When did you begin running and why?
I started running in 2006. I was entering my senior year at Penn State and still needed a Phys Ed class in order to graduate. The two classes left that worked with my schedule were Jogging and Fitness Walking, so I enrolled in Jogging. Little did I know that I would really enjoy it, so I decided to keep running about 2-3 miles at a time, 2-3 times per week, just for exercise. But it wasn’t until after I moved to the DC area that I actually ran a race. I signed up for a 4-mile race in 2011, and after that I was hooked. I then registered for a half marathon, then continued onward and upward from there.
How did you find out about DCRRC and when did you join?
Living in Silver Spring for many years and running with Montgomery County Road Runners Club (which I am still also a part of), I had always vaguely known about that other big running club in the area. Whether searching for races or passing by other running groups on the trails, I was definitely aware of DCRRC’s presence. When I moved from Silver Spring to Arlington, I wanted a good group to train with closer to my new home, so in June 2018 I joined the club.
What are you training for right now?
Nothing. I am currently recovering from the Chicago Marathon, which I ran on October 13. After a successful training season and a couple of new PRs, I’m taking a brief but much-needed break from the grind. My next target race is the Boston Marathon in April 2020, which I look forward to training for this winter.
What is the toughest run or race you’ve ever participated in?
I’ve had plenty of difficult run workouts and races, but one race does come to mind. In September 2015, long before I was a DCRRC member, I ran the Larry Noel 15K. It was a neat, well-run event, but I just remember it was absolute misery! It was hot, it was windy, the late afternoon sun was in my eyes, and there were many hills, including a big climb toward the end. I somehow finished strong, but I have not since run that race again. Otherwise, the unpleasantly hot 2017 and insanely rainy, windy, cold 2018 Boston Marathons were also extremely tough.
What’s your favorite part about being a DCRRC member?
The people. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to train with so many great athletes, who push me through tough workouts every week, from which my performance has significantly improved. But even more importantly, the people of this club are just great people. Everyone is so cool, kind, encouraging and supportive. I am really grateful to be a part of this community. Special shoutout to the Monday High Performance, Wednesday Night Track, and Saturday Long Run folks!
What’s the most important lesson running has taught you?
When it comes to achieving any goals, persistence and patience are key. In practice, just keep at it. Stick with the routine and approach every training session methodically, as each has a specific purpose. Save the performance for when it really counts. Then, just be patient with reaching for the bigger, even seemingly impossible goals. Eat the elephant one bite at a time, set smaller goals along the way, learn from the setbacks, and enjoy the journey, then you are truly set up for success.
What is your favorite route in the area?
The approximately 20-mile loop that includes the Capital Crescent Trail and Rock Creek Park has to be my favorite route. Running along secluded wooded paths in the middle of a busy urban area is just really cool. Within Rock Creek Park specifically, my favorite segment is Ross Drive, as it is hilly but peaceful, and beautiful in all four seasons.
What race day traditions do you have?
What I do before a race depends on the distance, but there are several similarities. I always eat a banana 2 hours beforehand. About 15 minutes before the start, I do a 1-mile easy warm-up run, then head to the start line, where I double-check my shoelaces to ensure they will not come undone. After the race, I go right for the food. If I’m in a different city, I like to pig out on the iconic local junk food, like deep dish pizza in Chicago or cheesesteak in Philadelphia.
What’s your proudest running moment?
It’s tough to think of one single moment, as I have been proud of each milestone I’ve achieved over the years. Among them are my first half marathon, first full marathon, first Boston qualifier, first sub-3 hour marathon, and first sub-18 minute 5K.
What’s your life like outside of running?
I am an aeronautical information and charting specialist at the Federal Aviation Administration, where I create and update the maps that show the routes that planes can fly across the United States. When I’m not working or running, there’s a good chance you won’t find me in town. If there’s anything I’m more passionate about than running, it’s traveling. I particularly love international travel, and have so far been to 24 different countries throughout my lifetime.