minutes per mile blog

runner’s nostalgia {+ a Tracksmith giveaway!}

Today’s stroll down memory lane is brought to you by Tracksmith. Let’s rewind a decade or so ago, and then talk about how you can win a free singlet this week :)


I wrote my running story a while back and talked about how I consider those first few months of my running career as the hardest. Running two miles at a 10-minute pace in 2006 felt just as tough as running 26 miles at a 7:35 pace ten years! I had never run before and had no coach or running buddies. Just me and a stubborn determination to keep hitting the start line, which at the time was my parents’ driveway.


When I first started running I had ONE route for about three months: a two-mile loop through my parents’ old neighborhood in Brentwood, TN. There was a massive hill (or at least it felt massive at the time) midway through the route, and I remember I had to stop and walk it for the first month or so.


The first few times I ran the whole route without stopping to walk felt like a huge accomplishment. As the months went on I started adding extra steps to boost the route up to three miles, then four! By the end of the summer I could run about five miles straight.

And I’d learned that running was a great way to release some energy, spend some time thinking, and de-stress about things. At the time, I was mostly thinking about my big move to Baltimore at the end of the summer for college. Today, I’ve still got plenty to ponder and prepare for on my runs — like what life will be like in a few months with a baby! 😮


Whenever I go back to visit my parents’ old neighborhood, I love running my original two-mile route. Each step brings back memories and makes me realize how much has changed in the past 11 years — and at the same time, how much hasn’t. For example, I’m thinking about trimesters instead of semesters now. And wearing sweat-wicking shorts instead of cotton, thank goodness! But I’m still the same old me. Just a little older and wiser, hopefully. And faster :)


Does anyone else feel the same flood of memories when they re-run an old route back home? Tracksmith wraps up this feeling of runner’s nostalgia elegantly in a few words and through this video:

HOME from Tracksmith on Vimeo.

In honor of reconnecting with old routes and old running buddies as you head back home (or wherever your “starting line” is) for the holidays, Tracksmith is letting you gift a free singlet to a friend when you spend $250. Their tops have a classic throwback style that’s perfect for the occasion!


AND they’re kicking off the campaign with a little giveaway for you guys. Tell me one of your first ever running routes in the comments section for a chance to win a free Tracksmith singlet. I’ll randomly pick a winner on Friday!

41 thoughts on “runner’s nostalgia {+ a Tracksmith giveaway!}

  1. My first run is a 3 mile route at a park close to my grandmothers. It’s especially special to me because I met my sweet dog on this route within a couple of months of starting. It’s not the safest neighborhood but you just have to make sure to go during a time it’s light outside and there are some people. I started running because of the opportunity it gave me for reflection during a very difficult time and I don’t think it is a coincidence that I ran into my dog that way. He would pop out of some bushes and follow me on my runs but never get to close since he was afraid. My grandma would eventually tell me to make sure to take my dog friend with me because she hated that I would run alone. After a couple of months of running together I realized how much we had helped each other heal on our runs and I adopted him. He is 6 years old now and for three years we’ve run together and are having a great time. He is my accountability partner. I’ve grown a lot as a runner but no matter the other routes and trails I run there’s nothing like running that original route behind grandma’s house with Boots.

    Thank you for your post. It’s always a great time to go back and especially in gratitude.

  2. I used to run along the road by my parents’ house. There were no sidewalks and it was 50 MPH. Pretty dumb and I’m not sure how I convinced them it was okay! I always have loved your running story because it’s similar to mine (although I’ve taken quite a bit longer to build up, and I’m nowhere close to your speed).

  3. My first route was also in my parents’ neighborhood. I moved back home after college and was horribly out-of-shape. I had some runner friends who were so encouraging and convinced me to try running, so I did the couch to 5k program and got hooked! The route in their neighborhood is pretty boring and repetitive, but it’s where running grabbed me, so it’s nostalgic!

  4. There was this neighborhood by my parents old house during high school that had this perfect loop. You’d run up a steep hill, back down another, then over a bridge to the local junior high school and then back down the road. Probably 2 miles total. I used to be excited (like you!) when I could run up the hill without walking. Eventually, I decided to run more minutes and more miles and marathons some how happened but it’s funny to reminisce about the days when running even a slow mile was a challenge :)

  5. I didn’t start running until after college, so my first running route was this path by the river that I still run! It is marked by eighths of a mile, and I remember the first time I ran an entire mile, I was so excited, I called my mom, haha. I love that I can still run there, and that the path has years of memories and miles.

