Mile2Marathon Saturday Morning at PSP

When and why did you get into running?
I started running in 2013 while I was living in Toronto. I was looking for something to help clear my
mind after full workdays of high stress client meetings, conference calls and projects. Getting out on
the road and trails for a few minutes a day without my phone or email chasing me around really got
me hooked.
I never really thought about running a race until 2016. My sister convinced me to come down to
Seattle to race a half marathon with her and her husband. It was a pretty humbling experience,
especially walking mile 11 as I was completely unprepared and blew up. I challenged myself to go
back to the same race in 2017 and come up with better performance. I did and that improvement
acted as a catalyst for me to want to get faster, stronger and race more often.
I don’t think there is a comparable feeling to the joy of crossing a finish line.

How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?
It is not the easiest, especially with being on the road for around two weeks a month with work. My
running shoes are now the first thing that I pack in my carry-on luggage.
I find that running is great way to get out and explore a new city. On my last trip, I have had a chance
to fit in a track workout in at the University of Las Vegas – Nevada and get Coach Tony to take a trip
down memory lane.
Importantly, the flexibility that Coach Tony has built into my training schedule has been critical in my
preparation to run in the New York Marathon.

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What was the impetus to start working with M2M?
What sealed it for me was getting accepted into the New York Marathon. I have never run a
marathon before. I needed a plan. I want to race rather than simply survive – I remember those
were my exact words during the conversation I had with Dylan when I started with the group.

What do you enjoy most about being part of Mile2Marathon?
Getting a chance to train twice a week in the group workouts with such talented athletes. They
elevate my performance and push me to keep improving. I can’t credit my teammates enough for
those little things like pushing my pace during the last set of a hard track workout or for dragging me
up that Camosun hill on the third loop of a Saturday morning long run.
Race days are completely different now. There is so much energy in seeing all of our black singlets on
the start line and seeing my teammates racing hard and crushing their goals out there on the course.
Additionally, the structure of the training cycle is important. I know that every time I lace up my
running shoes, there is purpose to everything I’m doing – which was totally lacking before joining
Mile2Marathon.

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Where to next / what’s your big goal currently?
Less than a week to go to my goal race in New York – I can’t wait for the marathon experience and to
see what I’m capable of achieving (and getting a chance to eat all the New York pizza after the race).
For future goals, I’m going to keep dreaming big, build on a great year and look to shatter my PBs
across multiple distances.
Person that inspires you in running or life?
I recently came across the story of Gabe Grunewald, a professional middle-distance runner based in
Minnesota who is battling cancer, setting personal bests while undergoing immunotherapy
treatment and focusing on getting to the Olympics in 2020. She embodies all the courage, grit and
determination that I associate with the sport.
Favourite quote (running or non-running)?
“When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore” – Florence Griffith Joyner

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Once a runner, always a runner. Meet Jenny, a former collegiate distance runner and recent mother of two, who found her way back into the sport after winning the lottery. The prize? An entry to race the 2018 New York City Marathon. We’re so excited to watch Jenny find her speed and love for the roads again. Here’s how she’s making motherhood and training work:

When & Why did you get into running?

My first race was in grade 3 and I was immediately hooked!  I ran competitively through high school and competed on both the varsity cross-country and track teams at Western University.  Fast forward more than a decade during which time next to no running was done – not sure if I even owned a pair of running shoes!  Instead, I tried out other hobbies, travelled, focused on my career and professional exams and most importantly, had my two babies!  I always dreamed of doing a marathon and after the birth of my second child in November 2017, I wanted to set a BIG goal that would ensure I stayed active and took time for myself…not the easiest task with young kids at home.  I entered myself in the NYC marathon lottery in January 2018 and was fortunate enough to secure a spot for this fall.

How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?

I’m currently on maternity leave and I am incredibly lucky to have a wonderful babysitter who takes care of my little guy so I can run after I drop my daughter off at preschool.  My husband holds down the fort every Sunday morning during my long run.  Usually my stretching/foam rolling/strength exercises are done with a baby crawling on me but I try to remind myself that some is better than none!  It truly takes a village.

