What moves you? Nonrunner friends often ask me how I can be motivated to get myself out of bed at 5 am, throw on a pair of shoes and a headlamp, and head out the door for a run. The answer isn’t always clear, but so much of it has to do with the process. I’m motivated to improve and grow through the discipline of running because I discover so much about myself each time I get out there. Just a few months after the pandemic shut everything down, my pregnant wife and I found ourselves trying to hold down jobs with two young kids at home with us every day and trying to compartmentalize all of the stress that came along with that. With everyday feeling like Groundhog Day and my mental health starting to deteriorate, I turned to running as an outlet. What started out as a few casual four mile road runs soon turned into twenty mile runs out in the woods. Eight months later, I found myself signing up for my first 50K, and I soon realized there were so many new things I needed to learn and improve on. All of a sudden, I was thinking about pacing, nutrition, hydration, chafing (!), how to handle climbs in a smart way in order to be ready to bomb downhill, and so on. A few months later, once I took on my first 50 miler, I realized there was even more to learn and understand about my body as the time on feet increased. And as I went into my first 100 miler, I experienced that many more things such as organizing drop bags, planning out meetup spots with my crew, running through the night (and thus sleep deprivation and nutrition), and ultimately experiencing the much talked about “pain cave.” But with each run, with each race, with each stop at an aid station, I keep learning and understanding more about myself and what I’m capable of. I’m not entirely sure where this path in ultrarunning is going, but the process has been an incredible way to challenge myself and push my own limits while also showing my three kiddos that with grit and hard work, you can accomplish a lot!
How does running inspire you to give back? Running has made me a better person in all areas of my life, specifically as it relates to my mental health and the impact this then has on my family. Since rediscovering running, the energy and focus I have found have allowed me to give so much more to my family. That time on the trails or on the roads each morning gives me a moment to reset and heal so that when my kids get out of bed ready to start their day, they’ve got a dad ready to give them the love they need. On top of that, my wife has been so supportive of my running, and we’ve both felt that it has been so positive within our own relationship. And in the process, she’s become quite the crew chief at all of my races!