I’ve been running for 10 years now. I started out as a back of the pack distance runner in Middle School when I realized that all of my friends were joining teams. I was looking for something fun to do after school, and running seemed like a sport that everyone could do (read: there were no cuts on the team).
I don’t think anyone guessed that my cross country team stint would last more than a few weeks. I remember the first day of practice we had to run 3 miles, and that alone felt like a huge accomplishment. I showed up for practice and worked hard day over day. By the end of high school, I managed to sneak onto the Varsity team, run a sub 21 5k, and most importantly, I began to love to run.
Moving onto college, I sought out a DIII school knowing that I wanted to be able to run with a team. I wasn’t the fastest runner, not recruited by any bigger schools, but I felt right at home on Mount Union’s small team. Joining a sports team at a DIII school is an experience that I would recommend to anyone, regardless if you’re a high school state champ, middle of the packer like me, or even a new runner.
Running in college was when I started to realize that the longer the race, the more comfortable I felt. Running the 10k felt much more natural to me than a 5k.
After college graduation, I moved to Pittsburgh for my job and took a few months of a much needed break from years of training. I still ran, but was adjusting to working full time and life after college without a team. My 6 mile runs turned into 3 mile jogs and for the first time I spent my days with people who didn’t share my passion for running.
Missing the company of other runners, I showed up, alone, on a whim to a SCRR training run. After training with Steel City for only a couple months, my plans to run a marathon eventually turned into a registration for the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon. I didn’t train as much as I had hoped for due to some on and off injuries and got to the starting line with my only goal being to enjoy myself and finish. I ran whatever pace felt good, waved to spectators, finished in 3:50, and learned that I truly wanted to be a marathoner.
I signed up for the Erie Marathon in September 2013 and spent that summer diving into training for a Boston Qualifying attempt. Erie’s flat course came and went in 3:32 and I was gratefully able to qualify for and run the 2014 Boston Marathon. This was one of the top experiences of my entire life to date. The crowd, the runners, and the atmosphere were all indescribable. It is a race I will never forget.
A few weeks after Boston, I was given the opportunity to pace the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon. I lead the 4:00 group to the finish in 3:59:17 and shared an exciting and emotional experience with some amazing runners.
These days, I run 50-65 miles a week, lift weights that I pretend are kind of heavy at Crossfit Shadyside 3x a week, and I’m about a month out from the Akron Marathon where I’m chasing a sub 3:30. Even though I’m not competing in school anymore (or even running 7 days a week!), I’m the happiest I’ve ever been with my running.