Most people within about 30 minutes of meeting me learn about my running. It's not something I do leisurely and not something I can usually hide from people as it is such a big part of my life. I have run for a good portion of my life, but only recently did I realize how much it truly means to me.
Let's start at the beginning, though, shall we? When in 5th grade, my teacher at the time handed out pamphlets for different rec sports to do. I had done karate, gymnastics, and swimming before. Soccer and basketball did not sound appealing, either. For some reason, the rec track club sounded like something I wanted to try. I comically did sprinting and shot put, two things that I was totally not built to do. I also race walked, which I found really fun. I stopped running when I was going through growth spurts and my legs hurt too much to do so, but the seed was planted: I was going to be a runner.
The summer before my freshman year of high school, I was prepared to tryout for the high school tennis team. It was only after one particularly frustrating day of practicing that I decided that tennis was too temper-inducing and that I ought to run instead. I look back and am so thankful I made that decision because running for Magruder High School made so many of my favorite memories from high school. I ran cross country and indoor and outdoor track all four years of high school. Cross country was my favorite as I naturally did better in endurance and loved the family my team became. I had amazing coaches and I was able to improve each year steadily. For track, I ran longer distances, but had the pleasure to do hurdles and pole vault as well. I met some of my great friends through Magruder running (some I'm still connected with!) and the love of running was further solidified in those years.
|My place after an XC meet in high school|
I was not the best runner, therefore I was not seeking a college team to compete on. I got lucky in finding the Drexel University Track Club, though, as it was a perfect place to challenge myself, but not be committed to a varsity team. I met some awesome friends through there and ran a lot of fun races. My coach is actually the person who urged me to sign up for my first marathon (the 2007 Philadelphia Marathon) and since then, my love of endurance running has only grown.
|After my 2nd Philly Marathon finish in 2009, I needed assistance |
walking from my brother
After two Philadelphia marathons were under my belt, I was seeking a spring 2010 marathon and came up with nothing exciting. I had always been interested in running ultras and thought that I ought to try my first ultra with the Back on My Feet 24 hour Lone Ranger ultramarathon. I didn't realize how steep of challenge I had put myself up for, but I love a good challenge! I competed in the inaugural Mind the Ducks 12 hour race in May as a test before my 24 hour race and knew I was hooked to ultras. I've completed two 12 hour races, one 24 hour race, and have my second 24 hour race in just 7 short weeks!
In the last few weeks, I've had times when running wasn't possible (too busy or my current injury of overused muscles in my feet from my recent 12 hour race). As much as I knew I enjoyed running, I didn't realize how important it is to me and for my sanity. It's my time to feel in control of something, to challenge myself, to think things through, to jam out to some tunes, to do my body good, and to be me. Running has so intrinsically become part of who I am that not being able to run now makes me feel in a funk. I am so lucky to be able to run as much as I do and I cannot wait to get back to it when my feet heal up so I get back to being me!
|Finish of 2011 Mind the Ducks 12 Hour Race with Jesse, a runner friend|
Photo: Shelly Robillard
Last but not least, I've met some of the most amazing people running. Whether it was from high school teams, Drexel Track, the Runner's World forums, or from a race, I have been so inspired by other runners that I have befriended. I've been able to meet people from all other walks of life that I wouldn't have met otherwise.
Can you tell that I love running?! Yeah, it may be obnoxious to others, but it truly has become a part of me and I cannot wait for my many running adventures for the rest of my life. :D