Shawanna White is a marathoner with the dream of qualifying for the US Olympic Trials in 2020 in the marathon. Her running talent spans across the entire spectrum of race distances, but the marathon holds a special place in her heart. She is an elementary school Physical Education teacher, originally from Georgia and currently living in South Carolina.
After all that you've accomplished, what drives you to continue running?
I honestly feel that I have more to accomplish in running so that’s one of the reasons I keep running. I also run because I am able to and enjoy running on the open roads.
How do you motivate yourself on days when you don't feel like running?
There are not too many days where I am not motivated to run but when it happens I remind myself one mile at a time is needed to achieve my goals. I just have to be strong and run on.
On average, how many times and miles do you run a month?
On average, I run 7 days a week and around 100 to 300 miles a month.
How are you feeling about your chances to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials?
I feel on the right day, I will qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon trials because I am only 19 seconds away. If my math is correct, that’s only one sec per mile faster. I can do it.
If you are able qualify but are unable to gain a spot on the Olympic team, how would you feel?
Qualifying for the trials is my Olympics so not making the top three is fine with me. If I can run a PR on the day, great, but again, being there on that line is the greatest.
What does your weight training consist of and which exercise do you feel helps your running the most?
My weight training consist of resistance bands, YouTube videos and body weight exercises. I believe squats and any exercise that uses my hamstring is good to help with my kick at the end of a race.
What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?
The funniest and weirdest thing that happens to me during a run is that if I have to use the bathroom really bad, I will stop and go. It doesn’t matter if I am in the middle of the road, I will go. What’s funny is that in a race I would just wet my pants. Weird, I know. Another funny thing that happened during a race is when I saw a girl pulled to the side to poop. When we gotta go, then when just go.
What's it like to balance your schedule as a Elementary school teacher and marathon training at an elite level?
At this point of my life, I no longer feel like I am balancing work and running. They both are two things in my life that I enjoy so it's easy to make time. I am passionate about becoming the best runner that I can be so if that calls for me running while most are asleep, no problem.
What was it like earning the 2016 & 2017 USATF South Carolina Road Runner of the year award?
I am honored to be selected as the USATF SC Runner of the year for two years. I was up against some amazing ladies so I was excited to receive this award.
What type of results did that require?
For a runner to qualify for USATF SC runner he or she must be a resident of the state and a US citizen. I met that standard in addition to running several races in the state in which I placed in the top three. But honestly you would have to ask the voters why they chose me. I am honored that they selected me for this prestigious award.
What's your favorite types of fuel for running and why?
My favorite fuel for running is Spring Energy because it is made of nature ingredients and tastes delicious.
What's your favorite cheat food & drink?
My favorite cheat foods are sweets. I love ice cream, cookies, cakes, and brownies. I go through periods where I stop eating these foods for 1 to 3 months but when not taking a break I typically consume sweets on a weekly basis. So can you really call it a cheat food? I don’t know.
With your impressive training regimen, have you ever considered running an ultra marathon? Why or why not?
With all the races and all the miles I will run a road ultra marathon one day. I love taking on a new challenge and you might find me at an ultra marathon in 2020.
Do you like ice baths? Why or why not?
I like ice baths because they make my legs feel fresh, but I focus more on epsom salt baths during the winter months unless my legs feel beat up.
In your free time when you’re not running, what other hobby’s do you enjoy?
Outside of running, I enjoy reading, movies, and just being outside with friends and family.
What's the most important tip you like to give new runners?
The most important tip for a new runner is to run easy on easy days and go hard on the hard days.
Who's faster, you or your boyfriend?
My boyfriend Orinthal Striggles who is also my coach is faster. However, I managed to beat him in one marathon and one half marathon.
Who's one runner you've been inspired by and why?
I am inspired by every runner beginners, mid-pack, elite, masters, etc. I love to hear about people accomplishing their goals, because it gets me excited about my own goals. Chasing times, chasing distances or chasing people are all things that runners have in common. The beauty is that we all have a story that will inspire others so for me it's all who share in this sport. I can’t just name one.
What is your favorite running accomplishment so far?
In the past, I would say a race where I PR, or winning my 3rd marathon was my greatest running accomplishment, but not anymore. My most treasured running experience was in November, 2013, when I ran my first race back from hip surgery in honor of my grandmother who died from pancreatic cancer. I was overwhelmed with joy to be able to race pain-free to celebrate my grandmother’s life and to support pancreatic cancer.
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Published March 14, 2019