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My Running Story: Part Two

In the year since I quit running, I’ve received a high number of emails and blog comments from readers wanting to know if I’ll ever go back to it in the future.

While I’d initially been one of those people no one believes because they insist they really do love running, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever want to run again after having burned out from logging eight or nine miles at least every other day without a single break in over five years. Upon quitting, the passion to run remained very much absent from July until spring of the following year.

(Especially in February, my sole desire was to burrow under a ginormous sea of blankets on the couch watching Netflix.)

Then, one cool afternoon in March, I felt it…

Washington DC

The desire to run.

I ran a grand total of ten minutes that day and felt no need to run again for another month afterward. And now I think I’ve found a good balance, running only when I want to do so, which usually translates to a few times a week, for about an hour each time. There aren’t plans to increase this amount, nor is there any guilt whatsoever if the desire goes away (as it sometimes does) and I don’t run at all for weeks at a time.

Georgetown Bridge

The White House

Thus, I’ve rediscovered my love of running.

It definitely helps when, instead of oppressive Texas heat and cookie-cutter suburban houses, my routes now take me past wildlife, waterfalls, and American history books come to life. All of the photos in this post were taken while running.

The Potomac

People have asked if I’m ever worried the obsession might come back.

But my answer is a confident and emphatic “no.” I remember what my life was like before; I remember the stress involved in planning every run and worrying how I could fit it in on vacation or during bouts of inclement weather. I remember my drawn appearance and the lack of energy and motivation I felt for any activities unrelated to running. And I know what my life is like now—so much richer and more vibrant than before.

There’s no desire to ever go back.

 

 

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Published on September 5, 2014

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Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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76 Comments

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  1. Susan says

    I think it feels good when we listen to what it is that brings us joy in life. I’m just learning what I am passionate about and letting that guide me. I’m happy for you! -Also, I love you recipes and fun posts!

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      A lot of walking, both in terms of doing errands and usually taking a walk in the mornings (but not always… for example, not today). I also take 5 minutes every day to do crunches and squats while watching tv or listening to music.

      Plus… I can count stirring batter and eating chocolate as exercise, no? 🙂

    • Cookies n' Creme says

      Hey, no. Absoutly not. Katie is true, and that was a very rude, ignorent comment. By the way, if you have followed this blog for awhile, you will have seen how Katie has SLOWLY gained weight – – all over her body.

          • Alexis says

            I love your blog katie, but these sort of comments make me really annoyed. Not that anonymous is right, but he is entitled to his own opinion,even if it is not right. And then everyone starts to gang up on him/her like it’s their job to protect everyone from these comments. Eh, just my personal perspective. Love your flip flops btw. 🙂

          • Nikki says

            I agree that we all have our opinions on every single topic possible but Katie didn’t ask for ours about her weight at all in that last post. Simply put, it’s bullying. We bully people for everything nowadays and it is unnecessary and ineffective.

          • Laura says

            So by your logic, Alexis, the anonymous troll is entitled to his or her opinion but those who come to Katie’s defense are not entitled to theirs? I agree with Nikki that bullying is not okay, especially weight shaming and especially with young girls reading these comments. I’m glad there were readers who took the time to call anonymous out and let him or her know that just because you CAN say whatever you want online doesn’t mean it’s okay to do so.

            Your comment seemed very suspicious to me, and to be honest, I am wondering if you are in fact the anonymous troll.

          • Alexis says

            Gee, but I am not anonymous, thank you very much.
            Your point is true, you all are entitled to your own opinions, but I am trying to say, how everyone just runs up to Katie’s side, no matter what someone says. No, I don’t agree with anonymous, but the way everyone needs to make sure katie is never wrong in the comments is really weird.

          • Rebecca says

            It IS her blog, and the commenters are likely people who read it frequently. I don’t see anything weird about defending someone you like.

