Friday Featured Runner (series 20)

Today’s Friday Featured Runner is Cassandra over at Powered By BLING.
Cassandra’s Running Journey

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My running journey started as an aside to my triathlon journey. On October 7, 2010 at 8:34am, three months after my 39th birthday and one month before my daughter’s 5th birthday, I heard the three words no one ever wants to hear You Have Cancer.
That November, I had intended to register for my first IronGirl Columbia race.  Instead, I was registering in the Operating Room for surgery.  Over the next two years, I underwent three surgeries, eighteen chemo treatments and thirty straight days of radiation.   In 2013, I completed the Ulman Cancer Fund’s Cancer To 5K program, the 2013 IronGirl Syracuse, the 2013 IronGirl Columbia and a relay in the 2013 Ulman Cancer Fund’s Half Full Triathlon – Olympic Distance.  That’s when I became addicted to BLING (race medals).
I can honestly say that at that time, running was the hardest for me.  I am an Athena triathlete with a good amount of excess weight.  Running is not easy when you have to carry excess weight up the hills.  But, one step in front of the other, I continue to push myself.  When I started running, I ran 18 minute miles.  A couple months ago I was running 15 minute miles.  Last week, I ran my first 13:39 minute average on a 3.2 mile run.   My husband is a runner and has been his whole life.  Our 8 year old is an amazing athlete already competing in swimming, travel soccer, track and triathlon.  Since I have never been one to let something defeat me, I decided that I was a runner.  I began running more, registering our family for 5K’s on our spare weekends and focusing on Galloway Method as my means to becoming a better runner.
Along with my husband, I now belong to two running clubs – Flying Feet Running Program and the Westminster Road Runners.  Our family continues to run races together.   On July 15, my husband and I signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon!  This will be my first half marathon.   We also signed the 3 of us up for the 5K (shhhhh!  It’s a surprise for my daughter).  I have never run 13.1 miles in a row in my life, but next February I will.  Inspired by getting one of the coveted spots, I PR’d my 5K time that evening at 42:43. I am finally enjoying running and loving it more with each training session.
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Q&A
 
-What made you decide to be a runner?  I wanted to lead by example for my 8 year old daughter.  I want her to grow up in a household that puts health and fitness as priorities, so that for her lifetime she will look at fitness as a fun, every day part of her life.
-What is the longest distance you’ve ran? 5 miles
-What is your favorite post run fuel?  Super Smoothie – kale, spinach, cuke, celery, beets, blueberries, strawberries (our family has gone vegetarian)
-What song is currently being played on your playlist when you run? I try to split my run time between some days with no music and some with music.  While I enjoy music, I don’t update my music often as I find beats that I like and stick with them.  My current playlist includes songs such as My Life Would Suck Without You, Raise Your Glass, Stronger, and Part of Me.
-What would you tell an individual who has just started their journey into running? Challenge Yourself to Cross Your Own Personal Finish Lines (Powered By BLING Trademark Philosophy).  Don’t worry about whether you run 1 mile or 5 miles.  Don’t worry about whether you can run the whole time or have to walk some.  Start out without worrying about the miles.  Run for 10 minutes (5 minutes out and 5 minutes back), and then increase that to 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, etc.  If you can’t run for that long, use the Galloway Method.  Choose an interval like 1 minute run, 1 minute walk (1:1) or 2:1 or 5:1, whatever works for you.  As you build your endurance and your muscle memory, you will get stronger.  Before you know it, the 1 mile that took you 18 minutes will take you 13.  The mile you couldn’t run today will become your warm-up and you’ll finish your run at 5 miles.
Places to follow Cassandra:
This is my last round of Friday Featured Runner. I had such a fun time getting to know other runners of all types. This feature meant a lot to me and I hope you enjoyed this series as much as I did.

