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Digital Running Club » Catching Up, Columns » Catching up with Heather Montgomery

Catching up with Heather Montgomery

Heather Montgomery
The basics: 25 year old travel agent from the Mississippi Gulf Coast

When/How did you start running?
I ran track all through high school, except I was a sprinter. I ran the 100 meter dash and anchored the 4×100 meter relay, and LOVED it. A 400 was considered a long distance to me, so never would I have dreamed one day I would run a marathon! I stopped running after high school, and picked it back up again in January of 2009 after watching some of my friends run the Disney marathon. It was so inspiring – I vowed one day I would come back and run it myself. The next year, I ran the Disney Half with my husband. My mom and sister also ran. We went back this year – I came full circle – and we ran the full marathon!

Why do you run?
So I can eat chocolate. Ha! I do have a serious sweet tooth, but that’s not really why I run. Growing up playing multiple sports, the desire to compete has always been in my blood. I love the feel of adrenaline pumping at the start of a race, and the great sense of accomplishment I get when I cross a finish line. I also have a storng desire to be healthy and set a healthy example for others. My husband and I share this desire, so it’s easy around my house to be active and healthy. I also love the solitude of running. I am a thinker, so being along with my thoughts to sort out problems or relieve stress is important to me. I love running with friends and my husband too, but I have learned that I race better by myself.

When do you prefer to run?
Growing up in the hot and humid south. I have learned to run in the mornings or evenings. Lately I have been running in the mornings so I get a great, energizing start to my day and feel accomplished when the sun comes up!

When/Where was your best run ever?
This is an interesting one for me… The half marathon is my favorite distance, and I ran my PR in October at the Jazz Half in New Orleans. It was bitter sweet because I had just started battling a nasty IT band problem, so I ran from mile two on in excruciating knee pain. It is still my PR because I am still suffering from this injury, but more than being proud of the PR, I am proud I was able to do it injured. It was so mentally tough to get through that run, but I did!

What is your proudest moment in running?
Hands down running the Disney marathon with my husband and great friend Karen. We took our time and stopped to take pictures with the characters and we had a blast. Everyone kept telling me to enjoy my first marathon because you only get one first marathon, and I feel like I succeeded on that front. Crossing that finish line with tears in my eyes while holding my husband’s hand is a moment I will remember forever. The sprinter-turned-distance-runner ran 26.2 miles, and I couldn’t be more proud!

What is your biggest running disaster/embarrassing moment?
This isn’t a very good answer, but I don’t really have many. I try to avoid embarrassing situations as much as possible! A couple of years ago I was running my very first 10k. The farthest distance I had ever run was 4 miles, and I only did that twice. A lot of people dressed up for this race (it was in New Orleans) and one guy had made a giant, very heavy looking fluer-de-lis full body costume and he held it up on himself with handles. I thought, “No way can this guy run the whole way in that getup.” But he did… and he beat me! I was very ashamed! I was sure to train better after that one.

What are your running goals?
An immediate goal of mine is to run injury free. That way, I can achieve my other goal of getting another PR in the half marathon distance. One day I would also like to compete in the Goofy Challenge, by running the Disney half marathon on Saturday, then the full marathon on Sunday.

What is a typical dinner for you?
I admittedly am not the picture of perfect nutrition. I am working on it! We eat a lot of chicken dishes and I love love love pasta, especially before a race.

What do you bring to every race?
Oh my that’s a long list! My Garmin is a must, and I always race in a running skirt and always have, unless it’s REALLY cold. I usually carry GU and wear sunscreen!

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
When it comes to food, anything chocolate! Especially when paired with ice cream! Non-food guilty pleasures would be vegging out in front of the TV or reading a magazine. I love “me” time to just relax and be still.

What advice would you give to a beginning runner?
You are stronger than you think. It is one of my favorite mantras, and I said it A LOT during marathon training. There were so many times I thought “what am I doing!?” but I kept on pushing, and am so glad I did. You can always push a little harder, run a little farther, or a little longer than you thought you could. Also I would tell a beginner to not compare yourself to others. Be proud of what YOU can do for yourself. If you fall into the comparison trap, you will never be good enough. I have learned to compete against myself and celebrate even the small victories.

What do you listen to when you run?
Anything with a good beat to keep me going! I actually don’t always listen to music when I run. If I race alone I do, and probably only listen to music on half the training runs I go on. Remember, I am a thinker. :)

What is something most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know I am actually pretty shy. I can speak in front of people, lead a group, talk to strangers, but I actually get really nervous in awkward social situations where I am supposed to mingle with people. I force myself to do it, but I am definitely sweating it behind that smile!

Learn more about Heather at

Filed under: Catching Up, Columns

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