          • Alexis says

            I guess you have a point. But if read some comments on other posts, you will see the slightest negative comment( not like anonymous’s) and there will be over 20 comments of people being so mean to them and cheering katie on like it is there personal job to make sure she is right 24/7. If you even try to give katie feedback of how you’re recipe turned out ( if it tasted/baked okay) , you become labeled as a “bully” who is “snarky”. Anonymous was obviously not being the nicest, but I am just stating my observations.

          • Laura says

            Alexis, just the fact that you are so vehemently replying to these comments has me pretty convinced that you and anonymous are the same person. It’s pretty obvious!

            And I highly admire Katie and appreciate all of the hard work she puts into her blog every day. If I see someone leave an out of line comment, yes I will defend her. It is what I would do for ANY of my friends.

          • Charlotte says

            That was not an opinion, it was an accusation. There is an enormous difference. And no, Anonymous is not “entitled” to his or her nasty accusations on Katie’s blog. Katie is not the United States government, and thus owes no one a platform to say whatever vile and idiotic thing they would like to say in her privately owned space. And of COURSE people are going to come to her defense when someone is quite literally being verbally abusive. That’s not “ganging up,” that’s a group of people being a decent human beings that take a stand against cruelty.

        • Dan says

          Anon is anon for a reason Katie. They’re a coward. All I know is I’d like to cover you in chocolate. Can’t say the rest. Its a little filthy.

    • Anon but not a dick says

      Katie is beautiful, and if you don’t like her site, go elsewhere. I understand you may be jealous that you will never look like her, but that doesn’t mean you have to be an ass.

  2. Cookies n' Creme says

    Awesome!! So love this post!! Sorda what happened to me, too, only to a lesser degree! now instead of dreading a workout or run, I only do the activities I feel are fun…With a few squats and pushups thrown in here and there. I have fallen in love with walking, and continue to horseback ride!

  3. Louisa says

    Katie it is awesome that you are listening to your heart! I had the same problem in the past and now that I have my first child, it is even more important to my family and my daughter and myself that I stay healthy and continue to nurture myself and my loved ones at home. For all of the terrible people who have commented on this in any negative way, I believe that you are jealous and sad. Go Katie!!!

  4. Allison says

    Hi Kate,
    I too have just gone through the same sort of progression with fitness. I was lifting heavy weights for about 2 years and was still a competitive runner. I was also ALWAYS tired and had nothing left to give to people in my life or even to work hard at my job. I loved the thrill of lifting heavy but really, what use in life is being able to squat 250#?!

    After quiting the lifting bit and only running/lifting when I want, I am significantly happier person, and still in decent shape. Thanks for sharing and I love you blog 🙂

  5. Mia (Mia in Germany) says

    Congrats to your insight and that you learned to listen to your body 🙂 And thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts, I’m sure it will help many who also might discover that their exercise routine has gone from fun to obsession.

  6. Susan says

    I’m really happy to hear that you have re-found your love of running and found balance for doing it. That is not an easy thing to do. Congratulations on a job well done!

  7. Mataya says

    You are so extremely gorgeous!! 🙂 I love LOVE LOVE your blog. I am studying to become a Dietitian, and your blog definitely inspires me to be a healthy eater and even incorporate the foods that I love (chocolate lover extremmme over here)! It is absolutely amazing how you come up with these recipes! I am also on the same page with running… I have developed a new love for bike rides, long walks, and occasional hikes. Although, I do find myself craving a nice jog every once in a while! Thanks for all of your wonderful ideas! Keep inspiring. 🙂

  8. Annie says

    Wow… This is so amazingly inspiring. You’re a great speaker, Katie! You could be very influential if you ever give a lecture ; )
    I went through something like this as well, which I commented on in your other running post, and decided to give up running for the most part – at least obsessively – and only run when I want to. And just like you, I love running again, though I rarely do so bc these days I don’t have much desire to run most of the time. And it’s a great life – so much more peaceful and fills with happiness and self-love and emotional energy. I sometimes worried the obsession might come back, because I used to doubt myself too much – and still do sometimes though getting better – but I knew one thing for sure: as much as I love “time traveling,” this was something I definitely, never wanted to go back to.

