Category Archives: Runner Profile

SEKO FRANCIS “Running Rasta” Runner’s Profile

Name:  Seko Francis

Home State:  VA but originally from St. Kitts/Nevis

When did you start running?

Growing up in the Caribbean running has always a part of my life. My Uncles Austin and Grantley were runners.  Uncle Grantley was a sprinter.  Austin would take me on his daily runs which were early mornings before my school classes started.  On Saturdays we would run up to 10 miles.  My Grandfather also would take me to the beach on Sunday’s and we would race on the sand.  I also ran in school.

Being an Infantryman, in the military, meant lots of running and road marches. After getting out of the Army, I swore I was done with running and that lasted a few years.  I started running again close to my 40th birthday.  I went for a 40-mile painful run on my birthday and have been running daily ever since.  I have not missed a single day of running in those years. I will be 51 this Sept.

VA Beach R&R 1/2 First in Age Group

Why do you run now? What motivates you?

I continue to run to stay healthy.  I also use running to encourage others to take charge of their bodies and their health.  Running is a cheap and easy way to get fit and stay fit.

Longest race: My longest race is a 24 hour run. I have been participating in this race for about ten years now.  I have reached the One-Hundred-mile mark on two occasions.

Hardest course: I don’t think any of the courses I have run are hard.  I may be exhausted or something but I never really consider a course hard.

Hardest race for you: A hard race to me comes down to my training.  I try not to go into races unless I am prepared.

Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it):

My favorite races are the ones I help to put together.  The 1 Mile with A Smile Race series where we have races from 1 mile upward.

Favorite course (same): Currently I am loving Oak Grove Park in Chesapeake VA where we just had our 12 Hour Endurance Race.  This is a very scenic 1.5-mile loop around a gorgeous body of water.

What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

Marathons are my least favorites.  Most times they get really crowded.  I like smaller crowds. My favorite is 1 MILE…When I decided to get back to running after years of sitting around smoking cigarettes, my first run was 1 mile and it did me in.  I swore never to let that happen again.  That 1 mile made me smile.

Can you explain the Ital diet, and why it’s important to you?

I grew up in a small village with access to the Rastafarians.  They have a saying which says Ital is Vital.  In other words, only eat the foods that are vital to life and good health.  This led to a strict lifestyle of not eating animal products or salt and alcohol.  I eat lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables.  I also make juices and smoothies which all fall in line with eating ITAL.

PR   5k / 10k / half / full / 50k / 50 Mile / 100 mile / more?

5K 18:21:33
10K 39:55:33
½ Marathon 1:25:28
Marathon 3:24:21
I have passed the 100-mile mark on 2 occasions at a 24 hour run.

No matter where I see you, you are smiling, and those around you are smiling – mostly because of you.  Where do you get the endless motivation?

That comes from the people around me.  They bring out my smiles.  I like to laugh and joke around.  Smiling is just the face of deep laughter and joy.  When I see a person, I see me.  I always smile at me.

I know music is also a big part of your life… can you tell us a bit about the DJ, the music you love, and the people involved?

I love all genres of music.  Growing up in St. Kitts in the 70’s and 80’s we heard it all on radio.  I once hosted a four-hour show called The Reggae Extravaganza at Hampton University.  Recently I have been asked to do a two hour show at Norfolk State.  The show is called Caribbean Gold and I will be playing the golden nuggets of Caribbean Music. That includes genres such as Calypso, Reggae, Soca, Dancehall and music from the French, Dutch and Spanish speaking Caribbean islands.  My new show will air on Sundays 4-6 pm.  ( Hot 91.1 online )

What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

I always wanted to run Badwater.  It seems like the perfect place to test yourself.  I have watched videos and follow some of the runners who have done it.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?  Why?

I actually don’t like wearing shoes.  I only wear shoes when I am running races.  I am thinking of using sandal in the future for races.

Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

I am a minimalist even when I am running. I have no issues with the gear but I prefer to have nothing on. Just me in my shorts and my shoes when I wear them.

What apps / GPS equipment do you use. Are there others you’d like to try?

I have never used Apps/GPS equipment when I am running. I am more of a naked runner (this means no equipment and not physically naked)

Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

If you ran today then you are a runner and that is all that matters. Now if you want to become competitive that takes a lot of training. It comes down to you. Get out and run. Push yourself. One foot in front of the other. The physical will be limited by the mental so tell yourself you can do it and then go out prove it to yourself. Start slowly.

Badass Runner Profile: David Wilson

2014-12-27 15.50.24 Name: David Wilson

Home State: Born in Illinois, live in North Carolina

BAR: When (and why) did you start running?

DNW: I would have to answer this, first, by asking: “Which time?”  When I was still in the US Navy I was stationed at the Fleet Deception Group (it’s called something different now).  We supported teams that deployed – I worked in the calibration lab.  There was a lot of down time, and we all turned to sports – running, the Captain’s Cup Tournament – whatever.  I had never run much more than the mile and a half I had to to pass the readiness test – but I went out one day with a woman who worked at our command, Chief Horak.  She regularly ran longer distances.  That first day, she took me out two miles and back two miles, and it was then I realized two things.  I could run – and most of the distance was in my head.

10393152_809998062419305_997126472320061640_nThis is on board the USS Gaudalcanal… we had runners active all the way through the Suez Canal.

 

 

I ran a lot of miles there, and it culminated in my winning (along with a buddy of mine who I sadly cannot remember a name for) second place in the Captain’s Cup Decathlon – over 30 team division.  We had do a lot of crazy things (not a standard decathlon, thankfully).  Bowl one game.  The most out of 25 free-throws.  Throw a football for distance and accuracy, but in the middle there was a 40 yard sprint and a 2 mile run.  We won because we were at least average at everything (including the final leg – a 200 meter swim) and VERY good at the two mile run.  We beat at least one Seal Team in that competition and I still have the trophy.

I ran off and on after that, usually in the 3-5 mile range, until two years ago August, when I realized I was nearly 240 pounds and headed into old age in less than stellar style.  I went out, and I ran a mile and a half.  It took me twenty minutes.  I kept doing it, lengthening the runs, and before I knew it, I was going out for four, five, seven… and I signed up for my first half marathon.  Once that step was taken, I kept going, adding mileage.  I ran a 17 mile training run (whole other story in that… I wrote about that on Facebook… involved rednecks, getting lost for an extra five or so miles, and barely making it home)  I ran that first ½ marathon, the Dismal Swamp Stomp (you can read about that here) and never looked back.  Since then I’ve amassed a wall full of race medals, mostly 5 and 10k distance, but some halves – and last fall – out on my own – I completed my first marathon.

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So the quick easy answer I avoided is – seriously running, two years ago because I was in danger of becoming old and fat.  I’m still in danger of growing old, but maybe I’ll do it more slowly.

BAR: Why do you run / walk now? What motivates you?

DNW: My health, the road, my friends – all these things motivate me.  Nature – I just love to run.  I wrote this back in the sprint of 2014 to sort of answer this question:

I am a runner…

I am not an Olympian,
But if you put one foot
In front of the other,
You will meet me on the road.
I have not trained all my life
To slice seconds from time.
I have not suffered for speed,
Or left my heart on the track
Or the road.
I am a runner.
The wind is my friend,
The road calls to me.
The miles are a flickering slide-show
Of places, and tings, sweat and dreams
I trade sleep for miles.
I run between the cracks of life.
I am not an Olympian,
But I am a runner
And we all meet, eventually…
On the road.

David Niall Wilson

6-27-2014

BAR: (Sherri Morgan):  How did you deal with your ankle injury physically, mentally & emotional (or all that apply). Also, how did you keep or get your motivation back to get back out there?

DNW: I would like to say that I was a trooper – that I gritted my teeth and pushed through, but the sad fact is, it was miserable.  Only my family got me through a time when even standing up from my chair was a chore, sleep was rare, and activity / exercise almost non-extant.

It didn’t help that the doctor I was working with was anti-running to start with.  He was not supportive in any way of what motivated ME to get better.  I ended up using the crutches as an exercise platform, and, of course, being very, very impatient.

