Thursday, September 26, 2013

Runners Spotlight Let Me Introduce CAROLINE



Today is Spotlight Thursday

This week I'd like to introduce CarolineI asked Caroline several questions, to tell part of her story and introduce you all to her. 


Caroline Blogs at




Tell us what distances you like to run? 

For just "everyday" runs, I like to run somewhere between three and four miles. For races, I seem to enjoy the half marathon the best!

Saw that you just started running a few years ago, tell us what got you into it. 

I actually wrote a post on why I started to run a few months ago Here: http://fightingforwellness.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/my-journey-to-running-part-2/ )- to make a long story short, I had a dream that I was running and I loved how it felt in the dream, so I decided to try it! Funny reason to start running, isn't it? I hadn't run in years because I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, and running is very difficult with POTS. I have to take extra precautions, but now I run, in part, because it's something that I thought I might not ever be able to do again because of my medical condition. 



You've done Triathlons, tell us what is your favorite part of them. 

What I love the most about triathlons is the variety and the extra challenge. I love that I get to cross train every week as part of my training, and instead of one thing to prepare for, I have three events (plus two transitions) for which to plan and prepare. There's something extra tough feeling about doing triathlons too... even sprint triathlons! 

What has been your favorite race and distance you have run?  Tell us why? 

My favorite race was the Monumental Half Marathon I ran in November of 2013 (recap here: http://fightingforwellness.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/indianapolis-monumental-half-marathon-recap/). It was my second half marathon, and I set a massive PR! I'm about to start training for that race again!

If you could run any race in the entire world, where would it be and why? 

There's a half marathon that ends in Athens, Greece, and I think it would be absolutely epic to run there with all the history (human and running!) and amazing views. I've traveled to Greece a few times and it's also one of my favorite places on earth!

Per your blog, you love to travel.  Tell us about some of your favorite travel spots.  Do you do race traveling? 

I guess I answered that a bit in the question above. I do love to travel. I find different cultures, food, history, and people really interesting. My favorite place that I've been overseas has been Greece. I studied there my sophomore year of college, and also had the opportunity to give a lecture series there a few years ago! I'm lucky in that I get the chance to travel for work, so I've gotten to see a lot of places because of that. I really love New York City and Marco Island, Florida! I also love Minnesota in the summer because it's absolutely gorgeous! I've actually never done a race while on vacation, but I'd love to mix the two. 

Your a Pilate's Instructor, do you find Pilate's is a great component to add to a runners life? 

I find that pilates is crucial to my life as a runner and biker! (I wrote an entire post on "why pilates?" here: http://fightingforwellness.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/why-pilates/ ) With running, it's critical to have a strong core (our body's "powerhouse") that helps keep all of our muscles engaged. Pilates also helps strengthen some of our weaker muscles, which helps to keep us balanced. As runners we tend to use more heavily certain muscles, and as others get weaker, we're more likely to get injured. Pilates also helps stretch out those stiff muscles and keep me flexible- also critical to help avoid injury!! 


Your a mental health councilor, do you love your job?  Just curious, do you promote running to your clients as a way of stress relief? 

I absolutely love my job! Actually, I hardly even think of it as a job, and sometimes even feel guilty for getting paid for something I enjoy so much! I feel lucky almost every day I leave work that I have the opportunity to walk alongside others as they try to reach a healthier place in life. I don't try to push running, but I do encourage exercise of some kind in most cases. Obviously with some things it's better to take a break from most types of exercise, but because our mental and physical health is so incredibly inter-connected, we need both to be healthy! I've found for myself that running definitely has helped my mental health, and I will share that with clients if they ask. Many clients also know that I run races, and they love to follow along in training and hear about my races. Sometimes I even see some of them on the course as they're running too! 

You've been going through some injuries, tell us things you have learned about them, and what good advice do you have for others who have to battle through injuries? 

My body is so injury prone, and that's very frustrating to me. I guess you could say I'm an old pro at being injured, or at least on how to mentally deal with injuries. Being injured a few years ago was what forced me to try out some other activities, and helped me realize how much I really enjoy biking and pilates! I've learned how critical it is to be balanced and to strengthen some of our weaker muscles. I have learned to take seriously the exercises that physical therapists suggest, and I try to be incredibly proactive at taking care of myself! I foam roll, stretch, ice injury prone areas, take rest days, and cross train like crazy! I think it's critical to also avoid using catastrophizing language (link to that here: http://fightingforwellness.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/mental-health-monday-catastrophizing/ )
  
Tell us what crossing the finish line in a race feels like to you. 

