Racing for Fitness: Interview with Michele
For the Love of Running
When I was assigned to interview Michele (our resident marathon-runner extraordinaire here at Zak) a couple of months ago for a Fitness & Wellness blog post, I tried to remember when the last time was that I had gone for a run, and couldn’t. Talking with Michele about her love for this activity revealed her passion for the sport of running, and her excitement was contagious! The part that stood out the most was her advice to aspiring beginner runners ? find ways to make it fun (such as social running), and do not push yourself too much.
In the days since interviewing Michele, I’ve run more than 60 miles, most of them with my roommate, mom, or aunt (who also works with me) on my lunch break. I usually try to run at least three times a week. It’s a good way to spend quality time with people I love, a great workout, and fits into my schedule. I never would have thought this interview would have had such a profound effect on my exercise routine.
How long have you been running, when/why did you start?
“18 years ago at age 30. I started out by walking Bloomsday and just got caught up in the fun and tried to beat my time every year after that. It was also a fun activity to do with the kids, as they ran cross country from elementary through college. This fall, I am meeting up in San Francisco with my daughter to run the Nike Women’s Marathon.”
Personally, what benefits do you glean from making running a large part of your health and wellness routine?
“I watch my nutrition, but I like the aspect that I don’t have to worry too much about what I eat.”
How many hours a week, on average, do you run?
How often do you participate in races (i.e fun runs, marathons, etc.)?
“Last year I ran 8 marathons and 8 half marathons.”
Number of marathons you have run:
“This weekend will mark my 28th marathon ? well it’s the Mt. Spokane 50k (which is actually 31 miles.”
Where/ when was your first marathon?
“Coeur d’Alene in 2001”
Most memorable race:
“I ran the Boston Marathon twice, and that is always a memorable event, due to the combination of the sheer number of people lining the streets, as well as being able to sight-see in such a historic city by running through it.”
“2003 - St. George marathon in Utah, I ran a 3:40.”
Ever run in a costume?
“Many times. At Bay to Breakers in San Francisco, my husband and I ran dressed as Barney and Betty Rubble. And I’ve run a race in Las Vegas dressed in a Santa costume.”
Do you run with an MP3 player? Have any tunes that get you over the wall or the rough points in the Marathon
“I only listen to music when running long solo training runs. During races I like to talk to people, soak everything in, and not have headphones in. My husband put a playlist together for me with up-tempo songs that are good to run to.”
The only running shoes for me:
“Brooks Ravenna for longer runs/ races. I also like Saucony Kinvarra running shoes for shorter runs and races ? they just feel faster.”
“I have some recurring hip and hamstring trouble but try to maintain with regular stretching and yoga. It’s been 10 years since I’ve had knee issues.”
Hot or cold weather runner?
“I run year-round, but I enjoy this weather best (crisp autumn mornings).”
Morning or evening runs?
“Midday. I’m not a morning-person, and the only time I run at night is when it’s for the Flying Irish Run.”
What is your motivation?
“Staying healthy. Having goals and events to work toward. Participating in a variety of events to check out new places.”
Favorite pre/ post-race nosh:
Before a race - something gluten-free (potatoes, Quinoa, and some form of protein). After a race is the time to indulge - it could be pizza, beer, hamburgers, or ice cream.
What advice would you give people who want to start running?
Don’t take it too seriously. It’s okay to walk when needed. Find ways to make it fun, like social running.