At what age did you begin participating in running?
I began my love for fitness at the age of 7 playing softball and participating in gymnastics. My love for running really began after high school when I participated in the first annual Hog Jog 5K that the YMCA put on.
What first made you want to participate in running?
My parents put my twin sister and I in softball and gymnastics just to get us active and to try out sports. I wasn't the best at gymnastics but did excel at softball which I continued playing up to my senior year of high school. I really fell in love with running and lifting weights after high school when I noticed the "Freshman 15" creeping on. I began studying as much as I could about proper nutrition and weight lifting so that I could make a lifestyle change. I competed in my first fitness competition when I was 30 years old and loved (yet hated) the dedication and commitment it took to take my body to a whole new level.
What were some of the challenges you faced? Early on? Now? As a woman?
Luckily running has been a co-ed sport for quite some time so I've never faced many challenges as a woman runner. Weight lifting is another story. Due to the fear of "bulking up," most women used to only focus on cardiovascular exercise, myself included. I was definitely intimidated going into the weight room filled with guys for fear of not knowing what to. Now I have no problems working out around guys - heck, I tend to know a little more than some due to my education and experience.
Greatest moment/accomplishment in your sport?
I have placed first in my age group in several 5ks, 10ks, and half-marathons. I've placed in the top 10 female runners at the Tulsa Run a few times too. I still can't believe I'm as fast as I am because I never ran track in high school! I have completed one marathon and have contemplated doing another one sometime soon.
What keeps you going year after year?
Quite simply, I love the endorphins exercise gives me. It is my life. I love feeling good after a tough workout. I even love sweating. I also want my daughter to know that...sweating isn't gross; lifting weights isn't just for men; and that she can do anything she sets her mind to, both physically and mentally.
Future plans within your sport?
Run another marathon and possibly compete in another fitness competition.
Future plans outside of the sport, i.e. professional life, personal life?
I would love to work for myself someday. I enjoy motivating others in my group fitness classes and during my personal training sessions. It is a time for me to really connect with people and form a friendship. Plus I love when they feel good and see results. That's where I get my satisfaction.
As for my personal life, my goal is to raise a happy and healthy kiddo. Livia is my ultimate prize. I would love for us to work out together and run races once she gets older.
How far has the sport of running come during the timeframe in which you have been involved?
Thanks to such sports as crossfit, lifting weights has come a long way for women. I love that it's not all about doing cardio - it's about being well-rounded in body and mind.
Where would you like to see your sport be in the coming years?
I would like to see more female personal trainers and strength coaches, especially in our school systems.
What lessons have you taken from running that have helped you in your professional and personal life away from the trail?
I get my ultimate drive and determination from my dad. He is the hardest worker I know so when it comes to my personal and professional life, I strive to succeed. Fitness has made me realize that anything worth wanting takes time and determination. And that it's okay to fail, just as long as you are learning.
What advice do you have for younger athletes coming up in running?
Practice, practice, practice - especially if it's something you love. If there is something that you're really good at, then focus your talents and energy on that sport. We're not perfect so don't try to be. And don't compare yourself to others. You are your own self. Just get good at being you.
3 words to describe your sports journey. Discuss why you chose those 3 words.
Consistent. Hard. Work.
My workouts have no doubt been consistent. Consistency is what has helped me make it a true lifestyle. My workouts aren't always hard but I do push myself, especially when I am competing in a race. If you want something bad enough, you will put in the work to achieve it.