  6. I started running by doing C25K through the beautiful Regent’s Park when I was studying abroad in London during college.

  7. My first running route was in my parents neighborhood around a lake, and I used to always have to walk at this one spot. I remember coming home from college and feeling like I could run the whole thing!

  8. Similar to yours, my first running route was in my parents’ neighborhood and was a hilly 2.2 miles. I remember thinking it was 2.5 for some reason — maybe someone told that by mistake — and this was long before I used MapMyRun or a GPS watch. I slowly tacked on whole loops until I could run four straight — thinking it was 10 miles, but it was really 8.8. :) I do like to run that loop when I’m back home!

  9. My mom’s house is on a road that kind of goes in a horseshoe so I would run back and forth on that – it’s almost exactly a mile so it was perfect when I was ready to start bumping up my miles. I was too nervous to venture out much further than that!

  10. My first running route was a loop around my neighborhood in college! It was exactly 5 kilometers long and pretty flat. I have no idea how I didn’t get bored to death running the same loop over and over again, but I liked knowing how far I went!

  11. One of my first solo runs was a three mile loop around Vanderbilt’s campus–it was the perfect starter length and I did it countless times during my four years there. It was so rewarding to see how much faster I got over the four years!

  12. My first running route was on the Mount Vernon parkway. I grew up riding my bike as my father and brother ran the trail. I still remember the first time I headed out to do the loop with just my running shoes.

  13. My very first run was in high school starting at my parents house and going to the neighborhood park and back…it was about 0.9 miles each way! It was exhausting to even make it to the park, but I knew once I got there that I HAD to run back, there was no other option haha!

  14. A two mile loop near my college. I remember being SO proud when I was able to run the whole thing without any walk breaks! The security guard used to be so impressed when my friend and I came back from runs, wow you ran a whole 2 miles?! lol, those were the days.

  15. Like most, from my parents house, but I had a state forest behind our house with plenty of single and double track trails to run on. This kept things interesting plus there is an ice cream stand with in the park, only motivation I needed. It’s a strange/great set up with a dairy farm within the park. My folks have moved and I now live 40 minutes away, but still seem to find a reason to go back a few times a year.

  16. Running at my parents house is a personal favorite too. I guess it is the nostalgia that I enjoy about running those same roads I did throughout high school and when I was home from college hoping I might see someone I know while running. Those were the days… Haha.

  17. I lived near Lake Ontario and had a loop that was “around the lighthouse and back”. Someone told me it was 5k, but ofcourse that was before GPS watches, so who knows! I have a feeling it is much shorter.
    But – funny story, the summer I did a study abroad in Paris, my friend and I would go for runs “for our image” since we thought it was cool to be runners (which, it is…). We would sprint around the boys’ dorm and when we got out of sight, we’d walk the rest of the way. And then go to the dining hall in our running clothes. I can’t quite remember, but I’m pretty sure I had my fancy shockwave walkman with me 😉

  18. My first attempt at running was my first year out of college. I lived in rural North Carolina and wasn’t brave enough to go very far from my house. This was the era of dial-up internet so it was tricky figuring out a route. I didn’t last long as a runner there. Luckily I found my running mojo many years later in Ohio.

  19. My first running route was around my college town right after graduating! I had started an office job and needed to do something to move now that I was sitting all day every day. I was the person who couldn’t run a mile in high school, so my new identity as a runner sometimes still surprises me almost 8 years later :) That first route was two miles, which I walked probably half of. That fall I trained for a half marathon and have since run 8 half marathons and one full. Still love running around my old college town when I get a chance!

  20. I lived in the lower east side of manhattan and would run over the willamsburg bridge and back at night since it was well lit and safe. Well almost over the bridge, I wouldn’t go back down to the willamsburg side because I didn’t want to run back up the bridge!

  21. I started training for my first half marathon while I was still a student at Georgetown University. My first runs started at my house behind the hospital and took me down to M Street, and then soon to the Kennedy Center. After training for a while, I extended it into a 6 mile loop to the Lincoln Memorial, and then back home. I never got tired of seeing the memorial quiet first thing in the morning.

  22. My first consistent running route was from my grad apartment and past a few riverboat casinos, a sketchy construction site, and under an overpass to a secluded, beautiful path. It was icy in winter and you had to watch for deer herds in summer. It was five miles to the only water fountain, which sometimes didn’t work. I started out with 3 miles and wound up with 15. I don’t miss the early morning smell of the casinos, but I do miss the deer.