  9. Luv2Run says

    So glad you’re doing what’s best for you, Katie! <3 Also, your website is such a blessing! I adore all your recipes. 😀

  10. miriam says

    Thank you for this post. It’s sort of helping me make peace with my running hiatus. I had to stop (hurt my foot) but before I did, I realized I was “going back there.” I love to move and be outside and to zone out, but I can do that walking. I can move with yoga. It’s not worth the obsession…and I hope that I will also be able, in this time off, to run because I want to feel like I had a great run, not because I HAVE to.
    I totally understand and I am so glad you have this relationship with running again. It’s all about balance 🙂

  11. EVA says

    This is EXACTLY how I felt all my life with my parents forcing me to take piano lessons. Now that it’s no longer a requirement, I’ll occasionally plop down and play for hours on end and actually enjoy it. And I think that’s the best thing about getting older; you finally realize what’s truly satisfying and what’s “necessary”. Good looking out!

  12. Nicole says

    Hi Katie,
    I love your pictures! I recognize many of them because I work & run around DC as well. Let me know if you’d like any recommendations of places to go! I’m relatively new to the area and I’ve found some great spots, but I’m always looking for new areas to explore. If you have any tips please fill me in!

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      Sure! Could always use recommendations. Bring them on! 🙂

      I think the best trail I ever found was one I was taken on with a friend that went through a forest and ended at the Potomac. Unfortunately, while I was fine running it with him, it’s not something I would do by myself. (I stick to more heavily populated trails when running alone, for safety reasons.)

      • Nicole says

        For heavily populated trails, you really can’t beat the mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the capital building, as well as Rock Creek Park and the Zoo! Even at 7am there’s hundreds of people running around there.

        I also really like the C and O Canal (by Georgetown), Theodore Roosevelt Island (so cool!) and the trails by Dumbarton Oaks (here: http://www.doaks.org/gardens/virtual-tour).

        Let me know if you’re ever looking for a running buddy or find any good races 🙂

  13. Heather @ Shards of Lavender says

    Katie, thank you for sharing what’s on your heart, especially concerning your running story. I stopped running two months ago for almost the same reason; I had lost the joy that initially came with running and it had become an obsession. Like you, I was constantly configuring my life around running and it just sapped my strength. It’s nice to know that you’ve found a balance and that your life is more vibrant now:)

  14. Matt says

    I periodically read your blog because your food looks (and tastes) oh so delicious.

    However, posts like these keep me coming back. We all go through stuff and seeing you face the challenges in your life and thrive in spite of them is an inspiration.

    I’m happy that you’re finding happiness, not just in your blog, but in your life. All the best.

  15. Ellie says

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s great to hear that you have found your way to a balanced life. My experience and relationship with running is similar to what you describe.
    In my case it was a difficult breakup that resulted in a need to keep my life in control. I thought I was taking care of myself by exercising and eating healthy. I didn’t realise that it left me with very little time and energy to actually live. It took a while before I started valuing my mental health over my physical health. My decision was made over many months but once I started to prioritise my mind over my body, my friends over food, my family over running, I experienced a new side of myself. In the process of taking care of myself I became stronger, smarter, happier, nicer, funnier, more compassionate and for the first time I felt loved.
    Keep up the good work!

  16. Allison says

    I think it is really disturbing how many people seem to take delight in accusing Katie of anorexia. Having suffered from anorexia and bulimia in my teens and early twenties, it is not something to fling around as a school yard insult. I don’t know if she is or not, nor do I think it’s my business, nor is it anyone else’s. Eating disorders are serious diseases that never really completely go away for the sufferer, so I think people need to think twice before opening their mouths. Especially since most people (even you bullies) know someone that suffers from an eating disorder whether you know it or not.

  17. Ali says

    Kudos to the newfound happiness, Katie! I love the pictures, and I love that you found the balance. That is not easy to do. You look fantastic, and thank you for opening yourself up in posts like this. It’s not easy to put yourself out there, and I appreciate that you addressed this.

  18. Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy says

    I have the same attitude towards running and HIIT workouts! I think it’s time to give it a rest and renew my spirit and energy. thank you for sharing this.