Crossing the finish line of my last half marathon felt like nothing but frustration and pain (that's where my tendinitis first flared up), but normally crossing the finish line feels like I'm on top of the world (even though I'm a slow runner!). Like I said, I have a huge medical condition to conquer in terms of running, so when I cross the finish line I'm flooded with gratitude and excitement. It's a feeling unlike any other- even when I passed my thesis defense in grad school! 

Do you have a specific distance and PR that you are proud of?  Tell us about it. 

See #4! I'm also really proud of my first half marathon. My time was slow, but running 13.1 miles was something that I truly never thought was possible for me. From mile 12 on I was choking back tears, and when I crossed the finish line I burst out into very happy tears! 


Do you have a funny running story to share?  or funny experience while running?

I'm really struggling to think of something really funny... in my last half marathon in May, I was struggling with really bad leg cramps and tendinitis, and those last miles were really painful. At mile 10 I stopped to stretch on the side of the road, and one runner ran over to me and offered to carry me to the finish line! I told him I'd crawl if I had to but thanked him anyways. I kept imaging my parents faces as I was piggy-backed over the finish line. 

When someone asks you why you run, what do you tell them? 

Because I can and I never thought I could. Also- I run to prove how strong I really am, and that medical conditions don't have to define our lives, even if they make things much more challenging. 


What states have you run races in? 

I've run races in Minnesota, Indiana, and Wisconsin. I think that's all... 

What is your favorite kind of running, solo running or running with a friend or group? 

My favorite kind of running is solo. Because I never know how my POTS is going to be when I head out for a run, I tend to feel stressed if someone else is with me. Sometimes the best pace I can possibly hold is a 13 minute per mile pace, while other days it's around 10. I never want to put someone through shuffling at such a slow pace, so I tend to head off on my own. Sometimes one of my brothers or my dad will run with me, and because they know more about POTS, I don't have to explain when I have to slow down... 

Do you listen to music while you run?  Give us the top 2 running songs on your playlist. 

On shorter runs I listen to music, but when I do my long training runs, I tend to listen to podcasts (I especially like the NYRR and Jillian Michael's podcasts). For running, I love songs by Pink or anything with a good beat/a happy memory associated with it. 

Do you cross train?  What types? 

Yes! Most of my days are actually cross training to help me avoid injury. Obviously because of triathlons I like to swim and bike, but I also try to lift, do pilates, and I really love to go on walks as well. 

What other hobbies/sports do you do besides running? 

I really enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading, and cooking. I do spend lots of hours every week catching up with important people in my life. 

What type of things motivate you and push you towards success?  

Good question- I'm motivated by the past and the future (the past either through how past generates have pushed themselves to achieve and by successes I've experienced in the past), and by thinking about how what I'm doing now might impact my future, or even generations after me. Knowing that I took my gifts and used them well is meaningful and continues to push me. 

What is your must have running accessory? 

My phone and compression sleeves! No matter what else I'm wearing or where I am running, those always come with me (unless it's a triathlon!). 


What is the best thing you have learned from being a runner? 

One of the most critical things that I've learned through running is comfort in the present vs. comfort long term. In life if we choose short term comfort, we often don't achieve these great dreams we have for ourselves. For running, it's all about that long term comfort or success- we strength train, foam roll, take those freezing ice baths, and spend hours logging miles so that we can arrive at the start and finish line of a race in a healthy manner. Health isn't the easy choice usually, and running has certainly taught me that. It's a valuable lesson that carries over into most areas of life. 

Favorite pre and post run food? 

Pre run I usually have a Luna Bar, oatmeal, or banana, and orange juice. Post run it depends on what time of day. I crave chips and salsa so much after runs! If it's after a race, I go straight for a foot long sub! I'm also always game for a cupcake!

What do you do with your race t-shirts and medals?

Most of my race t-shirts I wear, although the few that fit oddly I just keep in a draw and smile when I see them. My medals are on my TV stand right now. I definitely need to get a medal hanger though. 

Tell us something unique about you. 

This year I've been trying to really focus on enjoying the moment that I'm in instead of always longing for something in the future. I want to enjoy all the little things that happen in the moment, like enjoying a sunset, the songs of the birds in the tree outside my kitchen, the taste of hot chocolate on a cold night, or the laughter of my friends. I'm working on not taking all the little things for granted. 
  
You can find Caroline Blogging at




You can also Follow Caroline via Twitter


2 comments :

  1. Awesome spotlight! Love your present vs. comfort philosophy, I am going to use that! Thanks for sharing, I'll have to go check out your blog now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wish I could travel more! That race in Greece sounds fabulous! But I am like you, I'm a solo runner, I just love that time to myself! Thanks for sharing, great spotlight!

    ReplyDelete

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