RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
HD: I’m an electrical engineer, and not married and have no kids …unless you count my dog and two cats.
RLRS: When and why did you start running?
HD: I did cross country in middle school and high school “to stay in shape for basketball” but stuck around even after I stopped playing basketball because of the social aspect and that feeling I got when I crossed the finish line and got a PR. I took a break from running most of college until my last year of college when I started finding much needed stress relief in my solo runs. I was able to push myself pretty hard and ran some fast 5ks and half marathons and marathons, eventually qualifying for and running the Boston marathon. But then I got a stress fracture and had moved close to a trailhead for some mountains-to-sea trails and so I started running those focusing less on speed and more on fun. I signed up for my first 50k, and never looked back!
RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
HD: Originally, it was my competitive nature, and always striving to do better than the time before, but lately I am finding it is what keeps me grounded, it provides structure to my life, a place to go zone out or meditate, clear my mind and most importantly it helps me manage my anxiety & depression better when I am able to have that base of running.
RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
HD: I am an avid reader, and am working on writing a novel! I also enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons, participating in the Bachelor/Bachelorette Fantasy League with my friends, and hanging out with my boyfriend and our pets. Also, fixing up my very vintage 1950’s house.
RLRS: What is your favorite race?
HD: I love the Columbus Marathon because it is my hometown and I’ve run it probably 5 times, I know the course, I know the city, and I love how flat it is. I also love the Bigfoot 50k for similar reasons – I’ve run it twice and I know the course. However, it is very much NOT flat, and I like it for that.
RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
HD: I’d love to just do one 100 miler once in my life so I know what all the hype is about. Otherwise, I would love to go back and do really any race in Western NC because it is such a gorgeous part of the country.
RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
HD: For some reason, I always get a ton of compliments on my leggings during races! The other funny thing was when I slid in a muddy section of a trail race and fell on all fours, getting my knees and hands muddy. When I finished the race I had muddy handprints all over my leggings.
RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
HD: Finishing my first 50 miler was probably the proudest moment for me. In training, I had a lot of doubts about if I should drop to a shorter race but decided the worst to happen would that I would need to drop out. It was that day I decided I would run and would finish the entire race. It was then I realized that you really have to want the finish to push yourself 50 miles and I got the finish, even if it was not pretty at all.
RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
HD: I wish someone told me to take it easy on easy days, rest on rest days and for heaven’s sake – please fuel yourself properly for the distance you are running!
RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
HD: Don’t let your mind get in the way of what it *thinks* you are capable of – you are always capable of more than you know. But sometimes we just have bad days, don’t let it stop you from going out there again the next day.