Friday Featured Runner (series 19)

Today’s Friday Featured Runner is Michelle over at  OneMoreMile.
Michelle’s Running Journey
My running journey started running in 1993, when I joined my school’s Cross Country Team. Many years later when I became pregnant with my first child I continued to walked/ran during my first pregnancy but stopped running shortly after giving birth to my daughter. After my third child, I decided to get back into running but realized I had severe bladder incontinence issues after my three pregnancies. I could not run after my kids, jump, or walk. Even coughing or laughing was hard for me.  After having a bladder sling operation, I tried running again. That was three years ago. It took some time to get back into shape and before I started loving to run again. Just running down the street was hard and my body was so sore/stiff but  I am training for my 4th half marathon.
Running has taught me a lot of lessons and has helped me through some really hard and dark times. This picture to me represents how running can be life changing. This was my two oldest (my son ran ahead) first 5k that almost didn’t happen. That day in May (yes it hailed and snowed) was one of my worst days ever. Some really horrible things happened that brought me to my knees and left me breathless.  Still, I decided that I needed to be strong for my family. I was not going to let anything ruin my kids’ experience. I needed to be strong for them, so I sucked it up and we ran the race. They both ended up placing!
Running half-marathons has taught me that I have overcome, both mentally and physically. I have more energy to keep up with my family and have more zeal for life. I take my worries with me on the road, leave them there, and come back a better person.
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Q&A
 
-What made you decide to be a runner? Running has taught me that what happens in life doesn’t have to define me or knock me down. I am a fighter!
-What is the longest distance you’ve ran? To date the longest distance I have ran is 13.1 miles.
-What is your favorite post run fuel? My favorite post run is an EAS protein drink blended with banana, spinach, and flax seed.
-What would you tell an individual who has just started their journey into running? Start off slow. It will take some time. Don’t be discouraged. Running can be hard to do at first but if you keep at it, you get stronger day by day. If you have bad days, don’t be hard on yourself, you can start again the next day. Take one day at a time and pretty soon you will be amazed at how far you have come. Most important of all, you need to love the run! Once you love running, the distance will come later.
Places to follow Michelle:
Blog- http://onemorebiz.blogspot.com
Twitter- https://twitter.com/Onemoremileblog @Onemoremileblog
 
Want to be a Friday Featured Runner? Send me an email.

Friday Featured Runner (series 18)

Today’s Friday Featured Runner is Cassandra over at Almost Getting It Together.
Cassandra’s Running Journey

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I’ve been running distance for 11 years now. It started when I was 14 and hasn’t stopped. In high school I ran through a few injuries then took a few months off when I started college and primarily did spin, swam and used the elliptical. One day I had a lot on my mind and went out for a trail run and completely fell back in love with it again. I’ve ran 9 half-marathons (my PR is a 1:52) and I hope to break 1:50 by the end of the year, as well as run a full marathon. I’m also running the Cumberland-DC Ragnar in September!
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Q&A
 

What made you decide to be a runner? I started running when I was around 14. I just wanted to be outside one day and thought I should go for a run. Later that school year, the high school cross country coach saw me running in gym and thought I had good endurance and asked me to come out for the team. I ran varsity cross-country four years in high school and was captain my senior year. I continued running for exercise in college then begin running half marathons.

What is the longest distance you’ve ran? 15 miles… hopefully that increases soon as I want to run a full marathon, but I love running the 13.1 distance.
What is your favorite post run fuel? It changes, but usually after my long runs I like a big salad with protein and then sweet potato with yogurt, a turkey wrap or this weekend – two eggs with a sprouted gluten free English muffin with lots of peanut butter!
What song is currently being played on your playlist when you run? I saw Jay-Z and Beyonce in concert two weeks ago so they have been on repeat for me lately!
What would you tell an individual who has just started their journey into running? GO GET FITTED FOR SHOES. Seriously, running in the wrong shoes can derail your entire plan. Next would be to have fun. Don’t put pressure on yourself right away – do it for you.
Places to follow Cassandra:
Twitter- @cpisone
Instagram- @cpisone
Want to be a Friday Featured Runner? Send me an email.

Friday Featured Runner (series 17)

Today’s Friday Featured Runner is Raechel over at Psyched 2 Run.

Raechel’s Running Journey

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When I was living in Sacramento, CA (first for my Master’s in Psychology and then as a psychology professor) some friends of mine (including my husband, Matt) were really into running.  I couldn’t understand it – anytime Matt talked me into going out for a job, I threw up.  Every run ended the same – me on my hands and knees, retching.  However, I am naturally a very competitive person and also enjoy spending time with my friends.  Since they were always running, I tried to get more into it.  In 2012, I ran a couple 5Ks and also a couple of half marathon relays, with Matt as my partner.  Every race the same – painful, ending in vomiting.  Finally, in 2013, I decided to really just take a leap that would challenge myself beyond anything I had yet done in my life.  I signed up for a half marathon training group with Fleet Feet in Sacramento.  Training began mid January for a St. Patrick’s Day run.  Somewhere during my training, I met new, life-long friends and, little by little, the pain of running subsided.  I began to really crave running, finding it an excellent source of stress relief.  I would meet friends for long runs and then running also became less isolated.

