I moved to The Biggest Little City at the end of March of this year, which was nearly a year since I first visited this amazing place. A lot has changed since my first visit, when I wrote this article last June…
What a blessing it is for me to have the opportunity to tell my little story!
I was raised in a military family overseas in Japan, England, and Italy before attending Furman University in South Carolina on a tennis scholarship. I discovered my talent for and love of the sport of running on June 20, 2008, when I entered and won my first race, a local Xterra Race in Richmond, VA. This race sparked my passion for the sport, and I joined my college Cross Country Team the fall of my senior year, finishing top 3 overall in my first competitions. My commitment to the tennis team forced me to give up track for tennis in the spring, but I returned to running 3 weeks before my marathon debut – a 2:59 in May 2009.
That fateful day back in June has shifted my life journey to encompass a career in the running industry. Whether it’s run coaching, training, racing, or the business-side of the sport, every day I wake up and see clearly where this wonderful journey of life is taking me, thanks to the sport of running.
In January 2012, I moved to Boulder, CO, a mecca of endurance sports. While getting my feet under me in Boulder, I quickly was spoiled by the supreme trail running, wonderful facilities, key coaches and training partners for running, and the altitude benefits offered. I was convinced that, “There is no better place to be than Boulder, if you’re a runner.”
But all that changed in June of 2012. That month, I had the opportunity to visit Reno Running Company, owned by local runners and triathletes Matt and Aimee Balzer, and managed at the time by ActiveReno’s own Ryan Evans. I visited the store, met important local athletes who worked in the store, including Kim Kennedy, Lupe Cabada, Matt Freeman, and Brandon Neid. I was lucky in that Ryan promised to show me around the city and the surrounding areas. We drove to Tahoe, hit the trails at Dry Pond, and ran up Mt. Rose.
After my trip…wow! I was speechless (which takes a lot for me!). What I can say is this: there is no better place, in the world, to train for endurance events than in Reno, NV. At 4,500 feet, the altitude effect is perfect, and each athlete has the opportunity to sleep or train at even higher altitude (up to 8,000 feet) within a 30-minute drive of the city. Not to mention the fact that athletes can get to sea level in California to race in less than two hours driving. The weather is perfect (over 300 days of sun each year), and even milder temperature-wise than in Boulder. Trail running abounds, as does the flatter road option for tempo days. Finally, the city isn’t overrun with endurance athletes – it is there for us to create a vibrant endurance community that influences the city to embrace an active lifestyle!
On my flight back to Boulder, I continued to think about the amazing city. Soon, I contacted Ryan and asked if I could write for ActiveReno.com. This is just a small way that I hope to contribute to the growing endurance community in Reno. Both Ryan and I agree on Reno’s potential, and we both promise to do whatever we can to grow the endurance community in the area. Reno can become one of the top endurance locations on the planet, and Reno deserves it!