The accident happened in January.  (Another side-note – the hard rails between trampolines at the Cloud Nine Trampoline Park are dangerous – no give whatsoever.  I can’t reccomend anyone visit that particular facility) When I got in to the doctor, a few days after the accident, he x-rayed it and said there was a tiny sliver of bone broken loose.  That sounded okay… but what I ended up with was major surgery, and I didn’t get that until February – which pushed my recovery out even farther.  With the snow and bad weather I ended up having my first post-operation evaluation with photos sent from my phone, and removing my own stitches when the time came as well.

The hardest thing for me was not to push too hard and too fast, and to keep a positive attitude.  Again, my family helped with that.  I threw myself into other work – my publishing company and writing – and did all that I could to stay in contact with the runners I interact with daily on Facebook…

The actual “getting back out there” has been a challenge as well, because at first the mobility was very limited in that ankle, and now that things are loosening up, I have found my stamina and discipline have slipped.  At least I’m moving forward again.  On a side note, the two races I missed – The Dismal Swamp Stomp ½ marathon and the Newport News Once City Marathon are comping me for the next race, so I’m back on track (if a year later) working toward the first official marathon and a PR at the Dismal Swamp.  Always be yourself… unless you can be #Badass. ALWAYS be #badass…

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BAR: (Joe Hempel) People usually listen to music when they run, it keeps them motivated. You listen to audiobooks, does it help more than music and if it does, why?

DNW: I don’t have a lot to compare it to, because I have never really listened to music while running.  I’m just too lazy to put together a playlist and make it happen, I guess.  I’ve listened to baseball, and audiobooks.

I started listening to audiobooks while running simply to expand my reading time.  I’m an author and publisher, and my reading time for pleasure is severely limited.  Mostly, I read audiobooks, and only in the car – or when running.  As the runs got longer, the amount of reading I could accomplish followed.

On a really long run, you can lose yourself in a good book.  I also find that books about running are helpful.  A few times I could almost picture myself running the trails the authors were telling me about in their books – and at least once I’ve run back through a darkening storm at a particularly eerie place in a novel by Neil Gaiman, or Clive Barker.

My thought is that music would be more useful to help with pacing, but that audiobooks are good for distracting yourself from longer runs – giving you something to think about instead of glancing incessantly at your Garmin.

Longest race : Official race – ½ marathon.  Personal race: 27.2 miles.

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This is my daughter Katie finishing the “Cub Run” at the Dismal Swamp Stomp (you can see my hand chasing her … after the 1/2 I had nothing left in the tank.  Was proud of her.

 

 

 

 

Hardest course: The Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll ½ marathon…  not so much because of the course itself – it’s not horrible – but because the race is run in the heat of August, and the humidity was dropping people like flies.

Hardest race for you: Also the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half – and for that same reason.  I run in the heat a lot to acclimate, but I was nearly dead by the end of that one, and about to cramp in my right calf (no doubt from dehydration, despite all the water stops).

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Images from the Virginia Beach Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon (My favorite is the one showing me beating Batman)

Favorite race: In case others wouldlike to try it): For sentimental reasons, and because it’s a flat, easy, beautiful course – The Dismal Swamp Stop ½ Marathon.  I ran my first ½ there, and all along the trail I was accompanied by butterflies, big and small.  The Intercoastal waterway runs down one side of the trail – which is the setting of one of my novels (one of my favorites of my own books).  There are also bears, though you seldom see one on the trail…

Favorite course:  My favorite course is one that is used for a lot of local Elizabeth City, NC 5k races, though I’ve expanded it nearly to ½ marathon length by taking more roads.  It runs along the Pasquotank River – past some beautiful homes, around curves and turn-backs.  I discovered (by accident) that if you run past the normal limits of it you come to the back end of a DIFFERENT 5k course I ran last year called “The Battle of the Albemarle” and if you combine all of both roads you can make a passable ½ marathon.  Anyone who’d like to run it – just get hold of me and come on down!

2015-07-23 12.29.20 2015-07-23 12.32.23

 

Images from the Pasquotank River Trail

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

DNW: There was a time when I had no answer for least favorite, but I do now.  As much as I like pushing my time on a 5K – it is just too short.  Even my daily run at lunch is more than 4 miles – running harder for 3.1 feels like a cheat, particularly after getting psyched up to run.  So far I’d say my perfect distance is around 10 miler.  I ran a 9.11 mile liberty race last fall and found it just about perfect.  I love the pressure, though, of hitting the ½ marathon and I am very much looking forward to my first official full.  If I don’t find one before it, I’m signed up again for the Newport News One City Marathon next March.

PRs: 5k: 24:20 / 10k: 53:26 / half-marathon: 2:19:38 / marathon: 5:31:14

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner / walker, this year and beyond?

DNW: In January of this year, I broke my left ankle pretty badly.  It’s been a long recovery, but it’s coming together finally.  My bucket list last year was simply to finish my first official marathon.  That is also my goal now.  I can also see myself running a 50K at some point, but that’s down the road.  The other goals are to get my 5k and 10k back down to where they were last fall so that I can be competitive at my age – 55.  I’m an older guy, but I figure I have ten or fifteen reasonable years of running at one level or another ahead of me, and that’s thousands of miles.  It’s one of the things that makes me smile.

My other bucket list item is to run with people who have inspired me.  Lisa Davis, Jamila Williams, again with Joseph Leon Guerrera (and hopefully Yeti) – Katrina Gay, Joe Hempel, my old Navy buddy Roland Curit – CM XMan, Mari Merchant and Sherri Morgan, Thomas Gouard – and my dream runs with Dean Karnazes, Adharanand Finn, and a few others who have written books that inspired me.  I would also love (at some point) to run in the Copper Canyon in Mexico, but trail running is not a good idea with my ankle, so maybe not.

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?  Why?

DNW: I have to answer this at length.  When I started running again, I had just read Born to Run, and I bought some shoes from Vivobarefoot – I became a bit of a fanatic for the barefoot running thing, and I learned a lot.  For one thing, there is a lot of good and bad information.

The barefoot shoes helped me fix my running style, no longer cracking my heels.  It removed back pain and built up my calves, and increased my distance.  The lack of padding probably damaged my feet.  Next, I moved on to Altra shoes…they offered more protection, but still had the zero drop at the heel…allowing my feet to spread out in their wide toe-box and to run naturally.  I still run in a pair of Altra Torin 1.5 shoes, but have added two pairs of HOKA shoes, the Hauka and Clifton models.  I feel like with the damage to my ankle, and the distances I want to run, the extra cushion is vital.  Shoes are an ever-changing thing for me…

On a side note, during the work day, I wear either Vivobarefoot Gobi half-boots (barefoot WALKING I still support) or Altra casual shoes – a little more cushion, but still flat and natural.

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BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

DNW: I have tried several types of hydration belts.  I have a camelback that I used on my one marathon foray, and will use on anything fifteen or more miles that I run on my own, because where I run is in the country and solitary… I wear a NATHAN hydration belt for shorter runs with 1-4 bottle capability, and my ROAD ID in the front pocket.  I also have a GU Pack in case I end up feeling weak on a run.  I am bald on top, so I wear a hat…and I like compression style socks when it’s cool enough.

What apps / GPS equipment do you use.  Are there others you’d like to try?

I have a Garmin 310X which is wonderful, but a little big – and a Forerunner 210.  Currently, though, I have moved over to a Fitbit Surge, and for the worn-on-the-body equipment, it suits me best.  It keeps the heartrate without a chest strap, and feeds all sorts of helpful info to the app, including your sleep, calories for the day, steps, etc…

For tracking my runs, I use Mapmyrun – I find that though there are comparable sites at Garmin and Runkeeper and other places, this one accepts the widest variety of devices, and I have a network of friends there.  Not to mention 1500 miles worth of runs that have been recorded.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

DNW: One foot in front of the other.  Don’t believe you can’t do it, because you can.  Distance is mostly in your head, and don’t run to please anyone but yourself.  For me, the actual running is best when I’m alone, except for races, but if you need the motivation, there are TONS of groups out there.  Everything from virtual races where you can get the same medals and bibs, etc. as for an official race, to groups who run together occasionally, and bigger groups who run all the time.  Running is a personal sport – and it can be wonderful.  Enjoy it.

