About Rachel

Thanks for checking out Girl on the Run! I’m Rachel, a 26-year-old runner and aspiring triathlete living in the outskirts of Manhattan.

I grew up in Miami watching endurance events almost my entire life.  My dad has been a runner since he was in high school and started running marathons when I was about 10 years old.  A few years later, he branched out into triathlons and eventually finished not one, but four, Ironmen races. My mom joined the party when I was in high school and started distance walking, including three full marathons.

My mom and I

But despite my athletic upbringing, I was not a runner growing up.  In fact, I used to hide behind the shed in PE class in elementary school to get out of running the mile.  Running was hard, sweaty, and just not fun for me. My dad tried his best to get me involved in the sport by having me compete in a few kiddie road races and duathlons, but I was just not having any of it.

What changed? I started working out in college when I realized, no you cannot eat Wendy’s two times a day and hide in your dorm room all day and not expect to gain weight! I started hitting the gym, but road racing was always in the back of my mind.  The summer after my freshman year I came home to run my first 5k and ended up placing third in my age group. I also ended up in physical therapy for the rest of the summer, too!  By the end of the summer I was convinced running was not for me  and went back to spin and other gym classes for the rest of college.

I moved to New York as soon as I graduated from school.  I tried my best to balance my new working life and my gym life, but it was hard! My mom was planning on walking the Disney Half Marathon that January, and as a way to keep me motivated, she challenged me to walk it with her.  I semi-trained for the race by going to the gym on regular basis and surprised myself by being able to finish it with a smile on my face.  I ended up finishing two more half marathons with her the following year.

In 2009 I discovered New York Road Runners and signed up for my first race on my own, the Homecoming Scotland 10k. I had no intentions of doing anything but walking, but race day turned out to be pouring rain, and I wanted to get out of the rain as soon as I could! I surprised myself by doing a walk/run combo, and best of all, came out uninjured!

I slowly started running on my own again, and eventually was able to run a 5 miler, 10k, and then half marathon that year without any walk breaks.  In 2010 we took another trip to Disney for the Princess Half Marathon, but this time I raced as a bona-fide runner.

My dad and I after the Princess Half Marathon

I eventually went on to finish three more half marathons that year and my first marathon, the New York Marathon. Now the rest is history! I still have my ups and downs and haven’t been exactly injury-free, but I do my best to work through them and not give up.

Although I have since moved outside of the city to the suburbs CT, I still am an active member of New York Road Runners.  When I’m not running, I love enjoying good food and even better wine,  shopping…and cheering on my Florida Gators, of course!

My husband Mike, and I at a Florida football game

Feel free to contact me at rachel.wilk@gmail.com or on Instagram @chicrunner03 or Twitter @RunRach