  23. I ran mostly on the treadmill in college, but had a downtown route that I still do……….only longer now! I really love visiting Nashville though, because I can run those Brentwood trails! I have finally figured them out and not gotten lost in the subdivisions in a while! If I am marathon training then I will run from my inlaws house to my sister in laws house and back via the trails………….a good 20 miler total!

  24. I got into running in college. As a swimmer my whole life, doing any kind of sport that was on the land was kinda terrifying. But being in a new location for college (Baltimore), I was inspired to lace up my sneaks and explore the new city by going on long runs all over the city. Def learned about running safe in Baltimore very quickly!

  25. My first running route was around the neighborhood once or twice. I would stop at the house for water and repeat. It was to build up for the day when at school we ran to the donut shop (ate a donut) and ran back – how odd is that? What was my junior high school PE teacher thinking? :)

    If I win I would give my singlet to my husband who wants one so badly. thanks!

  26. My first running route was also around my parents’ house. It was about 1 mile long and my mom would encourage pre-dinner runs when my middle school social anxiety was sky high! Now whenever I feel myself starting to worry, I throw on my sneakers and take them for a (longer!) ride.

  27. My first running route was down a hill towards the Ottawa river path. At first I could barely make it 1Km (which was downhill!!) without stopping. I ran on that route for 7 years. I just moved this weekend and had to say goodbye to that route :-(

  28. I didn’t start doing routes until I hit college. I ran with my roommate at BYU who liked to run and we would do a loop that consisted of a few blocks. She had done a marathon or two and was the one that told me the first three miles were the hardest. If you can get past those, you’ll be in the zone. Over 10 years later, I feel like this still holds true to me. :)

  29. My first running route was a one mile loop around the neighborhood I grew up in. My dad used to run it with my sister and I every morning (or evening in my case) until he hurt his knee and couldn’t run anymore. I still ran it after that. I loved the solitude of running alone and the ability to talk freely when I had company. I haven’t run that route in years, even thinking about it makes me want to go back!

  30. My first ever running route was a 1 loop of campus at my undergrad in Fairbanks Alaska. Cold, slippery and rarely fast. Eventually I built up to my first 5k there, the Beat Beethoven 5k – run a 5k in the time it takes to play Beethoven’s 5th symphony – now it’s marathons.

  31. I first started running consistently in grad school. I’d do a few runs in undergrad, but I was more consistent on the treadmill. In grad school I moved to Chinatown in DC. I would run down to the National Mall and take a couple loops around the Capitol end. Back then, even though I was running more consistently, I HATED it because I would try to run as fast as I could each time. Which hurts! When I started training for my first half two years later, I realized I needed to scale back a bit on the pace. And now, I’m training for my third half! I usually hit the rock creek trail by Woodley Park and run down toward the Lincoln. Happy running!

  32. I slowly ran track in high school so my first running route was around the campus. I occasionally get to run in that area for local races and it is funny how different I feel about running now as opposed to then 25 plus years ago. I took many years off and started running again 13 years ago. Then took another nine year break to start up again consistently about 4 years ago. I live in the same town I grew up in so many of the routes I run are the same as all those years ago, however, memories from the past will hit me during my runs that make me appreciate that think time I have while running.

  33. I first started running when I met my husband nine years ago. He was faster than me at the time, but we wanted to run together, so we chose routes that were loops. One around a lake and the other was just one very big main street in the town where he was living. In fact, there is a race coming up where the latter route was, so we might run it for old time’s sake!

    By the way, I enjoy your blog and wish you the best with your pregnancy!

  34. As a Nashvillian and runner, I like reading your blog! To answer your question, my first running route was a little 3 mile loop in the neighborhoods of Decatur, GA back in 2008. I lived there for a few years and my boyfriend at the time got me into running, so we just ran around the neighborhood where we lived. Good memories!

  35. My favorite run ever was one I used to do in college. There was a stretch that began at the gym and stretched down to a set of lights. There and back was exactly 2 miles. Making that loop a few times was wonderful.

  36. My first running route was around the neighborhoods by my high school when I started running cross-country my sophomore year. It seems like ages ago!

  37. Your 2 mile beginners route sounds just like mine – I ran that same route 3 times a week my sophomore year of high school to get in shape for lacrosse season in the spring. Walkman in hand, Soffie shorts and all – hah! Great memories!

  38. When I first started running, I’d do an out and back on the sidewalk along a well-traveled road. It was so difficult at first! I didn’t even know how far or how fast I was going, but I knew it was tough. On my fairly short route, there were several street crossings, so I had built-in stops that helped me out when I was first starting to run.