I find a lot of support in online groups, and have also been motivated by fun challenges, like being part of “Moonjoggers” where the accumulated miles of a LOT of runners are currently adding up to the distance from here to Mars…

Badass Runner Profile: Mari Merchant

11652053_10206378365954784_1607116043_nName: Mari Merchant

Home State: South Dakota

Website / FB page / Etc. where people can keep up with your running:

www.facebook.com/mari.merchant

www.facebook.com/marisjourney

BAR: When  did you start running?  Why?

MM: In January 2013 I decided I needed to do something about my weight. I was closing in on weighing nearly 400 pounds. I started by walking 20 minutes every day. As the weight came off it got easier and I went farther and faster. I don’t remember exactly when my walk turned into a run but it sure did! Since that time I’ve lost 175 pounds.

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BAR: Why do you run now? What motivates you?

MM: I still continue to run to help with weight loss as I’ve got about 20 more pounds I’d like to lose. However, I mostly run because I enjoy it. I almost always run solo as it gives me time to myself to clear my mind. It always makes me feel better and I have so much more energy throughout the day when I run in the morning.

Longest race: Half Marathon

Hardest course: Med City Half Marathon. Rochester, MN. This was not only my first half but the first 9 miles were rolling country hills that had not been in any disclaimers I had read!

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Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it): Deadwood-Mickelson Half Marathon. It’s a trail race that runs through absolute beauty! We ran along flowing creeks, over old bridges, through rolling countryside with mountains off in the distance.

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

MM: Just for my normal every day morning run I like 5-6 miles. However, for races I prefer the half marathon because it takes some time and effort. It’s not a quick race done in less than 30 minutes but it also doesn’t have me running 5+ hours.

PR: 5k: 27:26 / 10k: 56:12 / half: 2:14:25

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BAR: You almost never seem to miss a day of running… do you have any advice / tips / stories about the difficulties of finding and planning around that?  How supportive is your family?

MM: For me, it’s easy. I make my health a priority and running is a part of that. I wake up earlier than the rest of my family and go out in the dark to get a run in. During the frigid South Dakota Winters I hit the treadmill at the gym. I used to make all sorts of excuses for why I couldn’t make time to exercise but one day someone said to me something along the lines of how I can talk about all these different TV shows I watch but couldn’t make time for working out. That comment smacked me awake! I gave up watching TV about 2 years ago and ever since I’ve had no excuses!

My family is very supportive. My husband gets the kids up and ready for school (when it’s in session) and he makes dinner several times per week because I’m usually working out right after work. My family comes to almost all of my races to cheer me on. During training runs my 11 year old son will ride his bike along with me (he has asthma so cannot run) and my teenage daughter has even signed up to training for a half marathon with me this coming September!

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BAR: Do you belong to any running groups, other than Team Badass?

MM: I vaguely remember the facebook conversation that started Team Badass. I do believe I was telling Sherri Morgan just how #badass one of her pictures were right around the time we needed team names and somehow Team Badass was born. I don’t think a single one of us really knew each other in person but we all had our passion for running in common. Plus…. we were all #badass!

I joined the Sioux Falls Running Club last year but their runs are so far away from where I live that I never really had a chance to run with the group. This year I didn’t renew my membership because of this. Honestly, I enjoy running solo most of the time anyways!

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BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

MM: This year my big goal is to complete Ragnar Great River in August! I also hope to complete the Sioux Falls Half Marathon with my teenage daughter at my side!

I don’t have specific plans for the future but I do know that I want branch out and do more challenging runs as well as trail runs! Spartan looks like a blast and I’ve been eyeing the Yellowstone Half Marathon.

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?  Why?

MM: I have like 9 pairs of shoes. For outdoor running I switch between my Brooks Glycerin, Saucony Triumph and Asics Gel Nimbus.  On the treadmill I like my Brooks Pureflow and Saucony Kinvara.  I have others but these are my top favs. I still haven’t dug into looking for trail shoes but plan to in the near future as I rather enjoy trail running and recently found an awesome trail just 2 miles from my home!

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BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

MM: Gotta have headbands! I prefer BondiBands with the 4” width as I have lots of long hair that gets out of control. I also really enjoy the arm band they make to hold my phone when I run with music. Most importantly I wear my RoadID every time I go out!

There are all sorts of gadgets I’d love to try but money doesn’t grow on trees. L

The fancy gear that a runner needs for the harsh Winter months in South Dakota appeals to me every year as I run bored out of my mind on the treadmill. The night vision glasses and LED shoelaces would be pretty cool to try while running in the dark too.

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use.  Are there others you’d like to try?

MM: My current running GPS watch is the Garmin Vivoactive and I love it. It’s not gigantic and it looks kind of like the new apple smartwatch. I wear mine every day into the office as a regular watch too because it looks great, tells time, and the battery lasts forever.  I use the Scosche Rhythm + Optical heart rate monitor during workouts. It has Bluetooth and Ant+ connectivity which is very nice. It’s extremely accurate and I wear it on my forearm instead of the annoying band around my chest!

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

11143090_10205774909828758_1231978116553501973_nMM: Just do your personal best and don’t worry about others. Even some of the best of us that run every single day still don’t have the fastest or best pace! As long as you’re enjoying the sport and look forward to it, then you’re on the right path!

 

Badass Runner Profile: Thomas Gouard

11079373_10155419887330164_4089808343590126380_nName: Thomas Gouard

Home State: Illinois

BAR: When (and why)did you start running?

TG: I started running back in 2007. I read an article on Dean Karnazes. His 50 Marathons in 50 States inspired me to do my first marathon. Training for my first marathon, I fell in love with the environment and kept returning. Running got me off of base, and sometimes outside of the city and state I lived in.

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BAR: Why do you run now? What motivates you?

I run now, because it’s a major part of my life. It also keeps me happy, my stress level down, and mind clear. What keeps me motivated is reading inspiring stories of runners, staying involved in the community as far as volunteering, and being around runners.

Longest race: Hilo To Volcano Ultramarathon 31 Miles

Hardest course: Golden Gate Headlands Marathon

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Hardest race for you: Hardest race for me was 2012 Kona Marathon. It was one of my worst races, and one that I will never do again. My training wasn’t good, and the heat fried me, which started cramps. Loved Kona, Hawaii, but not the race.

Most Memorable Race (and why): My most memorable race was the 2013 Chicago Lakefront 10 Miler. It was the most memorable because I broke down, after setting a PR (1:04). I jumped up and down, after crossing the finish line. I set the right pacing at mile 8, and broke a PR, that had stood for over 4 years. The race, shirt, and medal mean a lot, and will help me remember that great experience. It also started a trend of me setting new PR’s.

Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it): My favorite race is Great Aloha Run. It’s only an 8.15 mile run, and located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The race falls on Presidents Day morning.

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BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

TG: I’d have to say my favorite distances are 5k’s, because they are easier to train for. I’ve never suffered during a 5k. My least favorite would have to be a marathon, due to the time spent training for it. I’ve completed 16, and all of them I’ve dreaded the work I needed to get ready.

BAR: You and Chloe Jane often run the same races. What is it like to have a running partner so close in other ways? Are you competitive, or just supportive?

BAR: Both? It’s great! We do a lot together, outside of running races. We bike a lot, and sometimes hike. We are both competitive at running races, and also supportive, when the other isn’t doing the race.

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PRS at whatever distances you want to share: 2013 Ryan’s Light 5k (17:42), 2013 Windward Half Marathon (1:24), 2013 Lakefront 10 Mile (1:04), and 2013 Malibu Marathon (3:12). I loved these races, and all were PR’s.

BAR: I see you post some military races – what service are you in, for how long – any running memories associated with that?

TG: I’m recently separated from the Marine Corps. I served 12 years there, and it has made me who I am today. My old commanding officer use to have us run the Swamp Romp, prior to the actual event, to test the course. If you’re ever in Kaneohe, Hawaii, during February, you should sign up for it. We’ve had many great memories testing the course out.

BAR: You run in a lot of races and a lot of places, but most often we see you in Hawaii –anything special about running there that you’d like to share?