What was the impetus to start working Mile2Marathon?

While I have some running experience, I had no clue how to train for a marathon and really needed A LOT of guidance.  Having Kate in my corner to plan my training schedule, help with fueling, recovery advice, etc., will help ensure I arrive at that start line in November healthy, fit, slightly less terrified of the task ahead and I’m just so excited to see what I can do on that day!

What do you enjoy most about being part of Mile2Marathon?

Accountability! As I’m predominantly training on my own, knowing Kate will see my workouts on TrainingPeaks gets my butt out the door and keeps me fighting to hit those goal paces.  Kate is such an abundant source of knowledge, support and encouragement.  She will get me to that finish line in November.

Where to next/What’s your big goal currently?

Crossing the 2018 NYC marathon finish line in front of my family and friends!  And snagging a BQ would be icing on the cake 🙂

Person that inspires you in running or life?

I’m inspired by anyone that’s out there running, putting one foot in front of the other.  Rediscovering the running community has been one of the best parts of getting back in to this sport.  Seeing other runners out on the trails, at the track, making the time to run inspires me to just keep going.  

Fav quote (running related or non-running)?

“No regrets.  No excuses.  Just have fun.  Find the fun, find the fun, find the fun.”  Kelly Roberts

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When & Why did you get into running?

I got into running, I think, just over 14 years ago.  Inspired by my younger sister, always the pioneer, who ran her first half before I ran mine, I loved her stories from the race.  So, I signed up for a half myself. Soon it was onto the full marathon- which for me was the Calgary marathon! What started as an athletic goal and a way to maintain fitness has evolved into something that I simply can’t live without.  Running, for me, allows me to be my best version of myself. It supports my mindfulness practice and there isn’t anything I love more than a great long, sweaty Saturday run through Edmonton’s river valley with my friends.

 

How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?

I think for me to manage my busy lifestyle, I have to be running.  Running brings me focus and clarity of thought, energizes me for long days and is often a time where my most creative ideas are born!  Running is a priority- it goes into my calendar and that is time I don’t exchange for anything. This way I am committed and it will happen.

 

What was the impetus to start working Mile2Marathon?

I’ve known and admired my coach Kate as a runner and a human for a very long time.  When she joined M2M, it made sense to start working with M2M as well. I had never before ran with a coach and wanted to experience what it was like to work with someone who could guide me through a training plan that was adapted to what was happening my life- my whole life- running and otherwise.  I like the idea of a community of runners that exists beyond my neighbourhood and my city under the M2M banner. For me- running is about the village! M2M offers another layer of community which I think is so unique.

 

Where to next/What’s your big goal currently?

I’ve been working on mindfulness and running.  For me, this has meant becoming aware of my personal narrative when I’m training and running, acknowledging when it is incredibly harsh and negative and then changing that narrative to something that supports my running with love and kindness.  Biggest picture, is to always feel joy- every single step. AND- because I know most people want to know about races and times, I have 2. The WFPS half in Winnipeg in October and California International marathon in December. I like to think I have a sub 1:30 in me for the half and a 3:10 or better in the full…but as long as I run for joy, I believe the results will come.  At the end of the day, the time isn’t that important to me.

 

Person that inspires you in running or life?

Just one?  But there are so many incredible runners, athletes and humans who inspire me to get out there and put one foot in front of the other.  My run crew @runcollective and fellow coaches are an endless source of inspiration- they train hard, they crush races, but most importantly are in the real conversation about running, which is often a parallel conversation about life.  I feel grateful to be a part of such an incredible team.

 

Fav quote (running related or non-running)?

Non- running…but actually everything can be tied to running because running is, truly, the greatest metaphor for life.   My favourite author is Richard Wagamese, an indigenous author who was from a reserve quite close to where I grew up in Kenora, Ontario.  I take his quotes with me on the run. Here is one of my favourites:

“ All we have are moments.  So live them as though not one of them can be wasted.  Inhabit them, fill them with the light of your best good intention, honour them with your full presence, find the joy, the calm, the assuredness that allows the hours and the days to take care of themselves.  If we can do that, we will have lived.”

