When did you begin running and why?
I ran my first 1-mile fun run when I was about 8 years old, and I haven’t stopped running since. Running was not something I made a conscious decision to begin doing – it was simply what I did. Running around aimlessly was part of the unstructured outdoor fun that defined my childhood. Today, running is a treasured part of my life because while it still provides that sense of freedom and open-ended adventure, at the same time, it also provides routine and purpose: a simple path to a concrete goal.
What’s your favorite part about being a DCRR member?
I love the camaraderie of DCRR. The people who I’ve met have become some of my closest friends in DC. The fun I have training with them motivates me to keep running. We push each other and motivate each other, but we also just have good conversation and a lot of laughs (until the last couple miles of our long runs, when we have good mutually-accepted silence).
What have you learned from being in the club?
Most of all, I’ve learned to be patient as a runner. As anyone who runs with me knows, I’m the one who goes out too hard in almost every race, sets her goals too high, and gets exceedingly disappointed when she doesn’t meet them. Many of the DCRR club members who I run with have run many more marathons than I have – they are wiser runners who have taught me to pace my training, pace my races, and not get discouraged. This has improved my running immensely.
What have you gained from the training programs?
Having run competitively since freshman year of high school, I was pretty sure I knew all the little “tricks” out there, but on my first day of the marathon training program, I realized I definitely didn’t. The program has provided me with countless new tips, from pinching your water cup to spill less at an aid station, to slowing down your long runs to train your body to burn fat instead of just carbs – so useful in those last few miles of a marathon.
What is your favorite route in DC?
My favorite SLR route is Loops of Battery Kemble (minus that hill!). My favorite solo route takes me south through Northwest DC, across the Key Bridge to the Iwo Jima Memorial, and then back into the District over the Arlington Memorial Bridge just as the sun is rising behind the Capitol. What a view.
What race day traditions do you have?
Nothing too interesting (though I had some weird ones during high school track that I won’t share). I lay out all my clothes the night before, and pin my bib onto my shirt before I even put it on. I always eat the same thing before a marathon: two slices of toast with peanut butter, some Gatorade, and about 60 oz. of water. My newest tradition is to pop one Powerbar Gel Blast in my mouth right before the race starts. It probably only provides about 10 calories, but that strawberry banana gets me in the zone.
What’s your proudest race moment?
This past October, I ran a 3:30 marathon: a 10 minute PR and BQ. This was my fourth attempt to qualify for Boston (sub-3:35 for my age/sex), and I had become a bit discouraged by my three previous shortcomings, including a DNF. At about mile 20 of the marathon, I looked down at my watched and realized that all I needed to do was run 9 minute miles for the rest of the race to come in under 3:35. I suddenly knew I was going to do it, and it was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had in my running career.
What’s your life like outside of running?
I’m a paralegal at a civil rights law firm, and I’m considering going to law school in a couple of years. I grew up in the great state of New Jersey, and I graduated from Amherst College in 2011. When I’m not running, you can find me playing ultimate frisbee or pick-up soccer, trying out new bars and restaurants, doing crossword puzzles, and reading Prince of Petworth and neighborhood crime blogs.
Do you have a running motto/mantra? If so, what is it and why?
My high school track captain used to always say, “the strongest muscle in any runner’s body is the brain.” That could not be more true. Of course distance running is a physical challenge, but every runner knows that nothing compares to the mental obstacles one faces when training and racing in an endurance sport.
What’s the most valuable tip you have for beginning runners?
Remember why you started running, and enjoy it! I often need to remind myself to take running less seriously, but when I do, it usually pays off. I ran my fastest half marathon (1:34) last weekend in a race that I didn’t sign up for until the last minute and after getting very little sleep for an entire week. Thus, I went into it just planning to run with my two DCRR friends and enjoy the pace and the scenery of a new city. It ended up being one of the best races of my life, and it was also one of the most enjoyable races I’ve run. Days like that remind me why I started running in the first place.