TG: I met my Chloe J in Hawaii : ). Also the running community is very strong, and tight. In my many years of running, I’ve never seen any tighter. Hawaii has many places to run. A few of my favorite places were Chinatown, Ala Moana, and Kakaako Waterfront. I never understood why people ran indoors on treadmills, while living in Hawaii. Get out, and enjoy the beauty. Also, there’s never a dull moment there.

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BAR: What are your bucketlist goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

TG: I would like to run competitively until I turn 40, and then slow it down a bit. Until then, I want to continue to travel, and set new PR’s. As for races, I’d like to do Berlin Marathon at some point.

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?

TG: I’m in love of Skechers GoRun Ride. I have every version of them. : )

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential? Do you recommend one over another? Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

TG: I’d like to try Newtons. I hear a lot about them, but haven’t invested in a pair yet.

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use? Are there others you’d like to try?10404201_10155383027255164_3201184437225957913_n

TG: I use Charity Miles! My miles are calculated into money, and given to Charity. I also use a Garmin 310. I love the basic Garmin watches with none of that fancy touch screen stuff.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

TG: Cross train!!!!!!!! Bike, Stair repeats, Hill repeats, and Aqua Run. Do little but up your resistance. Why run a hill or stair, when you can walk it and get a better quality workout, and avoid possibly injuring yourself.

Badass Runner Profile: Shalisa Wanet Davis

11350062_10206690880781068_509240391_nName: Shalisa Wanet Davis

Home town: Chicago Illinois. I was born in St. Louis Missouri but I was raised in Chicago.

BAR: When (and why)did you start running?

SD: I’ve always been a runner. I ran in high school but I wasn’t very fast…and I’m still not fast. I love distance running. I got better at running when I joined the Marine Corps at 17-years-old. I wasn’t and still am not very coordinated. However, I don’t have to be coordinated to run. I don’t need to be on a team in order to run. So running was an easy choice for an activity for me to do.

BAR: Why do you run now? What motivates you?

SD: Running is as much a part of my life/being as breathing. I cannot imagine my life without running. I solve all my problems (at least in my head) when I run. Running is my favorite “me” time activity. I can literally run anywhere, at any time, and in any climate (with the proper gear). Also, I love the health benefits of running. It keeps my weight under control along with everything else (i.e. stress relief, lower blood pressure, phenomenal cardiovascular strength, increased endurance and stamina, etc).

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Longest race: Florida Keys 100 miler is my longest run.

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Hardest course: The Eugene Curnow trail marathon course in Duluth MN was hardest because I had to use ropes to climb up the hills, had to run down extremely narrow paths with significant drops on either side of the path, traverse rocks and boulders, and cross streams. It took me over 7 hours to complete that marathon.  I would never ever run the Eugene Curnow marathon again because I felt that it was too dangerous. There was a point on the course where I wanted to turn around and go back the way that I had come because I was too afraid that I was going to fall off the cliff as I tried to go down an extremely narrow path using too very loose ropes. I prayed to God that I would never return to that race again if he allowed me to finish…..and I plan on keeping my word to God!

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Hardest race for you: The North Face Endurance Trail 50K and the Outer Banks 50K were the two hardest races for me. Neither required ropes or had streams to cross but the terrain on both were back breakers. North Face had what felt like 25 significant hills/mountains. It also had rocks to navigate over. It was absolutely grueling. My legs and core were spent. The OBX 50K had 29 miles of soft sand (more like quick sand due to heavy rain) and I was drooling on myself as I used all my energy just to finish the race. I remember having roughly 2 hours to finish 7.5 miles and I honestly thought that I wasn’t going to make it. I would/will definitely run both of these races again.

Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it):

SD: You really don’t want to ask me this question because my favorite races are not favorites of most people because they are difficult. I like challenging races. I also prefer a 50K over a marathon. OBX 50K, is a difficult but beautiful run along the beach. You get the opportunity to watch the sunrise right before your eyes! The race is always around the 1st weekend in May in the Outer Banks North Carolina. http://www.obxultramarathon.com

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Favorite course : One of my favorite courses is the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke VA. It is a challenging yet beautiful course. It is “America’s toughest road marathon.” It has 7,430 feet of total elevation change. It goes on 16 Apr which unfortunately is the same weekend as the North Face Endurance trail 50K.  http://www.blueridgemarathon.com

Another one of my favorite courses is the Freedom’s Run Marathon in Shepherdstown WV. It is 26.2 miles through 4 National Parks. The historical route and race organization has earned a “Top 25 Half Marathon” by Runner’s World Magazine in February 2013 and is the Highlight Race in October 2013 Runner’s World and a Bucket List Race. It is challenging because of the numerous hills that you run through the battlefields. It goes around the 10th of October. http://www.freedomsrun.org/

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

SD: 50K is my favorite distance but the 50 miler is slowly taking its place! LOL! I love running long distances and reading/studying about long distance runs. I am a true ultra-marathoner at heart. Therefore, I don’t care for 5Ks. I’ll run them for charitable events or as part of a race series but that’s about it. Just not long enough for me….it is just a tease.

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BAR: You seem sometimes almost driven.  You run so many races, so many miles, and always with that big smile.  Was there a point where you “turned the corner” and just gave in to the constant racing?

SD: Yes! The more I read about running long distances the more I am intrigued by it. I am not a Dean Karnazes but I relate to him on so many levels. Running is my addiction and the more that I do it, the more that I want…almost need…to do it. Preparing for and completing the KEYS 100 miler was my turning point. I learned that the body is this amazing machine that can be pushed to extraordinary levels. I smile because I am on a runner’s high….ALWAYS! I am just so grateful that I have the ability to run injury free. I’ve also learned that I can run as many races as I want as often as I want as long as I maintain a comfortable pace and have great running shoes.

BAR: You have run a number of ultras, but still show up for the ½ marathons and marathons on a regular basis.  What is the difference in mindset when you switch from normal crazy runner to ultra-crazy?

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SD: I run halves and full marathons as training for my ultras. All marathons and half marathons are training runs. I want my 50Ks to be training runs too. Also, I am goal oriented and I want to run a half, full, 50K, 50 miler, and trail race in all 50 states. I also want to run a marathon on the 7 continents. So my mindset is to Run Happy no matter what distance that I run. My race, my pace. I race against no one but myself and my goal is always to finish injury free and enjoy the time on my feet.

BAR: Tell us about the military, the Marines, and running…

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SD: The Marine Corps was an awesome experience. I joined when I was 17-years-old and the Corps taught me a lot and made me both mentally and physically tough. The mind is the most powerful thing that we possess! It surpasses the limits of the body because it knows better than the body what the limitations truly are. I have learned to run pass a little bit of discomfort and push where most would quit. That’s how I completed the OBX 50K this year. I had run the North Face Endurance trail 50K and two back-to-back marathons just before I ran the OBX. I ran the North Face first, the next weekend I ran marathons in Kentucky and Ohio, and then the next weekend I ran the OBX. I was tired before I even started the OBX 50K. But where my body was tired my mind was strong. Since I wasn’t injured I decided that I could still complete the run. There’s a difference between discomfort and injury. I can run with discomfort and fatigue as long as I am not injured. I learned that from my 24+ years in the Corps. Interestingly enough I hated running with the Marines. I hated the physical fitness test…especially the running. Remember, I am not fast. The Marines pushed me to run a 20.5 minute 3 mile run. That’s less than a 7 minute mile. That hurts! I actually had to recover after that.

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PR   5k / 10k / half / full / more?

PR for 5K is 21 minutes (not including my physical fitness test)

10K….no idea what my PR is. I’ve completed a few but don’t remember my times.

PR for half  is 1:45.

PR for Full is 3:59.

PR for 50K is 5:54.

PR for 50 mile  is 10:46.

PR for 100 mile (only completed one so far) is 30:19.

BAR: I see you in pictures with other runners all the time.  I know you are a member of several running groups.  Can you tell us about them?  What do they do for you – you for them?

