Catching up with … Sassafras!

Cilantro here! Today, I’m excited to catch up with Sassafras, one of the first Saltines to join Salty Running, and a longtime contributor and reader!

You invited me to apply to join the Salty Team around 2010. First, thank you for introducing me to this amazing group of women! Second, remind all of us how you initially connected with Salty Running and why you decided to get involved.

Yes! So glad you’re here! I first found SR in the spring of 2012 due to a post about the Cleveland Marathon. I had just run the half so I did that thing where you read other’s reviews and race reports. I then connected it with the fact that I had actually read Salty’s personal blog before that because we’d both been active on the Weddingbee forums around the same time.

As for your second question, I went in the wayback email archive to find out what I’d said when I applied that summer. “I like to talk about running!” Ha. Pretty straightforward stuff. I think I was just happy to have a place to nerd out about it.

How has your life changed since you started contributing to SR? How has it stayed the same?

Oh man, let’s see. Some big things changed – like my job, the fact that I’m now vegetarian (mostly) and I found a great running club that is a pretty big part of my social life as well. But mostly I’ve changed. As I get closer to an age group that starts with a “4”, I’m more settled and more comfortable just being who I am, and more emphatically so at that. I’m more outspoken about what matters to me and quicker to pass on the stuff that doesn’t spark joy. A more distilled version of myself, if you will. But I’m still in Kentucky, married nearly 12 years now, and obviously still running!

In addition to being a longtime SR contributor, youโ€™re also now a much more experienced and wiser runner! What would you tell younger you about running/being a runner?

Relax. It’s not that important. It’s not worth stressing or pushing past injury. It’s supposed to be fun!

Why do you run? Has this changed? Evolved?

Obviously the answer for each run changes depending on the day, whether it’s stress relief, or because I said I’d meet someone or sometimes just to get my steps in. Bigger picture, my answer from way back when I applied to blog for Salty still applies; I am a better person when I run. It enriches my life in so many ways, from introducing me to new friends, bringing me closer to others, giving me an excuse to travel, a new way to see old places … I could go on and on. I just think it’s infinitely rewarding. My approach to running has changed and evolved over time, but in some ways it’s come full circle since my early middle school track days.

What are your big and/or long term running goals?

For the first time in forever, I actually don’t have any. I guess to stay healthy and keep my current level of balance. I am registered for a fall marathon, but my goal is to have a fun weekend with my mom and friends and to not end my marathon career on a DNF, and really just to get back to that level of fitness that I’ve talked about. Long term, to have running as part of my life as long as I can.

Shorter term, I ran a 10 mile race last weekend and have a half marathon at the end of April.

What is your favorite running memory?

It’s really hard to choose! I guess I would have to say the first year running the Bourbon Chase, being on an all-female team and wearing tutus. It was an adventure.

 

Lighting round:
1. Favorite thing to listen to while running? Pop. If I had to pick a single artist, it’s Britney, b*tch!
2. Race with headphones or without? With
3. Treadmill: Yes, if circumstances demand, or never? If circumstances demand – weather, scheduling logistics, surroundings. I don’t hate it like I used to, but it isn’t my first choice either.
4. Current Running shoe? Saucony Ride 9
5. Favorite Running Podcast? Favorite podcast that’s about running? C Tolle Run Favorite podcast? It’s Been A Minute. Especially the segment where listeners share the best thing that happened to them all week. It frequently makes me tear up a little.
6. If you could run with anyone living, who would it be? I mean, duh, Britney. Seriously. She’s lived a pretty amazing life and often doesn’t get enough credit. I’d also like to run with Julia Lucas. Her story of the 2012 Olympic Trials and her telling of it is one that has stayed with me, as has her journey afterwards and her ongoing transformation. I have followed her coaching adventures on IG, and recently heard her talk on C Tolle Run about the new path she’s taking toward a writing career. I would just want to hear more of her stories and her takes.ย But also Brit’s.
7. How do you plan to watch the Kentucky basketball game? At home. Always. I don’t like to watch games out and about – too stressful. So it’s home or the arena!

Welcome back, Sassy!

Ultrarunner, adventurer, academic, and feminist. Running Across the USA in 2021 to raise money for Girls on the Run. Next challenge: Collegiate Trail Loop FKT. I write about ultrarunning, adventuring, and the intersection of endurance athletics and life.

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