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Husband, Jim; son, Brian, 43, and wife, Tonia; granddaughters, Ella, 11, and Avery, 10
Retired (2008) after 33 years in education as a teacher (math, Andrews and Southwest Guilford high schools), assistant principal (Southeast Guilford High School, Smith High School) and principal (The Downtown School, Winston-Salem). With her husband, bought Visiting Angels of the Triad in 2009, now run by her son.
Why I run
"It gives me a sense of freedom and also a sense of accomplishment. And I feel like it helps keep me young.
"I started running in 2015. I can blame it on or either credit Leigh Earman, who works at Fleet Feet. I was looking for a personal trainer in the fall of 2015, and I ran into Leigh at a High Point Chamber of Commerce event. She said that she was a personal trainer, so I started training with her. She kept talking about 'her running group was doing this, her running group was doing that,' and I was just curious and said 'tell me more about it.' It was a couch-to-5K program that was sponsored by Fleet Feet. So I decided to do it.
"And it culminated in the Reindeer Romp (in December) at the Jamestown Y. I did that race, walking and running, and really enjoyed it. I had no idea that there was any such thing as age groups. After the race was over, I may have gone to breakfast with some of the other girls. The next time I showed up to train with Leigh, she walked up and said, 'Here's the medal that you won.' And I said, 'What are you talking about?' And I had placed, I don't know, first or second or third, one of them, in my age group. So that was just really a bonus and a surprise, and so I've been going ever since then."
My runner's high
"I feel the runner's high when I'm out on a long run and I'm choosing the pace that I want to run. I can go as slow as I would like. And sometimes I think, 'Wow, this really feels good. I could run like this forever and not get tired.' Of course, it's not really true (laughs). It's just a feeling of really being at ease in your environment and where you are and enjoying that your body's moving along."
What I'm doing when I'm not running
"Spending time with my family, or my other hobby is golf (19 handicap). But I enjoy playing, and my husband plays, and when we travel we go to places where there are golf courses we want to play. ... And I have another whole group of friends that I've met through golf."
"I've always done the Fleet Feet groups. Jena and Bill Hale, we've stuck together once the pandemic hit and you couldn't do anything. Lisa and Jason Kokx have been in that group. Sean Szpunar has been very faithful. Brian Villarreal unfortunately has moved out of state. And Jerry Gedaly."
"The half marathons that I've done. I've done two in Wilmington. I've done the Greensboro Half. I'm proud of those."
When I run
"I prefer mornings. I'll run in the evenings, because my running buddies, most of them, meet in the evening, but I much prefer mornings."
Where I run
"Roads. Speedwork on the track."
A workout I hate
"400 repeats with a little rest period in between. That helps you build speed, but I sure do dread it and I'm glad when it's over."
A workout I love
"I've been doing some virtual training plans. Sometimes it's a long run, but at the end of each mile you do a one-minute period of fast. I enjoy that because the period of fast is short, doesn't last long, and then you get to go back to your comfortable pace."
"Adele had some good ones, but I also like to put on a disco music playlist."
"It would either be an Atkins protein bar, but usually it is a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and jelly."
"I'm very happy if there's beer available. Any kind of light beer is good for me."
Pig Pounder 5K, April
"I haven't actually signed up for anything yet. I'm thinking about the Greensboro Half (Marathon). I'm probably going to do that."
What my granddaughters think about me running
"They ask me questions about it sometimes. I think they don't completely understand it. (In spring 2020) they got involved in a running group (GO FAR) at their school. And I was so excited about that, and they were doing well. And then the pandemic hit, and all that fell apart. My son does a good job of pointing out the things that I do and giving me praise in front of them."
My worst running mistake
"Oh gosh (laughs). Probably the summer of 2016 or 2017, I did the Pickle run (from Fleet Feet Greensboro). We had a team that was going to get us to Fleet Feet in High Point, and we ran in pairs. It was a summer that was blazing hot for a long time. And my friend and I ran the last leg, and by the time they got to us, it was probably 10 or 10:30. And it was blazing hot. It was a longer distance than I'd ever had to run. We were going to run and walk, so I wasn't worried about it.
"But I didn't drink enough water, and I really got hit with heat exhaustion and had to stop. My friend made me stop. And the scary thing about it was, I didn't realize there was anything wrong with me. But she did, thank goodness. She flagged somebody down that had a cell phone, and they called Fleet Feet and they sent somebody out to get me.
"They put me in the van, took me back to the Fleet Feet store, iced me down and called my husband off the golf course to come get me (laughs). So I went home and I thought I was fine and was able to eat supper, and I thought everything was cool.
"One person (at Fleet Feet), and I don't remember who it was, had said, 'You need to go to the hospital and get some fluids.' And I said, 'I'm fine. I'm OK. I'll drink water.' But the next morning when I woke up, I felt terrible, terrible headaches, started throwing up. And so I ended up going to the emergency room and getting some fluids.
"So consequently, I'm careful during the summer, and I don't do any races or competition during the summer at all."
The rewards and challenges of a career in education
"I'll talk from the principal's standpoint. The most challenging thing to me was dealing with the parents. Of course they had high expectations, but I would have liked to have seen more cooperation between the teachers and the parents and less blaming by parents on the teachers of things not going like they wanted to.
"The most rewarding thing was working with the kids. They're so much easier to deal with than the parents; there's just no comparison. My last position was at a middle school, and just seeing the transformation and those children from the time they came in the sixth grade – they looked like elementary, little children, when they came to us – and as they moved through seventh grade, they became more conscious of boys and girls and that relationship. And then by the time they graduated in June of their eighth grade, they were a completely different person than what came to us when they were in the sixth grade. So it was really gratifying seeing that maturation process."
What the pandemic took away, what the pandemic gave me
"What it took away was the camaraderie of running in big groups. And also the excitement of races. There's nothing like an in-person race. I did some virtual races, but I hated them. I did one or two, and I said, 'This is crazy. I'm never doing this again unless it's for a particularly good charitable cause.'
"The silver lining of running was I could do it no matter what. Nothing stopped me from running, I could go out and run anytime I wanted to. And then as things gradually got a little better, I reunited with some of my friends that I had been running with. And we were very cautious; we didn't stand close to each other, but we could stand and talk together. ... But running really was a savior. And golf, because I continued playing golf the whole time during the pandemic as well. I was lucky, because I had my grandchildren here. I was helping them with their remote learning. So we sort of operated in our own bubble. I had my family close, and I had running, and I had golf, so my life remained full. I was blessed."
What I've learned about myself from running
"I'm stronger than I thought I was and more resilient. And that age does not have to hold you back. That you can compete within your age group and get just as much satisfaction as the person that wins the race."
Words to the wise
"Keep showing up. Don't let one bad day, or say you get away from running for two or three weeks, don't think, 'Well, it's over now. I might as well stop.' Just keep showing up. Keep getting out there. And find some buddies to run with."
A final thought
"I want to put a plug in for the High Point Athletic Club. They're doing a fall training session, and I think it starts the last week of August. They're going to help me train for the Greensboro Half Marathon."