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SD: I am a member of several running groups such as Black Girls RUN!, National Black Marathoners Association, Team Badass – Miles and Smiles, Marathon Maniacs, 50 States Marathon Club, Half Fanatics, Tidewater Striders Running Club, Ultra Running, and Red, White, and Blue Virginia Beach chapter. Although the teams are unique in their own way they all share a common theme….runners supporting each other. I love the race support and encouragement that I get when I run races and members of any of the teams are out there cheering while running the race too. Some are just local and provide an opportunity for me to run with someone if I want to. Also, I love the information sharing that goes on between these groups. I learn so much for everyone. I learn which races to run and which ones not to run. I get discount information on races. I learn about nutrition options and I get inspired by stories and testimonies. I’ve met some amazing people (in person and virtually) in these groups and I am grateful for the friendships and bonds that have been made. My hope is that I reciprocate all the good that I have received. I hope to encourage, inspire, or motivate someone. I want to cheer everyone on for achieving their personal accomplishments and sharing their stories. And sometimes I simply want to laugh with you all about all that makes us happy. Life is good.

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner this year and beyond?

SD: I want to complete my 50 states goals (half, full, 50K, 50 miler) and my marathon on the 7 continents goal. I want to reach Titanium level (highest level) in the Marathon Maniacs.  I also want complete 10 JFK 50 mile ultra-marathons in order to get into the JFK 500 mile club. I have already completed 6 JFKs. I want to run more ultras and trail runs. I eventually want to transition to running mostly 50 and 100 milers and on trails for both.

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes? If so, why?

SD:  HOKA is my favorite running shoe. I have tried almost every running shoe. Asics Gel Cumulus was my favorite for years but HOKA (Stinson Lite or Stinson Tarmac and Clifton) is the one shoe that allows me to run so many races injury free while saving my legs and core.  It is like running on the moon. It is the ultra-marathoner’s shoe of choice.

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

SD: I am not a big gear person. I only run with the essentials. Less is best. I do like my Orange Mud single and double carrier hydration vest. I sometimes run with my IPOD Nano. Thanks to Sherri Morgan I now run with my RoadID Bracelet.

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use.  Are there others you’d like to try?

SD: I run with a Garmin Forerunner 910XT. That’s it.  Haven’t found anything else that I am interested in trying.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

SD: My advice is simple. Run for you. Run from your heart. Don’t dread it, love it. Your race, your pace. Keep up with only yourself. Set your goals and enjoy the journey as you run to complete those goals.  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS RUN HAPPY!

BAR: Final question… when are you going to stop playing…?

SD: LMBO! Never. My mom has been trying to get me to sit down and stop playing since I was a kid. I was playing then and I am playing now. Some things never change.

Badass Running / Walking Profile : Don Lhati

1383556_679266478775016_232238227_nName: Donald Lahti

Home State: Suitland Maryland, although I lived in Duluth Minnesota longer. Now I call San Antonio, Texas home.

BAR: When did I start running?

DL: The late 70’s early 80’s.

BAR: I’ve noticed that, though you participate in all of the running challenges we share on Facebook, you are a walker?

DL: I’ve always enjoyed walking, so when health issues and injuries ended my ability to run, I just switched to walking.

BAR: What motivates you?

DL: My biggest motivation is my health. I’ve been living without a pituitary since 1991 and dealing with worsening neurological issues, possible MS, since 2008. So, if bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, I’m afraid if I stop I’m doomed.

Longest Race: 50K Aug 2012

Hardest Course: The Decker 1/2 marathon in Austin, Texas–Monster Hills Hardest Race: Saturday & Sunday full marathons.

Favorite Race: 3M 1/2 Marathon in Austin, Texas during the month of Jan.

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Favorite Course: The Decker 1/2 marathon. Even though it was horribly hilly I loved it.

Favorite Distance: The half marathon–long enough to be challenging, but still able to finish in less than 4 hrs.

Least favorite Distance: The marathon–6.5-7 hours is too long on my legs and feet. Walking PR’s: 5K–42:05 1/2 Marathon–3:04:00 Full Marathon–6:40:32.

BAR: We see you in pictures with a lot of other runners and walkers. Who inspires you?

DL: Where to start?  First is my family. All of us race for Team Beef; including our granddaughters. My wife works 40hr weeks on her feet, but still gets out and logs 3+ miles in the evening with me, as well as a weekly long walk.

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Our oldest son has completely turned his diabetes around, thru diet & exercise.  In fact he is training for his first full ironman this fall. My youngest son balances work, time with his daughter, and still manages to run or bike regularly. I’m also a member of Team RWB & the I Ran Marathons family, whose many members I’d have a long way to go to match accomplishments with. And of course, there are all of you on team badass. On top of that I always try to live a life worthy of the sacrifices my fellow military members have made.

Bucket List: Grandma’s marathon in Duluth, Minnesota & the Disney World 1/2 marathon.

Favorite Shoes: Due to size 14 4E very flat feet, I wear clunky walking shoes, but my favorites are Brooks Addiction Walkers.

Other Gear: I either wear a hydration vest, or a fitletic quench belt depends on how I feel that day. I also use 2 trekking poles for stability; They’ve kept me off of my face more than once.

Apps/GPS: I’ve been using Map My Walk, but lately it has been really acting up. According to the app, my wife & I walked a 13 second mile the other day; not sure I believe that. I also use a Garmin hand held GPS unit. Not fancy but pretty accurate.

Advice: Just because you are a walker doesn’t mean you have to stroll.10849725_908910649143930_6877550262441194479_n

Badass Running Profile : Joseph Leon Guerrero & Yeti

 


11329653_10206997627689734_270779767_nName: Joseph Leon Guerrero

Home State: Texas

BAR: When did you start running?

JLG: In 2002, I started long distance running after my wife of 22 years suddenly passed away and not long after a coworker said to me, in the middle of my usual five mile run, “Lieutenant, you should sign up and run the Kolekole Pass Half Marathon.” I told him that I couldn’t run that far but he convinced me that I could. Two months later I completed the half marathon in about two hours 45 minutes.

Not long after that, he then said, “Lieutenant, you should sign up for the Honolulu Marathon and run it this December”. Again I told him there was no way I could run a marathon. He said that if I could run a half marathon, I could run a marathon. And sure enough, three months later, I completed my first marathon in 5 hours and 59 minutes. My first three marathons were the Honolulu Marathon.

BAR: Why do you run now?

JLG: I run now because I am addicted to it. I love getting all the medals. I enjoy seeing my friends at all the races and it’s great to get out and exercise.

BAR: What motivates you?

JLG: Challenges motivate me. I am very competitive and get a rush when I complete a challenge.

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Longest race: My longest race was a 50K that I ran in August of 2012 in San Antonio and it was held by I Ran Marathons on Leon Creek. It took me 7 hours and 57 minutes. The race director has a “No runner left behind policy”. This was perfect since I’m not fast.

Hardest course: My hardest course is the Chosen Marathon in New Braunfels TX because of all the rolling hills. It is an out and back that follows the Guadalupe River along the mostly shaded River Road. Despite being difficult, I’ve managed to get PRs on 2 of the 3 times running this marathon.

Hardest race for you: My hardest race was the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon in 2012. The reason it was hard is because the day before I ran the Warmup Marathon in nearby Jenks OK.

Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it): My favorite race is the Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon in Seabrook TX. I have been running that race each year since 2007 excluding 2012 when I ran the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach VA. Seabrook is held during Spring Break and is a two day event. The first day is a half marathon and you have the choice of running another half or a full marathon the next day. If you complete both days, you receive a third medal.

If you run a total of 10 marathons or 20 half marathons or any combination totaling 262 miles on their course, you become a member of their Hall Of Fame and receive a plaque to commemorate your achievement. This past March, I received Hall Of Fame status.

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Favorite course (same): My favorite course is on Leon Creek in San Antonio where I Ran Marathons holds many of their races. It is a 3.275 mile out and back course along a nice paved trail. It takes 4 round trips for a half marathon and 8 for a full marathon. Because of this, you get to see your friends frequently and there is an aid station on each end. I volunteer at and run many of these races.

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

JLG: My favorite short distance race is the 5K because it’s over with pretty quickly.

My favorite long distance is the half marathon. When I run it, I’m usually done between 2:30 to 3:00. It’s a decent time and there are still plenty of runners behind me.

My least favorite is actually the marathon despite completing 38 of them. I’m slow and it takes me an average of about 6 to 6.5 hours. It takes a toll on my body and I’m usually one of the last runners to finish. Many times everyone is already gone and very little food and snacks are left. Kind of depressing.

