I just love Jen. She’s always happy. She knows so much about the Galloway method. I just love running with her and her little family. Say hi to Jen U!
Why did you start running? How long have you been running?
You’re gonna laugh – I started running because I heard about the Inaugural Expedition Everest Challenge in 2008 that was going to be during a family trip to Walt Disney World! I’m a Disney fanatic – I did the Disney College Program in 1998 and have visited Walt Disney World more times than I can count along with Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and also Hong Kong Disneyland. This race was a 5K + obstacle course + scavenger hunt and it sounded so fun, I wanted to try it! I did the Couch to 5K plan that spring & summer to get ready and talked my husband into doing the same. That was back before smartphone apps for C25K, the only options were to watch the clock to see when to walk/run or listen to the one available podcast with really terrible music & a man’s voice giving the walk/run directions at the right time.
I continued running 3-4 miles a few times a week after that and was thinking of running Disney’s Race for the Taste 10K in 2010 when they announced that race was changing to a half-marathon. I was terrified, but registered for the inaugural Wine & Dine Half Marathon and spent the summer of 2010 training for it. Since then, I’ve finished five other half marathons and am finally going for the full 26.2.
What keeps you motivated?
Always having a race planned. Preferably at Walt Disney World.
Are you training for a race or an event? What event? How is that going? What plan are you using?
This is my year of RunDisney. My husband & I ran the inaugural Tower of Terror 10-miler on September 29, I’ll be going back for my third run of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon with friends in November, and I’ll complete my first marathon on January 13, the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon.
I’ve survived summer training, which is always very hard for me because I hate running in the heat & humidity. I’m ready for some cooler weather! I’m using Jeff Galloway’s “to improve” marathon training plan and working the other races into it. I’ve met Jeff Galloway at a special pre-race meetup & run before both the 2010 & 2011 Wine & Dine Half Marathons and after attending his three-hour running school before the Murray Half Marathon this spring, I’m fully convinced that his run/walk method is the best way for me to approach distances longer than 10K. At Jeff’s suggestion, I shortened my intervals to 90 seconds:30 seconds and took four minutes off my best half-marathon time from when I tried to run them all the way through. When I use run/walk intervals, I generally move at the same overall pace but feel much better during and after my run.
The photo is me & Chef Mickey at last fall’s Meetup & Eatup with Jeff Galloway, running coach Brooks Johnson, & Disney Chef Gary Jones.
What is your favorite race?
The Wine & Dine Half Marathon, for sure. I love Disney’s Food & Wine Festival each fall, and the race is so much fun. It’s a 10 PM start and then there is a party around the Food & Wine Festival at World Showcase in Epcot until 3 AM… that really motivates me to finish fast so I can get to the party sooner! RunDisney races are blast – there is so much entertainment on the course and running through the theme parks really is magical. Some runners actually stop to line up for photos with the Disney characters. RunDisney is also great at logistics – I know my bag is safe in bag check, the corrals are based on actual finish time and properly enforced, I can hear the pre-race announcements, there are plenty of porta-potties, and they’ll NEVER run out of Powerade or water on the course, even for the slowest finishers.
Where is your favorite place to run?
Around Lexington, I really like getting out around Keeneland or the Legacy Trail. I’ve never run the Iron Horse course but would like to try to get there this fall. Most of my runs are in the neighborhoods around Harrodsburg Rd/Man O War area for simplicity’s sake. With two running parents and now two running kids in our house, it’s sometimes difficult to get everyone’s long run in.
Do you measure your runs or do you just run for fun? Has it always been that way?
I always have my Garmin with me. I used to rely on it help me judge & keep a steady pace, but I don’t need that much anymore. I just like to know how far & fast I’ve gone and especially how many calories I’ve burned!
Do you do any cross-training? What is your favorite?
I’ve been doing mat Pilates at the Beaumont YMCA on and off for the past two years. I think it has helped strengthen my core. I’m starting to add some of the Y’s group weights classes to my schedule too.
Do you have a long-term running goal?
I’d like to someday tackle RunDisney’s Goofy Challenge! It’s the Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday, followed by the Disney World Marathon on Sunday. Finishers get three medals: Donald for the half, Mickey for the full, and Goofy for being Goofy enough to take on 39.3 miles in a weekend.
What gear is absolutely necessary for you?
iPhone, Garmin, and running skirt from SkirtSports – the only skirt where the shorties actually STAY PUT. Love their Happy Hour, Happy Girl, and Gym Girl skirts.
Do you eat on the run? If so, what?
I don’t have a picky stomach, so I can eat just about anything. I usually carry PowerBar gels and Gatorade/Powerade for any run over 10 miles.
What is your favorite running song?
My running playlist is a mis-mash of cheesy 80′s music, country, pop, & rap. It’s pretty embarrassing.
Are you listening to any podcasts or audiobooks while you run?
You’ll be shocked to know that I often listen to Disney podcasts while running. I’m part of the WDW Radio Show podcast running team, which raises money for Make A Wish. I’m also just starting to use the Zombie, Run! app for some my weekday shorter runs.
What are your favorite running/health-related websites or apps?
I use Runner’s Interval Timer for my run/walk indicators. The best $2 I’ve ever spent!
Do you have a running pet-peeve?
I have a racing pet-peeve… My eight-year-old twin boys love to run one-mile races & 5K’s and sometimes come home with awards from them. Our whole family is very frustrated when we see other children wearing time-chip bibs & riding in strollers to the finish line. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen a kid hop out of stroller at the 3 mile mark of a 5K to cross the finish line on foot, sometimes taking an award depending on how fast their parent runs. Parents, if your child is going to ride in a stroller at a race, please pull the timing chips off their race bibs!
What are you reading right now?
Nothing right now, I’m crazy-busy with work and spend too much time online. I did recently finish the Hunger Games trilogy and need some suggestions for what to tackle next.
What is your favorite meal/restaurant/recipe?
I can never get enough sushi, love it!