For our "Run Hard, Risk Heartbreak" campaign, we asked athletes and community members to share what the concept means to them. Crystal Rosales is a marathoner, sober athlete, and a style star from Chicago. Here's her take:
HB: What does "Run Hard, Risk Heartbreak" mean to you?
CR: To me "Run Hard Risk Heartbreak" means to always strive big and give it my all. I've learned that, in running and in life, there's always a lesson in failures. If I don't hit a goal, there's always growth that gives more drive to get there.
Do you have an example in running or life that you'd like to share?
I recently completed a 6-week speed training group that consisted of 20 women from various running backgrounds and levels. The program started with a mile time trial and intense speed workouts each week to help build-up to the mile time trial finale. The previous time I had run at mile pace was with the Heartbreak team for the ‘November Project’ relay in Nov 2020; This also immediately started with disappointment. My initial mile trial was 5 seconds slower than my PR, so I was intimidated by it all. However, I went in each week knowing I was going to get my butt kicked during each workout to become a faster and stronger runner. Being able to work hard alongside some amazing Chicago runners was an incredible learning experience. At the finale, I was nervous. How embarrassed would I be if everyone PR'd and I didn't? What if I was actually slower than 5 weeks ago? But I had to let go, trust all the work I put in so far, and leave it all on the track that night. I ended up running a 6:15 mile, which was 35 seconds faster!
How would you describe your relationship with running?
Since I'm still fairly new to running, we are definitely still in the honeymoon stage. I've had some good races, completed workouts I never thought I could, and threw myself into tough training cycles, but I just want to take it all in right now. Setting goals and working towards them will always be part of my running relationship/journey, but I also don't want to make that my only focus. I am eager to push myself, geek out about running science, and always remain grateful for this moving meditation.
When did you start running and why?
I ran/walked a few 5Ks before, but I really fell in love with running after getting sober in late 2018. After coping with alcohol for most of my life, getting to know who I really was and what I wanted out of my life in my 30s was a trip. But it also felt like the perfect time to pour myself into things I've always wanted to do. One of those was to actually train for the Shamrock Shuffle. Hitting those distance milestones while training and running the whole race without stopping felt so incredible. It was also the first time I actually set a goal and followed through with it. I couldn't get enough of that feeling! Shortly after that, I discovered the Chicago running community and my whole running life changed. I was completely hooked.
Who keeps you running?
The whole Chicago running community keeps me running. The Heartbreakers, 3RUN2, 7 on Sundays, Gumbo Fit, Windrunners, etc. all hold a special place in my heart. They are always motivating and inspiring while also continuing to teach me more about the power of community. I am a better runner and human because of this running community.
What do you love about running?
Running is a beautiful and hard process. It always shows me how much mental and physical strength I have and helps me learn to believe in myself as others believe in me. And to be honest, it also keeps me sober. It's a wonderful coping mechanism that provides the discipline and structure that my recovery requires at times. I always say I wish I would have discovered running earlier in life because it's truly a gift. Even when it feels impossible.
What was your favorite item you wore and why?
I love the shorts. I've always been scared of venturing into the split short world, but I feel so comfortable in these. They are smooth and buttery with really nice Heartbreak details. Wearing these makes me feel fast, confident, and ready to race!