When I decided to run the NJ Marathon in May 2011, I googled it, because that’s what you do when you want to run a race. It was my first marathon. I was f’ing nervous. I wanted to run with a pacer. I picked a pace group that was right for me on the NJ Marathon website and saw that the pacer was some absurd marathon runner. She broke the world record as the youngest woman to run a marathon in all 50 states. I thought, “CRAP. Now what? I can’t run with an elite.”
Anyway, during my training I started reading this impressive/world record breaker runner’s blog. Her posts inspired me. I would read training posts and I would read race recaps. It helped to read about her different experiences racing. I loved that someone could just share stories for everyone else! It was real and it was helpful and I won’t forget it.
***If you read my blog, you know I did not end up running the marathon with anyone except myself, because I was late to the marathon, FAIL.***
Over a year (and another much more successful marathon later), I still am an avid reader of her blog and Laura was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the sport (my questions/comments are in red):
How many marathons have you ran: 71! Including one 6-hour ultramarathon. (holy shit)
Is the marathon your favorite distance? The marathon is by far my favorite distance. I love the challenge of it, and I think it’s a really good metaphor for life. There will be fun/easy parts, there will be boring parts, and there will be tough hills – but you just have to take it as it comes and remind yourself that the course may completely change in another mile or so.
What is your favorite marathon to run and why? I always divide this into my favorite big marathon and my favorite small marathon, because I think you can’t really compare the two. My favorite big marathon is the NYC Marathon. It was my 33rd marathon but first in my hometown, and I’ll admit that I got teary eyed when “New York, New York” played at the start. The crowds were incredible, and I loved having my friends and family there to cheer me on! My favorite small marathon was Run With the Horses in Green River, Wyoming. It was exactly the opposite of New York! You started at the top of a mesa at sunrise, and all you could see around you were mountains and sky – no buildings, roads, or even farms for miles. It was such a small field for a race that by halfway through the race, I was running all by myself with no other runners even in sight. The course was a dirt trail that was used by wild horses and they would pass the runners at a gallop. It was just incredibly scenic and beautiful.
What finish line meant the most to you and why? This April, I trained a group of women for their first half marathon – including my mom. She had never run more than a 5K before, and had not been a regular runner for about 40 years, but she rocked it! We ran side by side and I was so proud to cross the finish line holding hands 🙂 I love that feeling! I’m running a half marathon with my best friend in August (her first!!!), I am guaranteed to cry hysterically when we cross the finish!
Worst marathon experience, how did you overcome it? I attempted to run the Breakers Marathon in Rhode Island on a day when it was 39 degrees, pouring rain, and with 40mph winds (the aid stations themselves were getting blown over!). I ended up dropping out at the halfway point because I was shaking so badly I could barely walk – and was devastated. In order to tick off Rhode Island on my 50 state challenge, I returned a few weeks later to run a 6 Hour ultramarathon, and covered 33 miles – my longest run ever! After finishing the 50 states, I went back to Rhode Island to try the Breakers Marathon again, and finished in 3:54, one of my top 5 fastest times. It felt great! Amazing. Nothing better than showing a race who is boss.
What type of training works the best for you? I believe in not running too much, but allowing your crosstraining activities to get you ready. I think the ideal mix when training for a marathon is 3 days of running (1 speedwork, 1 hills, and 1 long run), 2 days of weight training plus some additional cardio (Zumba, elliptical, spinning, etc), 1 day of yoga, and 1 day of complete rest. However, I think the best training plan is the one that works for YOU – do what you enjoy!
Favorite thing about pacing? Which pace/mi is your favorite to pace? I love getting to help people push past their boundaries and do things they never thought were possible. I love seeing the looks of joy at the finish line, when they realize that they’ve achieved their goals. For marathons, I really enjoy pacing the 4:30 group (10:17/mile), because the group tends to have a lot of first-timers, which makes the experience even more special!
Favorite workout class? I’m all over the place with this one! I like to mix it up and take a lot of different things, so the answer depends on when you ask me. Recently, I got crushed by a Figure 4 barre class; I also have been thoroughly enjoying some kickboxing videos on DailyBurn.com when I’m traveling.
Favorite healthy recipe? Lately I’m obsessed with Buffalo blue cheese quinoa. Make the quinoa as usual (I like to add thyme for an extra kick); in a separate pan, saute some mirepoix (chopped onions, carrots, and celery). Mix it all together with 1/4 cup cottage cheese (if you don’t like it lumpy, you can blend it first till smooth) and 1/2 tsp hot sauce. Finally, use a microplane grater to shave in some blue cheese. The cottage cheese makes it creamy but a little bit of blue cheese gives it a lot of flavor, so it comes out like mac and cheese but incredibly healthy! Bonus: takes less than 15 minutes 🙂 Great recipe – I’ll be sure to share!!
Favorite place in NYC? I’m in my happy place when it’s a sunny summer day and I’m out by the Hudson River in the 60s. I like to run there in the morning (the water is so peaceful!), lie out in the grass and have a picnic on Linda’s Lawn in the afternoon, and then get drinks with friends at Pier I and Boat Basin in the evening. Perfect day would just be spending it all right there!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to become a runner, what would it be? Don’t worry about training plans or doing things “right”; just get out there and run! Always try to push yourself a little further than you went the last time and you might be surprised at what you can do.
Amazing Q&A with Laura from 50by25.com
PLEASE check out her blog. She is an inspiration for all of us. Seriously, 71 marathons, 26 years old? Badass.
Special Thanks to Laura!