The Run Down - The RunVermont Blog

Why I Run: Crystal Neskey

by jen on December 4, 2012 · 6 comments

in Why I Run

Meet Crystal Neskey from Underhill, VT ….

The year was 1985, Nike had the BEST colors in running shoes and I had to have them, which determined by my mother meant I HAD to run in them. I bought them because they were pretty, they were too small and not meant for running cross country, I didn’t care, I had to have them. I joined cross country and ended up with shin splints. I didn’t run again for many years. 

   I didn’t run throughout college, I moved away and lived with an abusive boyfriend in Massachusetts. He told me I was stupid, ugly and would never amount to anything.The only escape I had from his mental torture was running and the gym. When I turned 25 something happened, I realized I deserved a better life. I was running daily and my runs set me free in a way nothing else did. I left the relationship of eight years with nothing but my dog and a brand new pair of Nike Pegasus running shoes. (I felt that I couldn’t have found a more perfect running shoe)

   I’ve never stopped running, but most of the years between now and when I was 25 have lacked discipline when it came to my running. I would run, 3 and at most 5 times a week, but I never had distance or time mean anything to me. I just want to run for the sake of running.

     Two years ago a dear friend asked me to run The Covered Bridges Half Marathon with her. I figured, I run, I can do this! I signed up. I trained, I trained poorly. I just ran when I felt like it and took classes at the gym. I had an IT Band injury that I ignored and prior to the race my longest training run was 5 miles. Needless to say I wasn’t ready for 13.1. The race was EXTREMELY difficult. I wasn’t prepared, AT ALL. For most of the race I chanted, “Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever” and “YES YOU CAN”. I finished. When I crossed the announcer said my name and people where cheering. I was amazed with myself. I ran (and walked) 13.1 miles having not trained well enough with an injury. What if I trained and took my running seriously?? What would that look like?? I couldn’t wait to race again. I had excited told another woman about my experience and how I couldn’t wait to see what my time would be like if I trained for real, this woman actually laughed at me and told me it was extremely difficult to break a personal record. How difficult can it be I wondered?

    This year I made a goal for myself, to run 4 half marathons and see if I could break this “personal record”. Let me tell you, I did. I ran a told of seven races, four of them half marathons and I shaved 6 MINUTES of my PR!!! WOOOOHOOO. Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll show you I can. One of the half marathons I did was on my 41st birthday and I raised $662 for a group called running for rescues (they give money to various animal rescues, including ones in VT) I figured there wasn’t a better way to start for 41st year of life :)

   The KeyBank Vermont City Marathon will be my first marathon, I’m excited and scared. I know without a doubt I can do it. I know how to train and have come to love training. My future goal is to run a race in all 50 states, I have a “pride board” in my studio and I want to cover the board and wall with bibs and finisher medals.


All of this is where running has brought me. But if you want to know really why I run, I run because running makes me love myself. The only person I have to deal with when I run is me. When I am cruel to myself my runs are terrible, I am slow, I walk up hills, I quit. When I am kind to myself I run fast, I can run up huge hills, I can go further, I can run longer, I smile, I finish. Being kind to myself when I am running turns into me being kind to myself all day. Maybe I’m not the prettiest, the most successful, the funniest, the thinnest, I found that it doesn’t matter if I am. I can run and I can do things I never thought possible. This is what is important.

    See you at the finish line!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan December 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I hope I run into you running some day in VT. Your story reminded me how powerful running is!
Do you know about the 5&10K run sponsored by Women Helping Battered Women held in Burlington in June?
My company (Vermont Butcher Block & Board) has a team and we fundraise in honor of one of our employees who is a survivor as well.

2 debra hazel December 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Thanks for writing — great message! Running does have a way of making you realize you want more for yourself. And I find that the courage and confidence we gain from running ripples to the people around us. Yours just rippled my way – I’m heading out for a run. :-)

3 Carol L. Blattspieler December 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Thanks for sharing; stepping out of the “safety box” and sharing I am sure allows others to do the same.
As you’ve talked about, running is something NO ONE can take away from you/us. People can try to put us down, degrade our sense of self but running only builds us up! Stay with it. This VCS will be my 29th Marathon; if I can do anything to help you be successful for your first, please email me! Seriously, I love helping others find the finish line with a smile of their face!! You go girl!! Carol

4 crystal December 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Thanks everyone! I’m sorry about the typos!!!

5 Anne December 5, 2012 at 7:46 am

Thank you for sharing your story that helps us all remember why running (and being kind to ourselves) is so important! GOOD LUCK with your marathon training and I look forward to cheering you on in May!

6 Shawn December 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Thank you for your bravery and authenticity in sharing your story. I am very moved reading it and it will add one more piece to the puzzle of inspirational sources I draw from when my flaws interrupt my knowing what I can and should do, like run. While I can’t empathize with your particular experience, I can sympathize with suffering and the medicinal role of running and other exercise. I sincerely wish you the best in achieving your 50-state goal and any other running endeavor.

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