I was born in 1983 in St. Louis, Missouri. I am the oldest of four children. My siblings and I all love the outdoors. We all either work or volunteer for organizations that promote the public interest through education, character development, social justice, and/or environmental justice.
Growing up, I was very active in Scouting, which sparked my interest in outdoor recreation and taught me a lot about pursuing and accomplishing goals. I played a number of sports in elementary school and high school, including running track and cross country.
I have a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. I am a member of the Missouri Bar, but my law license is on inactive status. I currently manage the Big River Running retail store in University City, Missouri. I have previously worked in outdoor education, experiential education, and leadership development. I am a volunteer leader in the Boy Scouts of America.
Scouting gave me the opportunity to spend many nights camping and to hike many miles, locally and throughout the country. Largely because of my Scouting experience, I had the opportunity to spend two summers guiding trips for Wilderness Ventures. In 2007, I guided the 29-day European Alps expedition. And, in 2008, I guided two 25-day expeditions in the Pacific Northwest.
On the European Alps expedition, we followed the Tour du Mont Blanc from Chamonix to Champex and then followed the Haute Route to Zermatt. It was an amazing experience with many great stories to tell. To top it off, I wrapped up that summer with a nine day backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park with friends from Scouting.
I've done three backpacking trips in the Sierras and summited Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. I also did a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon on which we went from rim-to-rim-and-back.
These are only a few of the backcountry highlights.
I ran track and cross country in high school, but I wasn't very competitive. I struggled with a series of overuse injuries. I continued to run off-and-on in college, grad school, and adulthood for some basic exercise and stress relief.
In 2016, I decided to run the GO! St. Louis Marathon. The longest run I had ever done at that point was 11.4 miles in 2008. At the time, I thought the marathon would be a one-time, bucket list item. I was wrong! (See blog posts for more details.)
Since 2016, running has been an integral part of my life. I run for a variety of reasons: health and fitness, stress relief, spend time outside, spend time with friends, personal improvement, and to challenge myself. Like most runners, I enjoy running a new personal best time. And, every now and then, I end up winning an age group award. But many of the running goals I set for myself revolve around tackling a new distance or testing my endurance by running multiple long distance races in close proximity to each other.
I currently manage a run specialty store and get the opportunity to help runners and walkers from all backgrounds engage in the sport and pursue their fitness goals.
My first campout with Boy Scout Troop 344 was a "bike hike." On Saturday, we rode from somewhere in St. Charles County to Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois. That Sunday, we rode south on The Great River Road toward Alton. I was riding a single-speed Schwinn bike that had belonged to my dad when he was growing up. It was rainy and windy on Sunday. I had a poncho, not a rain coat. It's hard to ride a bike in a poncho, so I got soaked. The Scoutmaster made me stop riding and get in his car during our lunch break, because he was afraid I would get hypothermia. Looking back, that was almost certainly the responsible decision; but I was really disappointed to not be able to finish the ride. On a more positive note, my parents bought my dad and me new 26" hardtail mountain bikes before the following year's "bike hike."
I still have that Univega Rover 304 steel hardtail mountain bike from 1996. In fact, that remained my bike until 2017. Since then, I've gotten serious about cycling and my bike collection has expanded. (The N+1 principle applies to bikes, running shoes, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags...)
I completed my first 50-mile ride in 2017 and my first 100-mile century ride in 2019. I really enjoy long outdoor bike rides. I've also found cycling to be a very effective way to supplement my running training and increase aerobic volume. In December 2019, I upgraded to a smart trainer and subscribed to Zwift. That has proven to be a game-changer that makes me actually enjoy indoor cycling training.
From Fall 2018 through Summer 2019, I worked Tuesdays at Billy Goat Bicycle Company in addition to my full-time job at Big River Running Company.
I have completed one short triathlon, plus a few duathlons/biathlons. I was on swim team in elementary school, and I helped teach Lifesaving Merit Badge at Boy Scout Camp one summer, but I don't swim very often these days. Ultimately, I think it's primarily an accessibility/convenience issue. I can go for a run or hop on the indoor bike trainer whenever, but going somewhere to swim requires more effort. I periodically flirt with the notion of doing an Ironman triathlon, but other pursuits are currently taking center stage. But a long-course duathlon is on my to-do list.
Since 2017, I have been fundraising money for various charities in conjunction with endurance events.
Charitable causes I've fundraised for include:
The primary running goal I am pursuing is to run a half marathon or longer in all 50 states. You can track my progress here.
The next major challenge I have on my calendar is the Bear Lake Marathon Trifecta in June 2021, which includes running three marathons in Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah on three consecutive days. I completed the half marathon trifecta in 2019 with my friend, Bob. The Bear Lake area is beautiful, and I look forward to returning (and to the new challenge).
Additional goals include: