|Nike Human Race- Chicago|
To put it bluntly, I am a runner reborn . I started way back in the 7th grade running cross country for Marlington Middle School (hats off to my coach Butch) and ran a total 4 varsity years under the tutelage of one of the best cross country coaches in the world, Jerry Marshall and his fantastic assistant coach Molly Middleton. After pursuing two miserable years in college athletics at Kent State University, I stopped running altogether. I mean I would take an occasional jog here and there, but no racing or serious mileage. Mostly to keep my slowing metabolism at bay and my ass in a size 8 jeans. Along the way my husband John and I raced a few odds and ends races like the Nike Human Race in Chicago and Columbus and the Princess Half Marathon at Disney World (which I finished and swore I would never race anything longer than that.)
Fast forward to my brilliant idea to race in the Run For Your Life Grand Prix Series last year...and pursue victory in the "Athena" category. During my racing my training partner, Tracy, filled my ear with the idea of doing longer races. I had complained to her that I didn't enjoy the 5ks as much as I once did so she suggested we give the New River 50k a shot.Forgetting what I swore at Disney World, I agreed. As we stood on the starting line that brisk October morning with about 75 others, Tom Patch (a fellow Ultra Runner, friend and coach) turned to me and politely asked "so Anji, what's your longest run far?" Knowing that I was new to this ultra running scene and having just known me through a mutual friend at the time (Beacham) Tom was simply holding conversation. I bravely stated "13 miles." This incurred the stares and chuckles from about half of the runners. I admit, I hadn't run anything close to the 30+ miles this race was calling for...and I was scared. That led to the 5+ hours of my first Ultra Race and I was hooked. Many a funny stories came from that race day, including a lost skittle and a spooked horse...but mostly it blossomed my love for distance running. I finished the Grand Prix series with the Athena Title (or as Ken calls it the "fastest fat girl in Charlotte")and decided to hang up the short runs and pursue this mystical beast called "Ultra Running". Since then I have competed in the Freedom Park New Years Ultra, the Black Mountain Monster and the Uwharrie Mountain Run. I have so much to learn and so far to go, but that is part of the journey and I am glad to be on it!
|Tracy, Tom and I at the Freedom Park New Year's Ultra|
Well that sums it up for now. I hope to keep you updated on my life of racing and the great people and stories that come hand and hand with the Ultra world. Enjoy!!