I started with a couch to 5k plan once I was in a 9-5 job after college, then built to a half marathon. After the half, I was hooked. In 2009 and 2010 I gobbled up every local race (and many non-local races) I could, building mileage so that I could jump into almost any race at any time. (My first ultra was spur of the moment, one week after my first marathon. It was a fantastic time!) The community built around distance races is what keeps bringing me back. It takes a certain group of friends to encourage you into a marathon, or 50-100 mile race, and be there all along the way! I wanted to do something that was a true personal challenge; running was that challenge. It’s pushed me just as I’d hoped it to and has given me back more than I ever could have hoped for. It’s driven me through the personal developments that make me who I am today and has been a direct cause of my professional job (as an engineer), my fun side job (in a local running store), and some of the closest friendships I’ve made.