Erin was kind enough to answer a few questions for us in the latest edition of our featured blogger segment.
1 - Tell us a little bit about your blog.
I started writing for the NOVA blog (http://novarunningclub.blogspot.com/) in March 2013, after taking on the role of NOVA Social Media Director in January 2013. NOVA has been gradually building our online and social media presence over the last several years, but there was a good opportunity for us to expand our presence in this area and use the blog as a forum for doing so. My goal in writing the blog is to promote the sport of running and specifically our NOVA runners, build public awareness of our club, feature profiles of our team members, and write in more detail about various topics of interest for runners. Recent posts have included the importance of rest while training, running and aging, race write-ups, and running clubs and dating. In writing for NOVA, my goal is to combine the love I have for running as well as writing in order to lead the transition of the NOVA Running Club into a new generation of members. I have great support from NOVA Coach Jerry Alexander and NOVA Club President Justin Buenaflor in this endeavor. I feel comfortable writing from my own perspective, but I try to keep it interesting and engaging for all readers.
2 - What makes you so passionate about running?
Running has and always will be a huge part of my life. I started running at age 7 and have not stopped since. I competed as a middle distance runner in college for William & Mary, graduating in 2005, and in the years since I have made the transition to become a fairly solid post-collegiate runner and member of NOVA Running Club. I am passionate about fitness and health, and I love competing, so that keeps me driven to get out there on a consistent basis. Although I stay very busy in trying to balance running with a full work schedule, and it will always remain just a (really important) hobby to me, I put as much time in to it as I can. Many of my friends are dedicated runners as well, and we use our time running together not only for exercise but as an opportunity for personal time and connection too.
This year, I am in the process of completing my goal of "30 in 30" - running 30 races in Calendar Year 2013 as a way of celebrating my 30th birthday in July. This means racing 2-3 races a month, from a 5k up to a marathon. As of 11 August, I've completed 18 of 30 races, and I am on track to meet my goal. Some of my experiences so far in this quest have included:
-Winning the Fort Belvoir Couples Run 5k on Feb 16 (a Valentine's Day race) with my friend Robert Winschel; getting featured in the Fort Belvoir Eagle newspaper
-Racing the Boston Marathon in April 2013, finishing in 3:20 and witnessing the bombing and its aftermath
-Taking 3rd place in the Semper Fi 5k in DC on May 18 (and also writing a feature article for RunWashington for that race)
-Winning the Marine Corps Historic 10k in Fredericksburg the next day on May 19
-Winning my age group in the Pacers 4 Courts 4 Miler; Georgetown Running Club's Father's Day 8k, Run for the Achievable Dream 8k, and Pacers Let Freedom Run 5k
My remaining races include the Army 10 Mile on Oct 20, Marine Corps Marathon on October 27, and Annapolis Half Marathon on November 23. My 30 in 30 quest has been an amazing but challenging experience; involving a lot of lonely early morning races, running through various hip and foot injuries after Boston, and racing back to back with no rest and often on dead legs. I am enjoying the experience though because it's proven to me what kind of long term endurance I have (physical and mental). I also like that it's a year-long goal that has gotten me consistently out the door to race, allowed me to meet some amazing people, and have some really fun experiences.
3 - Is there a favorite local run that you would like to share?
I have lots of local runs that I would list among my favorites. I do most of my long runs for marathon training in DC, usually starting on the Georgetown Waterfront and combining loops around Hains Point, the Tidal Basin, the Mall, C&O Canal, and Rock Creek Park. I also like the Mt Vernon trail and running through Old Town Alexandria.
4 - What is your favorite DC area race?
I work as a contractor for the U.S. Army, so I would have to say my favorite DC area race is the Army 10 Mile. I am from Annapolis MD, so I also like the Annapolis 10 Mile, though it is held in August and the conditions are often 200% humidity, with hills. Marine Corps Marathon is a wonderful race too.
5 - What is your favorite piece of running gear?
Garmin GPS watch, which keeps me honest with my pace per mile.
6 - If you are going to treat yourself after a long run, how do you do it?
Nothing better than a post-race beer! On other days, chocolate milk or Lucky Charms.