  19. July says

    Nice post! Just wondering, where do you run in DC? I just moved here last week and I’m trying to find the best places to run! Also how are you liking the city so far? 🙂

  20. Amy says

    What a beautiful post. I can relate to so much of it. I’m in the process of relieving myself from expectations that I should run (or should buy food from local markets or shouldn’t take long hot showers…). Thanks for sharing.

  21. Laura says

    Good for you! I “tried to like running” by doing a half marathon a few years ago. After I finished, I concluded that I still hated running. It doesn’t sound like you hate it, but that you’re listening to your own intuition, which is super.

  22. [email protected]'s mum says

    Lovely to hear you have found a balance with running. I’ve recently just started – not a lot, just half an hour 2/3 times a week. I find it’s a great way to switch off. Your blog is great, I’ve already tried out a couple of recipes! x

  23. J Mauss says

    You are a brave soul to put up a picture of yourself and tell the story of your life. Thank you for being open and honest, especially when you don’t owe it to anyone. A life in balance is what we all hope & strive for, thank you for sharing your heart in all your recipes!

  24. Steph says

    That is a true love of running right there- it’s all too easy to become obsessed. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to run for 2 months now and you don’t really know how much you love something until it’s gone!
    Wonderful post Katie, you really are such a wonderful role model for girls like me everywhere! 😀

  25. Katie says

    I love this, and read your post about quitting running. I’ve been a runner for 15 yrs and 2 yrs ago got really obsessed in a way where I was running 9 or 10 miles a day. I got extremely thin and it ran my life. Ha. Ran. Anyway, it was starting to control everything and I began to lose the joy in running. Although I never completely stopped,I cut back, relaxed and realized there is more to life. I’ve gained weight back but am so much more comfortable with my body and I don’t look at running as a chore anymore, but a joy! Thanks for being awesome fellow Katie!

  26. Rita says

    “All of the photos in this post were taken while running.” You must have the most AWESOME camera! Not even a tiny bit blurry. 🙂
    Thank you for the chocolate cake recipe! My birthday’s on Saturday, and I was trying to find a good recipe that would match the one on the side of the Swan Cake Flour box. (It’s SO chocolaty!) This sounds like it might fit the bill.

  27. Samantha says

    Hi Katie! I have a similar story to yours – I was OBSESSED with running and working out in HS and the beginning of college. I would have tons of anxiety if I thought I wasn’t going to be able to run and I would feel “fat” the next day if I had missed a workout. It wasn’t healthy at all, even though I really did enjoy some parts of running. I stopped running for a few years and started up again about a year ago. Instead of my super long 6-8 mile daily runs, I usually only run for 2-4 miles now and if I am tired and feel like walking for a minute or I want to take a picture of a pretty part of the trail, I don’t feel guilty or “bad” for stopping. I’m fine if I miss a day (or a week) and I am much healthier about it. I think a big part of it was maturity (I’m in my mid-twenties now) and also having much more self-confidence/self-love than when I was 16-18!

  28. Corinne says

    I just stumbled upon your blog today from a recipe link and have been clicking around. Thank you so much for sharing your fitness stories! I’ve been in a fitness “rut” for a while as I haven’t had the motivation to do my normal work out routines. Along with this has come some guilt. I honestly think I’ve experienced a similar burnout from obsession. Sometimes I have to remind myself it’s okay not to exercise when you don’t want to! I’m re-training myself to be more intuitive. It seems that you’ve “gotten it” and I’m hoping these guilt waves will ebb as I learn to live without my “crutch”.

  29. Lindsey says

    I love this post! I love that you got to the place where you could take a step back without the guilt. Exercise is meant to make us healthy, not control us. Thank you for sharing!

