My running journey started when I was a teen. I hated running. Running was work, it was exhausting, I couldn’t breath, my body hurt and ached every step I took. But my Mom pushed me to get outside and run with her and now, I am thankful she did. My Mom has been a huge influence and role model who showed me her love for running. When I was 15, if you asked me to run 10 miles I would think you were crazy.
Mom and I at the Women’s Distance Festival in 2008 located in Dryden, NY
I was active in dance and sports as a young girl. But I didn’t start running long distance competively until I could no longer play soccer. For a long time, soccer had my heart. But when there was no longer a girl’s varsity soccer team, I joined the girl’s cross country team.
Since I ran 5Ks with Mom and played soccer, the cross country coach (who was also my history teacher) constantly nagged me about joining the cross country team. So of course he was thrilled as well as the team because now the girl’s would have enough girls for a team that season.
And to my surprise, I actually ran better than I had imagined. I also learned a lot. One of the things I learned was how running didn’t just take physical strength, but mental strength. I wasn’t the fastest runner, but I did help the team that season. And at the end of the season, my team voted for me to receive the MVP award. I was shocked, but thrilled, of course!
In the seasons thereafter, I was very hard on myself. I wanted to run well and I tried really hard, but often felt like I just couldn’t run as fast the other girls. When I had a bad race, I sulked in the back of the bus. Refusing to talk or even eat after our runs.
But eventually I learned that somedays you have bad runs. And its best to compete with yourself. Set PR’s and go after them. Don’t worry about how well every one else is doing. Some girls were tall and lengthy and seemed to just have the genes to run. For me, it took effort and training. But I never stopped.
After my first cross country season in 2006, I was hooked to running. I went on to join the cross country team at Westminster College my sophomore year after the coach sent a mass email out looking for runners to join the team (with no experience). Since I had ran before (even though I didn’t think I was any good) and he didn’t want experience runners, I thought I’d join. Because I missed running and being a part of a team.
Unfortunately, I only ran that year because I decided to transfer colleges. The cross country coach begged me not to leave. But I knew what I would do with my future was more important than running.
I reached out to the cross country at my new college, SUNY Oneonta, but the coach did not want me on the team. I wasn’t fast enough even though it was also a D1 school. I was serverly disappointed, but I didn’t stop running. I ran for fun and occasional 5ks or 10ks. I was going to start a running group on campus, but a group of students already started a group.
My first full marathon after graduating from graduate school
Oct. 11, 2015 in Scranton, PA
In the summer of 2011, I went to visit my best friend, Katie in Erie, PA who I met at Westminster College. That weekend, I ran my first half marathon on Presque Isle (which became my running grounds for 2.5 years).
My second full marathon at the Erie Marathon, September 2017
Since then, I’ve ran countless 5Ks and 10Ks (too many to count), 10 half marathons (13.1 miles), a sprint triathlon, a Spartan race, and 2 full marathons (26.2 miles). EDIT: I’ll be running my third full marathon this Fall in Rochester, NY. Come and cheer me on!!
When I came home for a year after college, Mom and I decided to run a 5K every month. And we did it!! We both had so much fun and loved sharing our pictures on social media! We should have had a blog or YouTube channel at the time!! We bonded, spent mother-daughter quality time, set a goal and achieved it together, and had FUN doing something good for ourselves!!
My advice I’d like to give anyone that doesn’t think they can run, is to just try! Running has been such a big influence in my life that I want to share my story, connect with other runners, and inspire others to run too!!