Writing About Running
Running and writing have a lot in common. They require perseverance, discipline, sweat, pain, and sometimes tears. Both can be beautiful, dramatic, inspirational, difficult, painful, and life-changing. While running, some of the best story ideas pop into my head. Though I don't physically write while I run, I usually scribble down ideas afterward.
The Running Girls
Two girls with nothing in common except the 500-Mile Summer of '89 Challenge
Clara is an average student and below-average athlete. With some inspiration from her cross country coach, Clara decides to take on a summer running challenge: complete 500 miles in three months. The problem? Her parents don't want her jogging all those miles alone, but Clara doesn't want to run with the girl they suggest. Joan is weird, and something seems to be mentally wrong with her. Except none of Clara's other friends run. Will she complete the challenge, or does being stuck with Joan mean she's destined to fail?
2017 RPLA Finalist
Categories: Inspirational, Cross Country, Running, Traumatic Brain Injury, 1980's
A race. A murder. A shattered Olympic dream.
Riley Sprinter’s PTSD-fueled assault against a stranger could mean a crippling lawsuit and the loss of her job. With therapy as her only alternative, will she find the courage to heal from her past and pursue dreams of professional running?
The unpublished manuscript won First Place at the RPLA in the Women's Fiction category.
I'm currently querying agents and publishers.
My Running History
Marathons completed: 4
Half Marathons: 18
5K: too many, lost count (somewhere around 30)
Hood2Coast Relay: 3
Trail Run 10 Miles: 3
with Alyssa, me, Hea, and Jenni
Sunrise Run with Steffanie, Korey, Terry, and me
Jenn and me at Ft. Desoto
Women's Half Marathon in St. Pete
The Claw Run
Alyssa and I at Women Run the World 15K
During the 15K
Alyssa and me at Clearwater Marathon
Alicia, Dave, Elena, me, and Dad
Family of racers for Disney Half and Full Marathon
Jenni, Me, & Alyssa
Starting Hood 2 Coast
Memorial Day 5K
Before my first marathon
After my first marathon
How Distance Running Grew on Me
In middle and high school, I ran track. I was a sprinter in the 4X100 relay and the 200 meter dash. I also did pole vault and long jump. I even held the record for pole vault at Centralia High briefly and at St. Pete High for a year…because I was the first girl to compete in the event at both schools. Once, a coach asked me to do the 400 meter. That’s an entire lap around the track, and I didn’t think I could do it. At least, not do it well. When friends ran cross-country, I always wondered how they did it. My cousin, Alyssa, was a cross-country star and still to this day is an amazing distance runner. If someone mentioned running more than a few miles, I cringed. I was a sprinter, and long distances were NOT for me.
In college, all that started to change. I would run a few miles here and there, but never anything more than, say, four miles. Eventually, my cousin Alyssa came to Flagler and convinced me to start running longer distances with her. I didn’t really think I could do it, but running with her was more like catching up with my best friend. We’ve been close our whole lives and running at sunrise on St. Augustine Beach became a weekly routine with us. Sometimes, others joined in. Slowly, she got me running longer distances than I thought possible. But we were talking and the distances weren’t so bad when we were together. Eventually, we did a race together. Granted, it was the worse race of our entire lives. Yes, both of us had an absolutely miserable time. But even with that happening, I caught the bug. I’ve been running and racing ever since.
I wish I was one of those people who ran every day. Truth be told, I couldn’t be that person even if I had the discipline. I am an every-other-day type of runner, and I’m not ashamed. At least, that’s the kind of running that makes me feel the best. My running schedule has fluctuated throughout the years. Sometimes, I’m very consistent. Other times, not so much. Having a paid-for race coming up certainly pushes me to run regularly. The discipline, though somewhat forced, is usually there. Mostly because I hate going to a race in fear. I don’t want to be afraid, I want to enjoy it and have fun. I’m not there to win any prizes. I’m usually there with family, friends or both. We’re laughing and talking about the beauty of whatever scene may be before us, and we’re excited just to be together exercising and accomplishing a goal. That goal is to finish. That’s it! Just finish, and we’ve accomplished something amazing.
My times in races have improved since I first began, and that is encouraging. I’m not competitive in races, but in some ways I compete against myself. If I’m not well prepared for a race, I’m probably just worrying about finishing. If I’ve trained myself to a point where I think I’m in good shape, I’m usually hoping I can beat my last race time or my PR. If not, no biggie.
It helps to set running goals to stay disciplined. I tend to run a lot of the same races, but I also have plans for new ones.