At the end of the summer of 2013, Matt and I moved back to Gainesville, Florida (which is where we met).  We had both signed up for the Outer Banks Half Marathon and so I started training again with a group.  But the heat and humidity were killing me and I didn’t really find anyone with similar goals and/or pace to train with.  The OBX half was painful – tough weather, tough course, just tough.  Afterward, I wanted to prove to myself that I was still a “runner” (whatever that meant in my own silly head).  In February 2014, I ran the Florida Keys Ragnar with 10 other friends and it is the thing I am most proud of to this day with regard to my health and well being.  Following Ragnar, I ran off and on but for the most part lost my motivation.  This summer, since it’s my first one not working, I joined a local fitness studio and am working on getting back into a healthy regime.  I’ve signed up for a Spartan 5K in November, a half marathon in December, and am on a team being sponsored by Epic Relays and EBOOST for the Epic Oregon Relay next June.

 

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Q&A
 
-What made you decide to be a runner? I decided to become a runner because (1) it would challenge me more than anything else I could think of and (2) it allowed me to spend more time with friends.
-What is the longest distance you’ve ran? The longest I’ve run at one time is 13.1 miles.  For the Florida Keys Ragnar, I ran 18.3 miles over four runs in one 24 hour period.
-What is your favorite post run fuel? My favorite post-run fuel is chocolate milk.  That’s usually all I can get down following a long run.
-What song is currently being played on your playlist when you run? I don’t run with music.  I actually have a really interesting blog post about whether music is beneficial during running. (http://psyched2run.com/2014/05/the-perfect-playlist-its-not-what-you-think/)
-What would you tell an individual who has just started their journey into running? I would tell a newbie runner to find a partner or community of other runners to join for support.  Regular running is difficult and difficult to stick with.  Don’t be afraid to train at your own pace and reach out to others with similar goals.  And definitely, definitely, DO NOT compare yourself to others.
Places to follow Raechel
Blog- http://psyched2run.com
Twitter- https://twitter.com/psyched2run (@psyched2run)
Want to be a Friday Featured Runner? Send me an email.

Friday Featured Runner (series 16)

Today’s Friday Featured Runner is Angela over at We Beat Fat.
Angela’s Running Journey

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When I was on my journey to lose 200 pounds, I got tired of walking on the treadmill because it wasn’t fast enough.  I moved on to a jog and somehow I became a runner.  I started running in 2012 and my first race was a half marathon.  In total I’ve run 19 half marathons and 6 marathons. In May, I ran the Great Wall of China Marathon!
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Q&A
-What made me decide to become a runner? Walking on the treadmill just didn’t do it for me any more.  I felt the need for a little bit more speed.
-What is the longest distance I’ve ran? 31 miles in the Texas heat.
-What is your favorite post run fuel? Lowfat chocolate milk and a banana dog (aka a banana in a whole wheat hot dog bun with peanut butter)
-What song is currently being played on my playlist? The Spark by Afrojack.  It’s an inspiring song that always gives me the spark to keep pushing towards my goals.
-What would I tell someone who just started their journey? Take it slow and don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  Set your own goals and define your own victories.
Places to follow Angela
twitter- @WeBeatFat
Instagram- @AngelaBeatFat
 
Want to be a Friday Featured Runner? Send me an email.

Friday Featured Runner (series 15)

Today’s Friday Featured Runner is Kristin over at Tink’s Fast Feet.
Kristin’s Running Journey
My journey started about 4 years ago.  I just wanted to get into shape & I thought why not I will start running.  I started slow & then over did it & hurt my knee.  Six months later I was back at & training slowly.  After training for about 6 six months I finished my 1st 5k in 36 minutes.
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Q&A
-What made you decide to be a runner? I know what really made me decided to become a runner, I do know one day I just thought “Hey I think I will start running!” My sister (who is also a SPA) & my dad are both runners, they have both been influences on my running. Also, I know running is very good for your health & makes you feel better about yourself.
  
