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On Running

Why did you go on your very first run?

To answer this question myself, I had to think back aways.  My very first run was a long time ago!  It was in the spring of 1991 and my older sister, who ran cross country and track on the high school team, let me tag along with her and her friend Amy.  I can't remember how far (not very) or fast (not at all!) we went, but I do remember it feeling very hard.  I was in 6th grade and I wanted to run on the middle school track team, the following year.  This seemed, to me, like an appropriate way to get prepared.

Except I don't think I really ran again until the following spring, when track practice started.  So much for being prepared!

Middle school track was my strategy for making friends.  I was intensely shy growing up (still am!) and my family moved around quite a bit.  Doing an "activity" seemed like a good way to meet people.  But the problem was, I didn't play an instrument, I wasn't good at art, I didn't play any sports growing up (you know, like the ones that required a skill...) and I didn't have many other interests.  Track, it was.  EVERYONE knows how to run!

My track career didn't start off too well.  Just as the season was about to begin, I had gotten in trouble in school and I had to miss the first 2 days of practice.  My track coach Mr. Jackson, who to this day is one of the best coaches I've ever had, knew about this and wasn't too pleased.  That man scared me to death and already he didn't like me!  Add to that the fact that running is hard!  And I grew up in Western Pennsylvania where the first part of track season is spent running in ice and snow, and the last part of track season is spent running in cold rain.  I wasn't so sure track was the best idea, after all.

But I stuck with it.  And I eventually did make some friends.  And somewhere along the way, I fell in love with running.  

That love affair would last for the next 20+ years, and continues today.

      

My teammates have always been my closest friends.

By the time I graduated from high school my team had won a state cross country championship and I had won an individual state championship in track.

I went on to run for Penn State University.

Running not only gave me my closest friends, but also my husband.  He drove 9 hours to watch me race in my final Big Ten Championship at Indiana University, and we weren't even married yet!

After college I started running marathons.  My friend and I after the 2004 Cleveland Marathon.

Running my most recent marathon at the 2014 Ironman World Championships.

Over close to 25 years of running, I've learned a lot.  I've learned that a good run can take away all the anxiety of a stressful day.  I've learned that even a bad run is better than no run at all.  I've learned that your body is capable of amazing things.  But I've also learned that you can push it too hard.  I've learned that injuries suck.  I've had just about every one that you can imagine!  And I've learned that injuries have a way of teaching patience, and making you hungry, and most of all, making you appreciate running for what it is.  I've learned how to best run uphills and downhills.  I've learned that running in minus 15 degree temps is possible IF you wear lots of layers!  I've learned that I much prefer a cool summer morning for a run.

I've learned how best to fuel my training and racing efforts.  I've learned that hydration is more important than we think!  I've learned when to run and when to rest, when I'm sick.  I've learned how to race!  And I've learned how not to race.  :)  I've made a tons of mistakes and through them all, I've learned how to do things the right way.  And I continue to learn with each day, each run, each race.

But MOST of all, I've learned that when you are TRULY passionate about something, it doesn't matter the reason you started.  It only matters that you follow that passion, and that's what I've done ever since that first run in 6th grade.  Now I'm looking forward to sharing that passion and all that I've learned through the years, as a coach, with others.  Here's to many good runs to come!



Thanks a Lot!

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Thanks a Lot!

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