Without further delay I give you the question and answer portion of Thumbs Up Thursday!
Jodi: How long have you been running?
Rachel: Throughout my life I have always run, but it wasn't until almost two years ago that I started to consider myself a runner.
Jodi: Why did you start running?
Rachel: I played soccer from a young age up until college so I would run to stay in shape, but never ran just for the sake of running. While away at college a friend of mine ran a marathon as part of Team in Training, which planted the seed. I had always wanted to run a marathon, but I kept telling myself I was too busy, the time wasn't right. Finally, in January of 2009 I decided to stop making excuses - there would never be a perfect time to train for a marathon, so I took the plunge and signed up with TNT and the rest is history!
Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Rachel: My first real race was a 10 miler during training for my first marathon. While I hadn't raced much leading up to that first marathon in June of 2009 (I'd never even done a 5k!), I certainly made up for it after. I sort of went race crazy, completing 5 more marathons, 6 halfs, plus several smaller ones, since then. Racing keeps me motivated to train and challenge myself, and I just love the excitement, endorphins, and sense of achievement that comes from crossing a finish line.
Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Rachel: Hmmmm, I would probably say my favorite race distance right now is the half marathon. I try to stay in "half at any time" shape, so I love that I can decide to do one spontaneously. On the other hand, it can still be a challenging distance, no matter how many times you've done it. I love to incorporate halfs into my training plans to replace long runs, too - I figure if I'm gonna run the distance anyway, I might as well get a shirt and medal for it!
Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Rachel: I have a couple. Crossing the finish line at my first marathon will always be a highlight that brings a smile to my face. This past June I had the privilege to run a marathon with 8 of my sorority sisters whom I had mentored through TNT, and although we all started at different times we found each other toward the end and I got to be there in those final miles to motivate them to their first 26.2 finish! Setting an unexpected PR at the notoriously hilly San Francisco Marathon this past July was pretty great. And finally, running a truly unique marathon in the middle of the Nevada desert starting at midnight and finishing as the sun rose : )
Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Rachel: Easy. The day before my second marathon my stomach was feeling a bit...off. Determined and stubborn, I decided to run it anyway, and boy was it not pretty. Around mile 8 I was dead, and had to resort to walk/running the rest of the race. I threw up a few times and couldn't keep any fuel down, so I had zero energy. Thanks to my amazing running buddy who stuck with me the whole way, I managed to cross that finish line, but it was quite a miserable race.
Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Rachel: Completing my first marathon - there's absolutely nothing like your first : ) There's just something about accomplishing something that once seemed impossible... And man, I rode that high for weeks!
Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Rachel: My Garmin! I'm totally Type A when it comes to keeping track of my runs. I wish I could just "unplug", but just thinking about it makes me a little anxious!
Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Rachel: Pre-race I stick to the ol' tried and true toast with pb. During a race I'm a Gu girl - vanilla bean to be specific. I also take salt caps for electrolytes since I'm usually not a fan of course drinks. My fave drink during a race or run, however, would be Nuun.
Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Rachel: Haha now this is the real reason I like to race! Actually I can never stomach food immediately after a race, so I usually skip all the freebie food which is sort of bummer. But after an hour or so I usually go out for a big celebratory meal, usually including an ice cold beer : )
Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Rachel: I admire those who are new to running and have stuck with it. It's not always easy, but I think every runner out there would agree that what they get in return makes it all worth it. I admire those who manage to fit running in amongst an already crazy life involving a career, kids, school, etc. And I admire anyone who has the discipline to train for and complete an Ironman - to me, that is the ultimate!
Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Rachel: "Life begins on the edge of comfort."
Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel ___________.
Rachel: Depending on the day, could be strong/exhilarated/sluggish/tired/happy. I like to remind myself that the occasional sucky run makes a great run feel that much greater : )
Jodi: What is your current goal?
Rachel: Recently I crossed over to the dark side... to the world of triathlons! After focusing on running and racing so much I was eager for some change and a new challenge, so I bought a road bike and borrowed a wetsuit and started training for my first sprint triathlon taking place this Sunday! Some other goals I hope to accomplish over the next year include adding ultras to my resume, getting into trail running, setting a new half and marathon PR, doing longer cycling events, and continuing with triathlons.
And we certainly can't do Thumbs Up Thursday with out the photo portion! Enjoy Rachel's pictures!!
Rachel after PR'ing the SF Marathon
Rachel crossing the finish line of her first marathon
Thank you for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Rachel! Best of luck in your first sprint triathlon this weekend!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and Rachel YOU inspire ME!!