It’s been a while since my last Running Inspiration Interview post but I am so excited to bring this series back! Today’s Feature Runner is Jen, fellow Registered Dietitian, who blogs over at Pretty Little Grub. I absolutely love her blog and I’m hoping to meet her IRL next year if I make it to Rock n’ Roll New Orleans!!
Tell me a little about yourself.
Occupation: Registered Dietitian
Primarily I work in a long term care and rehab setting but I also do consulting work for an oil company offering their employees lunch ‘n learns and one-on-one consults for weight management, healthy eating, sports nutrition, etc.
How long have you been running?
I started running 5 years ago. I signed up for a half-marathon and showed up at the start line completely undertrained. The longest run I did in my training was 5 miles. I had no clue about pacing, how to fuel myself for distance running, or chafing! Needless to say it wasn’t a very pleasant experience. I thought it would be a one and done thing. But when a friend asked me to do another one about 6 months later I said yes and actually trained for it. After that, I was hooked.
What made you decide to start running?
I had always been someone who was an on again, off again exerciser. I would start a program and like it for a while but give up it quickly and go back to my couch potato ways. I signed up for a half marathon as a way to challenge myself. I had no idea it would turn me into someone passionate for fitness. Now, I could never imagine my life without being active and working out regularly. It’s a part of me and has made me better both physically and mentally.
What is your favorite thing about running?
One favorite? I love so many things about running. But probably the biggest thing is the confidence it has given me. I’ve learned to overcome mental barriers, learned to conquer big challenges and to stop telling myself that I can’t do something. This confidence in myself didn’t just shape my running goals but my life in general. I don’t think I would have ever started a blog if it wasn’t for running.
How many races have you done?
I’ve run 3 marathons, 16 half marathons and a handful of 5 and 10kms.
What was your favorite race and why?
Hands down the New York marathon. A marathon was something I never ever thought that I would achieve. But once I set my mind on doing one, I knew it had to be New York. The experience of that race could never be replicated. The energy of millions of people cheering for you, makes you feel like what you’re doing is important. It gives you energy and strength and I literally smiled for 26.2 miles.
What is your most memorable race/running experience?
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Vegas half-marathon was so much fun! I was supposed to run that race 4 years earlier but injured myself leading up to it so I was back for redemption. Except, I wasn’t planning to take this race seriously. Instead, my husband and I ran it together for the first time ever and we both dressed up in costume. We stopped to take tons of pictures, we danced and laughed our way through. The weather wasn’t great but we made the most of it.
What is your favorite race distance?
Definitely the half-marathon. I’m a slow and steady runner, which means 5 and 10kms aren’t my favorite, they hurt too much! I like the challenge of training for a longer distance race but with a half-marathon vs a full marathon I can find a good balance between training and living my life. Marathon training is a real commitment.
Do you have any running goals?
I’m a runner, of course I have goals! If I’m being honest my big scary goal is to get a sub 4 hour marathon time. Currently my PR is 4:17:26, so I know I have some work to put in to get there.
Are you currently training for any races?
I do have a half-marathon in September but it’s not a goal race at all. What I’m working towards right now is my next marathon, Rock n Roll New Orleans in February 2017. I’m not yet training for that marathon but I’m working on cross training and strength training to get myself in the best possible pre-training shape.
How has running made an impact on your life?
Running has made an impact in every single facet of my life.
It has been an outlet for my stress. It wasn’t until after I regularly started to run that I realized how much I was carrying with me. I am a much happier person now that I’m a runner. Running has also made me a much more confident person. I’m willing to take on things I never would have considered before. And so, so importantly running has brought me a ton of friendships both in real life and online. I’ve met such an amazing community of people who support me and that I love to support back.
What kind of nutrition strategies do you use to facilitate performance and/or recovery?
One of the biggest things I do is make sure I’m fueling myself enough and that I’m putting quality food into my body. It’s easy as a runner to justify being able to eat lots of calories from junk food but that won’t help performance or recovery. I allow myself those foods, but I don’t use running as my license to eat them.
When I’m training or not training, my diet largely stays the same, I just increase portion size or add additional quality snacks.
What do you want other people to know about you/your running/running in general?
I always want people to know that they can do it. When you tell someone that you’ve run a marathon or discuss your training so many people say I could never do that. I used to be one of those people. You can absolutely do it.
What is your favorite race medal/memorabilia?
My New York marathon medal is my favorite. It holds a special place in my heart as my first marathon and it’s so beautiful!
Check out Jen’s Blog and Follow her on Social Media: