Coach Conner Johnsen –
My journey in running started with cross country at Sehome High School. The coaching staff really embraced the ideology of making running a lifetime sport for all of it’s athlete’s. I completely fell in love with lacing up my shoes and getting out the door! Exploring Bellingham’s outstanding trail network was an escape from the typical day to day of school and homework. With my love of running came a fair bit of success on the track and cross country course, enough that I was able to compete in college.
In college I was running at a high level, but unfortunately continually sustained injuries throughout my collegiate career. Those injuries lead me to curtail my running and cross train instead. I dreaded getting in the pool or riding the bike and became fearful every time I got cleared to run on land again. This fear of being hurt lead me to not enjoy my own running anymore. I loved cheering for teammates and friends, but would avoid the topic of how my own running was going and do everything I could to delay getting a run started, and I felt burnt out.
After school, I started getting back out on my home trails in Bellingham. It was tough, but I kept slowly adding on more and more mileage. I was running in the morning on my own or with a friend and then coming back in the afternoon to run with the team that I now coach. I started adding up all of my mileage and realized I was running more miles than I ever had! I wasn’t focused on how fast I was going, but on this new challenge of going longer. I just topped off my highest mileage week ever at 85 miles in 7 days, and I’m truly feeling my absolute best! Going longer instead of faster gave me a new perspective and challenge that helped me find my love of running again.
I’m very thankful to be back loving running and running more than I ever have! Hopefully I will see you all out on the trail at some point soon!