It's time for another runner spotlight...my favorite time of the week! I love reading other runners' stories about their running journey! If you are interested in being spotlighted on my blog please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I'd love to spotlight you! You don't have to have a blog to be spotlighted...you just have to be a runner! ;-) And I'm running low on spotlights so now's your time to shine!!!
Today I'm spotlighting Jen from Dare Run Share! She has such a great story and I was lucky enough to meet her in person at The Biggest Loser Half Marathon last December! Keep reading to learn more about her and her running journey!
Name: Jen McCormick
When and why did you start running?
I started running in November, 2011. My husband was diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. His doctor suggested exercise to combat these issues, and he started running. I had always wanted to be a “runner,” but was never very athletic, and was at the highest weight of my life (heavier than I was even at 9 months pregnant with my children). I decided to try Couch to 5K anyway, and was determined to stick with it, and the rest, as they say, is history.
What is your favorite race and race distance?
My favorite race distance is the half marathon. The training is doable, but it still keeps me challenged. (And the bling doesn't hurt either!) I am very proud of the first half I ran, the Smokies Santa Hustle in December, 2012, and I love that my husband and children were there at the finish line to cheer me on. It was such an accomplishment for me.
What is your race day routine?
I get up a couple hours before we have to leave and have a Kashi bar and bottle of water with a ½ tablet of Nuun. I'm really good about getting everything ready for the race the night before, and I really like having plenty of time to get to the race. Of course, my husband and kids often race too, and none of them are early risers, so many times we are racing to get there on time anyway.
What is your most favorite piece of running gear?
This is a hard question to answer! If I think about the one thing I would not want to run without, I guess it would be my SpiBelt, because I use it on almost every run to carry my phone and/or fuel for long runs/races. I am also very particular about logging my miles, so my Garmin Forerunner 10 is also essential, though I have used RunKeeper in a pinch (like when I've forgotten to charge my watch).
Do you follow any diet or take any specific supplements that complement your running?
I don't take any supplements at all. When I started my running journey in 2011 at 192.2 pounds, I also started tracking my food using My Fitness Pal. In about a year, I lost nearly 50 pounds. My weight loss stalled out at that point, and I've struggled to lose the remaining 30 pounds ever since. I've tried a lot of different ideas/gimmicks to get back on track, but I'm realizing that the only way to conquer this is tracking, even though I really dislike having to count every calorie. I would love to be a person who can eat whatever, whenever, and still be a healthy weight, but that just won't work for me (or most people). At 41, I hope I'm finally growing up a bit and realizing that I have to consistently work to achieve my weight loss goals.
What do you wish you’d known when you first started running?
I actually can't think of anything. When I decided to start running, I poured over running magazines, books, websites, blogs, and tried to soak everything up so that I would be successful. I guess I'm just a nerd like that.
What is your fondest running memory?
One of my fondest running memories was the first time I ran 20 minutes without walking. Our family was at Disney World for the week, and instead of slacking off about exercise while on vacation like I would have done in the past, I got up super early three mornings that week and followed my Couch to 5K plan. The morning we left to go home, the workout on the plan was to run 20 minutes with no walking. I was so scared that I couldn't accomplish that, but I refused to let myself walk, and when the app on my phone said that 20 minutes had gone by, tears came to my eyes and I was so proud of myself. For the first time in my life, I felt as though my body was not my enemy.
What is one thing that most people do not know about you?
I decided when I was six years old that I was going to grow up and be a country singer. While I never actually accomplished that goal, it is what led me to move to Tennessee, where I met my husband. So I tell my children never to think a dream is not worth striving toward, because you never know, it might be leading you somewhere you can't even imagine yet. For me, a much better dream came true – I now have an amazing husband and two beautiful children.
I am a super-slow runner, and in fact, because of my size and my speed, I don't always feel like I belong in the running community. My average time for a half marathon is 3 hours, and when I think that elite runners can finish a full marathon in much less time, it is easy for me to feel this way. (In fact, I debated for months before I even sent Mindy the email to have a “runner spotlight.”) But truthfully, no one cares what my finish time is, and every runner I've ever met – in person and online – has been nothing but kind and supportive. We can be our own worst enemies, and I need to remember that I would never put another runner down, so I shouldn't do that to myself either.
Here are all the different ways you can connect with Jen!
Thanks so much for sharing with us Jen!!!
QOTD: Anyone race this weekend? Or run a long run?