My name is Stephanie and I’m a 30-something native of Maryland. Every so often I threaten to leave the area, but no matter how far I go or how wonderful the destination, I somehow always manage to find my way back with my tail between my legs. Maybe that’s why they call us Baltimorons? I constantly flip-flop between wanting to live in a city and wanting to live out in the country on a big farm. I love the convenience of a city, but I love the serenity and privacy of the country (and the ability to grow copious amounts of my own fruits and veggies).
I started running in 2006, but never really got into a routine, and then time constraints caused me to stop running while I pursued my MBA. Since graduation in 2012, I have a lot more say in my schedule and made running a priority. To date, I’ve completed seventeen 5ks, six 5 milers, five 10ks, several full moon fun runs, a 10 miler, a 12 miler and eight half marathons, a 20 miler, and a full marathon.
Growing up, I detested running. From a very young age I used to try to get out of gym class whenever we had to run. I was always one of, if not the, last person back when we did the mile; I still get mild panic anxiety before some runs because of this. However, I was always jealous of runners and wished that I could run. Before freshman year of high school, for reasons that I still don’t understand, I wanted to try out for the cross country team, but chickened out when I found out that Julie, the girl who was going to go to try-outs with me, was going to be going to a different school.
I decided to finally stop being a pansy in 2006, when I ran my first 5k. Totally untrained. Three guesses how well that went…I had a blast, but hurt like hell in places I didn’t know existed and couldn’t move for almost a week after. And it was only a 5k.
This was not exactly the way I had hoped to start running, but it was a good reality check for me. It wasn’t until a couple years later, after I gave up figure skating, that I realized running actually isn’t half bad – if you keep doing it. After a handful of 5ks and 5 milers, I made the decision to run my first half marathon in 2009. And guess what? I loved it (once the pain subsided).
If you had asked me a decade ago if I wanted to run 26.2 miles, I would have laughed in your face. However, I find that the longer distances are actually more enjoyable than the short distances. While there’s something to be said about the speed and thrill of truly racing a shorter race, I love the camaraderie of the half and full marathon – it’s truly like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I can’t honestly say I have a favorite distance, because I enjoy each distance for its own reason, but am proud to call myself a distance runner.