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Digital Running Club » Catching Up » Catching up with Jennifer DeCurtins

Catching up with Jennifer DeCurtins

The basics: 29 year old fitness club manager, personal trainer, yogi and healthy living blogger from Charlotte, NC.

When/How did you start running?
I began running about 10 years ago. I cheered competitively throughout high school and my first year of college. I grew accustomed to daily practices and physical conditioning. When I gave up cheering, I started running regularly as a way to stay in shape in college. I became hooked on my daily runs! I joined a running group after graduation and trained for and completed the 2006 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon.

Why do you run?
Running makes me feel alive. It’s the thing that I turn to when I need a physical or emotional release. I love being outside and feeling the pavement under my feet as I take in everything around me and breathe in fresh air. I also love that running is an individual sport. It feel strong and self-confident knowing that I am the only one who can get myself through a training run or race. I am responsible for my performance.

When do you prefer to run?
In an ideal world, mid-morning. However, that is difficult with a full-time job so I squeeze it in whenever I can!

When/Where was your best run ever?
I worked as a counselor at a summer camp in the North Carolina mountains in college. I would often sneak in runs during our daily afternoon rest breaks. I still remember “the most perfect day.” We had a rare break in heat and there was low humidity and a cool breeze. The sun was shining and the mountains were beautiful. I felt so happy in that moment and grateful for my amazing life and surroundings. One of my favorite things about running is the ability to do it anywhere and to spend time outdoors. My most memorable runs are always near mountains or water.

What is your biggest running disaster/embarrassing moment?
I wanted to do a mud run to celebrate my birthday this year. I thought it would be a fun and active thing to do. Well, the whole experience was a disaster! We missed the memo that packet pick-up was at a different location than the race and that we were supposed to ride a shuttle from packet pick-up to the race. We walked a mile from where we parked the car to the race only to find that we had no bibs! Luckily, they let us run the race anyway but it was pretty disappointing. The 5K course was only 2.5 miles and the mud pit was full of red clay that stained our skin for days. Oh well!

Jen DeCurtins runningWhat are your current running goals?
I have taken a break from distance running over the past year and a half in order to focus more on strength training, my yoga practice and racing shorter distances. Fall race season is my favorite and I would love to run a half this fall and run a sub 1:50. I would also like to continue to race shorter distances and beat my current 5K PR of 22:40. I love (well it’s a love/hate) the short, intense races and get such a rush from it!

What is a typical dinner for you?
I was 90% vegetarian for about 3 years. Recently, I’ve decided to focus on increasing the lean protein in my diet and reducing processed soy products and heavy amounts of beans and starchy foods. As a result, I feel so much better and stronger all over. I have noticed an improvement in performance and recovery. A typical dinner is something like grilled chicken or fish, a roasted vegetable, and starch/grain like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice or millet. I do have a huge sweet tooth though so it’s not uncommon for me to eat fruit, chocolate or some ice cream before bed!

What is the most memorable meal you have ever eaten?
My most memorable meals have definitely been those where I’ve participated in a chef’s tasting, especially when they also offer wine pairings. I love stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying new foods and combinations of flavors.

What do you bring to every race?
My iPod! I find a good race day playlist to be incredibly motivating!

What advice would you give to a runner who is interested in trying yoga?
Running and yoga are pretty much opposing forces. Running emphasizes the “go, go, go” mindset and contracts the muscles. Yoga emphasizes letting go and lengthening the muscles. This can be hard for some runners to do because it goes against the grain of what you have trained your body to do. That said, yoga can be extremely beneficial for runners and help with injury prevention, muscle imbalances and improving flexibility/stability. I recommend that those new to yoga attend a class if possible. The hands-on instruction is invaluable for newcomers. Check out a variety of styles/studios to see what resonates with you. If you’re looking for more of a workout, try a power or vinyasa class. If you’re looking for more relaxation and stretching, try deep stretch or slow flow.

Do you use the same breathing pattern when you run and when you practice yoga? 
I do not. When I run, I breathe however it feels comfortable and natural – usually a combination of nose and mouth breathing. In yoga I use ujjayi breathing, which is nose breathing only.

What is an awesome lesson you have learned from BodyPump, either personally – or just a great workout tip for us?
I have learned the value of strength training. There was a time when I had no interest in strength training but after seeing the positive impact it made on appearance of my body/muscles as well as my performance, it’s an integral part of my training mix.

Follow Jennifer’s healthy living adventures at peanutbutterrunner.com!

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