I started running regularly around 10 years ago. At that time I was turning 30, and I swam and worked out whenever the mood struck me (which wasn’t frequent). The pivotal point was when my best friend wanted to go out for a short jog. I tried to keep up but struggled, and later on she warned me that if I kept up the lifestyle I currently had I would be out of shape and miserable. It was certainly a wake up call.

I started out with a couch-to-5k program and survived. I couldn’t believe I was running 3 miles! My first race was the Fifth Third River Bank Run 5k. I was so excited to cross that finish line, and then I signed up for more 5k races. 5k’s turned to 10k’s, which turned to half marathons, 25k’s, full marathons and one ultra marathon. I started pacing in 2012, and the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25k was the first race I have paced.

To this date I have ran in over 60 long distance races, pacing 36 of them. Reading this makes it sound like I had a smooth running journey, right? Heh, far from it! I’ve had my share of setbacks in the form of injuries and other life events, including one injury in particular a few years ago which I thought would take me out of running. Luckily it did not but it took a bit to recover and I had to accept my new limitations with what I could do running-wise.

But here’s one thing I’ve learned – look at limitations as opportunities. I started swimming more and bought my first road bike, and I did my first triathlon a couple years ago and started swimming long distance races. Engaging in other activities is a great way to stay in shape and it gives you variety!

What else have I learned on this journey?

The local running community is fantastic. Some of my closest friends to this day I have met on the roads and at races, including Gazelle Girl. Reach out! I would love to help you on your journey, even if you just need someone to talk to or cheer you on.

Wherever you are in your journey, I’ll meet you there. You will quickly learn that running is more than just physically putting in the miles. It’s the community, a sense of belonging, a feeling of acceptance. I learn as much from others as they have learned from me, and I hope that never ends!