the brain and our genetic blueprint to help us understand our health in the context of the body, mind, and behavior.

To RSVP for the NYC meetup, CLICK HERE! 

Let's show the world what strength looks like!

Global Sports Bra Squad Day
Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

Do Not Give Up: The Transformative Power Of Running

Giving up will always be an option. Always. 

The running world is an incredibly intimidating one to anyone who has struggled to be athletic. All day long, I read emails from women and a handful of men sharing their stories about what feels like an uphill battle that will never end. Because for those of us who want to feel empowered or who need the constant reminder that despite the fact that we aren't innately good at something, it doesn't mean that we can't be successful, running is a sort of salvation.

So we fight. And we fight. And we work towards finish lines that make us feel inadequate and hopeless, struggling to silence the voice in the back of our heads that says that we just aren't cut out for this.

And in those moments when giving up feels inevitable, we remember why we're running in the first place.

Maybe it's for your daughter(s) or your son(s) so that they can look at you and know that Mommy is a badass who never gives up on her goals.

Maybe you're doing it for your badass lady gang, because you know that even though you're the weakest link, you're all stronger because you're a team. 

Or maybe you're doing it for someone you lost. You run in their honor, or to raise money for the disease that took them, or to manage the bottomless hole you feel in your heart every second of every day. Because running and grief are one in the same. Neither ever get easier. You just get stronger.

Or maybe you run for yourself. To challenge that inner critic that whispers destructive thoughts when you look in the mirror. Or to prove that you're brave enough to advocate for yourself in the workplace. Maybe you're running away from a broken relationship that led you to believe that you aren't worthy of someone else's love and affection. Or even worse, your own.

Or maybe you're running because it hurts so f*cking badly that you don't have time to hear yourself think and process the mess that has become your life.

I started running because I was desperate. I knew nothing about the sport and convinced myself that I was an outsider for a long time. And while it took me a while to realize that I didn't need to prove myself as a runner to anyone, I also learned how transformative running could be.

There's nothing empowering about looking in the mirror and feeling like you aren't good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, or strong enough. There's nothing liberating about slaving away in a gym, working towards a number on a scale. But running towards finish lines that you've convinced yourself you aren't capable of crossing? 

That's magic. 

When I started Run, Selfie, Repeat, I didn't have an end game in mind. I was a young woman who was trying to make the most out of a viral hurricane that I found myself in. And over time, I found a safe haven in the community we built here. I trusted the women and men who came to Run, Selfie, Repeat and in turn shared their stories with me. I discovered the courage to open up about my struggles with my weight, grief, and journey as an athlete. I've made mistakes and embarrassed myself. I've let you all down time and time again but with your selfless support, found the courage to continue forward.

I'm human. I'm vulnerable. And I'm hell bent on changing the way we see strength. 

The world is wide enough for all of us. For both the extraordinary women who dare to become the best in the world and for the women who may never actually cross the finish line of a half marathon but still have the courage to show up to the starting line. In my eyes, both are equally impressive and inspiring.

Here's the thing about ego, if you're looking to gain respect in anyone's eyes but your own, you're doomed. You cannot get your worth from someone else. It's something that must be bestowed upon yourself.

I don't care who you are or what you think you are or are not capable of accomplishing, but you aren't just enough. You're more than enough.

Running is an empowering and transformative sport that I hope to bring to more women. Because everyone deserves to know what it's like to look in the mirror and feel so damn proud of the woman staring back at them. Everyone deserves to go through the process of setting a goal that feels utterly impossible, giving everything they have, falling on their face, brushing themselves off, and realizing that they are so much stronger than they ever thought possible.

Everyone deserves to discover that the only way you can actually fail is if you fail to try.

There's power in our stories, our missteps, failures, trials, and hardships. Because when we f*ck up, that's the real test of your resilience. Do you bury your head in the sand? Do you retreat? Do you listen to the people who never supported you but now come knocking, demanding to be acknowledged while they lie and define you? Or do you listen and try to give yourself vulnerably to your misstep? There's no right or wrong answer, just better and worse choices.

But here's the thing that running has actually taught me about life: You can always get back up. Giving up will always be an option and anyone who has actually given up knows that it isn't the easier one. Just sometimes it feels like the only one. But even when you give in to those moments of doubt, you can always pick yourself up and try again. 

Life is so very, very precious. Listen with an open heart but know that not everyone wants to see you succeed. When you come across these people, just smile and thank them for their time. You have nothing to prove to your father in law who asks you why you're not skinnier if you're training for a half marathon. Or your co-worker who tells you that you don't look like a runner. Or to anyone who thinks it's appropriate to tell you what you are or are not.

