April is here! No April Fools Day pranks here. Instead, I have another Running Inspiration Interview for my favorite blog post series. Today’s Feature Runner is Margaret, who I only know through this wonderful world of blogging. She blogs over at Young & Rungry – a food, running, and lifestyle blog.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m 24 years old and I was born and raised in Nashville, TN, but currently living and working as a Recreational Therapist in Memphis. Rec Therapy is a lot like physical, occupational, or speech therapy in the sense that we work with people with injuries or disabilities, but we use recreation and leisure as the means of our therapy or to improve someone’s quality of life. It’s really fun and extremely rewarding. Outside of that, I have probably way too many hobbies. I, of course, love to run, cook, and write, but I also mountain bike, rock climb, and hike. Aside from that I love red wine and spending time with my friends and big Italian family.
How long have you been running?
My parents put me in cross country in Kindergarten so it’s been as long as I can remember. I guess it’s about 20 years now which is crazy.
What made you decide to start running?
I’ve stopped running a couple times in my life like when I switched to volleyball my freshman and sophomore year of high school. I went back to it when I realized I was the only one excited when we had to run as our warm up before practice. I also rediscovered it for myself in college. I ran to avoid the freshman 15, but it turned into something else when I started racing. At first I was just doing random foot races during fraternity philanthropy events, but I started signing up for 5ks and then all the sudden I was into half and full marathons.
What is your favorite thing about running?
I love everything about running as cliché as that sounds, but I really do have a deep appreciation for both sides of it. I’m very competitive so I love racing, but I also use it as a ways to clear my head, savor the moment, explore, and spend time with friends.
How many races have you done?
Countless. I did cross country for 11 years in school plus two years of track. I didn’t run collegiately, but I still did a lot of local races and some marathons. After college, I’ve raced the most of any period in my entire life so there’s really no telling!
What was your favorite race and why?
In Memphis we have a Friday night race called the Cooper Young 4-miler. I love it because it has the best and biggest after party with free craft beer and live music, but it’s also really competitive.
What is your most memorable race/running experience?
My favorite race of all times was the marathon I ran in Amsterdam my senior year of college. I had worked that summer in Aspen, Colorado and joined a marathon team to raise money for our adaptive sport agency called Challenge Aspen. I got to meet my team again for a crazy fun week in Europe leading up to the marathon and then of course the race itself was such a cool experience.
What is your favorite race distance?
I love half and full marathons, but I also love me a 4-miler or 10-miler.
Do you have any running goals?
I’m very close to breaking 1:30 in the half marathon, which is my #1 goal and I’d also like to break 19 minutes in the 5k at some point too. I’m just happy to keep chipping away at my PR in the marathon, but it’d be cool to get it down to around 3:15 next time.
Are you currently training for any races?
I’m not racing much this year. My game plan as of now is to alternate year after year so I don’t ever burn out. I’m a Race 13.1 ambassador which is a half marathon series all over the south east so I’ll be running a lot of those, but not competing.
How has running made an impact on your life?
This sounds so cheesy, but I don’t really know life without running. Even in the times I wasn’t competing or on a team, I was still running. I don’t think a month has gone by since I was 5 where I didn’t lace up my shoes and run some distance. I accredit a lot of my drive and self discipline to running as well as how I’m able to handle things. I don’t just quit when things get hard and in that I also have a hard time letting things go such as dreams or goals. It’s made me stubborn, tenacious, and adventurous.
What kind of nutrition strategies do you use to facilitate performance and/or recovery?
I started running on a paleo diet in January of 2015 and pretty much stick to it with the exception of wine, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt every now and then and I see a huge improvement in my recovery time when I really stick to it. I always eat a little something before a run and try to get a natural carb like sweet potatoes and some protein like chicken right after a race or a tough workout.
What do you want other people to know about you/your running/running in general?
I just think there’s a lot of value in making your running sustainable. I’ve been through phases where I’m working so hard for that one PR that I almost burn out or injure myself because I go at it too hard or too quickly. Our bodies do so much for us so I believe in fueling them fairly and properly and also appreciating them for what they are and not necessarily what you want it to be. I also advocate for running to be a very social and inviting sport and the notion that you don’t necessarily have to be “fast” to be a runner or to get involved in the community.
What is your favorite race medal/memorabilia?
I spend way too much money on shoes so my favorite things I’ve won at races are running store gift cards or a pair of free shoes!
Check out Margaret’s blog and social media for more running inspiration!