I haven’t always been a runner. In fact, until 2011 I hated running. Before 2011, the only running I did in gym class to pass the mile.
During the first two years of college, I ran twice. Running never came naturally to me and wasn’t my thing.
Let’s begin a journey, shall we?
In middle school, I was overweight, awkward, and couldn’t run. My weight came from eating too many cookies and not being active while my parents were at work. I swam but ate more calories than I burned.
My father ran marathons and both my brothers ran track. Me? I failed the mile in gym class about half the time. I didn’t fail because I didn’t try, I failed because I did not have the cardio endurance to physically pass.
I’ll never forget the day I ran 3 laps around the track in 8:45 and tried to convince my gym teacher I had really improved.
The mile test would always come down to the last lap around the track. I would be somewhere between 9-10 minutes going into the fourth lap. I flailed around the track preying I would pass, and breathing like I was going into cardiac arrest.
While running the mile test, I thought: Oh my lanta, how the hell am I going to make around one more time? My PR on the mile test was 12:12.
We weren’t required to take gym after 10th grade, so I avoided the track and running like the plague.
To summarize: in middle and high school, my running consisted of praying I would pass gym class and not have to retake the mile test. I graduated high school in 2008 and went on to college at SUNY Potsdam.
So what happened in college?
For the first years of college, I ran two times. One was to impress male members of my collegiate swim team. Why I thought that was a good idea was beyond me…it’s not as I could run.
My roommate and I (not running)
The summer between freshman and sophomore year, dad asked if I wanted to do the Allen Stone Run Swim Run race. It was a 1k run on the beach followed by a 1k swim in the ocean then 5k on the boardwalk.
As a swimmer, it was a good event for me. As a runner, I had a lot of training to do. The 5k at the end was longer than I had ever run before!
My training consisted of a few treadmill runs. I was too embarrassed to run outdoors. I surprised myself and got second in my age group!
I was overjoyed of my success but didn’t run again for a while. By a while, I laced up my sneakers once from August to March. I was still swimming competitively in college. Swimming was my thing and I loved it.
My next big running event came in March of 2010 when my college hosted an annual 5k on St. Patrick’s day. Out of nowhere, I ran 24 min 5k. After the St. Patricks Day race, I thought running could be fun when I needed to mix it up from the gym. I ran a 5k loop around campus once or twice a week until the end of that semester. I ran when it was nice out and used the elliptical when it wasn’t.
After returning home for the summer, dad asked if I wanted to run a 10k race. I told him I had other things to do. That was a lie, I had never run a 10k and was scared.
On July 4, 2010, I ran a local 5k in 22 minutes. I don’t know where it came from, but I was on cloud 9.
This time I was hooked.
But also delusional.
Out of runner’s high, I emailed my college cross country coach and said I wanted to join the team. Many division 3 schools allow you to walk onto whatever team you want as long as you can keep up. Whether it’s swimming, running, or whatever else.
About 48 hours later the coach sent me a summer training schedule, which really freaked me out.
My thoughts were all over the place: Running 5 miles daily, a 7 mile run here and there? What the hell are striders?
I knew I enjoyed running but I wasn’t sure of these new “technical” terms or if I enjoyed running that much. Luckily my brother showed me the ropes.
The day I did my first 7-mile run was one of the most exciting days of my life!
On July 16th, 2010, I went on to win the run swim run, that I had so desperately trained for the previous year. It was one of my proudest accomplishments. The rest of July and August were full of running and swimming.
After training all summer I headed to cross country preseason camp. My first cross country season served as a lot of things for me. I learned everything about running. It was a successful season for me, and I won MVP for our team! I wanted next season to come the second after I crossed the finish line of our last race.
After my first cross country season ended, I continued swimming. I had been swimming all my life I wasn’t going to give that up (yet). I just focused on swimming. I didn’t run all fall and winter.
To put it in simple terms, by junior year of college I was burnt out from swimming. I had fun with my friends but didn’t compete well.
After swimming was over in February I was eager to start running again. I was so excited that I got injured within a week. I got a mild case of plantar fasciitis. My first overzealous and overuse injury. I didn’t run again for another month and a half.
After learning that lesson, I started running smartly. I ran my first half marathon in the Spring of 2011.
That summer, during the Run Swim Run I won the previous year, I stopped in the middle of the race. I had my first serious running injury. After multiple doctor visits, I was diagnosed with a tibial stress fracture.
I cried and cried and cried and cried and thought my running was over forever.
I cried more than any boyfriend problems or any family issues…all I did was cry. Now I know that stress fractures happen and they heal. It taught me my body is not invincible and I need to train smartly.
I had two months to rest and recover. Since it happened in July, I took off part of my season of fall cross-country. Although my second cross-country season was nowhere where I wanted it to be, it was still fun. It gave me hope for Spring racing.
I stayed healthy in the spring and won the Plattsburgh half marathon. This picture describes how I ran the entire time.
In the summer of 2012, I continued to train for my final collegiate season of cross country. I followed my coaches advice and schedule (no more, no less). I took my easy runs easy, hard runs hard. I didn’t add extra miles because I feared injury. I made it through the summer injury free and moved to Oswego, NY to intern.
