Howie Stern Photography
I didn't choose running. It seems to have chosen me.
Like many kids, I was introduced to running through other sports, in my case 5th grade soccer. When I got to high school, too many girls tried out for the team. The coach told us to go run an 8 minute mile. I'd never attempted that; I didn't really know anything about running. I got in just under 14 minutes. Coach cut 14:01 and over, then told the rest of us who didn't hit 8 to come back in 10 days. After some drills and speed work --set by my father-- I was back to try again. Coach yelled across the track at me during my final lap, "C'mon, Gietl! You've got this!" I picked it up and got in at 8:04 or so. Figuring I didn't make the cutoff, I began wondering where to apply for a job. Then Coach called my name. I made the team! Coach knew I'd work hard for her as I had closed the biggest gap in 10 days. Hard work matters!
Skipping ahead a bit, I moved to Ft Worth when my daughter was 4 months old. As mothers of small children, my neighbor encouraged me to keep her company on morning runs before the chaos of the day began. It became routine, and if my routine was disrupted so was everyone else's day. From there, one thing led to another. In 2008, I ran the Chevron Houston Marathon. My first. By early 2018, I had run my 100th marathon or longer. I also started spending time on "the dark side" (trail running; ultrarunners have weird senses of humor) and completed the Javelina Jundred 100 miler in 2017.
People often ask me about my "favorite distance." I love a good half marathon, a good marathon, a 50 miler, 100k is really awesome, and 100 milers are pretty cool. I love all the distances for different reasons and for the different terrains.
But what do I get out of running the most? JOY. This involves hard work, of course, and sometimes it may not feel joyful in the moment. But many times it does! And always there's the joy the accompanies a job well done. With this comes a strong sense of community - and that is joyful as well. Runners are some of the coolest people and running gives you a way to connect with others that you might not have connected with otherwise. How fun is that?
So, join me! Be part of the community. The joyful community.