Photos from the track at Point Grey Secondary with Mile 2 Marathon in Vancouver, BC on May 20, 2017.

When & Why did you get into running?

September 1982–UBC Friday noon hour Intramural 3k fun runs, blue Nike waffle trainers

 

How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?

Routinely on the fly, before a kid’s soccer match, between connecting flights, maybe really early in the morning before heading into the office, that sort of thing.

 

What was the impetus to start working with Mile2Marathon?

My individual situation warranted bringing in a Mile2Marathon coach. I asked myself why am I running and is it simply part of my overall training program or am I serious about competing? After some honest athletic self-examination, I was willing to invest in my running and performance. Dylan Wykes orchestrates a very specific training program which optimizes my performance while simultaneously minimizing any injury risk.

“Jill’s passion for the sport is amazing. She’s been in the sport for a long time, yet she approaches every workout and every race with an inspiring enthusiasm. On the surface she’s all smiles, but once the gun goes off her determination to get the most out of herself is second to none. The stuff she is accomplishing, at her age, with her hectic life is something we should all aspire to” Coach DW

What do you enjoy most about being part of Mile2Marathon?

The group training environment provided by M2M makes training fun by offering a variety of workouts and running routes.  The personal coaching environment – in addition to providing motivation, feedback and planning – provides the “systems thinking” (as in processes and methodology). In other words, the M2M coaches know how to mix the different ingredients to provide a system and a plan to the relationship.  They know their athletes, and their potential. This allows the coach to prescribe workouts, not only for the day, but for the week and months down the road. What has this meant for me? It has allowed me to focus on the actual training with an open mind, knowing that Dylan’s system of training may help me climb upward to a new level of performance.

Photos from the track at Point Grey Secondary with Mile 2 Marathon in Vancouver, BC on May 20, 2017.

Photos by Jody Bailey

Where to next/What’s your big goal currently?

I love cross country running even more than track and will work towards qualifying for the National meet in Kingston, Ontario

“Jill’s passionate about track and cross country. When she told me she wanted to improve her 1500m time and qualify for National Cross Country champs I was thrilled. Her goals are refreshing and a throwback of sorts to the events and races that I grew up participating in and it’s exciting to relive some of that through Jill’s training and racing.” Coach DW

Person that inspires you in running or life?

Everyone in our local running community currently inspires me. We all live complex and challenging lives, yet find our reasons to run. When I first got into the sport in the 1980s, I was inspired by the athletes of the era – Deena Drossin, John Walker, Paul Tergat, Steve Jones, Anne Audain, Thelma Wright, Cathy Shiro, Abebe Bikila (‘60s), Jacqui Gareau and the like.

 

Fav quote (running related or non-running)? “You’re doing okay, keep going” – dad

 

Favorite book (“Freakonomics” S Dubner & S Levitt) and what are you reading now? (The Woman in the Window” A.J. Finn) and (“Peak: secrets from the new science of expertiseEricsson and Pool)

 

My fridge is always stocked with: a variety of cheeses, Harp Lager, Okanagan Pear Cider, Tito’s Vodka

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When & Why did you get into running?

I’m pretty new to the running scene. M2M is the first running group I’ve ever been to and it’s the first time I’ve ever had specific run coaching. That being said, athletics have always played a huge role in life. Growing up I played every sport – squash, volleyball, tennis, basketball – you name it, I probably played. Volleyball was my main sport in high school and I went on to play at the varsity level. It wasn’t until after university that I picked up running as a way to keep in shape.

 

I liked how there was no structure – I could grab my shoes and just go. I continued this unstructured running routine for years. I’d go for a few runs a week and periodically go in races to see how fast I could go. My first half marathon was in 2012 in 1:36, then a year later 1:29. More recently, with 6 months of M2M coaching, I ran the same race in 1:20. Regardless of the time, the reason I run remains the same – I love it.

 

How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?

I work full time and sometimes it’s tough to find the time so I try to go for my run in the morning. In Vancouver that means it’s dark, cold and rainy 90% of the time but I’d rather get soaked then run on a treadmill. I’ve learned to embrace the PNW rainy vibes.

