Each Friday my Running Inspiration Series will feature the story of an amazing runner. This week I am featuring my virtual friend Jennifer from Runs With Pugs. I am thrilled to feature a fellow Floridian who knows how hard it is to run here in the Florida heat! I am also excited to share more about her running via the Q & A below:
How did your running journey begin? About four years ago, my husband was researching ways of helping himself get healthier. He is a business owner who sits at a desk most of the time, and he faced a struggle with his weight and blood pressure. He expressed an interest in Couch to 5K and I offered to do the program with him for support and accountability. We got going, and I got hooked. I signed up for my first half marathon before I even completed the program!
Why do you run? I really love running. Or, I love the way I feel after running. 🙂 I love the sense of accomplishment, the community, and the ever-changing goals (Maybe this season, I’ll work on running longer than I ever have. Or maybe I’ll try to PR and work on my speed). I also love the example it sets for our son: he sees us training, racing, committing to challenges, struggling, overcoming and pushing through.
What is your favorite race and race distance? I love 10Ks. Not too short, not too long. Just enough to get in a good groove and finish strong. That being said, my favorite race is probably the Gate River Run 15K. It’s the quintessential race of my city, Jacksonville, FL, and the largest 15K in the country. The race is bookended by two ginormous bridges (the second one is called “The Green Monster”), but along the way, it’s like a huge tailgate, with so much crowd and course support. People play music, hand out food and cocktails, and have awesome signs. There’s amazing energy, and I love being a part of it.
What is your race day routine? I will get up about 30 minutes before I have to leave the house. I shower, put on my clothes and head out. Depending on the race distance, I will eat a banana, plain granola bar or plan bagel about 60 minutes before the race start. I also usually pop an Immodium (running is not for the dainty). I will drink Gatorade or Nuun – water sloshes in my stomach too much on race day. I hit the portapotty if needed, and then just try to get my head in the game until the race starts.
What is your favorite piece of running gear? I love my Garmin Forerunner 220 (although I am starting too look at upgrading to something that can handle cycling and swimming as well). I don’t leave home without it.
Do you follow any diet or take any specific supplements that complement your running? My diet is always in flux. I am trying to be better about my lean proteins and cutting back on sugars, but it’s a work in progress.
What advice would you give to a newbie runner? Run your own race at your own pace. Running is hard. It’s not about instant gratification and bad runs happen more often than we would like. I think it’s important to understand that and for new runners to be patient with themselves, keeping their eye on the long term goals. The feeling when you achieve your goals, whatever they may be, is absolutely worth all of it.
What is your best running memory/favorite race? There are so many! I will say that crossing the finish line of the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2015 was pretty darn surreal. However, I also had a blast taking on the Glass Slipper Challenge with one of my running friends – we wore costumes, stopped for photos and had such a great time! Sometimes, it’s fun to just run for the joy of it, and Glass Slipper captured that feeling.
Jennifer blogs about her journey from Couch to 5K to her first marathon, and everything in between in her blog Runs With Pugs (www.runswithpugs.com). In her writing, she covers her training for races, her ever-shifting running goals, travel and the balance of family, marriage and motherhood. She is currently in training for her first duathlon/triathlon and is working up the courage to join a Ragnar team.
Thank you Jennifer for sharing your running story with us!!! Each week I am so inspired!! Check out the other Running Inspiration posts here.
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.