Constant motion, capturing the moments between the moments, discerning individual wants and needs, an insatiable appreciation for Nike Invincibles, knowing when to “hunt” and when it’s time to lean in and get to work, this is a story of connection diversified, and Somer Kreisman.
I first started seeing Somer Kreisman’s name pop up when sifting through the shots Matt Palmer sent over for his Conversational Pace feature. Since, I have seen Somer’s name all over the place, like when you’re thinking about buying a car and start seeing it everywhere. Except, instead of an overabundance of 4Runners, Somer’s name was attached to some of the most compelling, intimate, and poignant running photography I’ve seen; raw emotion and sheer grit from the highest trails to the flattest tracks (and everywhere in between.)
There are a million words, assumptions, and emotions brimming from Somer’s photos, and there are perhaps equal amounts going on behind the camera. Physical therapist weekdays, race photographer weekends, Pheobe Bridgers appreciator 24/7; it should go without saying that we, as humans, are complicated nuances, but sometimes, we forget. In our day-to-day, we’re bound to our titles and others’ expectations. But when throwing on a pair of Invincibles (or another running shoe), we’re free. This is the story of Somer Kriesman, someone who loves to climb hills.
Leggggs: Hi Somer! Thanks so much for being a part of this. Stoked we’re getting to chat. First off, short introduction and a little about yourself.
Somer Kreisman: Hi, I’m Somer (pronounced like the season). You can find me on @somerrunner and Strava. Offline you can find me shuffling around Greenlake in Seattle, WA at the crack of dawn and sometimes the not-so-crack of dawn.
Professionally, I’m a physical therapist during the week and a race photographer during the weekend.
Leggggs: What’s your personal mission?
SK: The way you do anything is the way you do everything. Essentially this boils down to working hard wherever the ol’ feet are planted. Whether that’s in the clinic, during a race, on a photo assignment, in the gym, etc.
The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
Leggggs: I like simplifying things. So, if you had to sum yourself up in one sentence, what is it?
SK: Clever, but not in a functional way.
Leggggs: Outside of logging miles, what do you do to keep yourself happy? Your mind, body, soul… all that good stuff…
SK: I like to keep busy. I’m at my happiest when I’m in motion or working toward a goal. I derive a lot of joy and purpose from doing things that feel like they contribute positively to the world— whether that’s helping rehabilitate someone’s injury so they can get back to doing what they love, or capturing images of people that make them feel empowered and strong when they see them. Second happiest when snuggling with my whippet, Oakley.
Whenever I’m injured and not able to run, I usually lean pretty heavily on art as an outlet. I got really into film photography again in 2020 when I was dealing when plantar fasciitis (as far as injuries go, this one is a 0/10, do not recommend). I also like reading. Pilates is another great way to keep balanced, particularly as a runner.
Leggggs: When did you first get into running? And most importantly, why?
SK: I think this was in high school (2005ish), training for the P.E. mile. Never ran for a school team in high school or college.
I really didn’t want to get last place in the P.E. mile, because everyone is always watching that person and I was cripplingly shy in high school. I guess I was motivated by anxiety.
Leggggs: How do you keep your running routine fresh? Or, how often do you diversify your routine?
SK: Lately, I’ve been dividing up the year between Trail Season and Road Season. I think this works great because I’m injury prone and trail season gets me really strong for when it’s time to hit the roads.
Leggggs: So it’s not the same thing every time?
SK: Ew, no. Ok, I will acknowledge that I do run around Greenlake a lot but (!!) the paces usually change depending if it’s a workout day or an easy day. And to be fair, I’m usually running in the dark during the week so the location doesn’t really matter since I can’t see anything anyway. On the weekends during Trail Season, I’m usually running up something steep in Issaquah. Uphill tempos are a big fav.
As soon as it gets wet and gross, I’m heading back to the roads. I love running fast, which isn’t always possible on trails depending on the technicality of the terrain. Also not having any ankle insecurities is a nice bonus to road running. I appreciate the differences between both roads and trails, and go in and out of love with each. Whenever one starts to feel stale, I’ll switch to the other.
Leggggs: Say an alien (they exist) were to touch down in the middle of the NYC Marathon or, say, Cocodona 250, how would you describe running to them, given they have zero idea what it is, and what the hell we’re doing?
SK: You’re essentially just hopping from foot to foot. Wait, do aliens understand hopping? Do aliens even have legggggs? We run because it feels good and hiking sucks (hot take…).
Leggggs: I like it. That said, what is your favorite type of run?
