Austin Hopkins On the Run

Austin has been running five to six years now. While he started running initially to impress a girl, he has continued on a rich and rewarding journey of learning.

Randi, Austin’s wife, took up running first after watching a friend in a race inspired her to give it a try. She was the faster and more committed of the two until recently. Now they enjoy parity in their runs and the companionship that they share as they pursue running goals.

The Payette Lake Run in 2014 was a big learning moment for Austin when he placed third in his age division in the 5k. He discovered the satisfaction of “seeing how far you can push” and the resulting performance gains that come from that. He increased his focus and commitment to training after that race. Just this month (July 2016) he decided to go out with the leaders in the Dirty Dog Trail Half Marathon and soon discovered he was the leader. He continued on to finish first overall.

Austin has also been acquiring wisdom and learning patience in the process. At one point early on when he was able to run enough that he realized that he was feeling healthier and he could go faster, he started to run faster. “I wasn’t patient about it at all! I was like, ‘Oh, if I can go faster, I need to go ten times faster!’ and I just started blowing stuff out.” He ended up with a lot of muscle strains in his calves, but his enthusiasm carried him along for about three months until one day in the middle of a run. He stopped at a stoplight. When the walk light came on, he went to step off the curb, and he suddenly felt something pull loose straight up toward his knee. He ended up having to take six months off from running to recover from that injury. From that experience Austin says, “Now I am seeing the benefits of taking it easy.” In the end, he has learned there are times to push through the pain and times to stop. “To learn this you just got to run.” Everyone’s body is so different and the line between “too much” and “enough” is unique to every individual.

After several years of running Austin has learned that there are “too many good reasons to run and not enough bad reasons not to run.” He has learned that the specific motivations to keep running day after day vary for him. On some days, he loves feeling healthy. The idea that his running reduces health risks is very satisfying. On other days, feeling fit and pushing it physically provides a real charge. And there are those trying days where running is the reset button that restores his mental health and outlook on life.

Austin recognizes that he will need to learn many more lessons if he is going to run well in the decades to come. He admires the role models he finds among the more seasoned runners in the Boise Area Runners. Runners who still “crush it” even though they may be older than his parents and grandparents.

Austin’s story is far from over and he can look forward to many more learning moments as he continues to grow and develop as a runner. See you on a run!

This article is the first in the BAR Story Project where we will be telling stories of BAR runners. A new article will be published each month.

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