Introducing Mango!

Mango selfie in sunglassesHi everyone! After years of reading, lurking, commenting, and feeling too slow to play, I finally applied to write for Salty Running … and here I am! I love the sheer range of perspectives that the Salty community has to offer, and I’m incredibly excited to contribute to the thoughtful discussions on this site.

I’ve always been a runner, and yet I still have a hard time thinking of myself as a “real” runner. I grew up in Singapore, racing around the neighborhood with my cousins and other kids inspired by Olympics and tagging along for my mom’s evening jogs. Finally, after college, I decided to run a 10k.

I was never athletic, preferring books and the ballet studio to sports and games. I never ran competitively in school or college, though I enjoyed the low-key three to five mile runs that were part of my high school outdoors club training.

So when I moved home in 2008 after college and found myself hooked on road races, I wasn’t sure how to go about training for them.

In Singapore, a city of five million crammed onto an island the same length as a marathon, it seems like everyone runs. Parks and sidewalks are packed with runners in the morning and evening. A small local race might draw a thousand people, a large one, 18,000.

Mango racingAt the time, though, few women in Singapore were serious competitive runners, and I had a hard time finding information on training and racing to improve. Fortunately, that’s changing these days. Eventually, I stumbled on Salty Running, which has since been a fount of information about all kinds of things: the science behind cramps during hot races; menstrual cycles and running; running during pregnancy; among so many others.

And the actual running? The year after graduating, I signed up for my first marathon, a six-plus hour death march in blazing sun and high humidity. I’ve done six marathons now, with a current best of 4:54. (Cramps were involved. And tears.) Fun fact: I once chopped an hour off of my marathon PR in one marathon … how many runners can say that?!

At one point I did triathlons recreationally. My conclusion: that’s three sports to be terrible at.

After being based in Singapore for seven years, I now live with my grad student husband and inquisitive toddler outside Boston. I’m a recovering journalist who currently works in the consulting industry. This fall, I’m training to break two hours in the half marathon. Besides running, I enjoy hiking, reading, and kitchen experimentation, which may or may not include forgetting about the results in the back of my fridge.

A family hike

I’m delighted to be joining the Salty team for two reasons.

First, there’s very little real middle ground in the world of running information. There’s plenty of information out there for new runners, while elite athletes have the luxury of personalized coaching. But what about the middle-to-back-of-the-pack runner who’s just racing herself? What about those of us who have some running experience and are keen to improve but are starting from, ahem, a lower athletic baseline? I hope to help fill that little niche.

And two, in a secular, unequal world, running is a great equalizer and a source of purpose. Why do we do hard things for fun? Because they wouldn’t be as fun if success was easy. Everyone needs a source of accomplishment. I hope to write more here about how we run, why we run, and running’s place in the world.

Where do you see yourself fitting into the world of running?

Tropical transplant to the chilly Northeast. Professional writer and researcher, cantankerous editor, mom to one inquisitive toddler, asker of inconvenient questions.

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15 comments

  1. I have been waiting for someone like you! I love Pumpkin’s entries also, and while the other Saltines inspire me, it’s kinda hard to relate sometimes. I’m looking forward to more of your writing!

  2. I’m looking forward to reading your writing. I’m pretty much your target audience! And I just adore Singapore. I got to spend a couple of months there for work…way too long ago now. I still miss it!

  3. Loved reading about you! I’m a middle of the pack runner and look forward to hearing your perspectives! You have a way with words and put a smile on my face :)