Earlier this week I was tagged by Dimity over at Another Mother Runner to answer 10 Running-Related Personal Questions—Sarah got this started with her post and I hope some of you reading my answers will keep the fun going on your blog. If you do, let me know. I’d love to learn more about you, too. (And if you don’t have a blog, I’d still like to hear from you in the comments section.)
1. Best run ever: Wow, this definitely isn’t easy to answer—even after taking a few days to think back on all the runs and races I’ve tackled over the past six or so years. Numerous runs stand out for different reasons, including long, cleansing trail runs, Girls on the Run 5Ks with my daughter and her friends, and my second marathon in San Francisco with girlfriends. But I’ll forever remember my first race—the 2007 25K River Bank Run in Grand Rapids—because I vividly recall the sheer bliss I felt crossing the finish line after running 15 miles. I celebrated running my longest distance ever by buying a pair of chocolate-brown, patent-leather, peep-toe heels. I may not wear heels nearly as much anymore, but I do love a killer pair for nights out. And every time I see them in my closet, I think of this race, of doing something my younger self couldn’t have predicted.
2. Three words that describe my running: Empowering. Sweaty. Soul-satisfying.
3. My go-to running outfit is: One of my Brooks tanks, Champion sports bras (I have stripped down to just these colorful and nicely-padded bras because I can sweat–a lot—during hot runs) and a running skirt from Athleta, the latter of which is now a fairly tattered piece of clothing that I’ve worn not only during numerous races but also throughout multiple Michigan seasons doing everything from the most mundane (running errands) to the most fun (playing with my kids at the beach and camping with my family). It’s so comfy, has a pocket for fuel or a key, and a cute design on front. I should probably order a new one.
4. Quirky habit while running: I may have to ask one of my running besties about this one…but I’d say it’s a toss-up between needing to run on my training partner Ann’s left side when we run together—it just feels awkward if I’m on her right for some reason—and my inevitable runny nose (I have not yet perfected the mid-run nose blowing, or air snots as Dimity mentions in her 10 questions post…and I’m not sure I want to. So I use my sleeve. Gross, I know). I also almost always say a silent prayer sometime during my run, thanking God and the universe for strong legs and lungs that help keep me moving. Not sure if that’s quirky, but it’s something I’ve noticed I do almost every time.
5. Morning, midday, evening: I’m OK with anytime—some days you just have to make the most of the window of opportunity given to you—though now that my kids are all in school and get on the bus at the same time in the morning, I like heading out around 7:30 a.m. It’s not too terribly early, but it’s still at the start of my day. I like cranking out a run before I need to get to work, whether I’m teaching a class at the college or sitting behind my computer writing an article. It always gets my mind where it needs to be.
6. I won’t run outside when it’s: Super humid and hot. I would rather run in snow and below zero temperatures than deal with I-think-I’m-going-to-puke-and-keel-over-it’s-so-hot kind of weather.
7. Worst injury—and how I got over it: Hmm. Lots to choose from here, from achillies tendonitis to plantar fasciitis to IT Band. Probably IT Band, which was tough because it arrived just as I was ramping up my training for this year’s Boston Marathon. It was pretty emotional at first, but having this injury also introduced me to Active Release Technique, which not only aided me at the time—I didn’t have to stop running completely as I had feared when this injury flared—but I also learned new ways of stretching and taking preventative steps (foam roller!) to hopefully avoid further IT Band issues and other running injuries. It also reminded me that I needed to get back into the swing of Pilates. I’d taken a several-month-long break and my body was feeling the lack of stretching and core work.
8. I felt most like a badass mother runner when: I ran my first marathon and qualified for Boston. I look back on the training that went into this race, and I just feel so proud—and lucky. I was very deliberate in wanting to train smart for this race and reach my goal of finishing under four hours and hopefully BQ–I spent hard-earned money on a running coach after battling an injury during my first attempt to train for 26.2—but I also believe the stars simply aligned for this race. Things just fell into place, including family and work stuff, which of course doesn’t always happen. So I’m grateful for the training I was able to accomplish as much as I am for the race itself. Stepping up to the start line of that race, I felt so ready. Friends and family were there at various spots along the route to cheer me on, the weather was perfectly overcast and cool, and I got into a groove. I ran this race alone, and the last 4-6 miles were harder than I ever could have imagined, but I felt so strong and good. I think that experience of training for months, in all kinds of weather, is one of the most significant things I’ve done in my life. I’ve started and stopped my share of things throughout my nearly 38 years, but running is one thing I’ve stuck with.
9. Next race is: The Lighthouse Half-Marathon in Traverse City, Michigan. 13.1 hilly miles starting at the end of Old Mission Peninsula. I’m really looking forward to running this with Ann, who has been one of my biggest supporters as I became a runner to the athlete I am today.
10. Potential running goal for 2013: My 2013 race calendar is completely blank at the moment. I’ve got a few ideas swirling around in my mind, but nothing set just yet. I’d love to experience a bunch of Michigan races that have been on my list for some time—the Harvest Stompede in Leelanau County in the fall, the Crim in Flint being two—and I’ve also been thinking about challenging myself with a trail marathon. I do know I’d like to run another ‘thon—I’m just not sure whether it’ll be in the spring or fall. I prefer winter training, so a spring 26.2 like the Bayshore would be ideal. But I’ve always wanted to run the Chicago Marathon in the fall; I’ll just need to get over my qualms about training well in the summer. I also want to keep trying to learn how to road bike, because I do want to venture further in the world of triathlons. Mostly, though, my running goal for the coming year is to stay as healthy and as strong—physically and mentally—as possible.
OK, YOUR turn. I’m also going to tag one of my most favorite running mommas: Laura, who is behind Run Momma Run. We got to know each other through our blogs and had the chance to meet in real life when I ran the Eugene Women’s Half in September 2010.