When Women's Running asked me to be on the cover of the July body issue, I froze. I thought about all the horrible things people say to me online both about my body and my character and in that moment, those very few disgusting comments rang louder than the thousands of emails, messages, and comments I see from women who are fighting to show the world what strength looks like alongside me. And luckily, the women in the #SportsBraSquad gave me the courage to woman up and humbly face my fears.

This issue is about redefining what strength looks like and celebrating the millions of women who are running for their lives. Who are embracing their strength, their health, and their bodies and supporting one another along the way.

In this issue of Women's Running Magazine, I wanted to find a way for women who have already discovered the power of running to give that gift to the women in their life who haven't yet discovered the power of running. So Women's Running and I came up with the idea for the #BadAssLadyGang5K. A virtual race that will go down after we complete a four week training plan that were created by the incredible Josh Maio. The first plan is for runners looking to run their strongest 5K and the second is for first time runners looking to kick ass and take names. 

This issue of Women's Running is dedicated to every single woman who has ever struggled to feel like they are or could be a runner. Or for anyone who has ever showed up to a race or run and felt like they didn't belong. Running has an incredible way of transforming and empowering women to live the lives they deserve to be living instead of the ones we've convinced themselves are just good enough. Giving up is always an option my friends. But so is going forward.

Let's give the empowering gift of running. Build the sisterhood. Thank you Women's Running Magazine for helping me show the world what strength looks like. Thank you Oiselle and Sally Bergesen for believing in me, sponsoring me, and giving me the courage to keep fighting. And thank you. Thank you for having my back, demanding the most out of me, and for never giving up.  

Head up, wings out. 

2 Comments

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

I Made A Mistake

It appears that I've made a mistake. 

Race directors deserve the utmost respect and it appears that I've let some down. Banditting is a term in the running world that refers to someone who runs a race without registering. I wasn't aware that running even a piece of a race-- for example, jumping in to pace a friend for a few miles, was also against the rules. 

In San Francisco, I ran an out and back portion of a race a few times with a friend well before a race started. I didn't know it wasn't allowed. No officials ever asked us to leave the course and once the race started, we ran on the grass by the spectators until we found our friend who was going for a personal best. Once we found her, I ran a few miles with her to help her keep fighting. Then, I stopped to cheer with my friends for a few minutes, and then ran off into Golden Gate Park, off the course, to finish my 17 mile long run.

In Carlsbad, the exact situation was reversed. I was planning to run along the ocean and found out that a friend was running along the 101 during a race as well. I ran 10 miles with her and while I didn't pace her, she absolutely dragged me along because I was having a really hard day. I was grateful for her company but I didn't realize that I was making a mistake.  

I've reached out to the race directors to apologize and pay for my participation. I made a mistake and while my rationales don't make it all better, it's my hope that through my embarrassing and unfortunate mistakes, we can all learn from them. It's never my intention to let anyone down, rather the opposite. But I'm human and unfortunately, I made a mistake. I'm grateful it was brought to my attention so that I don't make the same mistakes again. 

The running community is an incredible one. Thank you for always having my back.

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

Global #SportsBraSquad Day

It started with a bunch of “If/Thens”...

First in 2010--

If I can lose the 75 pounds I’ve gained after Scott died, then I’ll be beautiful.

Then in 2011--

If I can keep this weight off, then I’ll be desirable.

To 2012---

If I become a runner, then I'll finally lose the 20 pounds I need to lose in order to be happy.

2013--

If I can run a marathon, then I'll finally have a runner's body.

2014--

If I can break 2 hours in a half marathon, then I'll feel proud of my body.

2015--

OK. IF I can break 4 hours in the marathon, THEN I will finally be able to look in the mirror and love what I see.

2016--

OK. OK. IF I can qualify for the Boston Marathon, THEN I will finally feel confident enough to run in my sports bra.

Two months into that goal, it hit me.  I developed a nasty habit of assessing my weight while I got dressed to run. I’d stand in front of my mirror wearing shorts and a sports bra, look at my reflection, and feel defeated because I wasn’t developing what I thought a strong runner’s body should look like. I was working harder than I’d ever worked in my life, but I didn’t think I looked the part.

Kelly Roberts

Summer was in full swing. I didn't own a decent pair of shorts that wouldn't rub my thighs raw and the capris + shirt combo was killing me slowly. I wanted to ditch my shirt but I was too insecure about my body to run only in my sports bra. 