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BAR: Tell us about running with your dog Yeti. All of us on Team Badass have fallen in love with him – the pictures, his medals. What made you start running with your dog? How many races does he have behind him? Medals? Do you have any tips for people who might want to try running with their dog?

JLG: I received Yeti on Easter Sunday 2009 from a friend of a friend named Michelle. He was 7 months old and came from a breeder in Tennessee. I took him on a two mile run that afternoon and he loved it. He also attracts a lot of attention. We’ve been running together for 6 years and have logged over 2,000 miles. Last year Yeti ran 54 races with me. All total, he has about 100 races under his belt or let’s say “leash”. He has 40 running medals and one trophy. He has completed at least 20 half marathons and his longest distance is 16.4 miles. He also enjoys tubing down the river with me, fishing on shore or on a boat, hiking, running beside me when I’m on a bike, and going to the dog park to run around with his other buddies. There are very few races I run without Yeti, and when I run into my friends, the first thing they say is: “Where is Yeti?”

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My advice on running with a dog? Well, the dog will like running or simply will not. Test the dog out at first. If you do long runs, feed him well the day before and get plenty of rest. Also make sure you give your dog water just as you give yourself. They need to stay hydrated too.

BAR:  Care to share your PRs?

JLG: PR 5k 26:17 Schertz / 5 Mile 49:39 Whine Run/ 10k 52:00? / 10 Mile 1:40:55 Austin/ half 2:10:17 Moe’s Half / full 5:09:16 Jenks / 50K 7:57:20 I Ran Marathons.

BAR: I’ve seen you running with your children in a lot of races. Have they always been runners?

JLG: My kids (4 boys/1 girl (youngest)) are all grown and are either in the Navy or the Marines. They run in the military but not long distances.

Did they start because of your inspiration?

Yes, I did my first marathon in 2002. Two years later my second son Mike, a Marine ran the Honolulu Marathon with me and we finished in 5:57. In 2013, my oldest son Joe, his wife Melissa, and my daughter Jessica ran the Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon with me. I have run about 5 half marathons with Jessica and 1 with Joe.

BAR: What is it like being part of a family who can share those moments?

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JLG: It’s a great experience being in my mid-50s and being able to go the distance with my children. In April, Jessica, myself and her friend Sarah hiked 120 miles of the Appalachian Trail that runs the entire length of Shenandoah National Park in VA in 10 days.

BAR: Are you a member of any running groups. If so, can you tell us a little bit about them?

JLG: I’m am  currently a member of Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics, The 2015 SunRype Team, and Texas Beef Team, I coach for I Ran Marathons and also for Girls On The Run Bexar County. I was also a 2014 U.S. Road Running Ambassador.

BAR: What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?

JLG: My two favorite runners are Larry Macon and Parvaneh Moayedi, both hold multiple Guinness world records for marathon running and both live in San Antonio. Larry is 70 years old and has completed over 1,400 marathons. Parvaneh has at least 700 marathons and has a goal to be the first woman to complete 1,000 marathons.

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

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JLG: My goals are:

Double Half COMPLETED 2014 Double Full COMPLETED 2012 twice Double Half and Full COMPLETED 2008 Triple Half COMPLETED 2015 Triple Full Quad Half Quad Full 50K COMPLETED 2012 50 Miles COMPLETED 2015 as a hike in 5 days. 100 Miles COMPLETED 2015 as a hike in 9 days. Section Hike the entire Appalachian Trail (109 of 2,174 miles completed) Bike 100 miles COMPLETED 2011, 2012, 2013. (Sound like you’ve already completed most of them, and the year is young!)

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes? Why?

JLG: I have run in Mizuno since 2002 and switched to Hoka One One in 2013. Last year I did a gait analysis had went to Newtons. I own 3 pair and switch out depending on what I’m wearing. My hiking boots are Merrells MOAB.

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?

JLG: I carry a hydration belt with 2 ten ounce bottles. The pouch holds my car keys, inhaler, SunRype, and poop bags.

On trail runs I carry a hydration vest with 2 twenty ounce bottles. I also carry the same items as when I wear my belt.

BAR: Do you recommend one over another? Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

JLG: I use the belt more often since I’m only carrying either 10 ounces or 20 ounces and when water stops are available. I use the vest when I don’t have water stops. I now carry a 20 ounce filtering bottle on my vest so I can get spring, river, run off or lake water on longer runs or hikes.

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use. Are there others you’d like to try?

JLG: I use my MapMyRun app on my phone. On long distance I use that and my Garmin 310XT or when I want to view splits and average total pace.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

JLG: My advice is to take it slow and enjoy the run. Lately I have walked or run/walk many of my half marathons alongside my friends and talked the entire way. You will be surprised how fast the time goes by and how much you learn about the person you’re beside. One of the things I preach concerning long distance is: “It’s not how fast you go, it’s how long you can go slow”

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Badass Runner Profile: Sherri Morgan

11356249_10206908538739012_803843116_nName: Sherri Morgan

Home State: Minnesota

Websitehttp://Absolutefitness4life.blogspot.com

BAR: When  did you start running?  Why?

SM: I started running in 2012. I have always disliked running but starting doing interval training to lose weight. I took a health class spring semester of 2012 and had to do a family health history. I found heart disease running rampant in my family. I also have watched my Grandma, and now my Mom, spend the later part of their life sitting in a chair because of the choices they have made. I knew I didn’t want that for myself, I needed to make a change so I could have a good quality of life when I was their age.

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I kept getting faster and faster, being able to run longer and longer. I decided to sign up for a 5K to check it out. I ended up first in my division and have been hooked ever since!

BAR: Why do you run now? What motivates you?

SM: I run now because it really has become a part of who I am. I love the feeling of freedom. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love pushing myself beyond where I ever thought I could be with running. Motivation comes from seeing what is actually possible, seeing if I can get a new PR and knowing how strong my body is because of running/training.

Longest race: Half Marathon

Hardest course: I don’t really have a hardest course. All my half marathons have had rolling hills, some higher than others. My trail races have had plenty of steep hills. Nothing stands out as the hardest. I did have one trail race that had a “hill” that had a name. It was long and it was steep and I am doing it again on June 13th!

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Hardest race for you: The hardest race for me was my 6th half marathon. I had read a lot on the ketogenic and how ultra-runners were switching to this nutrition plan. Many said it gave them almost endless amounts of energy because your body uses more fats then carbs for energy. The body needs time to adapt and while adapting your energy levels can really drop for 4-6 weeks until full adaption. I started it just 2 weeks before the half marathon and it was my slowest half ever! It didn’t help that the humidity was really high that day. There was a discomfort in my chest for 9 of the 13 miles and I had to walk too much. My finishing time was 2:43:16 when I had been hoping I would finally get my sub two hour half marathon. It was very disappointing.

Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it): I’m going to tell you about my top three:

The Hot Chocolate Race that is run in multiple locations around the country is one I have done the last two years. I have run the 15K both times. They are really organized and they give out great gear. Last year they gave us a great ¼ zip hoodie and this year a full zip hoodie. Also, this year they started giving medals to the 15K finishers and it is pretty awesome! Last year the course was pretty hilly and this year they modified it slightly so it wasn’t as much.

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My second race is a multisport one. The Esprit de She Duathlon. (They also do 5Ks and triathlons) These are female only events and we are catered too! It was also very well organized and have great gear. I received an awesome cycling tank and they had Mimosa’s for us at the finish! It didn’t even matter that it started raining two minutes before the start, there were 28 mph winds (which had us riding at a slant against the crosswinds) and my ankles were raw and bleeding the whole last running leg!

Last year I did the Looney Challenge at the Twin Cities Marathon weekend. TC Marathon is a great event where people come from all over the world to compete in. The make a whole weekend out of it with a 10K, 5K and family events on Saturday and a 10 miler and marathon on Sunday. It’s the first weekend in October so the run showcases the beautiful fall colors here in Minnesota. The runs on Sunday start in downtown Minneapolis and finish in downtown St. Paul. A couple years ago they started the Looney Challenge where you run the 10K, followed by the 5K on Saturday and then either the 10 miler or the marathon on Sunday. I did the 10 miler. 2 days, 3 races, 4 medals! I am doing it again this year!

