Friday Runner Spotlight #2 – Here’s Shannon!
This week I’d like to introduce you to Shannon!
When did you start running? What was your goal at that time?
I initially tried to get into running about 6 years ago. I had run some 5ks previous to that but always did so without really training or anything. At that time I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. Which I did and I hated every second of it. I didn’t do it right. I did not cross or strength train and was constantly battling injuries and just wasn’t in great shape. I “quit” running after that. Then I had two kids in 2011 and 2013. After the second, I was miserable. I was the heaviest I had ever been, I was so out of shape and just not happy. In the fall of 2014 I started trying to run again but my only option was to run with the double jogging stroller. I actually ran a few 5ks with the double stroller which was pretty awesome and my boys loved it. But then the winter came and I obviously couldn’t keep that up. Then last spring, I finally snapped and told myself it was time to buck up and stop with the excuses. I joined a local gym and I started making time to run, and run by myself. I ran a 5k last April and was immediately hooked. I went home that day and signed up for a half marathon in the fall and started my training that week.I haven’t looked back since! I made sure to incorporate lots of cross and strength training to keep myself active and also to help prevent injuries this time around.
Did you reach your initial goal?
I did! I’m still working on losing weight but I’m also at the lowest weight and clothing size that I have been in probably close to 8 years. I still have a ways to go before I’m at my ideal size but I’ve made so much progress in the last year. And I’ve also run dozens of 5ks and gotten faster and faster with each one, a 5 miler, 2 10ks, and I’ve run my second half marathon, and I’m currently training for my third half (end of May 2016).
Do you have the same goal now, or have your goals changed or evolved with time?
My goals continue to evolve. When I first started, I just wanted a way to keep myself in shape. I wanted to be able to build up mileage and just be able to finish whatever race it was. I wanted to be able to run and feel good while I ran, not feel like I was dying or getting hurt. Now I can do all of those things, so now my goals have changed. I want to continue to better my times, I want to get faster. And I have a long term goal now of running a full marathon. That’s something I never,ever thought would even cross my mind.
Have you run any races? If yes, what distance was your first race? What was your experience – did it meet your expectations?
Oops, I guess I already answered this! Yes I’ve run many races now. My first race coming back to running was a 5k. It was a local race to honor the troops and it was great. I had only just started back into running so I didn’t go into it expecting much but I did much better than I thought I would at that point and it was a great starting point for me.
What is your favourite distance?
My favorite distance to just go out and run on any given day, is probably 4-5 miles. For a race? So far my favorite is a 10k.
Do you have a running support network?
Yes! When I started getting back into running last spring, coincidentally at the same time, I found out that there was a local running group in my town who was looking to expand its membership. I decided to give it a shot and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. The group has helped me so much through this journey and I’ve made so many great new friends. My next half marathon I’m running with 4 other women from the group. We have become training partners and have done most of runs together in some form. It’s been so awesome having such a great group to turn to for motivation and support.
What about gear – have you got any gadgets that you love?
I love my watch. I was using a Garmin and I also had a Fitbit Charge but I hated running with 2 watches on. So I combined the two functions and got myself a Fitbit Surge. I love it, its so great for tracking runs but also great for general fitness because I can track all of my exercises on it. I love my sneakers (Saucony Guides). I got fitted for them at a local running store.
What else do you do besides running?
I do lots of walking and hiking with my youngest son in the hiking backpack. I do lots of strength training through home workout videos. I also just bought a bike and a bike trailer for the kids and once the weather is better I plan to incorporate that as well.
What’s the most positive thing that running has brought into your life?
Confidence. Its made me realize I can do anything I put my mind to as long as I’m willing to work for it. Every run makes me feel better and better about myself, makes me realize how strong and amazing my mind and body are.
What, if anything do you find frustrating?
That I can’t run more often. I’m not the type of person who can run every day. I see people with run streaks and things like that and thats just not me. I would get burned out or hurt. I need to be able to mix it up. So I typically run 3 times a week, maybe 4, but usually only 3. I often wish I could run every day though because running is like my therapy and it’s my “me” time.
Have you been injured at any point? If no, what do you do to avoid injury?
I haven’t been injured since I started back to running. When I trained for my half marathon 6 years ago though, I struggled a lot with injuries. Mostly shin splints. And I know now that it was because I wasn’t doing anything other than running. I was running too often each week and I wasn’t doing any cross training or strength training. So my legs were just taking a beating. This time around I’m making sure to be good. Lots of cross and strength training, lots of mixing it up.
If you have been injured, what did you go through to recover?
At the time it was mostly shin splints as I mentioned, and I stupidly just kind of pushed through them. I did lots of icing and things like that but didn’t stop or rest or anything.
How do you stay motivated when you don’t feel like running?
I like to try to remind myself that its not going to be any easier tomorrow if I don’t get out there today. I try to do as many runs as I can with a buddy so I can be held accountable. I also like to look at motivational quotes and memes on a lot of the running related Instagram pages I follow.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start running, but is maybe too unsure to start for reasons of weight, age, lack of athleticism?
To try not to worry about what anyone else may think, what anyone else is doing, just do it for you. The greatest thing about running is that literally anyone can do it and that a 14 minute mile is the same distance as a 6 minute mile. Don’t worry about your pace, don’t worry if you have to walk some, don’t worry about slowing anyone down, don’t worry about what you look like, no one looks good when they run! Just focus on having fun and focus on how great you are going to feel when you reach your goals. Its going to be hard but its so worth it in the end.
Personally I love Shannon’s drive and determination and we actually have a lot in common! Shannon now incorporates more than just running in her life and she shares it with her family. It’s given her confidence and is her “go-to” when it comes to physical and mental therapy. And ultimately, I totally agree with her an the advice she gives – don’t worry about anyone else, do it for you!
Shannon is also a Sweat Pink Ambassador for Fitapproach and if you are lucky you may “run” into her somewhere on the East Coast of the US!
Gotta question for Shannon or just want to leave some comment love? Drop her or me a line in the comments!