Now 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 Joanna from Run Fast Eat Lots! Some of you may know her as Jojo! I've been reading her blog for a little while now and she is such an inspiration! Not only does she run but she is also an avid biker! She is leaving today to ride across America, from Baltimore to Portland, with the 4K for Cancer! That's 4400+ miles! Wow! For now...continue reading to learn more about her running journey!
When and why did you start running?
I am one of those runners who strongly disliked running until I started loving it. I have been active all my life though I preferred other sports that I thought were more exciting. In college, I didn't play any sports and lead a pretty inactive and unhealthy lifestyle. I knew that I needed to get more exercise, but the thought of running wasn't very appealing. I would get into a "health kick" and run a few times a week, but the habit just didn't stick. It wasn't until the summer of 2012 after my junior year that I really started to fall in love with running. One day, a friend and I decided to sign up for the Rock n' Roll half marathon together. It took some guts, but signing up with my friend gave me the courage to say, "what the hell, let's do it!" Once I commit to something, I give it my all. I went from barely being able to run 3 miles to doing long runs of up to 12 miles in the fall. I had a great time running the half marathon with my friend, and even before I crossed the finish line, I knew that I would be a runner for life!
What is your favorite race and race distance?
My favorite race is the Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving in my hometown. I’ve been running it for the past two years, and I want to make the effort to do it every year because that would mean coming home to spend Thanksgiving with the family.
My favorite race distance is the marathon. There’s something awe-inspiring about the distance that is so intimidating to me. It’s a race of endurance that is both physical and mental. Doing races that challenge me the most makes me face my fears and reveals what I’m truly made of. Those last few miles truly test me, and let me see how deeply I can dig within me.
What is your race day routine?
I like to wake up at least 1 hour before I have to leave the house to give me plenty of time to get ready. First thing I do is make coffee and breakfast. I always eat a full breakfast that’s rich in carbs, with some protein from peanut butter or eggs, such as bagels, oatmeal, or French toast. When I get to the race site, I usually head straight to the portapotties. I take some photos, check my gear if I need to, do a brief warm up with a light jog and strides, and then wait in the corrals until race start.
What is your most favorite piece of running gear?
I used to be a non-believer of GPS watches, but once I got my Garmin 310XT, I am converted! As I train for speed, I find that having a watch and getting real-time feedback is invaluable to my training. I don’t want to say that I’m addicted, but I rarely run without my watch anymore. Fine, I’m a data junkie.
Do you follow any diet or take any specific supplements that complement your running?
I do not follow a diet and believe in eating intuitively. I stick with mostly whole foods, but I also don’t shy away from less than healthy foods when I want it! In general, my food philosophy is to eat mostly plant-based, whole foods, avoid the artificial crap, and indulge every once in a while. I actually wrote a whole post about my food philosophy: http://runfasteatlots.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-way-i-eat-it-my-food-philosophy.html
What do you wish you’d known when you first started running?
I wish I had known that running ain’t cheap! It may seem simple, to throw on a shirt, shorts, and running shoes to start running, but wait, there’s more! Add on the costs of a running watch, race registration fees, hydration belt, more running shoes, $50 compression socks, shoe inserts, cute running clothes you can’t resist to buy, etc. Not to mention all the money I spend on food to fuel my running!
So. Worth. It.
What is your fondest running memory?
It’s easy to say my fondest memory was running my first race, or finishing my first marathon. However, I have to say that my fondest running memory was even before I started running! In my junior year of college, my brother came to visit me in St. Louis and to run the Go St. Louis Half Marathon. This was the second race that I spectated, and I had a really great time watching all the runners and seeing my brother cross the finish line. This memory stands out because it was the catalyst that got me to start running. Seeing people of all different shapes and athletic abilities made me believe that running a half marathon was possible for me. About two months, later, I got the guts to sign up for my first half marathon.
What is one thing that most people do not know about you?
I used to be a volleyball player in high school. I started playing junior varsity in 9th grade, and played varsity from 10th to 12th grade, as well as a club team for two years. I’m only 5’6”, which is far from tall for a volleyball player, but I played front row! I was terrible at defense, and actually quite a decent hitter, so I played all three front-row positions. Unfortunately, I haven’t played volleyball since high school. I really love the sport, though there are only so many sports that I can do at one time!
Here are all the different ways you can connect with Jojo!
Thanks for sharing with us Jojo!!!
QOTD: What did you do this weekend?