Introducing Barberry!


Hello all! I’m Barberry and I’m so excited to be contributing to the Salty Running Team. I’ve been following Salty Running for about a year now, since a running buddy introduced me to the site.

A few weeks ago I was telling my husband I wanted to be more creative and do more writing after years of following the more practical side of my brain. Not long after this conversation, the opportunity to apply as a contributor opened up, and I saw that as fate. It is an honor to be among a group of writers who all just happen to love one of my favorite things: running!

I am a born and raised Hoosier, living in the burbs outside Indianapolis. For me this means everything can be dipped in ranch and basketball reigns supreme. Here in Indy May is the best month because of the 500 Festival Mini Marathon, an excellent half!

I am a full-time physical therapist, and mostly treat orthopedic conditions, but I have a clinical specialty in treating patients with vestibular issues (vertigo, dizziness, concussion, etc.). I have been married for 5 years to a husband who’s great, except that he also runs and takes pride in beating me at local races. For some reason, everyone I know thinks that having two kitties make me a crazy cat lady. I won’t fight that title.

When I am not running or working, you can find me playing indoor soccer, loosening up my super-tight hamstrings with yoga, reading, writing, snuggling with my cats, and always attempting to be better at actually doing consistent strength training. I love watching the Indiana Pacers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and singing songs by the Backstreet Boys. Reggie Miller is my idol, and I would just blubber and cry if I ever met him. I may have named one of my cats after him. I am also a Disney fanatic! Disney World is definitely my happy place.

In 2013, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I experienced my first flare not long after I got married—talk about a super glamorous start to wedded bliss! Currently, I do not have any active inflammation, but experience both good and bad days with my disease. My original gastroenterologist encouraged me to not limit myself and my activities, so I have taken this to heart and have figured out modifications to my running routine that make it work for me. I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism at 16. I don’t know why my immune system is so mad at me, but since it likes to pick on me, I fight back. Currently, I am winning most days.

With autoimmune issues, fatigue is the biggest battle I fight daily. Running and working out not only help me to combat this, but also make me feel more human. With a progressive disease, every run is a blessing! But we’ll save the details for more posts to come soon!

Like several other Salty contributors, I played soccer growing up, but that’s not the only reason I used running as punishment. Like many young women, I became preoccupied with my weight and what started as exercise-induced weight loss, turned into a full-blown eating disorder. After a brave confrontation from my mother, I got the help I needed. My sophomore year of high school I joined the track team, and the joy I discovered pushing myself to get faster and run farther helped me understand how important it is to properly fuel my body. I became proud of my strong legs and the mental toughness that I gained from running.

While I wasn’t technically a collegiate runner at The University of Indianapolis, I could most often be found running laps around the campus and surrounding neighborhoods, just to stay in shape and have fun. In 2009, I signed up for my first half, the 500 Festival Mini Marathon that I mentioned above.

#MCM ... always

I finished that first half in under 2 hours and was hooked on half marathons! It took me 6 years after that to gain the courage to do my first full marathon in 2015. Since then, I have done many more races, adding two more marathons (with a PR of 4:02:56 – so close to that 4 hour mark!) to that list. I see myself as a completely average runner, but running does not make me feel average, at all. Running is often one of the best parts of my day. It helps keep me focused, energized, and aware of the beautiful things in this world—I find it spiritual, almost meditative.

I spent most of last year shattering some of my PRs, so this year I am just running to run. I love participating in local races and connecting with other runners. I have several half marathons on the books and no plans to PR. No pressure, just getting back to joy of putting one foot in front of the other. I am thrilled to be a part of the Salty Team and to learn more from the readers and contributors!

A born and raised Hoosier running to stay sane. I've done 5Ks to marathons, but am currently running to enjoy running. I'm an orthopedic physical therapist, with clinical specialization in treating people with vestibular disorders. Other things I specialize in? Knowing the lyrics to every Backstreet Boys song and being an awesome cat mom! Living with Crohn's disease, but trying to show it who really is the boss.

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  1. Welcome!! You have so much insight to offer from all ends of the spectrum it seems (PT, running w/Chron’s, Thyroid, and general kick-ass running). Looking forward to reading more! Also is it totally acceptable to throw BSB lyrics at you from time to time, because that would just be fun. Every time I hear them I can’t help but sing along, on that side note it makes me happy that radio stations occasionally play their songs 😉

    1. I would love nothing more than quoting timeless Backstreet Boys lyrics … in fact… I want it that way. (see what I did there?)

    1. It is terrible! Physical therapy can help! It is an area that many people do not know that we work on!