Today is Spotlight Thursday
This week I'd like to introduce Jill.
I asked Jill several questions, to tell part of her story and introduce you all to her.
Jill Blogs at
Tell us what distances you like to run?
My favorite distance to race is the half-marathon. I've completed 3 so far and my 4th will be the upcoming Runner's World Half in my hometown of Bethlehem, PA this October.
I've also lately come to appreciate how fun and fast 5K's are a bit more and hope to sign up for more of these fun runs in the future.
How long have you been running? Or at what age did you start running?
I've been running since high school, so about 15-20 years (WOW, I feel old!). I had never been a runner, but my 9th grade gym teacher, who also happened to be the coach of the school's track team, said he thought I'd be a good long distance runner and urged me to join the team. Track was intense! I had no idea the amount of practice and training I signed up for. We often had two-a-days, meaning I'd have to get to school way before school started to practice in the morning, and then stay after school for another workout. We did pool workouts, lifted weights, and of course track work. This kind of intense training was all new to me, but I only stayed on the team for 2 years. It got too competitive and I burned out! But the love of running has stuck with me, and all that training kind of kept the competitive fire burning in me. But nowadays, I only compete with myself!
Running has served many different purposes for me over the years. As I mentioned when I first started it was about competing. Throughout college and beyond it was just a great way to stay in shape and something I really enjoyed. More recently, it has gotten me through some difficult changes in my life, and became much more meditative and healing for me. It has also helped me to set and realize important goals and been a great way to see the results of hard work.
What is the furthest distance or race you have ever run?
What has been your favorite race and distance you have run? Tell us why?
My favorite race was my very first half marathon I ran. It was the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half in November 2011. The prior year had been a very tough one for me emotionally after having gone through a breakup, and somewhere in the healing process, I decided I would run a half marathon. Prior to that I think the longest distance I had run was probably 4-5 miles so I really doubted I could make it through 13, but running gave me something else to focus on during that time, and completing that first half marathon was such a pivotal moment in my life for so many reasons. I will never forget how I felt after that race!
If you could run any race in the entire world, where would it be and why?
I love the idea of destination races and I love Europe so I think I'd choose the Athens Marathon. To run the course where the 'marathon' was born thousands of years prior would just be incredible.
I run for fun and health, and sometimes compete against myself :)
Have you ever won a race or placed in your age group?
I have a medal from a 5K I ran back in high school where I placed in my age group, but I haven't placed in any races in recent history!
Tell us what crossing the finish line feels like to you.
It's a huge sense of accomplishment every time. It makes the weeks of training and sacrifice worth it, and it reminds me every time to be grateful for what my body and mind can accomplish.
Do you have a specific distance and PR that you are proud of? Tell us about it.
My half-marathon PR isn't very fast - it's 2:01. So I'm hoping to one day cut off that last minute or so and run a sub 2 hour half!
When someone asks you why you run, what do you tell them?
It's just part of who I am now. Nothing else 'gets me' like running does.
Yes, I certainly hope so!
What states have you run races in? Tell us the state and the race distance (5k, marathon, ultra, Tri ect..)
Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon - Atlanta, GA - 2011
St Luke's Half Marathon - Allentown, PA - 2012
Nike Women's Half Marathon - Washington, DC - 2013
Have you run races in any other countries?
Do you cross train? What types?
Do you have any tips of suggestions for someone who is thinking of starting up running?
Start slow. Don't push too hard, too fast right out of the gate, because that will only lead to injury or burnout, or both. Enjoy it! Running is a natural motion and something I believe the human body was born to do. Enjoy being in the moment, being outside, connected to nature and disconnect from the rest of the world for awhile. Also don't go crazy buying the most expensive clothes or gear. All you really need is a good pair of shoes. Go to a running store to have your gait analyzed and buy the correct shoe. Then get out there and run!
What is the best thing you have learned from being a runner?
That you are stronger than you think - always.
Favorite pre and post run food?
Pre run is usually breakfast and mostly carbs - bagel, cereal or oatmeal. Post run is almost always a protein shake. I'm lactose intolerant so can't handle dairy/whey and my current favorite vegan protein is PlantFusion (cookies n cream flavor ROCKS!).
Water or Sports drink?
I try to drink water throughout the day but sometimes end up really slacking on this. During long races, I usually grab the sports drink at hydration stations for both the liquid and calories. After runs I usually grab Gatorade at home too.
Tell us something unique about you.
You can visit Jill on her blog