But one hellishly hot and humid summer Saturday, I finally gave in. A mile into my long run, I finally found the courage to ditch my shirt. If I was strong enough to run 15 miles, I was strong enough to run in my sports bra.

I proceeded to run the next 14 miles on high alert, convinced that someone would tell me that I was too fat to be running in a sports bra.

No one said anything.

After I finished, I realized that if I was this insecure about running in my sports bra, I probably wasn’t alone. So I shared the video from my vlog on Instagram using the hasthag #SportsBraSquad and encouraged other women to join me; to ditch their insecurities along with their shirts and show the world what strength actually looks like.

The day I joined the #SportsBraSquad changed my life. Despite the fact that I had successfully lost over 75 pounds, adopted a healthy lifestyle, became a runner and 3 hour 41 minute marathoner, I didn’t realize how often I would body shame myself until I started running in my sports bra.

But can you blame me?  

We've been conditioned to believe that our bodies aren't good enough, strong enough, or thin enough. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, the body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females. 5%! And in a badass campaign called The 67% Project, Refinery29 found that, “Most American women are plus-size, but they make up less than 2% of the images we see." 

One of the most effective ways to change the way we see and feel about our bodies is to experience what they're capable of. The #SportsBraSquad is about facing our own worst inner critics, being seen, and supporting one another in our athletic pursuits. 

The truth is, the larger a woman is, the more likely she's going to be labeled as lazy, unhealthy, and whether or not you want to admit it, ugly. 

And it’s bullshit.

It isn’t easy to learn to love the rolls, cellulite, love handles, and stretch marks that you’ve spent years ashamed of.

But that’s the best part about being a runner!

You know how hard you work and I can almost guarantee that most of us aren’t running towards a goal weight. We’re running for our lives. For peace of mind. And because we love the feeling we get when we push our limits and make our own impossible goals, possible.

Running is empowering. It's a way for people who don't like being active to set a goal that will show them that anything is possible if you're willing to work for it. That health and strength is infinitely more rewarding and motivating than trying to hit a certain number on a scale.

But despite the fact that we're all working as hard as we can to be the strongest versions of ourselves possible, so many of us still fail to look in the mirror and see our bodies for what they are, STRONG.

NO MORE.

Join the Sports Bra Squad

Mark your calendars because Oiselle has made Saturday June 24th GLOBAL #SPORTSBRASQUAD DAY. 

That’s right, to combat the barrage of toxic “bikini body” articles that pop up every summer like zits before a first date, women around the world are coming together to show the world that strength comes in all different shapes and sizes. And because we know running in your sports bra can be intimidating and terrifying, we're here to help you find a #SportsBraSquad meetup near you!

Can you join global #SportsBraSquad day solo? OF COURSE! Snap a photo and share why you're running with the #SportsBraSquad hashtag! 

Want to run with a #BadAssLadyGang?!?! DO THAT! Assemble your squad! 

For more information on how to join a meetup in your area, stay tuned! We’re hard at work curating the list of meetups and event pages as we speak. They will be listed both here and on the Oiselle blog as they are organized. I'll be hosting the run here in NYC so if you're in the area, come join me

Arkansas

Fayetteville!

California

Los Angeles!

Long Beach, CA!

Hollister, CA!

Encinitas, CA (North San Diego)!

San Francisco! 

Sacramento!

Oakland!

Colorado

TitleNine Colorado Springs (9am 210 N Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

DC

Washington D.C.!

Florida

Boca Raton/Deerfield Beach!

Orlando!

Belleair Beach!

Georgia

Decatur, GA!

Augusta, GA!

Hawaii

Kailua Kona!

Illinois

Chicago, IL! 

Indiana

Indianapolis!

Lafayette! 

Iowa

Des Moines

Ohio 

Cincinnati, OH!

Toldedo!

Kentucky

Paducah

Lexington

Massachusetts

Boston, MA!

Worcester City! 

Maryland

Baltimore!

Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI! 

St. Joseph, MI!

Missouri

Kansas City, MO!

New Jersey

Jersey City!

Louisiana

New Orleans!

Oklahoma

Norman!

Oregon

Portland!

Minnesota

Stillwater!

Nevada

Reno!

New York

Albany!

New York City!  (with me!!!!)

Syracuse, NY!

Pennsylvania

Philly!

Pittsburgh!

Hatfield!

South Carolina

Columbia!

Greenville!

Tennessee

Nashville, TN!

Texas

Dallas

Austin

Virginia

Fort Monroe, VA!

Roanoke, VA

Washington

Seattle!

Wisconsin

Oshkosh, WI!

Madison, WI!

British Columbia

Nanaimo!

