Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. (Where you’re from, what you’re doing now…etc)
A: I grew up in Nebraska then moved to Gilbert Arizona after college, where for 23 years I worked for the Phoenix Police Department as a civilian then as an officer. I retired in 2009 and along with my husband and two children moved to Custer and built a house in 2010. Now I run whenever I want, where ever I want. I also help coach cross country and sometimes track along with being the treasurer for the Custer Booster Club. Sometimes I get volunteered for other things in the community when people realize I don’t have a real job anymore.
Q: How long have you been running and how did you get started?
A: My earliest recollection was as a 5th grader when my teacher asked a group of us girls if we wanted to run a relay at the AAU track meet. I was hooked. I ran junior high track only since we did not have a cross country team. I only started running cross country as a sophomore when my track coach, also the xcountry coach said he didn’t think I could do it. Of course I had to prove him wrong. The first year I competed with the boys because my school would not pay an entry fee just for me. The next year, I convinced a couple of girls to run which was the start of girl’s xcountry in our school. That was 43ish years ago.
Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone?
A: Most of the time because of where I live and the fact that most of the friends I have still work for a living, I run alone. I enjoy being on the trails and logging roads around my house and just being in the forest. There is something about the quietness of the early morning hours that puts me in the right frame of mind. Plus I log more miles than most of my friends. When I do have a chance to run with a group/friend, I almost always say “yes”. It is fun to just get out of your head sometimes and enjoy the company of others.
Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?
A: I absolutely hated trails when I first started running them in Arizona but quickly learned that I can push myself farther and harder on the trails. When I found out that there were several trails/logging roads where I lived, I was overjoyed. I love being able to go out with the Disciples of Dirt and discover new trails, even when a 7 mile run turns into 14!! I look forward to spring when the snow melts and the trails become available again but I have been known to blaze through the snow just to get off the road. Being in Custer I’m lucky to have access to the Mickelson so I don’t have to run on the roads.
Q: What is your favorite distance or race?
A: I’m not fond of anything less than a 10k which is weird because when I was young, I swore I would never ever run a 10k. It takes this old body about three miles just to warm up so I actually enjoy the half marathon. I like the training and it is just long enough to challenge me but not discourage me. I’ve done more than 20 half marathons since my first in 2004.
Q: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?
A: I don’t think I’ve never not wanted to run. Weird, huh? I do set goals for the year by signing up for different races to help. Honestly, running has been a part of my life for so long, it’s kind of like brushing my teeth, it’s just something I do almost every day. Plus, I love to eat!!
Q: If I didn’t run I’d ………..
A: Probably be divorced, insane or both. Not sure which one would come first. You can confirm that one with my husband.
Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?
A: That it is something you can do for a very long time and pass on that love to others. I especially enjoy coaching kids and watching them realize how hard they can push themselves and how far they really can go. It makes my heart happy to see a nonrunner catch that running bug and I love to help make that happen.
Q: What is your favorite running memory?
A: My mind isn’t what it used to be but looking back, I would have to say my junior year in high school when I won the 800 meters at state after only running it two other times. My coach convinced me I was not a 200 m. runner and of course he was right.
Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?
A: To help me from worrying and not getting enough sleep, I get all my stuff ready to go the night before just so I don’t forget anything. Also going to the bathroom is a must! That relieves a lot of pressure, so to speak. Plus I try to do a good 1-2 mile before the race so I’m not warming up the first few miles.
Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned from running?
A: I have learned that even at my age, I can still push my body to places I never thought possible. Where your mind goes, your body will follow. Hard work and consistency always pays off.
Q: What are your running goals for the future?
A: I really want to qualify for Boston in the immediate future. But I just want to be able to run as long as my mind, body and soul will let me. I thank God every day that I can lace up my shoes and go out.
Q: Who inspires you most?
A: First and foremost my mom. She worked full time and was able to raise eight children with the help of my dad. I always just wanted to make her proud. When it comes to running, Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins is who I want to be when I grow up. When I’m 102 years old, I want to break her 60 meter record.
Q: What advice do you have for new runners?
A: Start slow and don’t get discouraged. Do it because you want to, not because you have to otherwise you won’t stick with it. Invest in a good pair of shoes and that will make all the difference in the world.