What’s your running “story”?

I never liked running in jr high and high school. I wasn’t bad at it, but I always dreaded the days when the P.E. teachers announced we had to run “the mile.” It was not fun for me. But in college, I randomly decided to try running to help with stress relief since I didn’t have any other sports, and running was the easiest to get into. It really helped manage stress and get me through the first time I ever suffered from depression. I added running into my list of activities occasionally, when I felt the need or had the time. I had no schedule or plan, but it was helpful nonetheless.

When I moved to Colorado (high altitude) from Illinois (low altitude) in 2013, running happened less frequently because I was adjusting to the altitude, was starting grad school, and was otherwise distracted. Plus there were snakes here, and I was terrified of them. I settled into Colorado life and got pregnant with my son in 2016. After he was born, I was barely active at all and was holding onto 30 more pounds than I had pre-pregnancy. When he was about 2, I started to feel like I needed to find a way to get some “me time,” away from the baby, so I could remember who I was again. That was the start of the transformation. I began counting calories with MyFitnessPal and going for walks. Gradually I added in short runs, and I started to feel stronger.

After about 6 months, I had lost all the baby weight I wanted to and was feeling incredible, so I decided to see how far this new running hobby could take me, and I made it a regular habit. Running longer distances each time I felt like I could, and sometimes pushing myself beyond what I felt like I could do made me start to feel a new type of confidence. I started feeling less tired all the time, and I even felt motivation to wake up at dawn to run at sunrise. The regular mood boost, the ability to fit into my old clothes, and the strength, confidence, and endurance I gained got me addicted to running.

After joining RTCL in 2020, I learned about running coaches. I never knew there was such a thing for people who weren’t pro athletes, and my interest was piqued. I hired Coach Sheri in January of 2021 and have seen even more amazing changes and goals surpassed. I learned the value of slow running, and I have been able to slow myself down on recovery days to feel stronger on the hard workout days. I’ve run my first races, including 5k, 10k, and a half marathon. Running for fun or for training has turned into my “thing,” my love, and something I wish everyone could experience the way I do.


How has running changed your life? How have you grown? 

The main reason I run is for mental health. The “runner’s high” is my favorite way to fortify my emotional strength. And achieving things I never thought I could do gives me pride and confidence.


What is/are your biggest running-related accomplishment(s)?

I ran my first half marathon this past year within my goal time frame. I wanted to run it in under 2 hours, and I achieved 1:56:20.


What is your best advice to new runners?

Trust the process. Just enjoy the run, no matter the pace. Don’t focus too much on analyzing it. Just do it, and as you keep going and make it a habit over time, you’ll notice differences. No miraculous changes will happen overnight, but they will happen if you stick with it. So just have fun.


What is one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?

I wish I knew that slow running was good for me! I was always trying to get faster, but the slow easy runs are so helpful for achieving speed later.


What do you do outside of running to stay healthy or active?

I love going for walks and taking my son to the park. I’ll get out my mountain bike sometimes for a change of pace. I like the challenge of walking up the stairs at our local incline. And yard work is another way I like to stay active.


What goal(s) are you working toward in the coming year?

I am working on not judging myself so harshly. No one is at the top of their game every day, and I’m going to work on reminding myself of that. I’m also going to focus more on strength training this year than I ever have in the past. In just the first two weeks of January, I’ve already noticed a difference in my strength after doing regular pushups, crunches, and squats. I’m excited to see what additional exercises will help me to achieve.