I 'officially' began running in 1999 on the high school cross country team. I ran for two seasons in the top 7, typically running between 22s and 24s, and but quit all sports my senior year. I went off to college and walked-on to the women's rowing team at Clemson University. My boat made it all the way to the NCAA Southeast Regional Finals in 2003.
Sophomore year of college, I started running a few times a week with one of my roommates. We never knew how far we were going, and rarely timed ourselves, but we would get up and run for about 30 minutes before classes or during an afternoon break. In the summer of 2005, I began to pick up my running, and decided to run a local 10k. I "trained" for the 10k with a number of quick, 2-5 mile runs and a couple of random 6-9 mile runs.
Before the race I was confident I would run 8min miles (or better). It wasn't for another 4 years that I would learn how to set realistic goals and pace myself in a race. I finished the 10k in 51:05, and though I was a little disappointed in my time, I was elated from having finished my first race since high school XC. I stuck around for the awards ceremony and (somehow) won first place for my age group!
Excited and back in love with running, I decided a marathon was the next logical step. I signed up for the 2006 Myrtle Beach marathon and haven't looked back. In the years since, I've run 11 marathons (2 less than a week apart), qualified for and ran both NYC and Boston marathons, and completed the Disney Goofy Challenge (a half marathon followed by a full marathon). Ultimately my goals are 1) run a marathon in every state, 2) a sub-1:30 half marathon, and 3) I'd really, really like to go sub-3:00 in the marathon.
Atlanta Thanksgiving Day marathon, '08 - My first BQ
In 2012 I was introduced to CrossFit when a friend and I bought a coupon deal for bootcamp. My competitiveness loved it. It's been challenging to balance the short and intense workouts with my regular running routine, but I think I've been able to find a happy medium. (And I love being able to do pullups!)
Power clean PR @125#, Sept '13.
I've spent 2013 overcoming a lower back injury. After having to take 6+ months off from running, I started signing up for a few short races in late summer. My running base is still pretty non-existent (averaging only 6-9 miles a week), but it is evident the CrossFit workouts are helping. My times are slower than they used to be, but I'm running 7-8 min miles in races with low (and slow) training mileage. I am hopeful that things will continue to improve as I get 'back in shape'.
I run to stay fit and lose/maintain weight. I run so I don't feel as guilty about eating a pack of M&M's or a big plate of spaghetti. However, I also run because I love it. After a couple of days without a run, I'm a guaranteed grumpster. Running keeps me sane, helps me pound away the things that stress me, and challenges me daily. When I run, I am free - the problems I struggle with everyday are pushed aside for an hour or so, and I am just a runner. While I may dread getting out of my nice warm bed at 5am or sooner, I love the feeling I get after a good run and knowing I won't have to worry about finding time to get mileage in later in the day. I enjoy thinking about how much I can accomplish before the average person wakes up to start their day. Running is a part of who I am. It wears me out and makes me stronger; it brings me disappointment and it gives me victories.