-What is the longest distance you’ve ran? I have only done 5k races but I ran a 5 mile leg of a marathon.  That was a lot of work to get ready for that!!

-What is your favorite post run fuel?
Water & lots of it or Gatorade!


-What song is currently being played on your playlist when you run? Ok this may sound odd but Work B**tch by Britany Spears or Happy are my 2 favorite songs to listen to while I run.  Also, the Black Eyed Peas are good too!!

-What would you tell an individual who has just started their journey into running? I would tell someone who just started running start slow & don’t overdo it.  Enjoy yourself & have fun!
Places to follow Kristin
Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/kristins5k
Twitter- http://twitter.com/tinker0822
Instagram- @KRISTIN_RAE0822
Want to be a Friday Featured Runner? Send me an email.

Friday Featured Runner (series 13)

This Friday’s Featured Runner is Polly over at Polly Defies Gravity
Polly’s Running Journey

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I was at my heaviest state (56 kg – December 2010) and had health-related issues. My friend suggested to try running and since then I got addicted to it. My very first was last 2011, it was a sweet 5k run. I noticed that I lose a lot of weight after only 6 months and aside from that, I get this euphoric feeling from endorphins hitting my brain or whatever bodily processes that create that ‘runner’s high’. My day just isn’t complete without a good 5k-8k distance. June 2014, I finished my last half-marathon with a PR of 2 hrs and 19 min. This is my best so far.
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Q&A
-What made you decide to be a runner? 
I had weight issues and my friend suggested to try running (because dieting isn’t just enough). I noticed that I became less sickly and I did in fact, lose a lot of weight. Emotionally, I feel stronger and more confident, as though I could take on anything the world wants to throw at me. I also found myself a community of friends who showed me that running can bring out the best in myself.
-What is the longest distance you’ve ran? 25 km (November 2013)
-What is your favorite post run fuel? 1-2 (or more) cups of brown rice + grilled pork belly. Yup, I eat like a pirate. Hahaha!
-What song is currently being played on your playlist when you run? I have a weird selection of songs from ACDC to System of a Down. I like fast/upbeat songs when running on a track oval.
-What would you tell an individual who has just started their journey into running? ENDURANCE! Focus on distance rather than time. For now, do not worry about your pace instead build mileage gradually.
Places to follow Polly:
Want to be a Friday Featured Runner? Send me an email.

Friday Featured Runner (series 11)

This Fridays Featured Runner is Lisa over at The Running Fire Wife.
Lisa’s Running Journey

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I started my running journey in 2010 thanks to my amazing best friend, Erin. We signed up for WDW Royal Family 5k. At the time I didn’t think it was a big deal… whatever I will walk most of it. After my first 5k I did a few more than in 2012 I became pregnant and running was the last thing on my mind, even after baby. I had no desire to run.
In Jan. 2014 Erin was running the WDW marathon. I came up to be there for support. I made a sign and stood in the cold at Magic Kingdom waiting. It seemed like forever, but the minute the first runners came by I teared up. It was an amazing sight to see, to witness. I can’t explain it. You have to be there to feel the rush of emotion for those runners. Truly amazing feeling! After what seemed like forever ( I was so worried I was going to miss her run by), There she was!! I immediately broke out into happy tears! (to this day I tear up thinking, and even writing about it)!  Happy tears! I was so excited to see her! We took a few pictures and then she had to be on her way. It was then that I decided I was going to run again. I left M.K. and went back to where I was staying, ate and got everyone dressed to go to the finish line. As she crossed that line I cried again (with sunglasses on this time)! She did it!  Erin is 100% the reason for my motivation in taking back up running. She inspires me all the time. After that weekend, I went out got new running shoes and my journey to running again began. My biggest outcome to date is running my first 10K and coming in 4th place!
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Q&A
-What made you decide to be a runner? I’ve never really thought of myself as a runner until this year. The beginning of this year was my eye opener and I’m now happy to say I AM A RUNNER!  ( Again, it was Erin who inspired me to run. Now it’s for 100 reasons).
-What is the longest distance you’ve ran? To date is 7 miles. I am currently training for my first half marathon.
-What is your favorite post run fuel? chocolate milk! Nothing is better than downing chocolate milk after a run!! If you haven’t tried it… you must!!
-What song is currently being played on your playlist when you run? Running and music are my two most favorite things (aside from my family). Those that know me, know I LOVE concerts & running. So I will give my top songs in my playlist… because I cannot choose just one!
1. Lost in Stereo -All Time Low
2. Underdog- You Me At Six
3. Can’t Hold Us – Mackelmore
4. Timebomb- All Time Low
5. The Other Side – Jason Derulo
-What would you tell an individual who has just started their journey into running? It’s not going to be easy, at all. And results will take some time. But when you finish your first race, it will all be worth it!! I promise you nothing is better than running across that finish line!

