How did you get into running?
When I was growing up both of my parents were recreational runners and my first exposure to road races was going with my Dad as a kid. I did a variety of sports when I was young, including gymnastics, BMX racing, basketball and soccer, but in high school I realized that running was my sport.
What do you like to do outside of running?
My biggest hobby is probably making handmade jewelry, mostly wire work with gemstones. I really enjoy traveling and would like to continue to travel often when I'm done running competitively. I also enjoy spending time with my two pug dogs, Star & Bella. Star even does an occasional 15-20 minute evening run with me!
My favorite road race is a tie between the Gate River Run 15K in Jacksonville, FL and the Carlsbad 5000 in California. My first Gate River Run was a breakthrough race for me; it was my first win as a professional and I've had several great races there over the years. I also love the Carlsbad 5000 because the 5K is my favorite racing distance; it's a great course and beautiful setting to race in. My favorite track meet is the Brussels Diamond League. They pack the stadium and it's an incredible racing atmosphere.
favorite time to run?
When it's possible I enjoy running mid to late morning, especially when it's cold out and it's beginning to warm up for the day. I also enjoy running around sunset, especially in the summer months.
What connects you to AKTIV Against Cancer?
I got to know Grete Waitz as a young athlete doing adidas running promotion events during the Boston Marathon weekend. Every year myself and the other adidas athletes looked forward to visiting with Grete and the sharing of her insights from her many years in the sport. In later years we also saw her fighting the disease and staying active with exercise during treatments. I also watched my Mom battle stage 4 cancer and stay active by walking throughout her fight. I have seen firsthand the positive impact that exercise can provide for many who are going through cancer treatments. I also firmly believe that regular exercise is an important component in our general health and wellness and improves our body's ability to fight immune diseases.
Proudest moment in the sport?
My proudest moment in the sport was the moment I crossed the line at the 2000 Olympic Trials and made my first US Olympic Team in the 10,000m. I'm also very proud of the race when I first broke the 15:00 barrier for the 5K distance. I ran 14:55 at the Brussels Diamond League meet in 2006. Breaking the 15-minute barrier had been my goal since I graduated from college in 1996 and it took 10 years of hard work to achieve it!
Training or Racing tips?
I really enjoy the challenge of getting the most out of myself in each race that I compete. We can't be in top shape 365 days a year but maximizing your potential on a given day is something we can do each time we step on the starting line. Being adaptable to weather, travel and life in general is a big part of doing this. It's always a satisfying feeling when you cross the finish line knowing you've given it absolutely everything you have that day!
Music of choice and do you listen while running?
I listen to music on some of my solo evening runs. I have playlists that are mostly dance music like Swedish House Mafia and Calvin Harris.