I honestly can’t remember the first time I ran, but I do have a lot of memories of running with my dad as a little girl. We used to go to Marco Island, FL for vacation every spring and my dad would run on the beach every morning. I loved to go run with him, but because I was pretty young, I couldn’t run quite as far as him. I would run as far as I could and then stop, and when I stopped, my dad would run a little bit and then turn around and circle back around me. He did this over and over until he finished his run. I loved running with my dad and as I got older I could eventually run the whole distance with my dad.
When I was 8 years old I started swimming competitively, and that became my main sport. I would still run with my dad when we went on vacation though. I also loved running the mile in school and started running track when I got to middle school. My favorite event was the mile, but I also found out I was pretty good at the 400 and 800. Since I swam year round, I didn’t have a lot of time to run, but I continued running track in high school and ran a little bit over the summers when I had time.
I knew I wanted to swim in college, so I went to Calvin College and swam on the swim team for all four years. I still loved to run though, so I started running in the off season. I ran my first 5K in April 2005, my freshman year of college. I had so much fun that I decided I was going to really get into racing. I ran a few more races that summer. I couldn’t run a lot during the school year because of swimming, but I would start running right after our national meet every year.
In 2007, right before my senior year of college, my dad asked me to sign up for a half marathon with him. I said sure! I was really excited about it. We trained together and did a long run every Saturday that summer. On race day, we ran the first 8 miles together, and then my dad told me to go ahead. I finished in 1:54 and was so happy crossing that finish line.
The next year I ran a 25K right before I graduated from college and then ran off and on the next year when I was in PT school. My second year of PT school I really started to get more serious about running. I decided to sign up for the Disney Marathon. I trained while doing my second clinical rotation. My big goal for the marathon was to qualify for Boston. I ran 3:33 that day and hit my goal! After that I decided that I wanted to run a marathon in all 50 states. I signed up for the Chicago marathon the same year.
2010 was a big year for me. I ran my first marathon and I also did my first triathlon! My dad bought himself and me a bike and we signed up for the Chicago Triathlon. After that I was hooked on triathlons too.
In 2011 I was finishing up my clinical rotations for PT school in Arizona and Alabama. While I was in Alabama I decided to run a few local races. At a local 10K, I met a guy that I talked to for a while after the race. I emailed that guy a few weeks later and we ended up falling in love and getting married! Now we both love running and are training for marathons and triathlons together.
Every year I try to run at least two marathons in different states and I do a lot of other races. I’m gradually moving towards my goal of all 50 states. So far I have 14 completed.
In 2015 and 2017 I was pregnant with my kids, so I didn’t do as many marathons, but I ran throughout both pregnancies. I ran a lot more during my second pregnancy because I felt a lot better.
After having kids I’m still running just as much, but it’s been a little harder. I don’t have as much time and it’s hard for me to run as fast. I’m gradually trying to work my way back to where I was. I just ran my fastest postpartum marathon a few weeks ago and qualified for Boston again! I’m really excited to go back next year!
I’m also working on scheduling some more marathons in new states. Running has definitely been a lifelong journey that has brought me a lot of happiness. I love that it really is a family activity. It definitely brings my family closer together. I hope it’s something that my kids love as much as I do.