Q: What race will you be running on Saturday?

A: I plan to run the River Bank 10K this year.

Q: You said you did the 25K in the past and that it was something you always wanted to tackle. How did you train and prepare for that race?

A: When I ran my first 25K in 2017, I started training several months in advance. When you grow up in Grand Rapids, the Riverbank 25K is like the gold standard of running! But I had no idea how to train for a nearly 16-mile run. I read a lot. About how often I needed to run, how far my training runs needed to be, how to help my body recover, and even what to eat. I talked to other long-distance runners. I made a lot of great music playlists. I enjoyed the research and the challenge. And just went for it.

Q: What do you enjoy most about running and about competing in these races?

A: I’ve always enjoyed working out and playing sports. Though, for most of my life, I didn’t care for long-distance running. But as I got older, I missed the thrill of competition. And I needed to participate in something where I could just go! No need to make a court or tee time, assemble players or dedicate hours of time. Running allows you to put your shoes on and hit the road immediately. In addition to that, 2017 was a tough year for me. I was going through a divorce and running allowed me time to be alone and think. I know a lot of people who fell in love with running through hardship. Surviving cancer, divorce, death of a loved one, etc. For me, running restored my inner peace. And to this day it helps me stay fit and healthy.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone running in either of these events for the first time?

A: Be easy on yourself. Half the battle is just getting out there and running. For me, the first mile is always the hardest. And whether you run slow or you run fast, you’ve won by just doing it.   

Q: Have either of your daughters participated in any of the kids’ races or shown an interest in running?

A: I have two daughters, ages 10 and 13, and they’re both volleyball and lacrosse players. So, they run a lot. But no big races yet. I hope one day they will want to.   

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about either of the races or running?

A: For me, race day is the best. There’s electricity in the air. Butterflies in your stomach. Races are both challenging and fun. They say if you’ve made it to race day, you’ve done most of the hard work. All the mental and physical training. Crossing the finish line is merely the end, so enjoy it.