I joined MRC in May 2015 and have been running off and on for 25 years. It seems that I have always run in some form or another. Whether is was cross training for swimming while I was in high school and college, running track as a senior in high school just to take a break from swimming, or cross country in college because, well, I could. . . but it wasn’t until recently that I considered myself a “runner.” I ran my first half marathon a year after my first child was born (2006) and that was that. I ran from time to time to keep in shape and then REALLY “fell off the wagon” and did little to nothing for nearly 10 years. Luckily I “woke up” and ran my “second” first half marathon in December of 2014.
What was your first race?
I ran track in high school and ran cross country in college and a few 5Ks from time to time, but my first adult race would have to have been my first half marathon. The Big D Half in April of 2006.
What was your most recent race?
The Wounded Warrior Half Marathon, June 2017. Make no mistake, this race is about the cause and mental toughness. The only reason I finished this year was thanks to Jay Northcut.
What was your favorite race?
This is a toss up between the Showdown ½ marathon and the Cowtown Marathon. The first time I ran Showdown I was inspired by all of the MRC people on the course. I felt like I had my own personal cheering section and I loved running out on the country roads. But Cowtown 2017. . . it was six weeks after a crushing first marathon experience in Houston and I wanted redemption. The odds were stacked against me as I had been sick in the weeks leading up to the race. In fact, I almost moved down to the half and it wasn’t until the day before the race that I woke up and decided that I was going to run the full.
With some mixed feelings, a bit of teasing, and a lot of excitement the race started. What a joy to run with two of my favorite “frunners” Jay and Jerome; the friendships that form when you train together are unlike any other friendships. There is an understanding between training partners, and often times an unspoken language. You simply “get” each other. What a privilege it was to race with these two individuals! As we progressed through the course I felt as if I was traveling down memory lane. You see, nearly 20 years before, I had met a young man whom would become my husband and best friend. What a trip to go back to where “it all started.”
Why do you run?
Why do any of us run — sanity, health, peace of mind, the solitude? Yes, to all of those, but also because I can and I have to. For as long as I can remember my father has had a heart condition; he had a double bypass at the age of 40 when I was 3. As a child, hearing my father ask for his “nitro” was not unusual in my household. And listening to Dad say that he was “getting his exercise by driving the trash cans down to the bottom of the driveway” (granted our drive was about ¼ of a mile) was not unheard of. As an adult I got used to the phone calls or text messages that said, “Dad is in the hospital, again. . .” Although I grew up being a competitive athlete as an adult I fell into a pattern much like that of my father. To put it mildly, I was incredibly UNHEALTHY. About four years ago, I saw a picture of myself and reality hit HARD, and I am so thankful that it did. I realized that I didn’t want my children or husband to experience what I had as the child of an unhealthy parent. Although my father may not have been a good example of health and fitness, he instilled in me the importance of hard work and my mother taught me about
tenacity. Both have always believed in me; without their encouragement and gifts I don’t think I would be the person I am today.
What is your favorite story/memory concerning running?
As I sit here sifting through the catalog of running memories I honestly don’t know if I can pinpoint something specific. Was it the first mud run in college with my cross country team? Perhaps, but then my mind recalls a sunrise run through the Garden of the Gods and I think, “maybe.” What about my insistence on running on the morning of my wedding? Big brother Tim was there by my side step for step, stride for stride. “Could be,” I think.
TIR (Texas Independance Relay) . Need I say more? Team 1, Van 2. . . Just as quickly my mind travels to one of many training runs with my training partner/ “big brother” Jay. We were running 18 miles in the cold and rain coming back to our base every 6 miles to change into dry
clothes. Jay kept me in check reminding me that I could in fact “do this.” He believed in me when I didn’t, and you know what, he was right! 🙂 That run was about mental toughness and endurance through some of the toughest conditions and maybe a little bit of humor; just before our third loop started I was changing into my last pair of dry shoes and someone looked at me and said (completely seriously), “you know you’re going to get wet, right?” (Clearly he wasn’t a runner).
And then, fast forward to another bitterly cold day with Lisa and Lia running 22. At 19 I realized that I needed to be on my own. At 20 I fell and skinned my knees. At 21 I read a text from my sweet daughter encouraging me to keep on, and at 22 I realized that I had just run farther than I ever had in my life. When I was done, who was there? Yes, the same two who had started with me. They cheered me on and truly understood why I was crying as they helped me to celebrate this milestone. A milestone that got me to and through my first marathon, against many odds and awful racing conditions, and finally finishing in the arms of my best friend and biggest cheerleader, my husband while our children looked upon us and beamed.
What does MRC mean to you?
Recalling the endless collection of memories stored in my heart I realize that it is nearly impossible to pinpoint a specific story. Instead, I realize that for me the most significant memory is actually a collection of relationships and people. The people with whom I run with have become family in a way that many others may not be able to understand.
Runners, we are a special breed. We get each other. We take care of our own, nurture, encourage, and support. I suppose that when it comes down to it, the people who etched stories on my heart are my favorite running memories. So what does MRC mean to me? Friendships, family, support, encouragement, and others believing in you when you didn’t.
Currently I am training for the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon in October. This will be my third marathon and I’m looking at it partially as a way to say “goodbye” to where I grew up. My parents have sold our family home in upstate NY and I will get to run past many places where I spent time as a child. Although the training will be a mental beast (thank you Texas summers!) I know it will help me to become more mentally strong. Without MRC, this or any marathon would have been a pipe dream for me. Years ago, I thought people who ran 26.2 were crazy. After two years with MRC I have come to the realization that yes, we are in fact CRAZY. We are a “special” bunch, but I wouldn’t change any part of it for the world. The love, support, and encouragement of an amazing collection of individuals who call themselves MRC makes you go beyond what you thought was possible. MRC encourages you to dream and dream big.