I wasn't athletic growing up and I didn't play any organized sports past baseball and bowling when I was 12. I was always thin and could eat anything without consequence and didn't feel the need to exercise. That all changed post college. Fast forward a few years and I found myself in my mid 30's, unemployed and at my heaviest. I knew I needed to do something.
Visiting Iowa July 2010
I dabbled in running a few times, but never stuck with it. One of the appeals of running, was that it didn't require any start up money. So, one day in the spring of 2010, I put on some shorts, a t-shirt and some tennis shoes and headed out the door. I had plotted out a 1 mile route on Google maps. I didn't make it half a mile before I found myself gasping for air and needed to walk. It took a few weeks to make it a full mile. That day didn't come until it started to rain heavily during a run. That seemed to be the motivation I needed. That year I persisted, but never ran more than a couple miles at a time.
That same year I stopped running when the weather turned cold, but started up again once it was warm. After getting consistent again, I decided that I needed a goal. I set my sites on running my first race. So, in the fall of 2011, I ran my first 5K. My goal was to run the whole thing, which I did in 25:30. I did one more that year, a couple more in 2012 and several in 2013.
At the end of 2013, I celebrated my 39th birthday. I was almost 40. This was a very depressing thought. In order to ease the anxiety a little, I made a list of things I wanted to do before that dreaded day. Among the items were getting a tattoo, going skydiving and running a half marathon. That was a tall task. I had never run more than 6 miles at a time before and "distance" was intimidating. I didn't follow a plan, but progressively built up my mileage that summer. I topped out at 12 miles and in August of 2014, I ran my first half marathon. I finished in 1:42:28 without needing to walk. I also got a tattoo and went skydiving earlier that year.
I ran another local half in the spring of 2015. I was able to shave about 5 minutes off my time. After my 2nd half marathon, people were asking when I was going to do a full marathon. I had already signed up for 2 more halves for that fall. I really didn't have any plans to jump up to that distance. 13.1 miles was a lot for me. I gave in though, and stated that If I could PR one of the next races, then I would commit to run a full. Well, I PR'd the very next race.
Growing up, my family would often vacation in the Outer Banks along the North Carolina coast. I have great memories of those days and I love the ocean and the salt air. So, one of the races I did that fall was the Southern Fried Half in Kitty Hawk. It was fun seeing all our favorite places as I ran by. I liked the idea of traveling and running. I was hooked.
I knew I would need something special for my first marathon. I needed something to distract from the fact that I was going to be running 26.2 miles. I did a little research and decided to do the Maine Coast Marathon. The course promised beautiful coastal views and it did not disappoint. I received Hansen's Marathon Method for Christmas and trained all winter and most of spring for that May race in Kennebunk. There was a lot of doubt at times, but I put in the work and was told to trust the training. I completed my first marathon in 3:24:36.
I was enjoying visiting new places and wanted to visit every state. I started to sign up for races and making a mini vacation out of it. After hitting almost 20 states, I thought I might as well do them all. It was not my original intention, but it became one of my many goals.
Anchorage Run Fest Aug 2022
I've enjoyed the journey and have brought my parents along for most of the adventures. I've transformed my body and my mind along the way, but I'm not done yet.