I follow quite a few runners on social media, and I’m always curious about their running background. Did they grow up running? Did they run in high school and college? Are they relatively new to running? I thought I’d give you some insight into how my running journey began and where I am today.
I grew up in Waterloo, IA, a relatively small town in the Midwest. I loved being active as a child. Gymnastics, roller skating, and biking were some of my favorite things to do. I remember when I was little we had a house with cement floors in the basement, and my sister and I would roller skate down there for hours. I was active outside of school, however I was a really shy as a child so I didn’t get involved in team sports at school. I also suffered from migraines as a child that were almost disabling, and I think my parents discouraged me from playing sports and doing anything too strenous because it could trigger a migraine.
I was always naturally lean as a young child and through high school, but once I went to college my life style change. I started drinking heavily, smoking and eating tons of fast food. I graduated college in 2003, with a degree in Accounting, but I had also gained 50lbs and was in poor health. I moved to Phoenix the summer after college graduation. I didn’t see much opportunity in Iowa and I really desired living in a sunny warm climate.
I met a few friends after living in AZ for awhile and they changed my perspective on being active and eating healthy. I learned about portion control, crazy how I had no concept of food portions until now and I was in my mid 20’s! I started walking with my new friends once a week, taking yoga classes a few times a week, and I also started walking on the treadmill at my apartment gym. The weight started to come off!
Fast forward to 2008, I met my now husband, and in 2009 I became pregnant. I gained 50lbs with the pregnancy. In 2010, I had our son and after he was born I was determined to get back in shape. I joined a women’s bootcamp group. A few of the women in the group were runners, and that is when I started to really learn about running.
When I met the ladies at the bootcamp my motivation for running started and I wanted to push myself even further now. I signed up for my first race, a 10k, when my son was 6 months old. I ran the race in 56:36, 9:06 pace. I had done much better than I had anticipated, and now I was even more determined to race again. I had my mind set on a half marathon. I had never in my life imagined myself running a half marathon and here I was. In Nov 2011 I ran my first half marathon. I set a goal of finishing in under 2 hours, my time was 1:58. I was ecstatic, but I remember saying I am never doing that again!
My running over the next 5 years was very inconsistent. I would train for race or hardly train for a race, run the race, and then not run again for months! I was not passionate about running, YET. It wasn’t until I decided to train and run a full marathon that my passion was sparked. When I completed the training for my first full marathon – that first 20 miler- I felt such a sense of accomplishment, and I felt like a different person. Something inside of me had changed. I set my goal for my first full to complete it in under 4 hours, but deep down inside I really wanted to Boston Qualify. My time was 3:37. I had BQ’d! I was beyond grateful and happy. The thing I remember most after the race was thinking NOT that I never want to do that again, BUT I can’t wait to do that again. At that point running became my ultimate passion. I had a fire inside me. I have been dedicated to running ever since that race. I ran my first full marathon in Feb 2015 and have completed 2 more full marathons since then.
I have set new goals now. Who knows when I will hit them, but I will keep running and pushing until I do!