Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A: Born and raised in Endicott and now live just over the border in PA. Skydiver, triathlete and coach, Systems Engineer, Roman Catholic lay minister, grandma, spirited ginger and gardener (that yells at and chases flower eating wildlife). Addicted to peanut butter, green olives, singing in the car (whether I’m alone or not) and shamelessly quoting movie lines.
Q: How long have you been running and how did you get started?
A: Mom, dad and I used to jog in the early mornings when I was in high school. Dad was pretty consistent with it particularly when he was trying to lose weight and I did it, well, to be with dad. Wasn’t my favorite past time. In fact, I remember showing up at softball practice one day and asking Kelly LaBare how she got there. “I ran” was her response and my honest to goodness response back to her? “Why??” Fast forward 5-6 years later, a coworker and I did the predicted mile at the Corporate Challenge and vowed to do the 5K the following year. Dad decided he *might* like that and would train with us. We did our first race together, the Danielle 5k on May 4, 1997. If you know my dad at all, the rest is history.
Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone? Trails or road?
A: I do enjoy running in a group but I tend to overextend myself and typically I’m doing what I can to squeeze in my training. Because of that, my training ends up being quite goal oriented and time restrained so most of the time it is just a lot easier to run by myself. I like both [Trails and Road]. But if you know me at all, you know I’m kind of a clutz so odds are, I have a better shot of making it home in one piece if I stick to the roads/sidewalks.
Q: What is your favorite distance or race or running gear?
A: Longer. Definitely. I’m a diehard middle-of-the-packer (MOP) and I may not be that fast but I can go forever. When talking about distances for training / racing, I’ll tell people I’m not a fan of “puke” races but a much bigger fan of “I feel like I got hit by a bus” races. [As for running gear,] Saucony. Always. Every few years I end up trying a different brand because I just refuse to believe that only Saucony will do. Each time, I end up running back to Saucony (see what I did there?) and I’m left with a closet full of “other brand” sneakers that have been worn 4-5 times. I think that might be my dad’s stubbornness coming out in me.
Q: What's the most rewarding thing about running and how do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?
A: [The most rewarding thing about running is] that I can do it anywhere and for life. Literally inside or out, here or there and it is something I can do (however slow it may end up being) for the rest of my days. No matter where I am in life, running will always be there to make me feel strong and free and healthy. Every year when it is goal planning time and occasionally mid-year when it is warranted, I think about what my goals are and what is my “Why?”. What is “that one thing” that drives me when the going gets tough or the weather is cold or my legs hurt or I’m hungry or I have something else I want to be doing or or or … Something to hang my hat that I can embrace to help me push through. That and experience has shown me that if I’m not consistent with my running, the road back is very slow and a lot of work. Better to get out there and stay on top of it, even if it is only a mile or two! You’d be surprised how much a role of consistency plays in being successful in your training – physically and mentally.
Q: What is your favorite running memory and any goals for the future?
A: Dad’s first trip to the Boston Marathon in 1999. Yeah that’s right. His first race in May of 1997. His first Boston in 1999. He was unstoppable and amazing and showed me so many races and places with running that I doubt I ever would have seen without his drive. He had a rough Boston that year and I have a picture of us walking together around mile 23. I’m sure they frown upon daughters jumping in like that these days but we did it back then and we did it together. [As for goals for the future,] I’m pretty focused on Ironman distance triathlon right now but at some point a Boston Qualification would be nice. I always joke that one of my main goals in triathlon is to get to Kona and it will probably end up being “Kona by attrition”, basically wait out the other old ladies in my age group until everyone else is too tired to do it anymore. I suppose I may end up getting my BQ dream that way as well. 😊
Q: Who inspires you most?
A: I have several folks whose memory I lean on pretty heavily to get me through various situations. For running, there are two key ones: my dad and Maddie Shaw. It isn’t every day you meet a person that just by working their way through the ups and downs of life, inspires you to be a better version of you. I can honestly say that their strength, courage and determination humbles me to this day and provides me foundational motivation to persevere, day in and day out.
Q: What advice do you have for new runners?
A: As I mentioned, running can be something you can do for life. So build up slowly – both distance and speed. Unless you are truly a special breed like my dad, too much too fast can lead to injury and burn out which make consistency and longevity really hard. And unless you are getting paid to run (and congratulations if that’s the case but not typical for us mere mortals) don’t make a job out of it! Enjoy it! Make it fun. Find your “Why?” and remember… It’s not when you finish. It’s why.