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Mother, Mary Janes Owens; father, Jim Owens ("I've been able to do a lot of runs with him lately.")
Operations director, YWCA High Point
Why I run
"I always say I'm running to be the better version of me. Running just brings out so much that nothing else does. You find out how tough you are, you find out what you're made of, you find your resolve, you just find a lot of depth in yourself. I've played sports (volleyball, softball) my whole life. I've traveled. I've done a lot of things. And the things I found out about myself through running, I've never found out any other way. ...
"I was a very competitive softball player. I love competition. I thrive on that. I was not the kid whose dad let them win. My dad would kick my butt in everything we did. He was not into letting me win to feel good about myself (laughs). I mean, never. I can't think of a single time until about three weeks ago when we ran a race together, he let me cross the finish line first. And I think that's the first time in my 50 years that my dad has let me win.
"That put in me this drive to just be better. Not necessarily to beat the next person, but just to be better myself. There's just not a lot of sports out there for me to be involved in, and running gives me that sense of competitiveness, even if it's just against myself, that drive, setting goals, seeing the progress. Looking at my time now going, 'Wow, I haven't run that fast on the track ever in my life.' And 'Wow, I just ran this far.' It gives me that ability to be competitive still."
My runner's high
"My favorite thing in the world is on a Saturday in the fall when all I've got to do is cover miles and I don't have a pace. And I've just got to go cover 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 miles and I can just go enjoy the day. That is the most amazing feeling ever in the world."
What I'm doing when I'm not running
"Hiking. Netflix (DC Comics Arrowverse shows in order). Yard work."
"My coaches, Stevven Anderson and Brandon Hudgins and the whole HPAC (High Point Athletic Club) running club. My best friend, Kathie Szitas; she's been trailing me on a lot of runs and being my crew on my ultramarathon.
"I have to say Lindsay Scott, even though she's moved to Charlotte, but she is one of my biggest, biggest encouragers. She's been there since I've started. Carla Flores-Ballesteros is my slow-and-steady, hot-mess express buddy. Debbie Allison. Adam Zolot. Chelsea Stroup has been out there with us. Debbie Page.
"I had a 10-minute PR the second year I ran the Tar Heel 10 Miler. I'm very proud to say that I finished my first ultramarathon in April (50K). That was a big one. The Country Mile in Greenville, S.C."
When I run
"Depends on the day."
Where I run
"Depends on the day."
Workout I hate
"Anything on that blasted track. I hate track work."
Workout I love
"Just logging the miles."
"In the past, I've loved 'Runnin' Down a Dream,' Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. And the other one, which is kind of silly, but Imagine Dragons, 'Whatever it Takes.'"
"Usually either eggs and toast, or peanut butter toast, and a banana."
"I love me either a good pizza or a good cheeseburger."
Brush with greatness
Worst running mistake
"Not following all of the plan that was written. When Stevven writes me a plan, he includes core work and cross-training and strength work. And I used to have a tendency to just do the running. And I realized it would probably be a lot easier if I did everything. Now I'm very dedicated into being in the weight room and doing everything."
Run the South Charlotte 5K, July 17.
Life in the fast lane with Stevven and Brandon
"If it weren't for Stevven, I still wouldn't be running today. I started this running journey in 2017 because I was very disgusted with my life and my health. And I, on a whim, signed up for the Tar Heel 10 Miler, knowing that I probably wasn't even in shape for a run to the mailbox, much less run 10 miles through Chapel Hill. But it is my alma mater. I'd always thought, 'Wow, this would be really fun to run the Tar Heel 10 Miler, but too bad, I'll never be a runner to run it.' I knew I needed something to push myself.
"So I signed up; I was literally crying when I did it. Wandered into Fleet Feet to get new shoes, and who did I run into but Stevven. Got to talking to him, and he convinced me to come out to the running group. He's no longer with Fleet Feet, and he and Brandon are doing High Point Athletic Club now. So I've just stayed with him. Through this whole time, he has trained me.
"For Stevven and Brandon to be such elite runners, for them to treat me as one of them, is amazing. It doesn't matter that I'm the slowest one out there. But they treat me just like I'm the fastest one out there. It has really been a huge encouragement for me. Any time of day or night, I can text either one of them, call either one of them, for advice, for help. If I didn't have that group, I would not still be running."
What the pandemic took away, what the pandemic gave me
"It definitely took away a lot of my goals, because I measure my goals by races. And I'm very motivated by that. When I'm not racing, it's very hard for me to just get out and run. And so it definitely took away a little bit of that. ... What the pandemic did give me was the ultramarathon, because trail running was wide-open and ultramarathons were the first things that started opening."
What I've learned about myself from running
"Running has taught me that I can do a lot more than I think I can. I'm capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for."
Words to the wise
"Just do it. Just go out there. Start slow. It doesn't matter if you're slow. It doesn't matter if you have to walk part of it. If you're out there running, if you're out there moving, that's what counts. I saw a saying, 'If you want to change your body, exercise; if you want to change your life, run.' I would definitely say that that's true. Anybody can be some form of runner.
"A lot of people I talk to are like, 'Oh, I wish I could run' or 'that's really amazing.' If I can run, literally anybody can. I know there's some folks who have medical things; they really can't run. But unless you have one of those, you can run. Yes, your knees might hurt, or your joints may hurt, or your feet may hurt or whatever may hurt the first month you run. Of course! You're doing something you haven't done.
"But I feel stronger and better and less achy and less painful now that I'm consistently running than sitting on the couch. ... I feel great. It gives me energy. ... The community of runners that you get is just amazing. The support is just absolutely incredible. And so if you want to look for a whole other part of yourself, I would say just run."