As an athlete, I always loved to run and workout, but never really did any racing. We ran a lot in college and while I enjoyed it, it never occurred to me to enter a race.
About a year after college I did a St. Patty’s 5k with a friend. I think I ran it in about 24:00 minutes and LOVED it. But for no good reason, I never really raced again, other than a corporate 5k in Miami, where I didn’t even know my time. I ran consistently for years after college, but never really cared about time, pace or distance.
In 2008, I moved to Hamburg, Germany for work and my running started to change. I was a little bored and a little lonely and started running more to occupy my time. I still didn’t think about pace much, but I started seeing if could run further each week.
In the spring of 2008, about the time I got up to around 8 miles, I made plans to go to a great friend’s bachelorette party in Nashville. As part of the party, we ran the Country Music 1/2 Marathon. I didn’t train for the race other than my usual 4-8 mile runs, but we took it easy and enjoyed
jello shots the experience. We finished in just over 2:30 and the feeling I got crossing the finish line was addicting.
Shortly after the half in Nashville, I moved back to the U.S. and started to think about training for races and trying to get faster. My first full marathon was in Indianapolis in October of 2009. Between going out too fast, not fueling properly and leg cramps, it was pretty miserable. It took me almost an entire year before I was willing to even think about another one.
A little over a year later, I had big PR at Kiawah Island Marathon and started to think about bigger goals and other races. After 3 tries, I ran my first BQ at marathon #5 in 2013.
Swim + Bike?
In 2010, my best running friend, Char, suggested that I start doing triathlons. With my running and swimming background, she was convinced that I should become her tri training buddy. I told her that I was afraid of going fast on a bike and wasn’t interested.
But she was determined, so Char paired me up with a biking friend who was looking for someone to do the swim and run portion of an Olympic distance relay. I loved the experience, so I dusted off my mountain bike and entered 2 sprint triathlons in the next month. At the first race, I got 2nd place female behind Char (it was a very small race).
Fortunately that was my last season on the mountain bike and I got my first shiny new road bike the next Christmas. There were many embarrassing falls as I learned to use clipless pedals but eventually I got the hang of it and truly started to fall in love with the bike.
Since that first summer, I have done countless more sprint triathlons, 6+ Olympic distance races and 2 Half Iron distance races. While I love swimming and biking, my first love will always be running.