Alicia Curley, 27, lives in Ann Arbor, where she also blogs about running, recipes, and “changing my habits, for good” at In Healthy Habits We Trust.
She also shares openly about battling depression and how running has helped her—not necessarily when or how she’d expected but always when she needed it the most. “When I was in the worst of my depression, the fact that the thought of running didn’t bring joy to me was just so painful. How could something I love, something that brought so much life to me, now feel empty?” she says. “But running has always found me when I needed it the most. And little by little, it helped me to remember who I was and what I cherished about life that did make me happy.”
“It was so hard to get back into running and it didn’t instantly change my life like I hoped it would, but it did help me get to a place where I felt like I could beat depression. At the end of the day, I am the only one who can drag myself out of a dark place and running helped me see that I was capable of doing it.”
Read on to learn more about this Michigan runner who is an ambassador for Oiselle, is digging the 5K distance, and is gearing up for this weekend’s Kona Chocolate Run despite an injury sustained during this fall’s Detroit Women’s Half Marathon. (Silver lining to that experience: she still PR’d!)
A memorable recent run: It was last week, a was a slow, awkward 4 miles, but it was the first run since my last half marathon almost a month ago where I wasn’t in run-ending pain. I finally felt relief, rather than anxiety, from wondering if I would have to cut the run short to walk or hobble. I finally felt for the first time in over a month that I was on the road to recovery, and that feeling is freeing!
Favorite Michigan race: I don’t have one yet, is that bad? I finished a year of 5Ks this past July and out of those my favorite was probably Shamrocks & Shenanigan’s in Ann Arbor. I unexpectedly PR’d that race in a big way, and it’s a very difficult, hilly 5K. I rode that high for a long time!
Favorite place to run in the Mitten State: There are so many places I have yet to run that I know will be a favorite, but I think if I’m going for what comes top of mind it’s either the River Trail in Lansing/East Lansing and/or Grand Woods Park in Lansing. I have so many memories in those places—I grew up in Lansing—that getting a chance to run there whenever I can brings great joy to my heart!
Favorite race distance: Either half marathon or 5K, although I’m really starting to love the challenge of the 5K more than I thought I would!
How would you describe your running, in three words: Earned, progress, fulfilling.
Running for Oiselle: It’s a blessing that I’ve been able to get involved with Oiselle. I heard about Oiselle through a friend who was an Oiselle team member and I was always in awe of all the stories she shared about her experience. I applied to get involved on a whim but put my heart into the application. When something just feels right, you can’t NOT go after it! Being part of Oiselle is just incredible. One of the things I love most about running is the sense of community you have as a runner and I’ve really missed the “team” aspect since my days of high school cross country. I now have a team that is inspiring, supportive and is all across the country. It’s pretty amazing to have a network like that with you each time you run.
Best running advice ever received: The first thing that comes to mind is a quote my high school cross-country coach told me after I spit at practice once and apologized for it. He said, “Girls don’t spit, athletes do.” I don’t think I ever thought of myself as an athlete because I wasn’t a very fast runner, but those few words just changed how I looked at myself within my sport. It was some odd jump of confidence that I needed and it still, strangely, brings me a boost of confidence (and a smile) when I think about it on a run.
What you thought about on today’s run: On today’s run I used a metronome to try and hit a 178 bpm cadence. I kept thinking of different words I could repeat that fell in beat with the cadence of my feet. I came up with a couple, “clip clop” being the most obvious—boring, but effective!
Upcoming Race Schedule: I’m really looking forward to the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge in February. The medals are epic and its also a course I’ve PR’d on, so I’m hoping to do the same next year. There’s also an Oiselle team race in March which will be nothing but awesome and I’m really looking forward to running with my teammates. Additionally, I’d like to try my first trail race, which is terrifying but exciting all at the same time! J