NR: Once I started middle school, I went through an awkward stage and I was bullied really badly. My mom enrolled me in boxing lessons so I could protect myself. The coach would have me run around the block for my warm up. I just kept running and running and running. That was when I discovered I had endurance. With boxing, I learned to be dedicated to a sport through the discipline of long practices.
I got inspired to start running because I saw the Ironman World Championship on TV. The stories of people doing an Ironman, chasing their goal and healing through sport was inspiring. I wanted to do one, but after I researched everything I realized I had to be 18 and buy an expensive bike. I decided to jump into running because it was the cheapest sport at the time.
I signed up for my first marathon the first year I started running. I was 14 at the time. My dad and I did our first marathon hand in hand without any training, wearing cotton, without the right shoes. It was a huge learning experience. I felt extreme pain in my legs. I sat on the curb at mile 12 and I cried. I was overwhelmed. My dad sat down and said “If you believe in yourself, you can do this. I'm here for you.” We wobbled to the finish line hand in hand and I had tears of joy and tears of pain. Everything changed when I crossed that finish line - I fell in love with running.