Hello Salty Runners! I’m so excited to be a part of this awesome group of runners (and writers)! I am a 23 year old Bostonian and soon-to-be grad student of Public Health.
I started running in middle school, going for short runs with my dad and doing some 5ks. When I got to high school, cross country seemed like a good way to meet some nice people. My enthusiasm for running and desire to improve increased steadily.
The summer after 9th grade I decided I wanted to get a ton faster. I looked at results from my team for the past few years and found an older teammate who improved the most between freshman and sophomore year in cross country. She said she ran 300 miles that summer, so I ran 350.
The summer after that, sensing that 50 miles per week wouldn’t cut it anymore for me, I upped it to 60-70. By 12th grade I was extremely anemic and having zero fun running. After a brief stint on the wrestling team and a terrible track season, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue running on a team in college. A high school teammate and friend was on the team at my college so, partially out of a sense of social necessity, I decided to give it a try, figuring I could quit after the cross country season ended in a couple of months.
Of course, three days in I was hooked, in love with the team and more excited by the sport than I’d felt maybe ever.
In the six years since then, running has taken on a life of its own within my life. Though I am grateful for all the personal relationships running has allowed me to form, my relationship with running itself has evolved into something intense and internal, beyond the social function it initially served. I love the ritual and the routine, the simplicity and the complexity, and the constant opportunity to find the faster, stronger, better version of myself.
I am very intense. I truly either “go big or go home.” I am a dreamer and my biggest dream is to qualify for the marathon Trials in 2020 (or 2024, I’m pretty young), even though I a) have never run a marathon, and b) am currently a lot slower than qualifying. I do love running, the camaraderie, the natural beauty, the act itself, but my love for running is not only participatory. Running, for me, is always about getting faster, and about being deliberate in my attempts to get there.
I long considered myself a 10k runner, before I ever actually raced a 10k, and similarly now I tend to imagine myself as a marathon runner, but have to remind myself that I’ve never run a marathon. I ran my first half marathon last fall in Philly in 1:23, which was probably my best performance since college. I loved the race but did not feel a huge desire to switch over to halfs and marathons yet. I know at some point I will, but for now I’m very happy to focus on getting some PRs in the 5k and 10k and improving my overall racing skills. I love the track, and the track 10k is my absolute favorite event in a way that I cannot rationalize whatsoever.
The story I tell on Monday if people at work ask about my race is short. “It was fun,” I say. But it’s a lot more than that. And I absolutely do not want to demean those for whom running is mainly about fun and friendship, because those are also valid, great reasons to run. That’s just not what running is for me.
I think these things are hard to say because, as a woman, I have been conditioned to gloss over the part of myself that is fiery, intense, competitive. It’s also kind of embarrassing because I am not an elite runner. What if I just seem like someone talking a big game? What business do I have wanting it that badly?
And that’s what I love about Salty Running. Sometimes it seems like the only ways to be a woman runner are to either be in it just for fun and weight loss, or to be a professional athlete. I am neither of those. I started reading Salty Running in January and was drawn to it as a space for women who run to compete and get faster, elite or not. I am excited to learn from the Salty Running community and to share my love of this sport with you all!