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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weekly Pace Setter: MELANIE

Happy Friday, folks! You know what Friday means...It's time to meet this week's Pace Setter! Melanie!

Name: Melanie
I run in: Brooks Adrenaline

Why I run: The answer to this question sometimes changes from day to day. One day it’s because I just love to run. I love how it feels for my body to glide along the greenway. I love how it feels to finish a run and know I accomplished that for the day. Other days it’s because I want to live an active and healthy life. I know that running makes that possible. Many days it’s because I want to challenge myself and see what I’m capable of doing. I’m very goal-oriented, so I like the process of training for a race. It’s fun to work toward a goal and then go out to try to achieve it. I run to find some alone time. I run to share running with a running buddy. I run to listen to new music. I run to sort out my head. I run to get rid of frustration. Most of all, I run because I know that if I can train for and run marathons, then I can probably do anything else I set my mind to doing.

How long have you been running? I first started running on my high school track team in 1998. I added cross country later that year and was hooked on the sport of running. In college, I decided it was time to try a marathon. I ran my first one the week before I graduated in 2005. Since then, I’ve run 3 more along with numerous half-marathons, 10-milers, and 5-milers.

Are you training for anything right now? Yes! I’m in my taper phase now and gearing up for the Memphis Marathon on December 6th. It’ll be my fifth marathon, and I’m hoping to get a new PR.

Running Pet Peeve: I can’t say that there’s really anything that other runners do that really gets to me. I know that when we’re all running a marathon we can get a little loopy and not realize if we’re doing something that might annoy someone else. However, I really don’t like running near people who are loud… whether it be because of their breathing or grunting or some other odd noise. I know it’s not their fault, but I have to get away from these people.

Favorite Running Song: Oh gosh… I love SO much stuff. Recently, I’ve been feeling pumped up by Kevin Rudolph’s “Let It Rock.” In the past, I’ve also really liked Moby’s “Extreme Ways.” I also get some extra pep from listening to Linkin Park while running. I recently put a bunch of 90’s dance/techno music (stuff I affectionately remember as “skate center music” from going roller skating when I was younger) on my ipod. The beat of this kind of music really helps me to keep moving.

Favorite race: I had a really great experience last December at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL. This is a great little marathon with about 1500 runners. I felt great all day and ran a new PR. I’ll probably run this one again sometime. I also really like a 10-Miler in the small town of Bell Buckle, TN each year in June as part of the RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival. It’s usually terrifically hot and there are some killer hills, but I’ve done it 3 years in a row and plan to keep going back for more. It’s just such a fun little festival and the race has southern charm all over it. Where else can you get a deep-fried moon pie?

Favorite place to run: We have an excellent local greenway in my town that is paved, away from traffic and has mile markers every quarter-mile. I run here at least once a week, and I never get tired of it. I also like to head to Nashville’s Percy Warner Park about once a month. It’s a great place to run to get some hill training, and I love feeling like I’m in the woods and away from the rest of the world. It’s cool to see the seasons change… I’ve run out there when the leaves are changing like they are right now, in the humidity of summer, and when there is snow on the ground. It’s always a beautiful place to run.

Short Term Running Goal: I want to finish the Memphis Marathon on December 6th faster than 4:31:23, my current PR. A 4:20 would be awesome, but anything faster than my old PR will please me.

Long Term Running Goal: I’m hoping to run 50 marathons before I’m 50. So far, I’ve done 5, and I’m still 25. I feel like that’s a decent start. I can average two per year and totally make it with a few to spare! I’d really like to run Chicago (and plan to in 2009) and NYC someday. Of course, I’d love to run Boston, but that’s a long ways off for me. Maybe someday…
Favorite Cross-training activity: spin class or yoga

Favorite inspiring quote: “I will run and not grow weary; I will walk and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) I know this verse isn’t really about running, but sometimes when I’m feeling like I just can’t keep going anymore I say this in my head. It’s a nice reminder of where my strength comes from and that even if I’m physically exhausted during a run, I have the strength within to dig deep and keep on pushing toward the finish line.

Post Run Guilty Pleasure Food: After really long runs, I sometimes head straight to Olive Garden for salad, breadsticks, pasta, and dessert! Sometimes I’m content to eat some pizza. I also like grabbing soup and a sandwich. However, one thing is consistent – I always like to splurge on something delicious and sweet on the evening of any long run. A personal favorite? The Molten Chocolate Cake at Chili’s. YUM!

Running Gear Wish List: I love all things Brooks, and I wouldn’t mind getting some of their running tights (to wear with a pair of shorts over them because I don’t think ANYONE should ever wear just tights) and a nice jacket to wear on rainy running days. I also really want to get a foam roller, but I can’t find one in local stores and haven’t been able to convince myself to spend $30 to buy one and pay for shipping online… I mean $30 for foam? I just can’t do it.

Proudest Running Moment: I have a lot of good memories of finishing cross country races in my high school days knowing that I had just given it my all. I also remember the feeling of exhilaration I had when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon in 2005. However, my proudest moment so far was when I finished the Rocket City Marathon last year. I had trained differently than I did for my first two marathons, and I pushed myself a bit harder. When I crossed the finish line, I set a new PR by 26 minutes. I was ecstatic! I hope to keep pushing myself and improving, but I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to shave off that much time again.

What’s the best piece of running advice you’ve ever received? My cross country coach from high school always told us that running is all in the state of mind. That’s SO true. If I’m mentally not in it, I usually have a crappy run. If I can think positive thoughts, I usually have a good run. It doesn’t always work (because sometimes you can’t do anything to make a bad run turn good), but most of the time I find that it does. He also told me that if I’m ever running a marathon in the rain, then I need to have someone give me dry socks about halfway through. I haven’t had to do this yet, but I’ll totally listen to him if that day ever comes.

Favorite Race Fuel: Tri-Berry Gu and Blue Sports Beans

Magazines you currently have subscriptions to: Runner’s World, Self

Where do you want to visit? I want to get back to Europe and see more of it, like Italy, Switzerland and Germany. I also really want to go to Hawaii someday. (I will totally be willing to turn running marathons in these places into long vacations.)

What is in your CD player right now? Um, I think a Regina Spektor cd. I rarely use my cd player anymore since I bought speakers to sit my ipod on. I usually turn it on shuffle while I’m getting ready in my room.

What is on your nightstand? TV remote, phone, lamp, retainer case (Yep, I still sleep in it one night a week to keep the pearly whites straight!), and usually whatever book I’m reading at the time.

Thank You, Melanie!


Melanie said...

Thanks again girls! I was so excited to be picked for today!

Amy said...

Ha ha ha! I love that pic with your arms up in that race.

I've always wanted to run that RC Cola and Moon Pie 10 miler... and I've always chickened out.... maybe next year. :)

Rhonda said...

Wow, I love the guy in that last picture who totally was trying to pose with you! Good luck December 6th, Melanie! Woo hoo!

SLB said...

Very cool, I love these interview posts!

RunnerMom said...

I'm going to have to try the Moon Pie festival race next year.

I like your inspiring quote!

The Happy Runner said...

Nice profile of Melanie!