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10 Years of Running

A little over a month ago, I had planned to run the Bronx Zoo Run for the Wild 5k. While this would have been another small race, that tends to be more of a family fun run than an actual race, it would have been the tenth anniversary of my first race – also the Bronx Zoo Run for the Wild 5k.

My running origin story is one I’ve repeated quite a few times over the years. I had left my job and started to do freelance, but wanted to get out of my home during the day. I thought taking up running would be a good way to give myself a reason to take a break and get outdoors. After a couple false starts, I began a Couch to 5K program. It was slow going, but it was a good start.

It was when I met some friends for dim sum during Chinese New Year that I happened to mention my newfound interest in running that things escalated. After some joking around, it was suggested we run the Bronx Zoo together, and our fates were sealed. A couple months later, we all ran the Bronx Zoo Run for the Wild 5k. I can’t say it was my best performance, but it was my first one and taught me what it felt like to run a race.

Once I ran the 5k, I began to wonder what was next. I did a 5k, so I started Couch to 10k. I finished that program and decided I’d run even further – until I ran a half marathon the following January at Walt Disney World and then two more in Disneyland and Staten Island later the same year. During that year, I even decided I’d run a marathon. I was doing the New York Road Runners 9+1 to enter the 2012 NYC Marathon (which was ultimately canceled due to Hurricane Sandy) and training for the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon, but fate intervened and changed my plan.

My friend Carolann (who was probably the main instigator at the brunch) called and told me that American Cancer Society’s Team DetermiNation had extra bibs for the 2011 NYC Marathon and asked if I would be interested. Since I was already training and planning to run a marathon two months later, I had to do it. Running the NYC Marathon was exhilarating and running my first marathon was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Once I ran one marathon, I couldn’t stop there. Ultimately I ended up running 12 marathons – NYC five times, Walt Disney World twice, Chicago, Berlin, Tokyo, Boston, and London – and six of those were Abbott Marathon Majors, making me of their six star runners (there were a little over 1,000 people who had achieved that goal when I completed it) . Additionally I ran 26 half marathons and over a hundred races overall, and trained for hundreds of hours and miles preparing for all those races.

Running has been an amazing experience for me. I’ve since retired from running marathons, but continue to run half marathon and shorter races, as well as running for fun and exercise. Over the last ten years, running has given me reason to get in shape, get outdoors, travel the country and the world, meet some amazing people, fall in love, and create and achieve lofty goals of running marathons and becoming a six star runner. I look forward to the next ten years of running and seeing what roads it leads me down.

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