I am a state champion hurdler and sprinter. Distance was never my “thing” (at least that’s what I always told myself). Sure, I ran cross country all 4 years of high school, and even one season at the University of Maryland, but I was often the last to cross the finish line – if I crossed it at all. Every race was a struggle. Back then, had someone told me that I would run a sub-2:00 half marathon on my very first attempt – at 40+ years of age – I would have laughed out loud! On September 24, 2014, after almost 2 decades of inactivity, I began a 100-day running challenge: run 1 mile every day for 100 days. Day 100 of my streak came and went, but I didn’t stop. After participating in several 5Ks, I had a moment of bravery/insanity and signed-up for a half marathon. My goal was simply to finish, until a fellow “streaker” recommended I contact Lauren. The first thing Lauren asked was about my running history. She used that information, along with my short-term + long-term running goals, and details about my daily schedule, to create a 12-week training plan tailor-made for me. In addition, Lauren provided a running-specific strength-training plan and a core workout for each week. We do not live in the same state, so she e-mailed my plan and met with me virtually to demonstrate every strength/core exercise. Once I started training, we communicated on a daily basis. Lauren is everything a good coach should be: knowledgeable, experienced, creative, kind, and encouraging, yet willing to be tough when necessary. What’s more, she saw potential in me that I never saw in myself. After a few weeks of training, Lauren suggested a different race pace (30 seconds/mile faster). It was a lofty goal, but I trusted her. With Lauren’s help, what seemed impossible became a reality! Under brutal race conditions, I surpassed my goal. Today, I am faster and stronger than ever. In fact, I am less than 1-minute off my lifetime best 5K time (which I ran back in high school)!! I am a runner – period. Training with Lauren helped me blow away the box I kept myself in for so long. I’ve got more miles to go. No matter what form those miles take… on the track, over hurdles, on the road… I am truly blessed to be on this journey with Lauren by my side!