|"light,fast feet, light, fast feet"|
My reasons for running have evolved over time.I started because I needed to lose weight. I continued because I started realizing all of the long term health benefits. Then when I had children I realized what a great example I was setting for them. I began using it as a stress reliever while my children were small and my husband was in law school. These days I run because it helps me with creativity. When I have to miss runs I have a very difficult time writing and since I am a writer by trade it is important that I always have that creativity flowing.
How long have you been running? How did you get started? Why did you choose running over other activities?
This January will mark 20 years of running as well as 20 years of marriage. My husband and I became runners together soon after we were married because we both realized we had gained and maintained too much weight in the years we had been dating. Too many dinners and movies I would say.
How do you motivate yourself to run regularly? What about on the days the weather is bad or you are feeling particularly lazy?
Daily Mile is a big part of my workout life. Knowing that my number for the day will be a zero if I skip a workout is a huge motivation. The other motivation is the races I schedule throughout the year. In 2012, I have an Ironman on the books. Skipping a workout now will definitely affect the outcome of that race and I am just not willing to do that.
Do you use a running coach, or read any books to aid in your training?
I work with Jeff Kline at http://www.prsfit.com/ I never thought I would work with a coach but after working with Jeff for a year I have seen huge improvements. He pushes me a lot harder than I would ever push myself.
How do you fit running in with your daily schedule?
I have to get it in first thing in the morning. Because I work from home it is really easy to sit down at the computer and start working only to look up and realize I missed my workout window.
Do your friends and family support your running or think you are crazy?
My family is really supportive. We live closest to my in-laws and they are all very active. My sister is also a runner now. We just ran our first race together. My parents are hugely supportive of my efforts although they have not adopted the lifestyle. It is difficult to watch the health problems that have crept into their lives.
What is your favorite running terrain (road, trail, treadmill)?
I prefer trails but not the rugged kind that slow me down. I love the long dirt roads we run on each summer in Maine.
What is the hardest race you've run to date?
The longest race I have run was the JKF 50 Miler but the hardest would probably have to be the VHTRC's Women's Trail Half because I fell in the first three miles and then four more times before the end. I ended up really hurting my ankle and should have probably quit after the first fall but was too stubborn for that.
What is the most enjoyable race you've run to date?
That one is so easy. This September I ran the Patriot 70.3 in Williamsburg, Virginia and had a great race. I had been so nervous about it beforehand that I cried as I headed into the water but as soon as the race started everything clicked and in the run portion where people were really beginning to suffer I felt awesome. It was incredible to watch all of the hard work and preparation come together.
Have you ever been injured due to running? What were the ramifications?
I have been injured more times than I can count. The worst and dumbest was a stress fracture in my left tibia. I had ramped up my mileage because my youngest had gone to school and we had moved to London so I had no friends yet and lots of time on my hands. When I realized I had the stress fracture I should have followed doctor's advice and skipped my marathon but I didn't. It was an absolutely horrible race. I started throwing up from the pain at mile seven and spent 6 months recovering from that injury. I am much smarter these days.
Do you use any music or run tracking devices when you run, or are you a naked runner?
I listen to Run Run Live, PRSFit's Train with the Coaches and Cycling 360 podcasts while I run. It is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, learning more about my sport while getting my run in.
How do you get yourself through the difficult parts of your runs? Do you have a personal mantra or do you just give up?
When a run started getting difficult, I start focusing on form. I have found that most runs are getting difficult because I have dropped formed, I have tensed my feet or shoulders, started leaning back or heel striking, or I am pounding the pavement too hard. I start repeating, "light, fast feet, light fast feet" over and over again. An added benefit to this is that there is no time to think "Boy, this is hard" or "Boy, I am tired" because I am having to think of other things.
A lot of runners know that "Who has the runs" has a double meaning. How do you deal with the occasional "problem" that plagues every runner at one time or another?
Actually this is a huge question for me because I had a child who was in the hospital a couple of years ago. Although I washed my hands about 1000 times I day I ended up picking up C-diff which is a horrible stomach virus. It took months for it to rear its ugly head. When it finally showed up I was in the middle of marathon training and could hardly go two miles without a bathroom for three whole months. I have definitely learned now where all of the bathrooms are along every route that I run.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking up running?
It is hard. It is supposed to be hard. But keep at it. Give it two months of running four days a week and it will get easier and you will have had at least one of those runs that makes the hard ones worth the effort.
What is your next big race?
My "A" race for 2012 is the Beach 2 Battleship Ironman but to get there Coach Jeff and I have created a race schedule that includes one marathon in March, two half Ironman distance races (including the Patriot again) and one full distance Aqua Velo (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike) three weeks before the Ironman. This year is all about the preparation.
What is your immediate running goal?
I have a race this coming weekend that is the culmination of an 8 race series. I am currently in 2nd place in my age group, so my immediate goal is to get to that starting line without this cold I am fighting getting the best of me.
What is your ultimate running goal?
Ultimately, I would like to run Boston. I went there with my husband last year and really want to qualify to be a part of that race.
Do you have a way we can keep track of your progress (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc)
I am all over the place out there. I generally tell people to Google Ann and running and they will find me but the best ways to find me directly are a
Facebook: Ann's Running Commentary