  30. Audrey says

    Thank you for posting this! I have suffered (diagnosed) from anorexia since I was 13, and have permanent damage because of it now. I’m 21 (celebrating two years of not being underweight or in the hospital for organ failure) with osteoporosis in the lumbar spine, trouble maintaining a normal temp., and I can never drink or be around people smoking due to weak organs and a weak heart. I would not wish this disease on anyone, and Katie’s willingness to gain weight and maintain it is not something seen in people with eating disorders. Orthorexia (an eating disorder characterized by excessive exercise and fixation on “good” and “bad” food), is very hard to treat and her ability to keep her exercise in moderation and not go back to extreme and, yes, unhealthy ways supports that Katie does not have an eating disorder. Katie, I know people’s words can be hurtful, but you blog is a healthy blog and I have never been triggered (felt a strong desire to engage in ED behavior) by it. Sometimes people feel the need to put others down in order to feel better about themselves.

  31. Jessica says

    I think you are just lucky! If I quit running or exercising I would be a blimp. I don’t have that choice : ( Your recipes look amazing!

  32. Erica says

    I love this! I first discovered my love for running in college (I haaaaated it, or at least thought I did, before) and was a pretty dedicated runner for a couple years. I ran a marathon after the first year or so. Then eventually it all started to become more of a chore and source of stress than a stress reliever. I’d feel so guilty if I didn’t run. In the last few months I’ve given it up almost completely! Especially in the cold winter months. I’m looking forward to the spring, to be able to just go out for a run because I feel like it, and if I don’t, I won’t. Glad to know other people feel the same way. It’s supposed to be something that brings you joy! I’m glad you’ve found yours!

  33. EngineerMom says

    First off, I love reading another healthy food-lover’s take on recipes, thank you for the time and energy you pour into this blog.

    I have found this blog helpful for menu-planning, and was poking around learning more about Katie, and ended up here.

    It bothers me to see someone so public talk about “staying fit” by the occasional run and regular walking, when the reality is, Katie, you hit the genetic jackpot. Your body loses weight when stressed – that’s actually not typical, most stress hormones cause people, especially women, to gain weight. You have a naturally lean physique – your walking and lifting keep your muscles and bones strong, but they contribute nothing to your natural bone and muscle length.

    As someone who hit a different jackpot (naturally strong muscles and bones, good skin, beautiful nails, intelligent, long at 5’9″ but certainly not “lean”, with a body that holds on to weight when stressed and drops it when happy), it’s frustrating to see a public figure attribute her physical appearance to things within her control when it’s not – you eat well, you take care of that beautiful body, and you are certainly more than just your physical appearance, but please stop repeating the lie that with a different genetic background, your diet and exercise routine would give the same results.

  34. Tara L Conklin says

    HI Katie, you may have already answered this but what exercises do you do regularly now that you’re not running. Do you have a routine, certain exercises that just “do” it for you. I have such a hard time reconciling the recipes (albeit healthy) with how healthy you are and fit. I won’t lie, I’m a sugar addict and am trying very hard to break the habit. I’m vowing to cook NO other desserts but those on your site for awhile until me and my family are on track to better eating. I’m turning 46 this year and want to get in the best shape of my life and be healthier than I’ve ever been. Would love to know your daily diet and exercise.
    Thanks Katie!

     5/5
     5/5
  35. Anne-Marie says

    Hello! As a girl recovering from an eating/exercise disorder, I found this post incredibly comforting. I haven’t run since my third, and hopefully last, hospitalization, and I’ve been dreading this year’s track season. I used to love running, but it spiraled into something unsustainable, at least for now. Knowing that there are people who have successfully distanced themselves from running, and come to love it again, comforts me enormously. Thank you for sharing your personal struggles.

  36. LeNae says

    Thank you for sharing your Running Story. I can relate, I dealt with the same unhealthy obsession with running and exercise. I am much more balanced in my running and exercise routine now. Reading your blog and your journey has been such an inspiration for me and of course, has given me many tasty recipes!

  37. lisa says

    Katie – i can speak for me and many others what a beautiful and fun blog you have here. many of your recipes are in my rotation but i don’t always post that . that Anon was very rude and i’m glad you have the support of everyone who enjoys your blog as much as i do. thanks for sharing your knowledge with us all. you’re adorable~ 🙂

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