Bonjour from bayou country, Salty Runners!
I am a newly-transplanted resident of Louisiana, and it is my pleasure to be representing Salty Running down here in the Deep South. I’m learning to appreciate Cajun culture, crawfish étouffée, big crazy festivals, and the social running scene of Baton Rouge (where the roads are flat, the weather is hot, and the motto is “Run hard, live easy!”)
My husband’s job transfers us to new cities/states/countries every couple years (or less), and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even before I married the tall, handsome cyclist of my dreams, I was an incurable nomad with a heart set on adventure and a Honda that could be packed at a moment’s notice.
I have been blessed with opportunities to live and work in some truly remarkable places, especially for running. Ever seen the movie Chariots of Fire? Remember the famous beach run scene with the rousing music and dashing white outfits? The beach where they filmed that iconic opening is none other than the West Sands of St. Andrews, Scotland, and I could see it from my dorm windows the entire year I studied abroad. Could YOU have resisted running along that beach every morning?! I definitely couldn’t…and no, it was NOT because I was out looking for Kate Middleton or Prince William. Although they were there at school with me that year and I DID run into them once. In the library. At full speed while turning a corner. (Sorry ’bout that, your majesty!)
I was introduced to running the year I retired from competitive gymnastics in high school. The Chicago area where I grew up was full of talented young runners, and I never had the guts to train or compete the way some of my teammates did. They were fearless and full of grit as they suffered and strived to become better athletes. I shied away from physical discomfort and the possibility of falling short. In a sport full of competitively driven Type-A personalities, I’ve always been the docile little Type-B who’s given up and gotten out of the way instead of pushing to the top.
I am a natural athlete, but only in the physical sense. Mentally and emotionally, I’ve developed a stack of bad habits that cause me to slack off, steer clear of anything that might hurt, and avoid goal-setting like the plague. I plateaued as a recreational runner after high school and felt completely dissatisfied. I knew I had more potential, even if I had no real evidence to back it up.
Over the last few years it has dawned on me that: 1) I’m not getting any younger, and 2) If I AM going to get faster, it’s not going to magically happen on its own. That’s my big secret, folks. Despite my chicken-y past, I actually do want to be fast!
With major support from my husband, I decided to make some changes in the fall of 2012. There have been ups and downs (ie: relapses into slacker-ness) but, overall, this bookish little Type-B is learning to toughen up and train. So far, I’ve been thrilled to run my first half marathon, my second full marathon, and a points-based Xterra trail series (16-21k) where I earned a regional age-group championship title. I’m slowly but surely silencing those race-phobic voices in my head and coaxing my inner competitor to come out and run.
I have a Master’s degree in English, so to say that I love a good story is a massive understatement. Stories have always been a passion (er…obsession?), which is why I am so excited to be part of the Salty Running community. I’m looking forward to sharing more about my running adventures with all of you, and I look forward to reading about YOUR journeys, too.
So, in the words of my new Cajun friends here in Louisiana, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” — Let the good times roll!