Before I was an ultrarunner, I was a drug addict. I was a hair stylist. a go-go dancer, a daughter, and a friend to many. But mainly I was a drug addict, doing crazy shit to get more drugs. The drugs led me to drop out of high school, develop an eating disorder, and damage my relationship with my family. I eventually found myself in jail. That was the start of my turn-around — my rock bottom that shook me into deciding I no longer wanted to be an addict.
In 1996, two years after being clean and sober, I started to dig myself out of a pretty dark hole — moving my body by lifting weights and walking. I never liked running when I was a kid, but my dad (who died unexpectedly when I was seventeen) had planted a seed in my head about how long distance runners can work through all kinds of pain and accomplish truly remarkable things. One day I just started running.
Decades later, I’m one of the few humans who has completed more than one hundred 100-mile races. I run every single day, and it has completely transformed my life. Many people would probably call my running an addiction. I can see their point. The thing is, running is not an addiction in the same way I was addicted to meth. I don’t feel trapped in a life of running the way I felt trapped by drugs. I don’t have to run. I choose to run. And that choice makes all the difference.