The first few weeks of working in Oswego were great. I got second overall at several cross country races behind a nationally ranked runner. All of a sudden I had immense heel pain. After multiple doctor visits, it was determined I had an overgrown cyst similar to plantar fasciitis…It was unfortunate it occurred in my foot. It halted my season and left my bitter with cross country.
I learned a lot about myself in those two months. I was in a new area, didn’t have running, and didn’t have many friends. I was lost. I learned to never base your happiness on a sport or a single element of your life.
After two months, the podiatrist decided (out of the blue) to give me a cortisone shot and the cyst shrunk and healed within a week. That was it?
After all of that…the cyst shrank and it healed.
After not running at all, I decided on a whim to race our final XC race. I ended up PRing from cross training and set off my new found love of carefree running.
After my cross country season was over, I just ran easy. I ran when I felt like it. I raced when I wanted.
I spent the Spring of 2013 PRing in almost everything.
I ran a 1:25.15 half marathon at Shamrock.
A month later, I ran a 1:24.49 at the Nike Women’s half.
Not only did I PR but I finished 9th out of 15,000 people. The Spring showed me that you never really know what you are capable of.
After the Nike Women’s half, I ran shorter races for a while. During all of that, I was planning to move in with my then boyfriend. I was moving 2000 miles, training for my first marathon, and looking for my second job outside of college.
I ran my first marathon (NYC) in November of 2013. After the marathon, I needed two complete months off. That race took a toll on my body and I had no desire to run for a long time. In fact, after my first marathon, I didn’t enjoy and or want to run. So I didn’t. Once again I was left in a new area (New Jersey), without running, and no friends, or job.
In the winter of 2014 I started training again for shorter distances, I focused on raising money and awareness for the Eating Disorders and Ophelia’s Place. I surprised myself by staying injury free through the winter. I also raised $2500 for Ophelia’s Place and ran a 1:25.32 Lake Effect half marathon on little to no training.
To raise money for something you are passionate about as well as win a race is such a rewarding experience.
After the Lake Effect Half Marathon, I ran the April Fools Half Marathon in Atlantic City. I came in second place and PRed with a time of 1:23.23. That served to be my only PR of 2014.
In the early summer of 2014, I began having symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis. I was training for the Wineglass Marathon. I took two weeks off and was proactive to get it taken care of. My foot pain heightened and eventually, I ended up with a second metatarsal stress fracture.
I recovered by late October and decided to train for the Phoenix Full marathon in February. I had a smart and safe training cycle. I didn’t do much speed and just ran easy and trained smartly. I ended up running a PR of 3:14.59 but also finished injured with a muscular hip/butt and leg issue (given the nickname Bum butt). It eventually healed.
After my second marathon, I decided marathons still weren’t my favorite.
After recovering from marathon number 2, I decided to train for short distance and gain speed I lost for 2 years.
From March 2015 to February 2016, I consistently ran 5ks almost every weekend My first 5k back was a 20:20 and over the course of the year (and no less than 30 5ks, I worked down to 18:13). My mentality is, run one a weekend and eventually you will be PR. The rest of the runs were easy, and it served as my speed work for the week. I didn’t take me a year, but I worked my way down to my current PR of 18:13.
During that time I also PRed in the half marathon with a time of 1:22.57.
After February of 2017, the rest of my training in 2017 was lackluster. I ran a ran almost every race in torrential downpours in wind. The only highlight was running Broad Street 10 miler in 62:51.
The summer of 2017 ended up with an ankle fracture. I might have overtrained, I might have rolled it…I don’t know but it was well-needed rest. I took the rest of the summer off and slowly started building mileage. I ran the Runners World 5k and Runners World half in October. It was the two best races of my fall. I lost the 5k to Ryan Hall’s daughter and then came in second to a close friend of mine in 1:24. I was pleased with my efforts and knew my fitness was back.
Through fall and winter, I ran more and my fitness improved. Our weather in early Janary was at an alltime low with many days closed with snow, ice, and 10 degree days. I logged miles and miles on my treadmill. It ultimately paid off because I ran a 1:22.03 at the Phoenix Half Marathon.
From February until September of 2018, I ran but not trained. I ran my first trail race in July and was proud of myself for pushing out of my comfort zone. After running in both Colorado and Vermont for 3 hours, I decided another marathon was doable.
From September to November, I trained for the New York City Marathon. I PRed with a time of 3:07.15 which I am pleased with. I know with more time and experience, I can PR in the marathon again.
For now, I’m looking forward to getting back into shorter distances and hopefully PRing in both the half and 5k,
- I haven’t always been a runner.
- I swam in middle, high school and college.
- I began running in 2011.
- I ran 3 seasons of cross country and was injured two of them.
- I’ve had the most success with half marathons, and my PR is 1:22.04.
- I’ve run 3 marathons: NYC (3:17), Phoenix (3:14.59), and NYC (3:07.15).
- Now I enjoy training for 5ks and half marathons.
I can only hope this is the beginning of a lifelong journey.