What got you started: I went out for track in junior high because everyone told me I should; I spent years running around on a soccer field. That turned into an instant love, I continued as a track athlete in high school and into college. After college I got pretty sick and spent some time in the hospital; when I was finally on the upswing I started walking and then running to get stronger again. That turned into my first 5k, then 10k, half marathon, and eventually my first marathon. Here we are 50+ 5k’s, 20+ Half Marathon’s, and 10+ marathons later—talk about a snowball effect.
Biggest accomplishment of your career: Having an NJCAA National Track & Field Championship, as well as being named All-American college athlete will always be a highlight for me. But my more recent ‘accomplishments’ almost mean more because it reminds me that the ‘glory days’ don’t have to be over when you’re done with college—success is a lifelong process. It’s never too late to start setting goals and working towards them. Qualifying and running the Boston Marathon is something I never dreamed would happen- let alone multiple times, so I’d say that is definitely one of the best accomplishments in last few years. Having some wins from the 5k-half marathon, and a few top 5 marathon showings are also on the list of proud moments.
What parts of your training are key to your success? Variety in training is something that helps keep me mentally and physically fresh. Whether it is varying routes, new workouts, running with people sometimes, jumping in a race as a workout, or taking an unplanned rest day when needed. I also think that willingness to learn is big key to the improvements I’ve made over the years. Asking for help and advice from others, reading articles on different training methods, learning which workouts will help me get which results. On that note, also learning what works for ME and not just the general population is important- there isn’t a one size fits all training/nutrition/racing plan.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your sport, and what do you do to overcome it? The mental aspect of training and racing is something that I think provides the most consistent challenge. Grinding the miles day after day and doing what needs to be done isn’t always easy. Getting to race day, when conditions might not be ideal, when you have fears and doubts- it makes things harder. Learning to focus on what I CAN control has been the biggest piece of the puzzle. You can’t control the weather, so train for all of it or learn to adjust goals. You can’t control who shows up to race, so focus on your own miles and splits and less about what others are doing. The mental game gets much easier when you feel in control and prepared for what YOU are doing.
What is your favorite Zensah product and why? Definitely the compression calf sleeves. They are comfortable, well made, and get the job done. I have no issues running in them, sleeping in them for recovery, or wearing them under my work clothes for support/extra recovery time.
How long have you been using Zensah? I bought my first pair of Zensah Leg Sleeves in 2011 while training for my second marathon. I still own that pair, they have gotten so much use out of them and are still in great shape. My collection has grown quite a bit since then!
If you could be great at any other sport besides your current one, what would it be? I always wanted to play football- so there’s that ;)
What’s your favorite thing to eat after a tough workout? I’m pretty simple with regards to refueling- PB&J, or chocolate milk do the trick (not to mention the protein helps recovery). I also firmly believe a Guinness is great post-workout carb loading.
Who/what inspires you? I try and find inspiration wherever I can; I’m constantly surrounded by people who amaze me. Friends, family and even strangers- overcoming obstacles not just in running, but in life. I was lucky to be raised by parents who instilled a strong work ethic in me, doing so by example- this is something I always seem to come back to. Watching them day in and day out juggle working full time, growing and learning as people/parents, raising my sister and I to be strong/smart/healthy, as well as being adults needing to take care of themselves. Those are the kinds of lessons that translate not just into running, but into life. They showed me to work hard, play hard, learn from mistakes, and always keep trying.
How does Zensah help you perform without limits? If the mental aspect is the biggest challenge faced in what I do, I’d say recovery is the second. As athletes, we want to go-go-go all the time, and we cannot do that without proper recovery. The body needs time to heal, and rebuild- Zensah compression is a big component of that process for me. Whether it be sleeping in calf sleeves after hard workouts or the night before a race. Wearing the ankle compression sleeve when I start to feel some twinges, or lounging in the compression tights for all-over relief. The workouts aren’t going to be as effective if you can’t bounce back from one to the next- compression definitely helps that process and allows me to work harder without needing excess recovery time.