Places to follow Lisa:

Facebook: facebook.com/runningfirewife
Twitter: twitter.com/runningfirewife

 

Want to be a Friday Featured Runner? Send me an email

Friday Featured Runner (series 10)

This Friday’s Featured Runner is Rachel over at Running on Happy
Rachel’s Running Journey

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 My story is a little lengthy, so to keep it brief, I will just say this: I started running to lose pregnancy weight after I had my first baby. The road to get there was chaotic, but I started interval training and somewhere along the way developed my love for running. I’ve been running for the last four years, through pregnancy with baby #2, and I’m never looking back.
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Q & A
What is your favorite go to fuel during long runs? Sport Beans
-What race is on your bucket list? Boston Marathon
-What running shoe brand do you prefer? Mizuno
-Your favorite race medal? Medal from the Cleveland Half Marathon 2014
-What is your best advice you’d give to a new beginner just starting their running journey? Stick with it. It will pay off in the end.
Places to follow Rachel
Would you like to be a Friday Featured Runner? Send me an email.

Friday Featured Runner (series 8)

Today’s Friday Featured Runner is Ashtyn over at Fit Life with Ashtyn. I’m so excited to feature this amazing lady. I met her through our facebook pages and she has inspired me in so many ways.

Ashtyn’s Running Journey
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I am a single parent (with an amazing family and boyfriend) who splits custody of my daughter across the U.S. and I spend longer amounts of time away from my child. I would become depressed and anxious and worry and eventually it lead me to be a worn down, wore out, over weight version of myself. I woke up one day and decided that if I had to be away from her, I would make the most of myself. My daughter deserves the strongest version of her mother, one who can play, keep up and be around for the long haul. I started by setting a crazy goal of a half marathon. I fell in love with running and found out more about myself than I ever knew I had in me. Every time I ran, I came back a different person. I decided to keep going and signed up for my first full marathon in November of 2013. After training from the couch to a marathon for 31 weeks, on November 12th, 2013 I ran my first full marathon in 4:42:45. As soon as I crossed the finish line and saw my daughter I knew I had more in me and I wanted to keep going! After maintaining my running all last winter, I signed up and completed two more full marathons and am currently training for two ultra marathons (50k & 50M) and two more full marathons this summer/fall. My hope is to inspire and let others know that your hardships and struggles can define you in a positive way!
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Q & A
 
-What is your go to fuel for long runs? Tailwind Endurance Fuel and PlowOn Gum are the only fuels I use while running. I have a hard time eating while under race stress, so mixing the Tailwind up in my Camelbak is the best option for me. Lemon is my favorite flavor! I use Plow for caffeine and an extra boost when I need it
– What race is on your bucket list? I would love to see if I can conquer a distance greater than 50 M ;-)
– Favorite Running shoe? I am loyal to Asics Gel Cumulus for my road running shoe! But I wear Brooks Cascadias on the trails
-Your favorite race medal? All of my races and medals are special to me and share a story of personal growth and development. I choose my second marathon medal because I got to run and finish with a friend who was completing her first marathon, It was such a happy moment and it meant a lot to me to be there at the finish with her.
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– What advice would you give to something who is just starting their running journey? My advice to new runners is to enjoy the journey! No one starts out a pro and you can’t always run hard. If you set unrealistic time goals or expectations you will burn out quick and not enjoy the run. I personally started training for a half marathon with run/walk combos and was logging 14-15 min miles. I now run between 9-10 min miles but I took my time, went slow and avoided injury and burnout. I also think signing up for a race gives you motivation and encouragement to stay on task!
Places to follow Ashtyn:
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/FitlifewithAshtyn
Instagram- http://instagram.com/fitlifewithashtyn
Want to be a Friday Featured Runner? Send me an email