Inspiring Running Friends – Jodi South

Please welcome fellow Michigan runner, Jodi South

1. Favorite shoes (please include a picture):

I don’t really have a favorite shoe. I have found New Balance and Nike work well for me. I don’t spend a fortune on running shoes but I do replace them about every 4 months. I still have the silver pair of Nikes I wore in my first Boston marathon in 2010.

2. Favorite race/distance/Bucket-list race:

My favorite race distance is a 25K. More than a 1/2 marathon but not as brutal as a full. My 3 Bostons are the highlight of racing for me. My favorite race was the T-Rex 10 Mile Trail race I ran the last 4th of July and plan to do again. The trail was rigorous and entailed going over, under, across, through rocks, trees, creeks, steep hills you name it. It was very fun and adventurous. Bucket List: Great Turtle 1/2 Marathon on Mackinaw Island, Yellow Stone 1/2 Marathon, Ragnar Relay to name a few.

3. Trails, streets, or treadmill:

I do the majority of my running on the street. A true street runner. But I also love trails and feel trail racing calling out to me….I see more trail races in my future. It’s extremely rare for me to utilize the treadmill for a run.

4. Why did you start running?

I’ve been running for over 20 years. Running is just natural for me. I’ve always been into health and fitness and nothing gives me the workout that running does. Some people have coffee…I run. I feel most alive and free when I run. Running helps me work through stress, keep things in perspective, it’s my time to think, pray or just enjoy music and nature. When I don’t run my day feels “off”. I was born to run.

5. What keeps you motivated?

Keeping motivated is never a problem, I wake up…I run. Different races motivate different types of training and long runs. People tell me my running inspires them so that too provides motivation, it’s a cycle…I motivate you, you motivate me. I consider all who support me to be part of my team as their support pushes me even beyond what I push myself. It’s important to me to help others be fit, I believe in them and I want to help them to believe in themselves. I like the feeling of being healthy and fit and keeping the level of fitness I’ve achieved also motivates me. I hope to help people find a healthy balance for themselves as I truly believe fitness brings and maintains quality to life. #Be fit. #Be healthy. Be happy.

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Inspiring Runner Friends – Tom Francis

Please welcome Tom Francis as he shares some of his running motivations!

1. Favorite shoes:

Newton is my favorite racing shoe.

2. Favorite race/distance/Bucket-list race:

5/3 River Bank Run is a 25k in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Spectators form a gauntlet at the six mile turn and line the finishing blocks. It’s pretty cool. My favorite distance is a 10k. You can make up for a bad mile and the distance is not that popular any more. Moab Trail Marathon is currently at the top of my bucket list.

3. Trails, streets, or treadmill:

I prefer trails to roads but in northern Indiana trails are rather tame.

4. Why did you start running?

When I first started running it was all about finding out how fast that I could go relative to other people. After several decades of not running, it became about getting back outside and feeling the the changing seasons.

5. What keeps you motivated?

Motivation comes from my friends from college that run. Surprising I am also driven by FaceBook groups. Before I down my first cup of coffee I find out that I’m losing ground to people I’ve never met. So I find myself adding mileage to catch up. Understanding that I’m lucky to still be running with friends keeps me on the roads.

Hurt the Dirt Half Marathon

I did both this weekend. Separately and together which is what happens when you race on a trail tired.

I’m at the peak mileage weeks for my marathon training, so I was going into this race tired. I rearranged workouts so that I had a day off before the race, but after putting many 50-65 mile weeks my body wasn’t as ready as I hoped to tackle the treachery of a trail race.

When I’m tired on a trail run, I fall… spectacularly. Or at least it feels that way in my head. This one was a pretty hard thud on my left shoulder that didn’t bruise nearly as much as I thought it would. I’m probably lucky I didn’t fall more.

 

Hurt the Dirt is at the Luton Park in Rockford Michigan. They offered a full marathon, which was four loops around the course, for the irreconcilably crazy; a half marathon, for those of us who haven’t fully embraced our crazy, and a quarter marathon, whose participants were looking smarter by the mile.

It’s trail race which  I haven’t done since college and even those were wider pathways which allowed room to pass without sliding down the side of the hill or clipping a tree. The ground was soft and the course was shaded and cool; all pluses in my book. Except for a brief mile or so, the trail consisted of ups, downs, and hairpin turns. None of the ups were especially steep or long, but they were frequent. The hair pin turns meant that you could often see other participants in the race if you dared to lift your eyes from the trail in front of you.

Tracey, from my running group, and I ran together for most of the race, which was great. She was brave enough to look around and could see a few of the other runners from our group and cheer them on. That was one of the best things about the race, being there with my running group. We could help each other prepare, we could cheer each other on, and we could commiserate about the scratches and bruises (I wasn’t the only one who got a closer inspection of the dirt.).

After a tough run, I had one more surprise… first in my age group. I guess all the other runners my age had better things to do Saturday morning.

Inspiring Runner Friends – Noel Shafer

Today, I get to share a bit about another runner friend who inspires me. Noel’s got a great running streak going as you’ll see below. How many days do you think he can go?

1. Favorite shoes Brooks Ghost

Brooks Ghosts

2. Favorite race/distance/Bucket-list race:

Don’t really have a favorite distance.. 5k to Marathon and have done a 50k.. I like always doing a different distance to not get in a rut

3. Trails, streets, or treadmill:

Streak runner (876 days) all outdoor miles.. mainly streets, but have done some trail races

4. Why did you start running?

1 started back running when I started coaching cross country. I ran about 200-300 miles during the season with my kids (five years). Then wanted to really get into shape. Started running throughout the year in Jan of 2013. Lost 50 pounds and got into the best shape of my life. Started to get faster and then started to love racing and challenging myself.

5. What keeps you motivated?

Running has made me big goal setter. Once I got into shape, I was getting faster. Started to run a lot of races, and challenged myself to see exactly how good I can become. When I started at 45 years old, I thought that I was too old to run real fast. I didn’t take long to keep crushing my goals and I would have to create bigger goals to go after. Now at 48, I just love running and training to be the best that I can be.

I love training, but racing so much more. Every weekend is race weekend for me. After getting in 50 and 55 races the last two year, and may get 80 this year. I love rewarding myself for a hard week’s training with a race (or more) on the weekend!!

Loving my running group

I’ve been running since junior high. Catching, throwing, flexibility, or jumping side-to-side to hit a tennis ball aren’t in my areas of coordination, so running is naturally the sport for me. One foot in front of the other, no sudden movements, and no complex play strategies.
Much of my time with runners since then has been with people who are similarly-abled or who have chosen to run competitively. Some of them are very good, even flirting with elite competition. It’s been inspiring to see how hard they work and the levels they achieve. They are using their talents to see how much they can do with it.
I’m similarly inspired by Saturday morning running group. The people there run for many different reasons. They may be chasing a time on the finish clock, but their weekly miles are about more than making themselves a better runner and a healthier person.
They are logging miles or minutes to make their body healthier in response to a family history of heart disease or diabetes. They are there to lose weight that puts them at risk for a host of health problems. They didn’t start running in junior high or high school; they laced up their running shoes for the first time at forty or fifty.
It’s amazing to see how hard they are working to make their lives healthier and how far they have come because they chose to take control of their health and make their lives different.