After all that you accomplished, what drives you to continue running?
I'm really drawn towards competing and always have been. I love to push my limits and live for those moments when you know you have left everything on the course. I have stepped away from competitive running a couple times in the past 16 years, but am always compelled to come back. I'll continue running until the joy I get from racing is gone.
How do you motivate yourself on days when you don't feel like running?
Having been born into a family with a history of chronic illness, I was imparted with a sense of mortality from an early age. I know that one day I will no longer be able to run, for one reason or another and I never want to regret the days I could have worked towards my goals, but didn't.
On average, how many times and miles do you run a month?
During peak training, I try to hit 85 to 95 miles per week and do so in 7 to 10 runs. I recently hit my highest mileage month ever, which was 367 miles.
What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?
Oh man! I have so many stories I could tell here. Just recently I was finishing up a run when a man pulled up next to me in his car, rolled down his window, yelled "this is for you!" and threw a chili pepper at me. That was a new one.
What are your favorite types of fuel for running and why?
During races and long runs, I fuel with GU gels, specifically salted watermelon! They seem to be the only gels my stomach can tolerate, plus they aren't too sweet! For recovery, I LOVE Picky Bars (Ah! Fudge Nuts is my favorite). Other than that, I try to eat as many lean proteins, healthy fats and whole carbohydrates as possible. My grocery list usually includes lots of fish, quinoa, avocado, bananas, bison, wild rice and veggies!
What's your favorite cheat food & drink?
This is easy! My cheat foods aren't "cheating" necessarily because they are unhealthy, but because they are expensive! When I really want to treat myself, I get Haagen Dazs green tea ice cream and a chai latte from the local coffee shop.
Do you like ice baths? Why or why not?
I love ice baths, especially ones in Lake Michigan in my hometown Michigan City, Indiana. Cold water just has a way of rejuvenating your legs that you can't replicate with foam rolling or stretching.
What's the most important tip you like to give new runners?
Have fun and listen to your body. Find workouts/routes that make you excited and if running feels like a chore, switch things up or take a day off. Never try to run through an injury!
What is your favorite running accomplishment so far?
Running 2:38:39 at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon to qualify for the Olympic Trials is definitely my favorite accomplishment. I took a huge risk by taking time off from pursuing my PhD to focus solely on my running. A lot of people criticized my decision, given that my marathon PR at the time (2:47:54) was pretty far from the "B" standard. Crossing the line and seeing that I was closer to the "A" standard than the "B" was one of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced.
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