More Smoky Mountain Relay awesomeness here- Good Girl Gone Trail member Mary!
Mary Smith, 25 years old
BA English (University of Georgia), MA Theological Studies (Beeson Divinity School Samford University)
English Instructor in Chattanooga, TN
In high school, a ran a semester each of track and cross country in order to appease my parents. I did not particularly enjoy running at the time, however, and did not continue running with my high school team after my sophomore year. It wasn’t until I graduated from UGA that I began to run consistently on my own. I had just graduated, was looking for a job, and simply needed something to fill my time. So I loaded up my iPod with a running playlist and started running around the park across the street from my apartment complex.
Over the next couple months I kept running . . . running farther, running faster, running hills, running at night, running in the rain. Every time I went out, I asked, Can I go a quarter mile farther than yesterday? Can I run those same two miles in thirty seconds less time? Can I run a total of 20 miles this week? I set goals and I was determined to hit them.
I didn’t have much interest in running races initially. I didn’t consider myself a competitive person at the time (except with myself) and simply didn’t give much mind to it . . . until I heard about the Disney World Princess Half-Marathon. Um, yes please. For Christmas 2010 I asked my parents to pay for my race entry. At the time my farthest distance was a little less than 8 miles. I had about 7 weeks to train for my first 13.1 in February 2011. By the time I arrived at Disney (with my twin sister in tow to enjoy the theme parks with me that weekend and to cheer for me at the finish line) I still hadn’t run more than 11 miles owing to particularly ill-timed cold that interrupted my training plan. I was thrilled to be there, however, and still completed the race in less than my anticipated finishing time.
Following the Princess Half-Marathon I finally ran my first 5K with my soon-to-be brother-in-law. That October my sister and I returned to Disney World to run the Wine & Dine Half-Marathon together. It was truly a magical experience.
Unfortunately a series of minor but persistent injuries (from shin splints to stress fractures) have severely curtailed my running in the past year and a half. I adapted by joining a CrossFit-style gym while in graduate school in Birmingham, and the strength gains and confidence I’ve gained from that sort of training have been invaluable to me. When I joined the Big Dog Running Company team in October 2013, I’m not sure I could have completed a 5K in under 30 minutes! (Inexcusably slow relative to my former abilities.) However I am committed the challenge of training for the Smoky Mountain Relay, the thrill that comes with setting new goals, and the joy that comes with surpassing them!
We are super excited to have Mary on our team! Follow Mary as she gets prepared for the relay at .http://wholeandholy.tumblr.com/.