I began running in the spring of 2011. My dad and grandpa were both sprinters in middle and high school so I figured why not follow in their footsteps. My first year there were only four girls on the middle school team. We had two relay meets that year and since there were only four of us, we all had to do the same events. Those girls and I created a bond over the course of the season and I think that’s what brought me back to track the following year.
In high school I put a lot of pressure on myself. Between wanting to run in college and also trying to break our school’s 400 record, I didn’t really catch a break. But hey, I made one of those dreams come true. Majority of my early years in track was me trying to figure out what events I would do best at. The 400 has always been my favorite event, but it was finding out if I should be more of sprint 400 runner or a mid-distance 400 runner. Going back and forth between events from 8th grade to junior year of high school, I finally decided that I really freaking hate the 800. I now run the 800 once a year at Illinois and I know Coach Eblin is proud hahah.
My junior and senior year I knew I wanted to run in college but I didn’t really care for the experiences I had while touring the colleges that wanted me to run for them. I ended up settling for Ashland University, who definitely didn’t want me to run for them. I was way too slow for their fast team. About two weeks before the May deadline of deciding on what school I’d be attending, Ohio Dominican contacted me wanting me to run for them. The next day I went in for a visit and fell in love with everything. The following day I withdrew my deposit from Ashland to give to ODU and signed my letter of intent to run there.
Fast forward five months. I was about a month into my freshman year and I absolutely HATED it. Track conditioning had begun and I didn’t really feel like I belonged on the team. Classes were overwhelming me. I hated the campus. Really the only thing that got me through that semester was my roommate, who also happened to hate ODU. Two weeks into track conditioning, I quit the team. Did I give them a fair shot? Probably not. Was I absolutely miserable and dreading the thought of going to practice? Most definitely. Shortly after quitting the team, my roommate told me she was transferring after the semester was over. The only thing that truly got me that far into my time at ODU was leaving. That winter break I ended up changing my major. My new major was not offered at ODU so I knew I had to transfer schools. So in a matter of weeks, I changed my major, transferred schools, and moved out of ODU. A lot of this probably seems disconnected from my actual running story. But my experience at ODU heavily impacted my running career. When I quit the team, I knew that I would never run competitively again. As heartbroken at that thought was, it was necessary for my mental health.
I transferred to OSU Newark spring of my freshman year so I could set myself up for main campus and my new major the following year. I spent this semester commuting to school and had the opportunity to assistant coach my hometowns sprint squad. I ran practices with them keeping myself in running condition so I wouldn’t be a total wreck when I joined running club in the fall. I also did a lot of research on clubs at OSU in hopes to find a way to at least run with a group of people. That’s when I found OSU Run Club.
First and foremost, thank god for running club. Running club brought back my joy for running. My first year in the club was ROUGH to say the least. I hadn’t competed in almost two years. I thought I was in shape, but dang I definitely wasn’t. Though my times weren’t exactly what I wanted, the people in running club brought me back the next year. Especially Emma Dalan, who not only became a great workout buddy, but an even better friend. The second year I started to see more of my high school self. I was becoming more competitive and not dying at every single practice.
After my second year back, I decided to do the Columbus half in October or 2018. I definitely did not train like I should have. My longest run before the race was 5 miles I did that 4 days before the race. I also went to the OSU @ Purdue game the night before. Which, by the way, was at 7:30pm. Literally every preparation I should have done, I didn’t. My only goal for this race was to run the whole time. And I did it. I completed my first ever half marathon, running the whole time (shout out to my sister Heidi for keeping me going the whole time), and I freaking LOVED it. I couldn’t run for about a month after due to the toll that race took on my body but once I came back, I was honestly a new runner. I really gained my love for running back. I enjoyed every moment and all the pain running brought. I don’t know what it was about that experience, but it was life changing.
This past season I truly ran for fun. I didn’t pressure myself before every race. I ended up running steeplechase twice. Shout out to all the sprinter girls for absolutely dominating that race ;) And I ran times that I only touched a few times in high school. I’d call that one heck of a season for my old and broken body.
I have really had a change in perspective ever since I joined running club. Every race I do is for no one other than myself and it has really changed the way I compete and my attitude towards practices and meets. I thoroughly enjoy every practice, hard or easy, because it is a relief to the stress of college. It’s also a guaranteed social hour every day. Shout out to running club for making running so much fun.