Inspitational Interview Chicago Runner Girl

I AM SUPER EXCITED TODAY to introduce you all to you Britt Kelly from Chicago Runner Girl today.  I don't remember now how I stumbled across Britt's blog but I instantly loved it. 

Britt is an AMAZING runner, running coach and virtual coach so I plan to have her coach me to my BQ after the baby is born next year which I am just ecstatic about!!!!!! For God sake's a need a coach.

So without further ado here she is!!!!!!!


Why did you start running?

I accidentally fell into running as in middle school when I was 12. I really wanted to be an athlete, but didn't have any skills that would have helped me make teams that had try-outs so I went out for the only teams that didn't have cuts, Cross Country and Track & Field. It was love at first step and I haven't stopped since.

2. How long have you been running?

My life has seen 16 years of countless miles that have hosted just as much heartache as they have joy. 

3. Does your running interfere with your "day" job or is running your "day job?  When do you have time to train? 

I'm self-employed where I'm a virtual running coach and personal trainer. While my running isn't my day job and doesn't exactly pay the bills, I do make a living off of coaching others towards their goals and some days can't believe that I actually make money talking and thinking about running. It really is the coolest job ever and doesn't feel like work. I'm also a personal trainer, so I pretty much live and breathe all things fitness all day long.

Most of the work I do is from home on my own schedule which allows me to train pretty much whenever I want. It's nice that I can sneak in an afternoon workout to take a break from my paying duties where I don't always have to think about how my stinky sweaty funk is disturbing my coworkers. My associates are my pups, and they don't seem to mind it.

4. How many miles a week do you run and do you follow a specific training plan? 

Right now I'm keeping my miles moderate for the summer as I'm coming off a relentlessly tough spring season and can't really handle the heavy mileage right now, so at this time there is a 60 mph limit where I've been hovering well under that line so far this summer. I'm my own coach and don't follow a training plan per se. I've found through my coaching as well as my own running that laying out a 16 week plan and following every workout just because the plan says so is not the most effective training method. All of my workouts are pretty much planned the day of based off my own intuition of what my body needs. My training plan is basically a blank slate and isn't filled in until workouts are complete so that I can look backwards to see how my workouts have improved my fitness in accordance to where I'm headed instead of looking forward to how far I've still got to go.

Training myself and my runners this way keeps motivation levels high and never puts the pressure on for what one thinks or feels they need to be doing instead.

5. About how many races a year do you run and what's your favorite distance? 

I try not to race too many because my body tends to take a long time to recover from races. So far this year I've ran 6, which is a lot for me. Some of those have been fun runs, but I find that I have the most success in a season when I race less. My favorite distance range is 15k to half distance. Shorter races are a lot for my mind to process where by the time the race is over my body is just starting to feel ready to go and longer races like the marathon leave me feeling really beat up. For some crazy reason I've actually never ran a 10k, but I think that this is the perfect distance for me.

6. Tell us what your favorite race of all time was. I know HARD question?  

I ran the Oak Brook Half Marathon, a cute course in the Western suburbs of Chicago, the last two Labor Day weekends and love that course. The 2011 race hosted my favorite running moment ever when I finished in 1:27, which was a 5 minute PR, without a taper after several 75+ mile weeks as I was preparing for the marathon. As soon as I crossed the line on those tired legs and saw the clock, I just felt unstoppable and ready to conquer anything. My husband ran over to me scooping me up in his arms squeezing me as tightly as he could which was the best embrace my life has ever seen. Whenever life I get stressed or frustrated with my running I always go back to that moment where I never felt more safe and loved. Makes my heart flutter just thinking about it now and somehow can always relight the fire in me.

7. Do you have a partner and do they run as well? 

Running partner? Kinda. She's a bad ass and I'm always working my butt off to keep up with her. She keeps me straight and helps me erase gray areas in life while challenging to me be my best self. She's pretty awesome. Life partner? Yup. He used to be a 4:27 miler and 1:57 800 runner in high school but put running on hold for quite a few years to gain success elsewhere in life. He's recently been trying to get back into running and this fall I'm going to be his drill Sergent at the Chicago Marathon. We aren't going for time, just for a finish while we enjoy the race day chaos in the streets of our city. I'm really looking forward to it because he hasn't ran a marathon since 2006 and it'll be amazing to be at his side supporting him.

