Today is Spotlight Thursday
This week I'd like to introduce Cynthia.
I asked Cynthia several questions, to tell part of her story and introduce you all to her.
Cynthia Blogs at
I started running just over ten years ago - I've recently realized that my very first 5K race was exactly 10 years ago - Thanksgiving Day, 2003! I was on a mission to lose weight and started going to the gym regularly. I was doing 30-minute elliptical sessions and decided to up my workouts to 45-minute sessions, so I started walking on the treadmill for 15 minutes after the elliptical. So there I was walking, and everyone was RUNNING on the treadmills surrounding me - I didn't "get" it! But after a while, I decided to give this running thing a try. After a minute or two I was wiped out and couldn't breathe, but I wanted to conquer this running thing! So I decided in those 15-minute sessions to add to my running time every day - soon I was walking 5, running 5, then walking 5 and the time went by quickly. And eventually I was running the whole 15 minutes. I started training for a 5K with a friend, a Turkey Trot in Clearwater, Florida on Thanksgiving Day - My very first race! We loved it and trained together for a 15K the following February. And after that I trained for my first marathon.
Do you run for fun, or run to compete? Both?
I run for fun and general exercise/fitness, but I love taking part in races. I'm only competing against myself though!
Looks like you're mainly a long distance runner, do you have a favorite distance to race?
I love half marathons. I've done 5 or 6 of them and each one is so different, and I learn something new about challenging myself while on training runs and in the race itself. It's the perfect length to challenge me to work towards a goal, but not as all-consuming as the two marathons I've trained for where you live and breathe running.
I like having a goal to work towards, and building up and testing myself each week. It seems like a journey- not just a long run, but in the training itself.
How does Triathlon Training Compare?
I found the triathlon training exhilarating - the time each day training for a sprint triathlon was similar to half marathon training, but I got to rotate through the sports and add brick workouts on the weekends. The one aspect I didn't expect was the added time it took to get to locations to practice open-water swimming. I had to drive an hour each way to swim in a lake, and this took quite a bit of time away from my kids on the weekend mornings so I only did it a few times.
Being a distance runner and now breaking into the Triathlon, my curiosity has me wondering is there thoughts rolling in your head about an Ironman one day?
I used to be an Ironman junkie - I recorded all the Ironmans on cable TV and would watch them on the weekends. I went to see friends do half and full Ironman races in person - I even traveled to Frankfurt, Germany to see my friend race in Ironman Germany! I used to say I could never do that, but as I started getting more physically fit I realized that I could meet that challenge. I would absolutely love to do one someday, but I don't see it happening anytime soon. I can't spend that amount of time and intensity training with three small kids and a full-time job. Maybe i can work towards a half Ironman in a couple of years when they are a little bigger!
If you could run ANY race/distance in the entire world what/where would it be?
I've had daydreams about a Half Ironman, called a 70.3 distance (meaning half the distance of a full 140.6 mile Ironman) - this is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, then a half marathon (13.1 mile) run. I haven't decided which one yet, but this is my big goal in a couple of years.
What is your advice and tips on recovering from races?
The races where i had the best recovery were when I had a really solid training plan and built up mileage in a well thought-through way. Then the marathon or half marathon was just the next longest run in my training, with a solid base. Having a training plan has been so important to me, because when I started doing races and events I was clueless. I once biked the MS150 from Pittsburgh to Lake Erie. I was overweight, hadn't trained much, and was riding my dad's hybrid bike that was too big for me. The race was 80 miles the first day, and 70 miles the second day. At the end of the first day, my muscles started seizing up and I decided to take a bath. I got into that bathtub in the hotel and could not get up to get out. After the second day, I was seriously hurting - I hyper-extended my knee and got carpal tunnel from leaning on the handlebars of this too-large men's bike. That was hard to recover from and made me realize I needed to think these things through better in the future!
Do you have a must have running accessory?
I really like knowing how far I have run and what pace, and I used to run with my phone using an app. Now I have a new Garmin 10 and love the info it provides, but I still carry my phone win case of emergency. Also, I wear a Road ID tag on my shoe - I travel a lot for work and run in unfamiliar cities. I'd hate for something to happen to me and have nobody know who I am.
I grew up playing the piano and cello, but switched to the flute in middle school. I ended up getting a Bachelor's in Music Education and a Master's in Flute Performance. But with having three kids and working in arts management, I don't play very much these days.
You are an active person that does a little bit of everything, running, biking, etc.. What are your favorite non running hobbies?
I love going to concerts - I'm a huge symphony orchestra fan. Of course that's also my career field, but there's nothing more amazing than hearing great music played live. Other hobbies are playing board games and puzzles with my kids, reading, and word games.
You seem like a very upbeat person on your blog. What would you say motivates you?
I love people - I'm an extrovert by nature and thrive on being busy and being around people. I think that's why my busy household is so fulfilling - three active kids, a husband, and an au pair at home - I am motivated by sharing my life with my family.
I've been training myself to use early mornings for workout time. In general lately I work out in the 6:00 hour, then get the kids breakfast and get them ready for the day in the 7:00 hour, and take care of my own getting ready and to work after that. I also have to load up my weekends with chores and other household things. And, I let the dry cleaning and laundry pile up!
Have you got your family into running too? Or are they just awesome finish line support?
My husband is not an early bird, so to see me do a race at 7am would involve getting up at 5am and that's just not happening! My dad and my kids are my biggest fans though - they love to watch my races!
Do you hope to be a life-long runner?
I'd like to be active and able to run life-long, but I will go with the flow. If running isn't possible forever, I'll bike and swim. I definitely plan on keeping active forever! My dad bikes to work several times a week. My grandmother lived to 97 and was still gardening and practicing the violin (she was a professional violinist and teacher) into her 90's. I'm inspired by how great she felt until her older years by keeping busy.
When you are trying to decide what blogs to follow, what are you looking for in a blog? What types of things keep you wanting to come back and read more?
I read so many different blogs - some because I relate to the blogger in terms of our lives (working mom), some because I relate to the blogger because of our athletic pursuits (running or triathlon), and some because I really enjoy their writing style and the interesting things they have to say. I come back for more if they inspire me, motivate me, make me laugh, or make me think.
A lot of my posts are my adventures in running and training - crazy things that happen along the way, how I fit it all into my insanely busy life, and my successes and failures. I run when I am traveling. I travel a lot domestically and internationally for work and for fun, and have always tried to run in new cities.
I like to motivate others, especially other moms, to try and fit exercise into their daily lives. I'm always asked how I fit it all in and the answer is - I just have to or I'll lose my mind!
You said you travel a lot and run when you go places. What cities have you enjoyed running in?
I love exploring new cities on foot and have discovered interesting places in Louisville, Kentucky; Little Rock, Arkansas; Greenville, South Carolina; Venice, Italy; and Hamburg, Germany, just to name a few! By running in new places, you can see places that you would not normally see as a tourist in the city and see the daily lives of people who live there.
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