Favorite course: My favorite course is the one for the Lost Dutchman in Apache Junction AZ. So many races are run in the downtown areas but that is definitely not the case with the Lost Dutchman. It is run in the desert near Superstition Mountain. It made me wonder why they would have them in the city when they could give us scenery like this! My Mom lived in Apache Junction so I have been there many times and I have always loved Superstition! I did the 10K and we started in Prospector Park and ran an out & back. The half marathon does as well. You run towards Superstition for most of the out. It is a beautiful scenery! The marathon is a point-to-point and starts in Gold Canyon, 6 miles down a gravel road. They have pre-dawn campfires at the start of the marathon, and you get to see a beautiful desert sun rise as you are running! They also have some nice finishing touches at the finish with a little mining camp, old bearded prospector and live mule.

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BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

SM: My favorite distance is probably the 10 miler. It’s just a nice distance for me. I don’t know that I have a least favorite.

PR   5k / 10k / half 

 5K = 26:45

10K = 57:21

10 Miler = 01:36:04

Half = 02:06:29

BAR: You are always out running trails, or new places.  And in crazy cold weather.  What are some tips you could offer on finding cool new places to run, and on making sure you don’t die a frozen popsicle along the way?  What is it about the trails you enjoy?

SM: I am someone who likes variety and I love challenging myself! I want to explore new places, not only for the new scenery but also because you don’t know what you will find. Sometimes that can be a real challenge. I like to all types of races too. 5Ks to half marathons, obstacle and mud runs, doubles & triples in one weekend, chair climbs, mutli-sport and destination races.

Trail running poses a new challenge with rocks, roots, trees, hills, etc. You have to constantly be aware of that is ahead of you, jumping over things, dodging left and right, etc. I don’t even listen to music while trail running so I am fully aware of my surroundings. Running on pavement is more of a time where I can zone out and just get into my music.

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I am fortunate to live in a place that really values parks and trails. When I am out driving around I take notice of any trails I see that I didn’t know were there. I also use MapMyRun to look for new trails. I’m am also a member of the UMTR (Upper Midwest Trail Runners) and on their website they have a nice list of dirt/gravel trails. I enjoy both paved and dirt/gravel trails.

As far as the cold–layers! And I guess it depends on what “cold” means. I have run a race when it felt like -17 degrees. That was brutal. I’ve run them at 25 degrees which is ok but I prefer a little warmer. I have run plenty at 45 degrees and find these very enjoyable once we get moving. Waiting for the race is the worst part. You have to just keep moving to stay as warm as possible. You will see many people wearing garbage bags to keep in the body heat and hope the black bag draws in more heat if the sun is shining. But as far as the running, layers are important. If below 32 you definitely want to keep as much skin covered as possible. Wear things that are wind proof if you have them, smart wool socks, etc. I have lined shirts that have a built in face mask I can pull up to my eyes and then I can just drop it back down if I don’t need it. When it’s really cold your eyes water like crazy, some people wear goggles but I have not tried that yet. If it’s not a race and I’m running outside in the cold I try to find a trail that is lined with trees, it’s usually less windy. They wind is worse than the cold! I, myself, would much rather run in 45 degree temps then 85 degrees with the humidity we have here in MN.

BAR: You are always color-coordinating your running gear… this seems to be something you really enjoy.  Any particular brands of outfits, gear, accessories that you prefer?  Any fashion tips?

SM: Well, I really like to look put together! It is something I enjoy and I have received many comments at races about my outfits and especially my socks. I almost always wear my pigtails when I race too! I don’t do any particular brand but it’s a must to start with the shoes.

Obviously, during a race your most important accessories are your shoes. They need to be the right shoe for the distance you are doing, so that is where I always start. Once I know the color of the shoes I am wearing (I have 8 pair to choose from lol) I work my way up, either picking the socks next or the top. I really like to wear the knee high, fun, bright socks. I find socks at a variety of places and when I see knee highs with colors I don’t have I will pick them up, just in case. One thing you really want to make sure is that the knee highs are not cotton, unless you like blisters. Claire’s has come cute ones right now, look like they are lace up and do have a decorative tie at the top. I do have some calf compression sleeves as well that can take the place of the socks. Once the top and socks are picked out I pick out a head band if I am wearing one, which I do like to wear to keep the sweat out of my eyes. I do like Bondi Band head bands, that’s where I got most of mine.

Biggest tip I have is just to make sure what you wear not only looks fashionable and put together but is also comfortable and right for running. You may look good running but if it’s chaffing you anywhere you will have days of recovery waiting for it to heal! Not worth it no matter how cute you are. J

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BAR: Do you belong to any running groups, other than Team Badass?  If so, can you tell us a little bit about them?  What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?

SM: I am a member of Upper Midwest Trail Runners but I just signed up so haven’t had a chance to get involved with them yet.

I am also a member of Twin Cities Running Club. They have group runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, you can attend any or all. Saturday is the long run, Tuesday is a leisurely run with a get-together afterword and Thursday’s are for speedwork and take place at a track. When I first signed up, last summer, I attended a Saturday long run. I had my headphones all ready to go and realized no one else had them. I put them away and we all started running together… and talking. I quickly realized that the reason I have always run alone is because I like it that way. I wanted to join a group to get to know other runners mostly. So I would have someone to do races with, etc. I did not enjoy running as a group, just the hanging out afterwards. I think this summer I may attend the speedwork nights though.

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

SM: Since January of 2014 I have had a goal to run at least 100 miles every month. May brings me to 17 months in a row. Maybe I can make 100 months of 100 miles or more, good long term goal. This year’s goals are to complete 4 half marathons, at last 30 races (including at least one each calendar month) and I want that elusive sub 2 hour half. I also want to do a destination half and am looking at Utah. There is one called Morgan Valley! A half marathon medal and bib with my name on it would be awesome. Jamila (one of our badass runners) really has be thinking about this 24 hour race. I think that may happen in 2016. I really want one epic race for 2016 and I think epic would be an understatement for the Nanny Goat 24 hour race.

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?  Why?

SM: My favorite brands of shoes are Mizuno and Asics. I have always had good luck with them. I recently bought a pair of Adidas Supernova Glide Boost because I read that the soles do not freeze when running in the cold. Since I hate when my shoes get hard running those winter races I decided I should try them. I used them for my OZ Run half marathon on May 23rd and they felt great. If they truly stay soft in the cold they will be my new winter outdoor runners!

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

SM: When running outside in the heat, some kind of hydration system is essential. I recently purchased a hydration belt by Fitletic and I really like it. I have used other things in the past because I didn’t think I would like something around my waist. I have tried hand held bottles, which I find a nuisance. I have tried a camelback, which I really like but only need something like that for really long runs because it holds A LOT. They hydration belt holds two 8 oz bottles and is good for runs up to about 10 miles. Even if I was going longer and there was a store along the way I could just bring some cash to get something to refill the bottles. I think it is important to try on a hydration belt and jump around to see if it bounces or is going to rub you the wrong way. They one I got is really soft and has nothing stiff on it to chaff.

I always run with my RoadID as well. The year I started running I spent 3 months in SoCal, by myself and was thinking if I got injured somehow, and unable to speak for myself, no one would know who I was. I ran a race with the RoadID coupon on the bottom of the bib and checked them out. I have been wearing one ever since.

One dilemma I always had while running is what to do with my phone. Women’s running gear rarely has a useful pocket. There are options but I don’t find them all that convenient. I found a great product that solves this problem. It’s a pocket called Underfuse and simply irons on your running shorts, pants or capri’s and can hold your phone, ID, cash, etc. I have bought 4 so far and will be ordering more, I want them on all my running bottoms!

I like to run with the least amount of stuff as possible. I do not like anything in my hand even if it’s “attached” to my hand like some of the water bottle holders. I do like to wear the little wrist pockets if I need to carry my key or the pockets for your phone that slide up to your upper arm too, but when you are running in heat and humidity those things just make the run that much harder.

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use.  Are there others you’d like to try?

