Before I introduce myself, I would like to take a second to thank Salty for this wonderful opportunity to write for her awesome website. I’ve been reading post after post each day, eagerly awaiting for my daily subscription alerts. Now that I am on board, I hope that these posts will find you, lovely runner and reader, as engaged as I have been thus far. With that being said, hello! I’m Ginger (with a J). I have been a runner for about thirteen years. However, I have only just started to focus on getting faster within the last six months. It is my hope to chronicle my journey to get faster. I don’t know how fast that will be, but I have high hopes. Mainly because in my experience and interactions with other runners, I see it happening all the time, though no one journey is the same. And that’s the exciting part!
I began running in 1998 after my aunt invited me to join her on a one mile run around our neighborhood. After that first run, I had a whole host of emotions and body reactions surrounding me as I lay exhausted on my grandma’s couch. “What just happened?” was my first thought, followed by, “I feel amazing right now!” A softball player by trade, I eventually hung up my glove that spring and tried out for my high school’s track team. My first race was the 400. I ran it in 84 seconds. I had no clue at the time what 84 seconds meant, but I felt like I just ran a world record.
My high school program was low mileage and because of my late start (junior year), I was never really able to tap any potential. Nonetheless, I became hooked with the sport. I would spend my nights on dyestat, studying the times and pictures of high school elites, which, by the way, I thought was pronounced, e-lights. I had begged my mom to buy me a subscription to Runner’s World. I became fascinated with nutrition, massaging gadgets, and plantar fasciitis. And when I graduated high school, I thought that if I just worked hard enough, I could walk on to the University of Akron’s cross country team. To my surprise, 15 miles a week in the summer as a 23:45 5k runner was not enough to survive even three weeks on the team. I eventually became a recreational runner, consistently able to run 23:45 5ks off of 15 miles a week. Although, none of this stopped me from continuing to follow these elites and the college scene with fascination.
Fast forward to eight years and I found myself dating one of those runners I had internet stalked in my dorm room late at night. Because I had viewed these elites as gods, I was historically nervous and awkward around the fast ones. Generally, I avoided them in person, even though I knew their latest results and PRs. I have to laugh now at my apprehension and anxiety, mainly because I have been dating this “god” for the last two years. And so, here I am today. Friends with “e-lights” and joggers alike. Comfortable. And just now starting to put in the work required of me years ago that I was too naive to attempt. My column, Ginger With a J, will detail the ups and downs of this journey. From balancing a new career with more intense training to dating a fast one and everything in between. Welcome!