Resides in: Catasauqua (although temporarily out in Central PA for work)
Years running: 2.5
Bio: Picked up running in July 2008 after I lost 50 lbs and started to get bored with my workout regimen. I had some failed starts trying to run on the treadmill previously, but I switched to the Couch-to-5k plan and running outside and I’ve been hooked ever since!
What do you enjoy most about running?
I love that running is so versatile. It can be a great time to just be alone and meditate or bond with a pal. I can let a song motivate me to go faster or focus on the rhythm of my footsteps in the symphony of nature. It can be competitive, but also brings people of all walks of life and abilities together. I love getting and giving running advice. Running makes me feel like a rock star. I particularly love that it creates a healthy balance for my love of pastries and ice cream.
What is the strangest/funniest thing that has happened to you on a run?
Not funny, but definitely strange. I was running along the Ironton Rail Trail one day and anyone who knows me knows that I tend to look much more exasperated (i.e. red in the face) than I am as I run. I must have been looking particularly run-down one day when another runner passed me and said, “I guess you should take up swimming.” I generally find other runners to be a particularly welcoming group, but this guy I just wanted to punch in the face! Who says that to someone? I was flabbergasted and to this day use that guy for motivation to push it a little harder.
What is your biggest running accomplishment and why?
Personally, I’d have to say finishing the Pittsburgh Half Marathon last May. It was my second half and I felt pretty confident going in; I wanted to beat my previous PR and thought it’d come easy. Unfortunately, about 2 miles in it simultaneously started raining (something as a relative newbie I wasn’t accustomed to) and my ITB sent shooting pain through my leg and knee — both of which lasted the duration of the race. I saw my husband at mile 6 and really wanted to quit there. But I kept pushing, kept running, and finished. I guess I’m just glad that my mind won out over my body that day and I didn’t let the fact that I wouldn’t reach my goal stop me altogether.
On a broader scale, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve gotten my husband to enjoy running — he’s going to run his first half in May! — and I got my all of my family members to run in a 5k while on vacation in Hawaii last year!
Favorite race distance?
Probably the half marathon. I’m training for my first full now, but I have to say that the half gives me enough purpose in my training and doesn’t seem as fleeting as the 5k or demanding as the marathon. Plus the medals are hard to beat!
What is your favorite running mantra?
Sometimes I just repeat the word “focus” over and over again. When I run, I tend to get distracted by the music, the weather, or whatever is not feeling right or going the way I planned. If I tell myself to “focus” it helps to clear all that other stuff out of the way.
What are some things you’ve learned about yourself from running?
I’ve learned that I am athletic. Formerly overweight, I used to believe that even routine fitness was out of reach. Now I’m running 3-4x a week at distances I long thought impossible. Every mile, every PR broken, every pace, makes me feel so accomplished. I’m generally a goal-oriented, driven person, but until I started running I didn’t think that necessarily applied to fitness. The bad runs and bad races have taught me that I can get through difficult things and I can push beyond my limits. Running truly has given me self-confidence in a way nothing else can match.
Best race experience?
I’d probably have to say the Hershey half marathon last October. My husband and I ran it relay and it was just awesome to welcome him to his finish line and then begin a run myself. It was great weather, great scenery, and I had a great time to boot. I loved seeing the costumed characters and there was plenty of delicious food at the end. And the medals had a Hershey’s Kiss on them, just like I’d hoped! Great way for us to spend our first anniversary.