SM: I recently bought the new Garmin Vivoactive GPS watch. I really like it. The only thing I didn’t know and wish it had was a setting for multi-sport. I have the Garmin Forerunner 305 that I can and do use for my duathlons but it would be nice to be able to use the Vivoactive. Hopefully someone is working on an app for that.

I was using MapMyRun app on my phone but it stopped working properly in my neighborhood. It told me I was running zero miles per hour when I was clearly running.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

SM: I would say to just go your own pace. You do not need to keep up with or compare yourself to anyone else. One big thing that I had to learn was to pace myself. I would always start out a run to fast and then have to walk too soon. Once I learned to pace myself to my own abilities I could go farther.

I was running a race with a friend (it was his first) and we decided we were each going to run our own race. After the first two minutes I realized he was right behind me. I asked him if he wanted to slow down (I would too) so he could run farther. He said, “what’s wrong with this pace?” As I shrugged my shoulders, I said “ok.” At about ¾ of a mile he stopped and said, “my hearts on fire!!” I wanted to show him, rather than tell him, people learn better that way. I ran/walked most to the rest of the race with him and taught him how to run it most effectively. The next time he ran he paced himself and was so happy and proud he was able to run 2 miles straight.

Also, just keep it fun and enjoyable! Set your own goals and don’t let others talk you out of what you know you want to do. Last year I signed up for a full marathon and began training. I was really only doing it because other runners would say things like, “you have to, it’s the only thing you haven’t done.” (Which obviously wasn’t true because there are 25K, 50K+ trail runs, 12 hour, 24 hour, 100 mile runs.) I had no desire to run 26.2 miles straight. I just wanted to get it out of the way. By week 4 I started to feel like running was a chore and I could not think of anything else until I got my training run in for the day. I started to dislike running and the pressure it was putting me under. In week 6 I decided that if I completed a full marathon, but I lost my love for running in the process it would be a great tragedy! I email the race people and had them change my registration to a half marathon. I felt a weight lifted and I immediately started loving running again. I would much rather concentrate my efforts on getting faster at races up to half marathons and get better at trail running then conquer the full marathon. Do what’s right for you and let other runners do what’s right for them.

This is your journey and your race. Cheer others on and hopefully there are others around to cheer for you. And always, no matter what, keep smiling!

Badass Runner Profile: Jamila Williams

Jamila1This is the first of what I hope will be a long, interesting and inspirational string of Runner profiles.  I’m not profiling the guys and gals you’ll see in the Olympics (though it wouldn’t surprise me at all if some of those you’ll find here made it).  This blog is about running.  ‘Badass’ is an attitude, a feeling of exhilaration, pride, and accomplishment.  These are runners who inspire me – and at least for now – all members of the “Badass Running” team, formed of like-minded runners who found one another on Facebook.

For my first profile, I have chosen Jamilia Williams…  Over the past year, I have literally been stunned by the sheer volume of races she’s completed, and the miles she’s covered.  ½ marathons, marathons, 50 mile races, and recently well beyond – Jamila truly epitomizes the ideals this site will try to embody… heck, I want to BE her…  Let’s get to the interview:

PROFILE:  JAMILA WILLIAMS

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/jamila.williams

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Home State : SC

BAR: When did you start running?

JW: I started running 5ks in 2011 and first half marathon in DEC 2012 (Dallas MetroPCS) and first marathon (RNR SD June 2013)

BAR: Why do you run now?

JW: I love the feeling of freedom that running provides. It allows me to go into my own little world. My job is very stressful sometimes and it keeps me busy. Running relaxes me.

BAR: What motivates you?

JW: Lots of things motivate me but I love seeing people who don’t look like what a “typical runner” looks like working out and running. I’m especially motivated by people who have lost legs and arms, those who have battled terminal illnesses, lost a lot of weight, etc. I love hearing stories on how people got involved with running.

BAR: What was your longest race

JW: Nanny Goat 24 hour endurance race ….It took me 23 hrs 17 minutes to run 100 miles

BAR: What was your hardest course?

JW: Monument Valley 50k –What an incredibly scenic race but it required running through sand pits, climbing a mountain up to 6,500 ft, and very rocky terrain. I took lots of pictures though. I have Leadville Marathon next month. That has an elevation of over 13,000 ft so I am sure that will be even harder!

What was the hardest race for you?

JW: Bataan Memorial Death March- I ran a 50 miler and 50k the weeks before Bataan but I still decided to enter the heavy division (38 lb rucksack) and I also decided to bring Old Glory with me! I was so close to quitting several times as I realized that I took the wrong rucksack and packed it incorrectly. My shoulders were killing me! But, I received SO MUCH support on the course and even from wounded vets with no legs! I knew that I couldn’t give up!! It was such a sweet feeling coming across the finish line. Yes, I will do Heavy again. And I will be more prepared!

BAR: What was your favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it)?

JW: I love the Disney races. I ran the Disney half marathon, Disney marathon (January in Orlando), Wine and Dine twice (November in Orlando), Disneyland half (CA), and Avengers half marathon (November -CA). They give me a chance to enjoy myself and take pictures with characters. My goal is always to take pictures with ALL the characters and not worrying about my time at all

BAR: What is your favorite course?

JW: Tough to pick one. I would say Marine Corps Marathon. I can go on and on about this course! I love the Blue Mile where they honored service members who had passed away. The guy behind me called out all their names and I broke down in tears and got choked up. Several of my friends were also there cheering at different points along the route. Very emotional and beautiful experience for me. Can’t wait to do it again!

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

JW: Least – 2 mile APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) and 5ks because they are more sprinting- oriented events. I consider myself a distance runner so I love running at a much slower pace for a longer time.

Favorite- marathons and 50 milers – I love distance running so the further the better J

BAR: I see a lot of pictures of you with cupcakes. What is it about cupcakes?

JW: They’re delicious! So many different flavors to choose from!

BAR: Do you mind sharing your PRs?

JW: Half PR: 1:58:22   Marathon: 4:13:06  50 miler: 11:27:39 100 miler: 23:17

BAR: You often carry the American Flag with you… you and Old Glory on the road together. How did that start, and what does it mean to you? How far will you carry her?

JW: I started being interested in running with Old Glory after going to several races and seeing people run with her. I love my country, love serving in the Active Duty Army, and have been deployed. I love running with Old Glory. It’s my way of showing support and honoring fellow veterans, those currently fighting in combat, and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice

BAR: You have a lot of running companions, and some groups. Can you tell us a little bit about them? What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?

JW: Yes! I belong to several running groups such as Black Girls Run, Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs, 50 state half marathon club, 50 state marathon club, Team RWB, Wear Blue Run to Remember, National Black Marathoners Association (NBMA), Team Badass (of course), and  Run it Fast. Each has its own different mission BUT they are all focused on running, working out, and staying fit. Several members in each of the clubs and groups that I belong to inspire me. Some are BQs, 100 miler gurus, and some who believe in “getting their money’s worth” on the course. Others are not even runners but they are positive minded individuals who believe in doing their best and making a difference in this world. My parents also inspire me! They are my biggest fans and I am very appreciative of everything that they have done for me.

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

JW: I have a four year (when I’m 40) plan to qualify for Boston and run Leadville 100 miler (one of the toughest in the US). If I accomplish these before I’m 40 then I’ll have to find new and more challenging goals J

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes? Why?

JW: I am a die-hard Brooks fan (still am) because their shoes are the most comfortable. I have several pairs of Brooks Dyad shoes.

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential? Do you recommend one over another? Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

JW: I like my Orange Mud HydraQuiver Single Barrel for trail runs but I wear my Fitletic belt during races but honestly I don’t like to carry much gear on me ..I don’t like feeling weighed down

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use. Are there others you’d like to try?

JW: Nike Plus, Garmin Forerunner 310XT. I would love to try the Garmin Forerunner 920XT or the new Apple watch though J!!!

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

JW: Enjoy yourself and find your passion. For me, it started with 5k fun runs. I like running them occasionally because it feels good not worrying about time. Each person’s journey is different. Some are faster than others. Don’t compare yourself either. You’ll never be happy that way. My biggest piece of advice is to stay humble, compete against yourself, and never forget where you came from. Encourage those around you too. We all have our momentsJ

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