Feature Friday- Runners part 3

It's Feature Friday time! (Can you tell I was watching Jersey Shore last night or what??)

I don't know about you, but Friday's have taken on a whole new level of excitement for me now that I get to spotlight so many amazing runners! I am so inspired when I read through all these stories and I eagerly count down the days because I can't wait to share them.

Here we go with two more amazing women who have embraced running as a part of their busy lives!

Lauren- Mmmbopping to the Finish Line!

Lauren is 26 years old and lives in the suburbs with her husband, who is affectionately referred to in the blogosphere as "Goose." (Don't worry, it's not his real name.) She is passionate about many things, and still trying to figure out exactly what she want to be when she grows up. Most of the time, you’ll find her running, biking, and swimming, in no particular order, training for as many races as she can cram into her weekends. She also enjoys rocking out to Hanson (yes, the band that hit it big with “Mmmbop” in 1997), watching Glee with her husband, giggling with her girl friends, and drinking way too much Diet Coke. She blogs about all that and more at Forward is a Pace.

When did you start running and what inspired you to start?

When I was in high school, my dad and aunt started running marathons for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. I thought they were incredible, and I loved cheering them on at the races. Spectating at marathons was exciting and fun. I was in awe of everyone running. I was also convinced that they were all super-human and I could never be like them.

I was still getting pep-talks from my dad to survive the mile run in gym class.

In college, I’d occasionally sign up for a 5k and just hobble my way through it pathetically. I didn’t train at all, which made running 3.1 miles kind of a nightmare for the girl who never worked out.

And then my husband’s brother ran the 2006 Chicago Marathon.

Since I hadn’t grown up idolizing him as I had my dad, I couldn’t make excuses anymore. If Nick could do it, so could I. On that day, I decided I was going to run the 2007 Chicago Marathon.

I ran for a few months without telling anyone, and when I was sure I could do it, I told my parents. They took me shopping for my first real pair of running shoes, and the rest is history.
What's one running pet peeve or drawback?

I have made a lot of friends that I am incredibly grateful for through running. However, I think that when you surround yourself with runners, it’s easy to discount your amazing successes. A marathon feels like a huge accomplishment until several of your friends are Ironmen. Sometimes I have to take a step back and remind myself that I have done some pretty awesome things!

What is one obstacle you overcame to become a stronger runner?

A challenge I deal with on a daily basis is my ulcerative colitis. Simply put, UC is an autoimmune disease that makes it difficult for my body to digest food. It also causes other problems like arthritis. In addition to planning my long runs around available bathrooms, I had to learn to really listen to my body. For me, taking an extra rest day and skipping a track workout sometimes makes me stronger. Giving my body the rest it needs keeps me healthier, and I find my run times dropping, too!
What's your favorite running memory?

Oh gosh, it’s so hard to choose just one. If I had to pick one, it’d be crossing the finish line at the Nike Women’s Marathon in 2008. I trained for and started running the Chicago Marathon in 2007, but it was cancelled mid-race due to extreme conditions and I didn’t get to finish. It felt like I’d been training for two years for the 2008 marathon! I was sobbing so hard when I called my parents after the race that they thought something bad had happened. In reality, I was just so relieved and proud to have finished!
Do you have a running mentor or inspiration?
My friend Barb has been both a mentor and an inspiration to me.  When I first started running, she sent me a care package with socks, a mix of her favorite running songs, and my very own training schedule for my first 8k.  Since then, we’ve run many races together, and I even saw her become an Ironman!  She is the one who coined my mantra, “Forward is a pace.”
What keeps you motivated to run?

At this point, I can’t imagine not running. I just love it!

Michelle- A Mom on the Go!

Meet Michelle, a busy mom from Orlando, FL (where it is hot about 75% of the year!!)  who blogs over at crazyrunninglegs. Everyday she balances running with a busy family life (1 husband, 2 adorable kids), a full time job, and awesome friends. On top of all that Michelle also loves cooking, reading,  watching an obscene amount of TV (her words, not mine!), and sipping on a glass of wine (or a margarita). Her motto is to live life in moderation - life is meant to be enjoyed! For her, running provides balance in a busy world!

When did you start running and what inspired you to start?

I started running in college when I was obsessed about my weight. I didn't run more than 3 miles and it was never for fun. I would quit and then pick it up again sporadically. Before I got pregnant with my first baby I started running on the treadmill. I got up to 6 miles and though I hated every minute of it, I was proud of myself for running that far/long. My REAL addiction to running began about a year and a half ago. I started running outside because it was quick and convenient. Something I needed with two kids and no time. Next thing I knew, I had signed up for my first half marathon with my friend Paula (Disney Wine and Dine) and I was hooked!

What top 3 things do you love most about running?

The endorphins, how awesome it makes my legs look, and the focus it gives me on the rest of my life. If I don't run, I don't feel centered.

Are you training for any races at the moment?

My first 15k (Miracle Miles in September), my first marathon (RnR Savannah), and my next half (RnR Vegas).

What's your favorite running memory?

PRing at the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon in March. I was aiming for a sub-2 time and I came in at 1:58. Running through the crowd knowing I was going to achieve my goal was such a great feeling!

What keeps you motivated to run?

My family and friends, my blog, the friends I've made, the awesome running community

What's one tip you would give to a new runner or someone coming back after a break?

Concentrate on distance/endurance first -- the speed will come if you work hard at it. Also, the best way to increase speed is consistency

How inspired to lace up your sneakers are you right now?? Amazing!

If you want to be featured in the Runner Series all you have to do is email health.happiness.skinnyjeansATgmail.com. And remember, this is about runners on all levels so whether you are brand new and working on your first C25K or you've completed an Ironman, we want to hear from you!!!

Happy Friday everyone!!

So tell me, did you play sports or run in high school or college? How did you stay active and out of trouble back then??


  1. Great feature, Sam! I agree with Michelle - nothing tones up legs quite as nicely as running does! In high school I did basketball, soccer, swimming, and golf, but only got into running when I was around 17. I'm so glad I did! :)

  2. Love Michelle, she's awesome! Loving this feature Sam, great idea :)

  3. Important core muscles include the glute maximus. When we look at the core this way, it is now clear to see that we must include many more muscle groups than just performing abs exercise.

  4. Thanks for featuring me, Sam! :)

  5. I love this feature. It is a great way to see some new people, new blogs, and get inspired. I used to run cross country and track. I loved running, now, I try and find any excuse in the world not to run. I have such a hard time and am conflicted by it. UGH! Well, these people certainly inspire me to get going again.

  6. This is a great feature! I can relate to Lauren -- I used to hate the 1 mile run in High School! Also, what she said about keeping things in perspective, as in, being proud of what you have accomplished and not comparing yourself too much to others who have gone farther, is a good thing to remember.

    I always played sports when I was younger but didn't start running until later in life.