I have been running for more than half of my life. I competed in high school and college, and I am still trying to run faster.
HERE is the story about why I started running.
My first few years of high school went really well. I made the varsity team as a freshman in both XC and track. Then, I ran fairly consistently sophomore through senior years. I was able to get my XC 5K time down around 19:30 my junior year, which was my best year in high school. When XC ended my senior year I was struggling with injuries and general life stress because I was going to graduate. That particular track season is one I try not to remember.
Running in college was a mess of emotions and ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade any of those memories or experiences. Initially, I was so defeated by the way my senior year ended that I didn’t want to run ever again. I quit running and didn’t run all summer until a few weeks before I was about to start college. (You can read more about that here.) To this day I can’t explain why I decided to join the XC team in college. I guess I just missed running.
I started at a community college and our team was really close. I loved my team and we had a lot of fun together. When I talk about running at my community college that is what I highlight because I didn’t run as well as I should have. Unfortunately, my times were minutes slower than they were in high school. I think this can be attributed to the fact that I didn’t run over the summer and that I was experiencing a very difficult time in my life. By the time track season came around I was running significantly better.
My sophomore year went much better in both XC and track but I was still really unsatisfied with my performance. In 2006 my XC team won NJCAA DIII Nationals, which made every bad race I had run completely worth it. This is still the coolest thing I have ever been a part of.
When I transferred my junior year I had a difficult time adjusting to a new team and a new coach. XC was rough but during indoor track I had a breakthrough race and finally broke 20 minutes in the 5k, something I hadn’t done since high school. Things went pretty well until I found out I had mono my senior year during XC. I ran through it as best as I could (poorly) and then recovered after the season ended. Outdoor track didn’t go as well as I would have liked because of having mono, but I did run a PR in my last race. What better way to end your collegiate running career, right?
I ran a few road races shortly after graduating and then I ran my first half marathon that following September (2009). After that I took about 2 years off from racing, only occasionally participating in a road race for fun and barely breaking 24 minutes in a 5k. During this time I only ran for enjoyment. This was due to a lot of different things. I was burnt out, I wasn’t used to working full time, I was in graduate school, I got married, I moved, ect. Basically, I was transitioning from being a college student to being an adult and I had to accept that I would no longer have a set time to run. Finally, I slowly started doing workouts and racing again. In the spring of 2012 I broke 19 minutes in the 5k for the first time ever by running 18:57. That was something I had been trying to do since 2002, when I was 15 and I had come super close by running a 19:08. It took me 10 years to accomplish this goal but I did it.
In 2013 I started competing more regularly and I managed to run lots of great races until the fall of 2014 when I went back to school to work toward a second masters degree. Even though I had a lot less time I kept competing and training as well as I could for the situation that I put myself in. Because of work and school, my training suffered severely and the quality of my races diminished. As a result, I fell into a rut in 2015. I needed a way to dig myself out of it so I haphazardly decided to sign up for a marathon while working at a race expo. I figured this would motivate me to find more time to train. Prior to this moment I was adamant that I would NEVER run a marathon. After I survived the Philadelphia Marathon in 2015 I wasn’t sure if I would ever run another marathon, but I eventually decided that I could probably run faster. I ran the Philadelphia Marathon for the second time in 2016 and the 2017 Boston Marathon.
Races I have blogged about:
USATFNJ XC 8K (This post has gross photos of my feet yet it is one of the most viewed posts on my blog)
Track 10K (41:08)