Denmark

Copenhagen!

Mexico

Guadalajara!

U.K.

London!

Interested in organizing a meetup in your city? Email me!  

Name *
Name
Introduce yourself and let me know where you'd like to host a meetup!

Get your sports bras ready because on June 24th, we’re showing the world what strength looks like!

Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

Project 1:59: We're Breaking 2

Photo by Anna Jackson

Photo by Anna Jackson

Running keeps us sane and healthy.

It gives us a way to connect with both an incredible community of people and to the world around us.

But most importantly, it reminds us to chase goals that scare the shit out of us.

Maybe it's becoming a runner or completing a distance that you thought was impossible. With each milestone comes a stronger understanding of who you are and what you're capable of. 

It's inspiring.

And painful.

Terrifying.

And addicting. 

Running my first half marathon was a harrowing experience. I was undertrained and terrified that I wouldn't make it to the finish line. And at mile 11, I almost death marched off the course. But right as I was about to give up, another runner ran up beside me and told me that she was struggling. She said me that we'd been running near each other for most of the race and asked if we could run together. I told her I didn't think I could do it. But together, we made it to the finish line.

The same thing happened during my first marathon. Again, undertrained and overwhelmed, I panicked at the half way mark. Fighting back tears, I stopped to walk when another runner grabbed my hand and told me to run with him. He asked me if I was OK and then told me everything that I needed to hear. He reminded me that I wasn't alone and that I needed to believe in myself. And when he saw my fear turn to hope, he told me to have fun, and left me to finish the race that changed my life.

Here's the thing about running, despite the fact that it's a solo sport, there's strength in numbers. When I think about my proudest running accomplishments, they all happened because I had the support of a friend or a complete stranger who stepped up when they saw me struggling. 

Because that's what runners do, we support our people because we all know what it's like to spend months working towards a goal only to give in when the pain and doubts scream louder than your desire to succeed. It's devastating. And frustrating.

But when you have someone to lean on and support you when the pain makes you lose sight of your goal, everything changes.

Look, I get it. It’s hard to put yourself out there. It takes courage to tell your friends and family about an intimidating goal. It's hard to admit that you want it. I get it. The fear of failure is impossible to ignore.

But the only way you'll fail is if you fail to try. 

You'll never know what you're capable of unless you set out to find out. That's the point of an intimidating goal. 

And for so many runners, that goal is to break 2. 

It's a goal that according to Strava data, only 31% of women and 67% of men achieve. 

The first time I tried, I came really, really close. And the next? I bonked. And then I bonked again. It took me over 2 years before I finally broke 2.

Because the second we decide we want something we aren't sure we're capable of, a wall goes up. And every time we fail or fall short, that wall gets taller and stronger.

But the day I broke 2, I didn't do it alone. I had the help of my best friend Irene and my sister Samantha. Together, we were running the Disneyland half and even though we didn't run the entire race together, they set me up to succeed. They kept me smiling. And present. And most importantly, they helped me believe in myself.

And the second I crossed the finish line, that sense of accomplishment was unparalleled. It made every single failed attempt worth it because not only did I not give up, but I didn't have to do it alone.

And thanks to Strava's Project 1:59, you don't have to do it alone either.

Here's what's going to happen, myself and four other bad ass ladies are going to pace a giant group of runners to break 2 during the world's largest half marathon, the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon. Why? Because we're stronger together and we want to see you make your impossible, possible.

We aren't just going to pace you to your sub 2. We're going to build you up, remind you that you're a badass, and make you smile when everything hurts. Because breaking 2 isn't an easy feat! It requires persistence and patience. Courage and a desire to kick ass and takes.

And for those of you who aren't running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half but still hope to break 2, you can still join others from around the world who are ready to step up the pace, and challenge yourself to go beyond. Here's how...

Step 1. Join the Project 1:59 group on Strava.

Step 2. SHARE YOUR STORY.

Head over to the Project 1:59 discussion board and let us know what breaking 2 means to you. We're all running towards the same goal for a reason. We want to know yours.

Step 3. Share your tips, tricks, jokes, doubts, and fears.

Have a mantra that reminds you to dig deep and keep fighting when you want to pull back? Struggling to believe in yourself? Or maybe it took you 28 tries but you finally broke 2! LET'S TALK ABOUT IT. Get on those message boards and let us know how you're either planning to break 2 or how you finally did it! 

Remember, we're stronger together.

NO REGRETS. NO EXCUSES.

Welcome to project 1:59.

Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.

