Let’s play a little game of 20 (running) questions, shall we? Here it goes!
- When did you start running?
I first laced up a pair of beat-up shoes in February 2009. I left my house wearing entirely too many layers, made it about half a mile, and thought I was going to die. But I kept running, and I’m so happy I didn’t.
- Where do you usually train?
I’m lucky enough to be able to train around my house. We live in a subdivision, and although it doesn’t have sidewalks, I feel safe running on the roads. Right in my backyard is a township park with an oval-shaped paved path, so the kids play while I run. I also have a membership to Planet Fitness (hey, don’t knock it! They have the best treadmills around!) and an older treadmill at home that help me get the miles in.
- What’s the farthest distance you’ve run on a treadmill?
22 freaking miles! It was during one of my Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon training cycles. I ran it at World Gym and got many weird looks from staff and other gym-goers like, “This lady is bat-shit crazy!” And it was kinda awesome.
- What’s your go-to carb loading meal?
One word – CHIPOTLE!!!! My usual is a scoop of brown and white rice, chicken, black beans, mild salsa, corn salsa, and cheese. Honestly, I’m hungry just typing that.
- What’s your favorite distance to race?
I go back and forth between the marathon and half marathon. Just when I think I picked one as my top choice, I find another reason to love the other more. The things that lures me to both races are the mental and physical challenges.
- What was your first race?
St. Malachi 2-miler in March 2009. At the time, it was my longest run to date. I’m pretty sure I still have the shirt saved somewhere.
- What are three items you can’t be without on a run?
This one is really easy – a Sparkly Soul headband, Oiselle Mac Roga shorts, and my Garmin.
- Do you run alone or with a group?
I much prefer to run alone. It’s really the only time I get to myself.
- What do you use for fuel during a long run?
I’ve tried a lot of things. Some work for me, and some definitely don’t. My favorite run fuel is Honey Stingers Gold gel. I’ve also tried Accel Gel, and that works pretty well, too. Also, never underestimate how great honey packets are for fueling. If I’m at Chick-fil-A, I usually grab a few extra to stash in my running bag. Sorry I’m not sorry, Chick-fil-A.
- What’s your bucket list race?
I have dreams of someday making it to Boston, but I know that will take a lot of hard work and dedication that I can’t honestly put in right now. I would also like to run the Big Sur International Marathon because it looks beautiful.
- Have you ever been on a race-cation?
Yep! I ran my first marathon in Hawaii. How’s that for a kick-off to marathon running?! And I try to sneak in some running/racing when I visit my brother and sister-in-law who live near Seattle.
- What songs power you through a tough run?
No matter how many times I’ve heard them, “My Body” by Young the Giant, “Ten Tonne Skeleton” by Royal Blood, “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, and “Ride” by twenty one pilots always help motivate me.
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve had happen to you on a run?
I was attacked by a Canadian goose when I first started running, and a guy in a truck had to scare it away. I was also chased by a threesome of wild turkeys while running in Westlake. Scared the crap out of me!
- What’s your least favorite race distance?
5Ks are my least favorite, but I love running them with my kids. Give me a 10-miler or half marathon any day.
- How do you recover from a long run?
A hot bath and a cold beer! If it’s the end of a race, I love chocolate milk.
- What are your PRs (personal records)?
Marathon – 3:57:19 (2016 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon)
Half Marathon – 1:54:45 (2015 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon half)
5K – 23:28 (2015 Downtown Willoughby 5K)
- Have you sustained any injuries from running?
Knock on wood, I have been healthy for the past few seasons, but I’ve had IT band and knee issues in the past.
- What’s one piece of advice you would give new runners?
Running is a tough sport, but it only gets easier the more you do it. Take your time, be patient, and go at your own pace. The only person you’re competing against is yourself.
- If you could only race one distance, what would it be?
I would probably say the half marathon. It offers the challenge, which I love, but the training schedule isn’t as grueling as a full.
- How has running changed you?
Running has helped me realize I am stronger and capable of more than I thought possible. I never imagined I would run 3 miles, and now I run 26 for fun. Running has brought me confidence, friendships, and a healthy outlet for stress, and I can’t think of how my life would be without it.
Whew, that was fun! You know what else is fun? Giving away a free entry to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race of your choice, so you can be part of the 40th anniversary celebration! As an ambassador, I receive a free entry for myself and one to give away. Head over to my Instagram account (stephplusfour) and check it out! The giveaway starts today, Monday, March 6 and goes through Saturday, March 11, and there will be an opportunity to enter every day. The winner will be randomly selected on Sunday, March 12, and he/she has 24 hours to claim the prize before another winner is selected. Unfortunately, if you already registered for a CLE Marathon race, you aren’t able to win to recoup your cost, but you can run a race on another day (for example, you can run the 5K or 8K on the Saturday before the 10K, half, and full). Good luck!