Approximately 9-10 weeks ago, many brave women (and a few men) started on a journey to become runners. One of the runners in our Facebook group finished her first 5k a couple weeks ago & I couldn’t be more proud. Ann Turner is a 50 year old Communications Officer for Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. She lives in Virginia Beach with her two dogs, Kacey & Oliver. Couch to 5k has been a family affair as Ann’s sister lives a few towns over and has been doing the C25K program with her. Since Ann doesn’t blog, she agreed to a little interview in order to talk about her race and training experience.
Your FB avatar is a wrist tat that says “vegan”. Are you vegan and if you are, can you tell us a bit about how long you’ve been vegan and how you fuel for runs?
That’s my tat – I’ve been a vegan for 12 years. It was an ethical/spiritual choice for me – not something I did for my health – but I’ve been surprised and grateful for the amazing benefits to my health and well-being. I haven’t had so much as a runny nose in over 10 years. Being vegan is a great fit with my running. I have plenty of energy (unless I go crazy with vegan cupcakes from Whole Foods) and my blood sugar stays nice and steady. No sluggish, tired feeling after meals. I am an early morning runner. Typically I run before I eat and then have a smoothie afterward. On race day, I had the smoothie about two hours before race time and it worked out great. It digests quickly and provides plenty of fuel for a run. My favorite is: half a frozen banana, frozen blueberries, frozen kale, ¼ cup wheat germ and soymilk.
What prompted you to start running? I’ve never been an athlete. Girls didn’t have many opportunities to participate in sports when I was growing up. So when it came to exercise, I’d walk or bike or take a fitness class. I enjoyed walking. It required no skill or concentration. While my body worked, my mind relaxed. As my fitness improved, I wanted something more strenuous than walking and I wondered if I could run. I liked the idea because running is a competitive sport. I thought that, maybe, I could finally participate in a sport and call myself an athlete.
Have you participated in other sports in the past? I tried lots of different workouts – swimming, biking, etc – but I never participated in a “real” sport. Part of the attraction to running is that I could take part in a real sport.
What was your favorite part about the Shrinking Jeans c25k virtual training program? I was really motivated by the women posting their weekly achievements. Their excitement and pride at reaching each milestone was infectious. Editor’s note – Ann has been one of the biggest motivators as well – it’s definitely a 2-way street.
Any challenges with C25K? I expected it to be much harder and that was always my biggest hurdle each week – my mind telling me that “this is too hard for you.” So definitely the toughest part was challenging my belief of what I could and couldn’t do.
Have you experienced any injuries along the way? Happily, none. I’ve struggled with severe plantar fasciitis in the past and was concerned that it would flare up again. By interspersing some treadmill workouts with road workouts and sticking with the C25K program, I had no problems.
Have you experienced any weight loss or toning up since you started running? I’m not sure about the weight loss – haven’t checked. But the looser fit of my clothes tells me that it’s highly likely. I hesitate to put too much stock in what a scale might tell me because I know muscle weighs more than fat. My fitness level right now is better than I expected and I can see and feel muscle development.
What motivates you? The C25K program was definitely a motivator. I enjoy a challenge. But really what motivates me to get up every morning and put on my running shoes is that it makes me feel good, physically and mentally. I enjoy that time for myself – taking care of my body and mind. I like being able to participate in a sport and call myself an athlete.
Do you have any favorite running gear? One of the things I love about running is the minimal gear requirements. I’m going to say my socks, with running shoes a close second. I learned the hard way that getting the right kind of socks is important. And the running store near me has lots of fun socks.
Tell us about the race you completed? Was there an expo, how big was the race, chip timing or really informal, any race swag like a shirt or medal? On Oct. 20 I ran the Pupcake 5K to benefit the Virginia Beach SPCA. It was a small race – 221 finishers. About half of those ran with their dog, so that was a little unusual. No running expo, but lots of vendors with pet products. We did get a cool bag full of swag – including a nice race t-shirt. We ran up and back along the oceanfront boardwalk – sort of a boring route, but it was a beautiful day at the beach. Volunteers from Tidewater Striders running club set up the race and did the timing.
Thoughts as you lined up at the starting line? Let’s go already!!
Take us through the race if you can – how you felt initially, at each mile marker, did anyone run with you? I was really looking forward to this race. Being able to finish would be proof that I was really a runner – silly, but there it is. I started off strong and tried to focus on my pace – my mantra was “Go to your happy pace” – so that I didn’t get swept up in the excitement and overextend myself. I was feeling good, and it was a perfect day – sunny and cool. I ran this race with my sister. She hasn’t quite finished the C25K program yet, but she did great and made it to the halfway mark before she needed to walk. I ran on and left her behind. Seeing the 1 mile marker surprised me, I didn’t think we’d gone that far yet. At the halfway turnaround, I was still going strong. Not long after I passed the 2 mile marker, I could feel some strain, but I knew I could get it done. Crossing the finish line was a great feeling – knowing that I pushed myself, kept my commitment to 8 weeks of training, set a goal and achieved it. I finished with a respectable 36:05 time.
What does running mean to you? And what does it mean to your family life? Running is my daily meditation. It’s one way that I care for myself – and, by extension, the rest of my family. By giving myself the time to run every day, I’m a much better sister, daughter, employee, etc. I have more confidence in myself and what I can achieve.
Summarize your running in three words: Yes, I can!
Upcoming race schedule? Do you plan to keep running? I do plan to keep running. I’ve got two more races scheduled this year – an Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5K and a Thanksgiving day Toys for Tots 5K. I’d like to challenge myself to longer distances next year – maybe take on the 10K training program. There’s a Shamrock 8K here in March. I bet I can do that!
Thank you, Ann!! Following Ann on this journey and seeing her progress through our Facebook group has been so inspiring. I love that she took this challenge and literally ran with it. I have absolutely no doubts that she will
You can find Ann on Facebook here – go give this runner some love. Follow this runner! She’s a definite C25K success story.
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