8. How does it make you feel to be such an accomplished runner? 

Bashful, I don't think I'm that accomplished. There are plenty of quick chicks ahead of me out there, and always will be. But I do feel fortunate and blessed to be where I am with my running and try not to take a moment for granted. Honestly speed will fade over time so I try not to get too hung up on it now and instead just thank the Lord for the healthy body he has given me that can move in such amazing ways.

9. Do you have a just a few tips to help any of my readers who are not runners but desperately want to be? 

Anyone can be a runner, all you need is an ambitious spirit. Running isn't about everyone else, instead it's about you as an athlete and how much you can challenge yourself. Focusing on yourself and making slow progress based off of your own goals is what gets you out the door everyday. Running is a sport for everyone.

10. I am desperate to work on my speed. One of my biggest goals is to Qualify for Boston. Any advice on speed work and what works the best for you?

I am a true believer that what works for one doesn't work for all. While all of our bodies are made up of the same parts, they don't all respond the same to exercise stimulus. It's tough to find the right recipe for yourself, and after 16 years of running I'm still working on mine. What I've found to be most helpful is to keep a detailed running log and do workouts that get my body comfortable running a wide variety of paces while not concerning myself about what other runners are doing. For me lately I've been living by the rule of "less is more".

My greatest advice to all runners who are training for a marathon is to work more in your lactate threshold pace rather than focusing on building speed through intervals. You always want your training stimulus to mimic the what your body will be experiencing race day, no matter what the distance.

11 Do you follow a specific diet plan or just try to eat healthy to keep your weight down?

No specific diet for me. I eat when I'm hungry and try to keep the bulk of my diet composed of whole foods and not processed items. My only dietary rule is to eat real food. I don't concern myself with weight and instead try to just make choices that leave me feeling comfortable in my own skin. Diets and scales leave people feeling judged tied into others expectations for themselves. I do what makes me feel good, and if that means a few oreos before bed there will never be any shame in that. 

12 Do you plan on running races for the rest of your life?  

I love racing, and hope to be at it well into my old age if my body allows. Racing isn't always bout winning and speed for me. I live for that race day atmosphere and the feelings it stirs inside me while engulfed in a crowd of runners who all have the same goal, to finish.

13 If you ever had the chance to go pro, would you take it?

Heck yes. Lots of pressure there, but how cool would it be to toe the line of a race alongside of the greats?! I think I would be totally lame and star struck.

14 What are your favorite things about running?

Running challenges me to be a better person. It puts me outside my comfort zone daring me to be bolder and braver with each step. It lets me feel free and uninhibited. Every time I lace up and head out the door, it's just me and my thoughts. There isn't responsibility or expectation, just time for me to unplug and fall off the map for a few brief moments in time. The sport has done so much for me where and basically taught me that in all ares of life you will never get back more than you put into something. Running is what it is, and that's the beauty of it. Raw and exposed.
Thank You so much Britt for sharing your story with us today. I truly am so excited to follow your journey and hopefully work with you next year!!!!!! 

If you haven't yet, you must go check out Britt's blog Chicago Runner Girl


Sarah @ Scissors and a Whisk said...

Wow, I love what she said about her diet. Not to go by a scale or weight, just what makes you feel comfortable in your skin. I need to pay better attention to not eating processed foods =/

Yo Momma Runs said...

She's so cool, and makes me want to up my workouts so that I am fine with running in a sports bra. It looks perfect for this hot, joy weather!

Heather said...

Eek, great running inspiration for me! And that rocking bod, sweet! You do a great job with the interviews, Hanna! Fun idea for you: how about doing a skype interview sometime and recording it, then posting to your blog as a video interview? :-)


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