~New York Marathon~ Someday... not sure when. It's a lottery system, so whenever I do bid for the opportunity to run it, there's no guarantee I'll get in.
~Hood 2 Coast Relay~ I'd really like to do this again and my hubby wants to do it too. It might be a few years before we can.
All My Racing History at Athlinks
I just discovered Athlinks. I haven't been keeping this page updated (below) with my more recent races, but Athlinks does it for me! Head on over there to see all the races I've ever done and my race times.
I’ve done so many races now I’ve lost count. Mostly, they have all been fun, though some have been difficult. My first three marathons, for example, were extremely challenging for me. The blister problem I had at the first two has been solved, so it was great to do a marathon without blisters. And finally, during my fourth marathon, I actually felt good. That made it all worth it.
(for ALL, see Athlinks)
~Florida Holiday Halfathon- (12/13/15) The second race in my Halfathon Challenge series. And possibly one of my new favorite half marathon courses. SO scenic and fun. This is a point-to-point race, which is rare to find. Starting at Madeira Beach, the race follows the beach and then swings over to the Pinellas Trail, ending at Taylor Park. Bestie Hea and her hubby Mike ran with me. Other St. Pete Running Company friends were there, Amy and Marie. Eventually, Amy and I found ourselves matching pace, and we ended up staying together almost until the very end (when she got some kick and I didn't). This was a race PR for me! My first half PR since Gasparilla in 2007. New PR 2:11:58. LOVED this race.
~Halloween Halfathon- (10/31/15) The first race in my Halfathon Challenge series! For once, the race was actually on Halloween! I "dressed up" as an injured runner by applying fake blood. A few people even asked if I was okay. Although I ran alone, I had been coming off a minor back injury and didn't want to push myself. I was very pleased in the end with my 2:20-something finish. The injury did not cause any issues.
~The Claw Run 10 Miles- (5/3/15) My favorite trail run. Hubby took off, ready to rock this one and got an awesome time. Hea, Mike, our friend, Alex, and I stuck together at a nice, fun run pace. We enjoyed the scenery, the climbs, the slides downhill, the view from a mile and half berm overlooking Alafia River State Park, The inclines were tough, and my legs were pretty gelatinous by the end, but we had such a blast. Mike had his GoPro and took great shots and video throughout the whole race.
~Clearwater Half Marathon- (1/18/15) Remember the marathon from heaven? This is the half marathon from heaven. My hubby ran it with me and I got a PR! After 8 years of not breaking my half marathon PR (but coming close many times), I finally beat it: 2:12:24. As usual at this time of year, the weather was perfect. The scenery was gorgeous. Hubby got a PR, too, because he's never run an official half before. Yes, there are two bridges, and with the out and back, that's four bridges to conquer, but that actually made it more fun. Love this race!
~Halloween Halfathon- (10/26/15) My bestie, Hea, and her hubby, Mike, ran this race with me. Or I ran it with them...however you want to look at it. We had so much fun. We did much better than we thought we would considering we didn't feel as trained up as we intended to be. It was fun to chat with them and enjoy all the costumes. I was Wonder Woman (sort of...) and Hea was a cat. The rest of the costumes put mine to shame.
~Sunrise Run 5K- My favorite 5K! Visit my blog (date 10/13/14). After a couple of years on hiatus, this faith-based race returned thanks to Karen VanderPloeg. She's a dear friend and I always enjoy this Christ-centered run. Hea, Mike, and I ran this together and had a great time.
~Clearwater Marathon- The marathon from heaven. Visit my blog Part I, Part II, and Part III (dates 2/20/14, 3/10/14, and 4/9/14). After the marathon from hell last year, my sister actually prayed these words: let this be a marathon from heaven for Bria and Alyssa. Her prayer was answered! And I got my PR: 5:35:30 (a 25-minute improvement from my other marathons). This was the most wonderful marathon I've ever done. I actually felt good the whole time. That was a new and amazing experience. There were more than enough water stations, which made such a difference. The weather was perfect. The scenery was gorgeous. Alyssa and I talked the whole time. I'd recommend this race to anyone.
~St. Pete Rock N Roll Half Marathon- Visit my blog (date 2/14/13). This is the second year for this race, and I hope to do it every year. It's so fun having bands every mile. Alyssa and I ran together, chatting the whole time and loving it.
~Honda Grand Prix 5K- Visit my blog (date 3/29/13). Fourth year in a row I've done this race. First time I did it by myself! Still fun with the race course through downtown St. Pete. They had chip time this year and mine was 26:56. Really great for me!
~Windemere Run Among the Lakes 5K- My cousin, Alyssa, had a birthday wish--for family members and friends to join her in this fun (and surprisingly hilly) 5K. It was a difficult race due to the great number of inclines that none of us realized were coming, but it was still a good time with Aunt Elena and Uncle David (Alyssa's parents) joined us along with cousins Tyler and Tara, and friends Katherine and Alicia.
~The Claw Run 10 Miles- Visit my blog (date 8/9/13). Hubby, Hea, Mike, and I ran the 10 miles. Sadly, Alyssa couldn't make it this year. The four of us stayed together! It was so fun. Robert and Russ ran the 5 miles again. At the end, there was a BIG surprise. Mike proposed to Hea! It was so sweet. I couldn't believe he carried the ring the whole time. We all plan to do it again next year, and probably every year forever. We love it.
~Partners For Life Inaugural Police Appreciation Run 10K- Visit my blog (date 12/28/13). This race began in honor of three officers killed in the line of duty. The Jeff Yaslowitz 10K, the Tom Baitinger 5K, and the Dave Crawford 1K are races to honor their memories. Hubby and I ran together and stayed together the whole time. His encouragement, and speed, helped me PR by 7 minutes! I was floored when I crossed at 53:21. That's an average of 8:36 minutes per mile, which is shocking and wonderful to me.
~X-Country Marathon- Visit my blog Part I and Part II (dates 12/31/13 and 1/1/14). WORST MARATHON EVER! No, seriously. It was bad. I did finish with the help of my cousin, Lyssi, but we had to walk for about eight miles at one point. My blog tells all about it, but the worst part was the 85 degree temperature, which I admit is out of everyone's control. However, the lack of ANY medical tents and serious shortage of water for such a hot day made it even worse. One man passed out from heat stroke, and our friend, Jenni, had all the heat stroke symptoms. The idea of a trail run seemed fun, especially since the site lists the course as "easy." Um, no. Not easy. Lots of inclines, almost no shade. They did have a great shirt, so I'm happy about that. Otherwise, I do not recommend this race to anyone.
~Miami Half Marathon- There is so much to say about this race, and I said most of it on my blog (dates 2/3-2/5 includes video). Most of all, it was so fun and beautiful, and I will probably do the full marathon someday. Alyssa and Jenni ran 12.5 miles with me before they turned off for the full marathon. Heather ran her first marathon with a friend, Jason (also his first). We all loved it and would recommend the race to anyone.
~St. Pete Rock N Roll Half Marathon- I'm blogging about all my races nowadays, so be sure to check out my blog (date 2/17/12). I'm so glad I could be a part of this inaugural race, running with Hea and my college roommate, Brenna. We had a blast.
~Gasparilla 15K- Visit my blog (date 3/6/12) to read more about this race. It was really fun having my husband and two of his coworkers and his coworker's wife, but this was a hot hot race. The heat really made it difficult for me, but it didn't defeat me. I felt good when it was all over, and visiting the Smoothie King booth there was the best.
~Race For the Greys 5K- Visit my blog (date 3/12/12). This was a really fun, small race. I truly wish I had brought Lance. The trails in Seminole Lake Park winded a lot and it was a beautiful morning. Hea and her boyfriend, Mike, ran. My friend, Cate, who volunteers for the grehound rescue, walked the 1 mile with her husband. We all had a lovely time.
~Honda Grand Prix 5K- Visit my blog (date 3/27/12). Heather and I ran this one together like we do every year, but this year she stayed with me. We did great at 27:20 (estimate, no chips). I really enjoy this one. The car race track gives my usual route a unique setting.
~The Claw Run 10 Miles- Visit my blog (date 5/1/12). Alyssa and I ran together during this scenic, hilly, amazing adventure run. Hubby and Mike, Hea's boyfriend, also ran the 10 miles. Robert and Russ ran the 5 miles. Hea came to cheer because, sadly, she had a knee injury. We absolutely LOVED this race. Going through the river was no big deal this year. Alyssa and I are so glad we did the 10 miles instead of 5 this year and plan to do it again next year.
~Halloween Halfathon- Visit my blog (date 11/1/12). Ft. Desoto Park (St. Pete Beach area) is really beautiful and sooo fun to run around. This ½ marathon was the very first time I ran in costume! Of course I couldn't do it without my cousin, Alyssa, who also dressed up and brought two amazing friends with her. Alicia and Katherine also dressed up, and we all had a blast. I'm so proud of our race because with me in a wig and Alyssa in wings, we were so happy with our 2:21 finish time.
~Women’s Half Marathon- Visit my blog (date 11/26/12). This all women race in St. Pete is so fun. Alyssa and I ran together the entire time, chatting and barely noticing the mile markers. I got fairly close to a PR but not quite. Had such a blast.
~Florida Beach Halfathon- Ft. Desoto Park (St. Pete Beach area) is really beautiful and sooo fun to run around. This ½ marathon was an absolute treasure to me. Alyssa brought three of her friends, Jen, Jenni and Leah, and Heather ran with us too. It was Jen’s first half! I spent the entire race with Jen talking and we had a great time.
~Honda Grand Prix 5K- Heather and I ran this again (St. Pete track) and she kicked my butt! She’s turning into a speedy runner. We also saw people from her church and my church, and some of the guys from the police department were there that hubby knows. Such fun!
~The Claw Run- An adventure run through the nature trails at Alafia State Park in Lithia, FL. And what an adventure it was! I thought I would hate it. Running through water up to my waist did not sound fun, but I ended up having a blast. Running through the woods, grabbing trees to get up and down hills, and even the two water spots were so great. Alyssa and I did the 5 mile. Hubby, Robert, Jason and Hea did the 10 mile. Everyone did such an amazing job and we all loved it.
~Partners For Life Inaugural Police Appreciation Run 10K- Hea and I ran together and she was sweet enough to stay with me yet again. We did a decent time, too. Hubby and the SWAT team ran with Mr. Yaslowitz, the father of Jeff Yaslowitz. It was wonderful to see the men in green shirts surrounding him and helping him finish the race. The whole event was created by Lorraine Yaslowitz, Jeff’s wife. He was one of the officers killed in the line of duty this year on the St. Pete police department. She ran all three races: 10K, 5K & 1K. She has continued to praise God in the midst of this horrible tragedy and it was so inspiring to see her. The 5K honored Officer Tom Baitinger and the 1K honored Officer Dave Crawford, also St. Pete Police Officers killed in the line of duty this year.
~One Step Closer to the Cure 5K- Hea and I ran this HOT and HUMID race together along the St. Pete waterfront. We both struggled, but both managed to do a decent time. For our age group, she came in 4th and I came in 5th.
~The Sunrise Run 5K- I ran this cool and gusty race along the St. Pete waterfront with hubby and our dog, Lance. We got to visit with so many friends from Faith Covenant and other local churches, which was a huge blessing.
~The Turkey Trot 10K- I missed this race last year, and I'm so glad I got back into this year. The weather was moderate. My whole Florida family was involved. My aunts and uncles and two cousins did the 5K. Four of us did the 10K: cousin Alyssa, best friend Hea, hubby and I. We ran into two other friends, Karol and Brad, at the race and had such a great time together. This is one of my favorites because Thanksgiving dinner comes afterward. I cooked my first turkey!
~Women’s Half Marathon- This St. Pete race is getting big, and it's a lot of fun. I love all women races. Alyssa, Hea, and I ran together most of the way throughout St. Petersburg. We had an awesome time.
~Gasparilla Marathon- The final marathon for the Tampa races. Not sure why they discontinued the marathon because it’s such a great one! They still have the half and a 10K and some other shorter races, I think. I just had to do it because I love the half so much and I wanted to do it someday. This was my last chance, and Alyssa stayed with me yet again, though I did have a better time than the first.
~Honda Grand Prix 5K- Another fun downtown St. Pete race that Heather and I did together. We ran along the same track as the race cars!
~Sunrise Run 5K- Heather and I did this yet again. It’s become a yearly tradition.
~Women’s Half Marathon- Gotta love the all women races! Alyssa and her friend, Bree, ran this race with me throughout St. Petersburg. It was a beautiful race along the waterfront, through Shore Acres, and we even ran inside Tropicana Field! That was really cool, and I almost broke my PR, but I was 24 seconds off! Bree had never run a race before, and I was so impressed with her! We had an awesome time.
~Disney Marathon- Yes, my first marathon ever! Never thought I’d do one. Got blisters and wanted to die, but Alyssa stayed with me the whole time. She did the Goofy Challenge, which means she ran the half on Saturday AND the full marathon on Sunday! This was also one week before my wedding. Thank the Lord I could walk down the aisle.
~Bay to Bay 5K- St. Pete race along 1st Ave South ending at the Pier. Ran with my best friend, Hea.
~Creaky Bones 5K- St. Pete Halloween race starting and ending at St. Pete Pier. Ran this with Hea and we did a PR, which we later beat at the Jingle Bell Run.
~Sunrise Run 5K- Another wonderful, faith-based jog along the St. Pete waterfront. They changed the route a bit, which I ended up liking better this time. Ran with Hea.
~Turkey Trot 10K- I was sad to miss this race in 2008, but made it back to Clearwater for Thanksgiving morn! Alyssa, Hea and I ran together.
~Disney’s Half Marathon- A bunch of us ran together: Aunt Alicia, Aunt Elena, Uncle Dave. My dad ran the half, too, but only because he was doing the Goofy! Meaning he did the half AND the whole marathon! Alyssa and Jenni also ran the marathon.
~Gasparilla Half Marathon- Still the best half through beautiful Tampa.
~Gate River Run 15K- Such a fun race that I got to run with my old college roomy, Jen, and this was her first race ever! Brenna ran it again, too.
~Disney’s Women Run the World 15K- I’m trying to remember now if this is the one I ran by myself or if it was in 2007. Can’t remember! I think I ran this one with Lyssi.
~Mt. Tabor Doggie Challenge 5K- Portland, OR, race I ran with Alyssa’s best friend, Wendy. Really fun, mostly downhill and beautiful!
~Sunrise Run 5K- Gorgeous downtown St. Pete waterfront run with people from churches all over the county. Karen VanderPloeg from Faith Covenant Church (where I went to church in high school & college) had a vision for a faith-based race and her vision came alive! Hubby and I ran this inaugural race together.
~Disney’s Half Marathon- My first ½ was a true adventure. Dearest Alyssa and Jenni had to dodge the Disney Gestapo to try and find me in this race! They sprinted for 5 miles to find me and caught me so I wouldn’t have to run the race alone.
~Gasparilla Half Marathon- My PR for a half at this race 2:14:49, which I’m sure is because Lyssi was able to stay with me for first 6 miles before she split to do the marathon. Downtown Tampa area and gorgeous Bayshore Blvd, best race!
~Gate River Run 15K- Love this race through downtown Jacksonville with Brenna & friends!
~Disney’s Women Run the World 15K- Ran this one by myself! First lonely race, but it was still fun.
~Turkey Trot 10K in Clearwater- Never want to miss this one! Makes Thanksgiving meal all the better.
~Creaky Bones 5K- Fun evening run starting @ St. Pete Pier where some dress up for Halloween.
~Disney’s Women Run the World 15K- Inaugural race, so fun running with Alyssa.
~Hood To Coast Relay- Ran leg six, my favorite leg so far, with Gomez women in van #1. I did really good leg times!
~Ryka Iron Girl 5K- Amazingly beautiful run in Clearwater with Stephanie Fraze and her sister-in-law. The bridge by Coachman Park was the best part.
~Turkey Trot 10K in Clearwater- Had to do 10K because 5K got too crowded.
~Turkey Trot 5K in Clearwater- Best idea someone ever had! (run Thanksgiving morn)
~Hood To Coast Relay- Ran leg one in van #1 with Gomez women, which was such fun going down Mt. Hood. Got to hand off to amazing cousin Alyssa. This time, I did all three legs!
~Mystery Race! BIB only says sponsored by Runner’s World with Kellog’s Nutri-Grain Bars. No idea what race or distance.
~Asher Neel Memorial Day 5K- In Oakland, FL, where my relatives live.
~Hood To Coast Relay- Ran leg four with Gomez women and friends in van #1. Our team name was Wonder Women. The relay involves running three different times and the team of 12 people ends up running a total of 198 miles from Mt Hood in Oregon to Seaside on the Pacific Coast. Got really ill and couldn’t run my third leg, but my amazing cousin, Anna, ran it for me!
~Asher Neel Memorial Day 5K- In Oakland, FL, where my relatives live. A TON of my family did it all together, including Grandma!
~Disney 10K Classic- Such a blast with Lyssi, Brenna, Jesse and my Dad!
No proof races
Some of my races had no BIB numbers & no medals, so I can’t technically prove I ran them, but the people who ran with me will attest to it.
~My first race ever was called something like the Anastasia Island 10K in St. Augustine. Worst race of my life and my dear cousin’s life! Luckily, Alyssa and I could only go up from there.
2010, 2011, 2012:
~Jingle Bell Run 5K- A technical PR for my best friend, Hea and I in 2010. No official time, and no BIB #s, but we know it was something like 24:30 minutes. In 2011, we were at about 25:00 minutes. So cold both years! In 2012, it wasn't so cold, but we were both struggling a bit and maybe did 30 minutes. Still, not bad!