When did you begin running and why?
I started running in late 2010. I was on Facebook at the time and was getting regular updates about my friend running all over San Francisco. She seemed to really enjoy it and I wanted to try this running thing. I bought a pair of sneakers and went on my first run in the fall that year. I never stopped running since!
How did you find out about DCRRC and when did you join?
A couple of months after I started running I wanted to try running in a race. I looked up local races, and DCRRC, of course, had their Snowball Series during that time. My first race was the JFK 20K. I remember being over-prepared, wearing a hydration belt that I didn’t end up using that much. When I crossed the finish line, I just kept running for another kilometer because I wanted to finish a half marathon distance. I joined DCRRC the next year in time to run the winter races.
What are you training for right now?
Until three weeks ago, I was training for my very first 100 Miler this September in California. But I slipped running in one of those crazy thunderstorms and broke my femur. It was – still is – devastating. I had never trained for any race this consistently. Right now, I am still recovering and just hoping to be able to run some of the shorter races with DCRRC this winter.
What is the toughest run or race you’ve ever participated in?
I think it must have been the Coyote Lake 50K in California. It was very hilly and sometime in the middle of the race a race volunteer told me I had just one runner ahead of me. I thought yes I could do that, so I pushed hard to catch up, only to be told at an aid station some 5-6 miles from the finish that there was actually one more runner ahead. I was already quite exhausted but didn’t want to give up when I was so close! I tried my best and was very happy to finish first.
What’s your favorite part about being a DCRRC member?
I like how small and friendly the community is. I know many runners, if not by name then by face. The races are well organized. I also appreciate the friendly competition with some of the runners. Right now, it’s Alex Albertini who is in my age group. Athlinks tells me he’s beating me 19-12 across all the races we ran together. Of course, it’s nothing like a Nadal-Federer rivalry, but it does push me to run faster and makes me a better runner.
What’s the most important lesson running has taught you?
If running is anything like a metaphor for life, it has taught me to be kind to myself and take breaks when necessary. Rest is a much needed and often overlooked part of training, especially for long distances. And I recognize now that in life breaks are necessary as well.
What is your favorite route in the area?
I love running on trails in DC and we have so many dirt trails around the city, it’s quite surprising. I often run on Western Ridge Trail and Valley Trail and many other connector trails in Rock Creek Park. I like Glover Archbold Park trails, which are right next to my house, and I take those to run the C&O Canal towpath, which of course takes you far away from the city.
What race day traditions do you have?
I don’t have many, but one that I try to follow is a pre-race mocha and banana walnut bread from a local Starbucks, which I found sits very well with me. It gives me caffeine and calories for longer races and calms my nerves a little bit, knowing that I am not running on empty stomach.
What’s your proudest running moment?
Last summer I was running to Harpers Ferry on the C&O Canal towpath and I got to talk to a number of cyclists who were biking in that direction as well. I felt quite proud of my running effort then. I took a MARC train back to DC.
What’s your life like outside of running?
I am a neuroscientist and I spend a lot of time thinking about how brains work. Besides that, I read and write quite a bit. Friends are very important to me so I make an active effort to spend time with them, too.
What is one thing you wouldn’t run without?
That would probably be a running hat, because it keeps my glasses in place, especially during hot summers here. My favorite running hat has a logo of Zombie Runner, my favorite running store. The hat is practical but also serves as a reminder that extra-long races require extra effort.