SK: U P H I L L T E M P O. I like climbing.
Leggggs: Follow up – What run takes a bit more motivation to kick your ass into gear to do it?
SK: Any double, any situation. No further questions.
Leggggs: Easy, or hard, as that. Tell me about your favorite run ever? What, why, where, how, who, when…. etc
SK: Last summer I got to run on the Summerland trail at Mt. Rainier National Park with my friend Ryan who is really good at taking pictures and also good at not getting lost. It’s just so beautiful everywhere you look, kind of feels like running through a painting. A really pretty painting.
[Mt. Rainier National Park] feels like running through a painting. A really pretty painting.
Leggggs: Conversely, the worst run of your life? What made it terrible and how did you push through (if you did)?
SK: This is an easy one, the first marathon I ever did in 2012. This makes it sound like I’ve done many marathons since, which is super not true (have done one since, and it was not awful). This was Very Bad because the longest run I did leading up to it was 14 miles. I was 18 years old and had no idea how to train for anything. It was The Worst Run Ever because my twin sister passed me at mile 17 like I was standing still. Memorably bad times.
Leggggs: Bucket list places to run?
SK: Grand Canyon!
Leggggs: Same. Okay, so, follow up – Where has been the most amazing place you’ve logged miles?
SK: Bryce Canyon! Am I a canyon freak or what?
Leggggs: What races are you eyeing in the near or not-near future?
SK: Hmmm. I’d love to run a 50K. But don’t tell any of my friends because they’ve been trying to get me into The Ultras for years now. A race from this year that I would love to run again would be Daybreak’s Backcountry Rise. It is stunning. Do it.
Leggggs: Alright, getting into some gear-related questions now. What’s some running gear you can’t live without?
SK: Shokz open run headphones, Nike invincibles, gloves, Garmin 945 (the nav is lifesaving).
Leggggs: What is your go-to kit for running on the:
SK: Compression socks, black spandex shorts, crop top, nike invincible
SK: Compression socks, black spandex shorts, crop top, nike trail peg
SK: Compression socks, black spandex shorts, crop top, nike vaporfly if road//trail peg if trail race
Not running and relaxing AFTER said run?
SK: Hoka recovery slides and an XL hoodie/sweatpants. Also, have been known to rock a full-length parka post-run (I’m a Cold Girl).
Leggggs: Best shoes for road / trail / recovery / short runs / long runs
SK: For the road: nike invincible. Trail: nike trail peg 2/3/4. Recovery: hoka slides
Leggggs: Headphones or no headphones when running?
SK: Yes headphones.
Leggggs: Follow up – Pump up music for running? What’s your perfect song?
SK: I really like sad music. I also listen to an embarrassing amount of Taylor Swift. Out of the Woods is pretty great. Additionally, anything from High Violet by The National.
Leggggs: Got a quote you repeat to yourself mid-run when shit is getting real?
SK: Few will hunt. (Extracted from “everybody wants to eat, but few will hunt”) this is a reminder that when things are feeling tough, that’s when it’s time to lean in and go to work. That’s where the magic happens. ✨
When things are feeling tough, that’s when it’s time to lean in and go to work. That’s where the magic happens.
Leggggs: If you weren’t running, what would you be doing to keep your body, mind, and soul active?
SK: Spin biking, rowing, lifting weights, pilates– movement is how the body tells the brain it’s alive – I like to keep it kinetic 🙂
Leggggs: What no-bullshit advice would you say to inspire a person to start running?
SK: I think people have to want it, I would never push a running habit on someone that wasn’t already into it themselves.
Leggggs: Who do you have to thank for where you are in your running journey?
SK: Definitely all my friends who believe in me WAY more than I ever believe in myself. Bret Jorgensen, Chris Gregory, Ryan Thrower, and Melody Coleman are a few that have really helped me along the way.
Leggggs: Finally, when you realllllllly don’t want to run, how do you convince yourself to get out there?
SK: I don’t run when I don’t feel like it– and these days are few and far between. The days I don’t want to run are when my body is hurting and I should probably just cross-train or skip a day anyway. It’s harder to talk me into a day off than to get out for a run 9 days out of 10.
What sticks out to me the most listening to Somer is her honesty when she dissects the intersection between life and running. It boils down, at least here, to movement. Simple, complex, forward, backward, in-place… movement is movement, and movement can ultimately lead to a less lonely existence.
Stay up-to-date with Somer and all her going-ons, photography, running, and other various movements: