I often get asked how I started running and why I became interested in marathons How did I become a marathoner? Here is my story.

Sometimes people pass through your life for just a brief moment but can change your life completely. That is what happened to me. I believe that you can do or say something that affects another person. Sometimes you will never know how you affected someone else, whether it is good or bad. You could change their life for better or worse.

I had a potential boyfriend who I only talked to online. We talked long distance but never met. We never did date. But he changed my life drastically. He told me one day that he was going to a meetup group event. I was intrigued so I asked him about this group. Immediately I went to the website and signed up. The meetup group wasn’t just in his state. There were meetup groups around my city too. One little mention about meetup gave me such hope and excitement.

My First Hike

There are so many groups to sign up for on this website. I enjoy the outdoors so I signed up to become a member of the Pittsburgh Hiking Group. My first hike was a very difficult hike. It was the most challenging part of the Rachel Carson Trail.

We carpooled that day and I told the other people in the car that this was my first hike. They were apprehensive if I could do this treacherous hike. This is not a hike for first-timers. I told them I should be fine since I do a lot of spinning and am active at the gym. I really had no idea what I was getting into.

Surprisingly, I did terrific on the hike. I had no problem at all hiking up and down the huge hills. I was exhilarated after the hike. Finally, I can do activities outdoors with other people. None of my friends like that stuff.

I went hiking almost every Saturday from that day forward. Usually, I am at the front of the group where the fast walkers are. After a period of time, I started running parts of the trail. I was walking so fast, I just naturally made it into a jog.

After a few months of hiking, other hikers were telling me about the Rachel Carson Challenge. “The Challenge is a 35-mile long, one-day, sunrise to sunset endurance hike on nearly the entire rugged Rachel Carson Trail.” I immediately signed up. During the Rachel Carson Challenge, I ran a lot of it. The first time I participated I completed it in 10 hrs 11 min. I felt great. I kept doing it every year for three years.

My First Marathon

Eventually, I got some other hikers interested in running. We were running on the trail together, going fast during the hikes, and then jogging some of the time. My hiking friends started signing up for half marathons. So I decided to also. My first Half Marathon was so much fun. I never trained for it, but with all the running I did while hiking and working out at the gym, I was conditioned for the long run.

After the half marathon, I took a few years off of both hiking and running. Not because I wanted to but because circumstances in life forced me to.

When I got back into running, it was a slow process. I signed up as a member of Steel City Road Runners, a Pittsburgh running club. I began running every Saturday to train for the marathon. For the first year, I was really slow. I did a walk/run pace before I could do a steady slow run. Eventually, my speed increased.

In my first marathon, the picture shown above, I was crying the last couple of miles of the race. I couldn’t believe that I was running a marathon. Seeing the finish line, tears were coming down my face. I was so happy. I did it!

So far, I have done two half marathons and three full marathons, and many other small races. I do more running than hiking now, just because it does not take so long to do. I still love hiking and do as many hikes as I can.

To learn more about how you can start running, go to How To Start Running for Fitness.

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How I Became a Marathoner

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