Duchess of dirt. Queen of vert.
My love for endurance sport dates back to when I was about 9. I saw a feature on tv that followed the story of a non-professional athlete's journey at an Ironman triathlon. I remember the event took all day, starting in the early hours and finishing well into the night. I had no idea people did that kind of thing, but I felt a strong pull toward it. A homeschooled kid raised in a deeply religious home, I was isolated from my peers and most of the world around me. Without much exposure to organized sport, I had few opportunities to explore my affinity for endurance. Still an active kid, I instead spent years practicing martial arts with my family.
When I was 12, I developed breathing issues that made aerobic sport particularly unpleasant. My symptoms were never quite addressed, and I coped by avoiding activities that exacerbated the mysterious issue. Any notions of participating in endurance sport were firmly sidelined. I hated running more than any other activity and refused to do it any chance I got, citing concerns about my symptoms.
In 2014, when I was in my 20s, I left the east coast and moved out west to Flagstaff, Arizona. In love with the mountains since childhood, I always knew my heart belonged on this side of the country. For the first couple years in the west, I got outside on occasional casual hikes, but mostly lifted heavy weights and did miscellaneous gym and studio workouts.
Shortly after I moved to Flagstaff, I saw a flyer for an ultramarathon mountain race at the CrossFit gym where I trained at the time. It was the first time I'd heard of the sport. I vividly remember staring at the flyer, thinking to myself: "I wish I was the kind of person who could do a race like that."
I could never shake the frustration of being limited by the breathing issues that had followed me around for so many years. I couldn't shake the long-dormant desire to go far. In 2017, I decided to train for a trail half marathon out of sheer spite. I wanted to prove to myself that I could. I fully expected to suffer through every training run, finish the race, and quit running immediately. Much to my surprise, it only took me about 2 weeks of training before I fell hopelessly in love with the sport. Needless to say, I finished that trail half, and a whole lot more. Running did more for my mood than any other form of exercise before. It's no understatement to say that running has been a deeply emotional journey.
I ran my first ultramarathon in April 2021, a trail 60k, where I finally became the kind of person who could, in fact, "do a race like that."
When I'm not running, you'll find me mountain biking, backpacking, dabbling in photography, reading a book, and eating dessert. I also independently write activewear reviews and active lifestyle content on Agent Athletica. I still call Flagstaff home.