BQ Or Bust: The Final Episode

When I decided to chase down impossible and try to train to qualify for the Boston Marathon (BQ), I didn't want to share the "best of" highlight reel. I wanted to show the doubts, the fears, the nerves, and what it was actually like for someone like me, someone who doubted that they'd ever be able to actually survive a track workout, to try to BQ.  

Once I started writing about the experience, I caught myself picking and choosing what to share. I immediately starting hiding how I'd give up moments into a workout. I didn't want to hide, I just couldn't help it. I was insecure. And afraid of being judged because I'm a voice in the running community. I'm supposed to be better than that. (This is stupid and something I used to tell myself. OK STILL TELL MYSELF. I'm human. I'm working on my inner critic.)

I didn't really know much about shooting a vlog. I didn't understand how difficult it was to record on the run and then spend a few hours editing a five to ten minute video. When sleep is the most important element of training, a daily vlog when you don't know how to daily vlog probably isn't the greatest idea. But, shooting the daily vlog was the best way to get absolutely real, raw, and vulnerable with all of you and I don't regret it for a second.

SO MUCH has happened over the last year. I had to move out of my apartment. I couldn't find a new one. I didn't get enough sleep and I spent so much time stressing about making ends meet that I almost quit blogging entirely. Because I was so stressed out, my grief was difficult to manage. It's impossible to condense the sheer magnitude of what I experienced over the last year into one video, but I wanted to try to share some of the moments that really stood out to me. 

The moment I met my coach Josh for the first time. The first time I ever really told anyone (my PT Mike) that I wanted to try to qualify for Boston. And the first time Dr. Bob told me about making the decision not to suffer. Or a few of the very many f-words that got bleeped (or made the cut) along the way.

The last year has been anything but easy. And the only thing harder than trying to BQ was trying to film myself trying to BQ. But a few weeks ago when I started watching the BQ or Bust vlog again to try to pull clips for the final episode, it was amazing to see that the mental struggles I'd already fought through were rearing their ugly heads once again.

Doubt.

Pain.

Fear.

Self-defined limits.

A fear of failure.

A fear of succeeding. (I've yet to talk about this and it's the only piece of the experience I didn't open up about. But I had/(have) a real fear of actually succeeding. Sounds stupid, but it's still something I'm trying to wrap my head around.)

And redefining success and failure for myself.

Last year, Dr. Bob gave me the gift of no regrets, no excuses and it's something that has bled into my everyday life both professionally and personally.

So often we step just outside of our comfort zones and convince ourselves that that's good enough. But BQ or Bust taught me what it's like when I live the life I deserve to be living instead of the one that I've convinced myself that I'm happy with. Every day was terrifying and a tiny bit overwhelming. But personal growth will not happen unless you challenge yourself. Sure, it will probably scare the shit out of you and you'll doubt yourself every step of the way but there will come a point where you'll look back and feel devastated that once upon a not so long ago, you struggled to believe in yourself.

Impossible goals are the best kind of goals because they show you what you're capable of. It doesn't matter whether or not you do what it is you set out to do. All that matters is that you had the courage to show up every single day and give your best effort. 

Am I devastated that I didn't BQ? Yes. Am I heartbroken that I didn't have the race I worked and sacrificed for? Absolutely. But this ache I feel is human. You can't hide from it. And knowing that I had the courage to go for it is infinitely easier than how it feels to give in to fear and hold yourself back. 

There's a line in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that I think about whenever I start to give in to my doubts, fears, or insecurities--

"Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe."

This is the beauty of no regrets, no excuses. As long as you give your best effort, whatever that means to you today, you absolutely cannot fail. It doesn't mean you won't feel pain or disappointment, it just means that you won't have to look in the mirror and see someone who is too afraid to believe in themselves.

There can be joy in pain. Or pride in disappointment. There are too many grey areas in our lives for it to be so black and white.  

I'm allowed to be disappointed that I gave up on myself so early on during the London Marathon. But I'm also allowed to be proud that I didn't give up and went on to kick ass in those final 3.2 miles. 

I'm not giving up on my goal to BQ.

I'm not going to stop running.

I'm just recovering.

You can't run for life unless you take care of yourself. I want nothing more than to go out and find a marathon to re-try in a month. But I know how terrible of an idea that would be. My tank is empty. I need to recharge. It takes great courage to employ patience. And that's what I'm going to do.

Thank you for joining me over the past year. It's been one HELL of a ride. Today, that once impossible goal doesn't feel impossible. I know I can do it. It's just a matter of time.

This final episode of BQ or Bust is dedicated to everyone who has the courage to chase impossible goals.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

3 Comments

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.