Who Am I?

I am an avid runner and have been running since I was 15 years old. I began running low to medium distances while on my high school track team, running the 800 meter and 1600 meter races (I was a sub 5 miler and a 2 minute 800 runner). In addition to the track team, I also joined the cross country team. After high school I still wanted to run and decided to start doing road races. I have probably ran a couple hundred 5k races (16.29 PR)along with many 10k's as well. In 2009 I decided to step up my game and try to tackle my first marathon. I will be honest; the only reason I did this was because my father ran a few and I wanted to show him that I could do what he did. I trained poorly for my first one and regret it. If you are going to run a race, train like you want to win. I still continue to run marathons and other distances as well, and every race is a chance for me to better myself.
I started this blog to hopefully communicate with other runners and to shed any knowledge I may have about the sport that can help other runners. I believe running is the best sport and can be a great stress reliever. I encourage all runners to spread the word of our sport and show people why running is so good and why the community of runners has such great people. You can follow me on twitter @byrne1324 or find me on facebook- Shaun Byrne

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Interview with Valerie Long

SB- When and why did you start running?
VL-I started running when I was in the 7th grade. My parents would go for walks and I would run. I just did it because I really enjoyed it. I would also run when I needed to clear my head. It gave me the time I needed to just let my thoughts go and enjoy being outside doing something I really loved.

SB- What is your next race and how are you training for it?
VL- My next race is the Pittsburgh Full Marathon. I will train using a marathon training guide that I found in a Runners World Magazine. I will also do fartleks and hill work to help with speed and endurance. I work right next to the Birmingham bridge so I practice running across that and up into Oakland during my lunch break.

SB- I know you have overcome some injuries, can you describe what your injury was and how have you gotten back from it?
VL- I had to have 2 lateral releases done on my left knee. Apparently my patella shifted and they had to go in and shift it back. The first one didn't take so I had to have a second one done 2years after my first one and my knee feels great now! To get through that, it took a lot of time and patience. I went through months of pt, walked a lot because I couldn't run ( I walked the Pittsburgh full marathon because I was already signed up for it and thought why not try it). I took the time to let my body heal and I now work on strengthening my muscles more instead of just running so I do a lot of cross training.

SB- I know you recently were able to run your first marathon after all the injuries, how did you feel when you crossed the finish line?
VL- I did just run my first marathon. It was the Columbus Full Marathon. It was the best feeling in the world to cross that finish line. I technically wasn't fully prepared to run it but I exceeded expectations and finished in a great time which made me feel even better about crossing the finish line.

SB- I have always said the training for the marathons is harder than the race. Would you agree and can you explain how it was different for you?
VL- I would agree that training for a marathon is harder than the actual marathon. You are out there alone running with no one cheering you on for hours no matter what the temperature is. It's a huge mental game especially when it's dark, cold, raining, or snowing and you're so warm under your covers but you have to sometimes force yourself to get out and run. At the end of all the training it's worth it, but you have to remember that during the hard runs.

SB- Are you a runner that only wears certain shoes or gear? And if so what brands and why?

VL- I wear only two brands of clothes when I run: Nike or underarmour. I feel those clothes breath the best for me and keep me warm when I need them to. When it comes to shoes, I don't stick to a specific brand. I typically just run in what the running store recommends but I'm currently giving Newtons a try to help me run lighter on my feet.
     This weeks interview is with one of my best friends younger sister Valerie Long.  I obviously knew that Valerie was a runner from my friend but I didn't know how much she was into it until recently.  I can't say that we have ran any races together but we both did do the Pittsburgh Marathon the year she was forced to walk it.  I give her nothing but respect for overcoming her injury and continuing to run.  Hopefully she will meet her goals and one day qualify for Boston.

SB- How do you train during the winter months? Strictly outside running or do you mix it up with a treadmill or cross training?

VL- During the winter months I strictly train outside. However if there is a ton of snow or ice outside I will ride a bike inside. I don’t want to risk slipping.

SB- Is there any person who you look up too as a runner that may have inspired you along your running journey!
VL- I look up to the Kenyans because I've always wanted to run like them. Haha but seriously, I’ve pretty much looked up to anyone who runs because it’s not easy to do. This may sound weird but when my brother would tell me about how fast you are it would motivate me to become a better faster stronger runner. I would ask my brother about different things that you would do and he would just say "I don't know." Haha

SB-What do you hope to accomplish from running? A personal best time, Boston marathon...exc.

VL-I hope to qualify and run the Boston Marathon. That is my ultimate dream and would be my biggest accomplishment.

SB-Anything you can say to someone who is just starting out or thinking about running?
VL- I would tell new runners to not give up. It's not always an easy journey but it’s a fun one. I'd also tell them to listen to their body and not to push an injury.

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