A little about my running background, so you know where I’m coming from:
I ran road 5 ks growing up, starting when I was about 9 years old. (5 km = 3.1 miles). I ran track and cross country in middle school, but stopped in high school because I wasn’t interested in organized sports. I preferred to focus on dance, art and after school jobs. I still ran my 5 k races all over my hometown in Maryland, but when I moved to NYC for college, running was put on the back burner.
Moving to Birmingham, AL from NYC in 2009 after graduating from college changed my running habits. I slowly got back into running 5 k road races. In the spring of 2013 I ran a 5 km RACE every weekend for 2 months and then ran my first 10 km (6.2 miles) race to raise money for a charity called Love146. (Check them out – they are fighting to end human trafficking and doing a lot of good in the world.) During this time, my sister convinced me to sign up for a half marathon training program. She had to work HARD to convince me, which is so laughable now. I didn’t think I could ever run 13.1 miles!
For about $100 I joined the training program put on by Run University – a great running group in Birmingham headed up by Danny Haralson. The training started in June 2013 for the Talladega Half Marathon, held in September 2013. As cliché as it sounds, Run University changed my life! The program was geared for a beginner (which, since I had never run over 6 miles, I was a beginner) and it was perfect for me. It was challenging enough to push me and train me for race day, but not so challenging that I wanted to quit or potentially get injured. I had so much fun and met so many great runners! And to everyone’s surprise, on race day I finished right at 2 hours, passing many of my friends who were more experienced than I was.
I stayed with Run University to train for the Half Marathon Triple Crown, sponsored by the Birmingham Track Club. As a part of the Triple Crown Challenge, I ran the Talladega Half in September 2013, the Montgomery Half in October 2013 and the Magic City Half in November 2013. I cut minutes off of my time with each race. I continued running with this great group through the Mercedes Half Marathon in February 2014, where I achieved a PR (personal record) of 1:46.
A couple of weeks before the Mercedes Half Marathon, I checked out a group run sponsored by the local Fleet Feet and I met my future husband. Chris worked at the store and educated me about running shoes. He also became my favorite running and race buddy and he introduced me to the world of trail running. That spring I ran two more half marathons – one in Tuscaloosa and one in Nashville. I got a 10 k PR in the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta in the summer and knocked several minutes off of my 5 k time. I was getting so fast and I loved it! I also started training for my first marathon, which I completed in Chattanooga, TN in October 2014. During this time I trained with Running Lane. They have coaches in Birmingham and Huntsville, AL, but they work with clients all over the country. I highly, highly recommend them! I smashed PR after PR without injury – they really know how to coach for the individual. (Website: http://www.runninglane.com)
In January 2015, Chris accepted a job with Brooks Running and we moved to Atlanta, GA. During our year and a half there, I worked at a great running store called West Stride. While I worked there, we placed in the Top 4 of Competitor Magazine’s Top 100 Running Stores. I learned even more about running shoes and apparel during my time at the store and my boss, Genie Beaver, was such a great person to work for. If you ever visit Atlanta, I highly recommend checking out West Stride! In 2015, I returned to Birmingham to run Mercedes again – but this time I competed in the marathon. I also ran several more 5 k races and started training for my first 50 mile race, until a surprise derailed my training (see my Road to 50 journal for details).
At the beginning of the summer in 2016, when our daughter was just a few months old, Chris’s job with Brooks brought us to Seattle, WA – to the HQ! With this move, we decided it would be best for our family for me to stay home with the Blueberry. I love that I get to teach her and spend my time raising her. We get to run and hike together, exploring the beautiful PNW.
Chris is still my favorite running buddy – we run together at least once a week, with Blueberry in the stroller. (Btw, the Bob running stroller is AMAZING! Running would be impossible for us without it!) Running is a constant topic of discussion in our home. We talk about running shoes. All. The. Time. I am currently training for a 50 miler, to be completed at the end of March 2018. If you are interested in following my journey, please check out the “Road to 50” tab for my journal.
My plan for this “Running” tab, though, is for it to be a place where I talk about various running topics. I want to discuss training plans and how to pick one that suits your needs. I want to talk about running shoes – minimal vs max cushion, heel-toe offset (or “drop”), new vs old technology, etc. And although I do have ties to Brooks, I am interested in shoes from various companies. I enjoy Brooks running shoes, but I have also loved shoes from their competitors, too! I want to talk about recovery tips and tricks, nutrition, products to help your body move well for those long runs without painful side effects. Basically, I want to talk about anything and everything related to running. I hope to help new runners navigate this fun and healthy hobby the same way my friends in Birmingham helped me when I was just getting started. I want to share my knowledge and experiences with you to help guide you the next time you visit a store or lace up a pair of running shoes.