Each Friday my Running Inspiration Series will feature the story of an amazing runner. This week I am excited to feature Heather from Relentless Forward Commotion.
I have known Heather virtually for since I began blogging in 2011 and I had the opportunity to meet Heather in person at the Runner’s World Half in 2013 when we were both invited to their blogger event.
Heather is one amazing person both virtually and in real life! She also may have the most inspirational blog name ever, Relentless Forward Commotion! I am very excited to share more about her running via the Q&A below:
How did your running journey begin? I “dabbled” in running during 2005, when my older sister, an accomplished endurance athlete, dragged me along for my first half marathon (Myrtle Beach) and 10 mile race (Army 10 miler). I didn’t train for either, and my times, and the following painful recovery, proved it. Shortly after, I became pregnant with my oldest son, and running was put on hold. After he was born in late 2006, I decided to lace up my sneakers once again. It was horrible, those first few miles post-partum. But I stuck with it in an effort to try and lose the pregnancy weight. A few days became a few weeks, and before I knew it, I was utterly hooked on running.
Why do you run? Oh man, I’ve spent nearly 8 years blogging in order to try and explain WHY I run. So many reasons, because it’s good for my health, because it gives me “me” time, because I love the running community, because I love being outside…I could go on and on. But in the end, I simply LOVE the actual act of running. It makes me feel very strong, in almost a primal way. I truly feel like I was born to run. I can’t imagine life without it.
What is your favorite race and race distance? In the last year I’ve crossed the barrier into the Ultra running world, and haven’t looked back. 50K is now my “short” race, as crazy as that seems, and I’m trying my hardest to get my first 100 mile finish. There is something magical about pushing your body to extremes. So, my favorite race and distance is anything with a ton of trails, dirt, climbs, and miles!
What is your race day routine? I like to wake up early enough to make sure I can eat breakfast, as I’m kind of a bear if I don’t get that first meal of the day. The meal will depend on the distance I’m running. If I’m racing something like a 5K, I’ll eat maybe a luna bar to get a little something in my stomach, but not too much. If I’m running an ultra, it’s game on, I’ll eat as much as I can handle. Always some sort of caffeine, be it tea or an energy drink (yeah, yeah, I know they are bad for me). And hopefully, I wake up early enough to “take care of bathroom business” before I have to head to the race. There’s no such thing as TMI in running, right?
What is your favorite piece of running gear? My Nathan Intensity hydration pack. It’s women’s sizing, and fits me to a tee. I bought it early in 2012, and I’m still running with it today over 4 years later. It’s been through hell and back, in all of my ultras, as well as numerous longer distance obstacle course races. It’s far from it’s original colors, and I’ve replaced the bladder a few times, but it’s still holding strong!
Do you follow any diet or take any specific supplements that complement your running? I am a vegetarian, and I do believe it compliments my running, as it forces me to be more aware of what I consume. Lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and good clean plant proteins.
What advice would you give to a newbie runner? I have the pleasure of training and working with newbies often in my line of work. The one thing I typically see consistently across the board is that beginners try to do too much, too soon, because they are ashamed to be a “beginner”. This is only exacerbated by social media and running groups. They see other people of their same age/gender/weight/etc. and assume they should be able to keep up with them, both in pace and distance. Running is a lifetime sport, and it takes many people YEARS to get to where they are today. So in short, my advice is to take your time, and run at your own pace, literally and figuratively. Your speed and distance will come, but you don’t want to rush it and risk physical injury or mental burnout.
What is your best running memory/favorite race? I have so many! I think one of them would be when I set my half marathon PR (1:40). My goal that day was a 1:50. I started the race way too fast, and kept looking at my GPS saying “this isn’t’ going to end well”. But I felt good, so I kept pushing…and kept waiting for the bottom to fall out with an epic crash and burn. But the miles kept passing and my pace kept holding strong. Eventually I hit mile 11 and knew I wasn’t going to hit that proverbial wall. I finished strong and felt good. But more important than the PR was realizing that I was stronger than I believed. It was a really cool moment.
Heather Gannoe is a mom to two young boys, ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, freelance writer, and blogger at www.relentlessforwardcommotion.com. Personal trainer by day, trail lover and wanna be ultra runner by night. You can also follow Heather’s adventures on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Thank you Heather for sharing your story!!! You are one amazing runner and person!!!
If you or anyone you know has an inspiring running story and would like to participate in my Running Inspiration series, just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Running Inspiration in the subject line. Or if you’d like to recommend someone please leave their name in the comments below.