When/How did you start running?
I ran because I had to in high school when I played field hockey. I hated it because it was something I was forced to do. I continued to run in college to keep off the beer and late night pizza pounds. I didn’t really start to enjoy running until my junior/senior years of college when I finally started to run outside instead of just on the treadmill at the gym.
Why do you run?
The answer to that question can vary from day to day. Right now, I run because I love how I feel when I run and after I finish a run. I love that simply running a few times a week keeps me healthy, in shape and able to keep up with a busy toddler. I run because I’m training for my 3rd marathon and I want to feel prepared on race day. I wrote a post about why I run and you can see how my purpose has evolved over the years: http://the-running-mom.com/2011/08/why-i-run/
When do you prefer to run?
I prefer to run in the morning because it starts my day off on the right foot. However, being a running mom means I don’t always get my way. “Nap time” treadmill runs are sometimes a necessity.
When/Where was your best run ever?
My 20 mile long run before my first marathon remains my best run in my running history. I have had some fantastic runs since then, but this one always sticks out in my mind – even 5 and a half years later! I was running with Team in Training and it was to be my longest run before the Marine Corps Marathon. It was pouring rain the entire time. Cold, heavy rain. There were massive puddles everywhere. When I finished that run, I felt like I could do anything.
What is your proudest moment in running?
Hands down – running 20 miles while pushing my son in the jogging stroller. I have never felt more accomplished (or sore) after that run than I did after any other race. That run was the hardest run I’ve ever had mentally. I nearly talked myself out of it at least once every mile while I was doing it. You can read all the details here: http://the-running-mom.com/2011/09/my-20-mile-run-with-zain/
What is your biggest running disaster/embarrassing moment?
I can’t recall an embarrassing moment (I’m really good at blacking those out from my memory). My biggest running disaster was basically my first marathon. My training went pretty well, aside from some pesky minor injuries – but race day was a mess! I made the typical mistake of going out too fast and hit the wall by mile 13. It was a miracle that I even finished. And that’s part of why it took me 5 years to want to run another marathon.
Another running disaster was when I was in college and signed up for a 5K. I trained entirely on the treadmill, not knowing how different it was from running outside. The race was really small and full of serious runners. I was one of the last people to finish and I was running at an epically slow pace. I felt like I had never run before. I think that experience scarred me because I hate 5Ks.
I have 3 half marathons on my schedule this Spring, so I hope to knock out my sub-2-hour half. I hit a bump in the road while training for my next marathon when I was diagnosed with runner’s knee in January. I’ve had to step back my training a bit, so a sub-4-hour marathon isn’t going to happen this time, but hopefully a PR still will. One day, I will run a sub-4 marathon. I just don’t know when that day will be!
A 50-mile race is a long-term goal of mine. The way I look at it – I plan to be a lifelong runner. I know one day in the future I will train for and run a 50-mile race; I just don’t know yet when that will be. It will definitely have to wait until my son sleeps better at night. He still doesn’t consistently sleep through the night which takes a toll on me and definitely affects my training.
What is a typical dinner for you?
My husband and I recently decided to give up eating meat. Becoming vegetarians has opened our eyes and given us the opportunity to try new things. We try new recipes frequently and eat lots of veggies. We get a weekly delivery of local, organic fresh fruits and vegetables; so whatever is in our bag for the week ends up on the dinner table in one way, shape or form. One thing that is always consistent is that I must eat my whole grain pasta dinner (usually with homemade sauce) the night before long runs and races.
What do you bring to every race?
I feel like a newbie when it comes to races, so I’m still learning what I must have with me. During the Baltimore Marathon in October, I had an extreme craving for lemon-lime nuun. From now on, that will be with me at all races.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Do I have to pick just one? Dark chocolate definitely ranks high on my list. Strawberries dipped in Nutella is pretty high up there too. I love to bake, so any fresh, homemade baked goods are a big guilty pleasure too.
What advice would you give to a beginning runner?
Get fitted for running shoes. Wearing the wrong shoes can really put a damper on your training and cause injuries. I know from experience!
What do you listen to when you run?
When I run with my son in the jogging stroller, I don’t listen to music. I feel safer not listening to music when he’s with me. When I run alone, the majority of my playlist is songs from Glee, and I am not ashamed to admit it!
You frequently train (and sometimes race) with a stroller. What’s it like to race without a stroller after all that training with a stroller?
Liberating! After completing the majority of my runs with a stroller, running without it makes me feel free and light. I feel like I can run faster and farther. It is really amazing how different I feel. I feel stronger and ready to conquer those miles. That can be a bad thing though because I can easily make the mistake of going out too fast.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
My parents own a Christmas tree farm, and I grew up in a house with a field of Christmas trees in my front yard. Also, I have an obsession with Paris and my house is full of artwork and decor that represents the city. I try to convince my husband at least once a week that we should move there.
Read more about Kristen at the-running-mom.com.