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What was the impetus to start working Mile2Marathon?

I can thank my sister for this. She told me to go to a running group so I could geek out about my runs with people who also liked running. I’d never been to any running group so when I dropped in for my first workout in November 2017 at the track I was pretty nervous. I hadn’t run track since elementary school and there were 30+ eager faces ready to roll. All it took was one workout and now I’m hooked. M2M coaches and Rob in particular have helped guide me to some big PBs and I’m excited for what’s to come.

 

What do you enjoy most about being part of Mile2Marathon?

Turning up every week and witnessing the M2M crew run for the pure joy of the sport. We all willingly go to the workouts, knowing full well we’re about to immerse ourselves in lactic acid and probable post-workout immobility and yet we wouldn’t miss it. There’s a twisted beauty to being part of M2M.

 

Where to next/What’s your big goal currently?

I just registered for my first marathon, California International Marathon (CIM), in December 2018. I’m feeling ready for whatever marathon training throws my way / whatever Rob throws my way. Bring it on!

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Person that inspires you in running or life?

There are so many inspiring athletes out there who I like to follow but the one person who continues to shape my running path is my Mum, Debs.

 

Thanks to Debs, running has always been part of life. There are countless photos of me in the baby-jogger with Debs rockin’ some seriously 90s running swag. She’s shown me what it means to run for the pure love of it and I hope to always hold onto that. Recently, I stumbled across her race bib from the 1994 ‘First Half’ Pacific Road Runners Half Marathon in Vancouver and she crushed a 1:36. She’d had 3 kids at this point yet somehow found time to go for a run. She’s a legend!

 

Fav quote (running related or non-running)? “I want to try the impossible to show it can be done.” Terry Fox, Marathon of Hope. My sister was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and underwent the whole chemo journey. She showed me firsthand how to be strong and to never give up. Terry Fox set the stage for cancer research and fundraising in Canada and I’m so grateful because now my sister is approaching 5 years remission.

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When & Why did you get into running?

Back in 2012, when I reached my highest of 310 pounds, I knew I needed to make a change. I first started my running as a way to lose weight. As the weight came off, I started to really enjoy the feeling of running a race and improving each time. Initially I started training with various groups with the goal of one day finishing a marathon.  Both goals were met, by reaching my goal weight with a loss of 140 pounds and finishing that first marathon.

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How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?

Running is such a major part of my life now that I just work everything else around it. With a full time job and other family commitments, I know when training days are and I always find time to run.

 

What was the impetus to start working Mile2Marathon?

As I continued to compete and get faster, my goals in running changed. I used to think qualifying for Boston was just a dream until I had breakthrough race in Eugene in 2017 breaking 4 hours in a marathon for the first time. Now I realize that maybe Boston is not as far away as I thought. I knew I had to take a big step in my training to realize my goal of getting a BQ. I finally found where I was meant to be; with Mile2Marathon. I know with coaching from Tony, Dylan, and Rob it is not a matter of if I will BQ but when I will.

 

What do you enjoy most about being part of Mile2Marathon?

My favourite part of being a member of Mile2Marathon is the incredible amount of support everybody gives each other. From racing together to training together, we all truly care that everyone achieves their goals.

 

Mark exemplifies the true joy we all strive to achieve through a lifestyle of running. As one of the first athletes to arrive at each training session, he shows up with a genuine smile on his face and eagerness to take on the challenge ahead. As a result, Mark has made leaps and bounds towards his ultimate running goals since joining the crew.”  Coach Tony Tomsich

 

Where to next/What’s your big goal currently?

I have a few local races coming up but my big goal is still to run a Boston qualifying time. I am hoping to accomplish this when I run the New York City Marathon in November. I know that Mile2Marathon will give me all the tools I need to get this done.

 

Person that inspires you in running or life?

The person that inspires me the most in running is Steve Prefontaine. The way he trained and raced is how I’ve tried to model my running style after.

 

Fav quote (running related or non-running)?

“The real purpose of running is not to win the race. It’s to test the limits of the human heart.” -Bill Bowerman