Our positive running story this time is on a 46 year old runner from Leesburg, VA. Juanita Constible has been a runner most of her life, getting more serious about improving her running since 2013. Juanita attended our advanced women’s running camp in July of this year, and impressed with her dedication to running, her flexibility on approach to running and training principles, and her pace! She also has a wicked sense of humor, disguised with her serious look sometimes! (Juanita is pictured third from the right above.) We asked Juanita if we could interview her and share her positive running story – here is the result of our interview:
Can you share with everyone a brief history of your running career to date?
I started running on my own when I was in elementary school and have done it off and on ever since. My mom told me recently that I asked to join cross-country, but that she nixed the idea. (I have no recollection of this!) I ran my first race, a 10k, in my senior year of high school. Since then, I’ve done about 42 races from the 5k to the marathon. I started getting more serious about improving my running in 2013, when I joined a local running club called the Loudoun Road Runners.
What was it that first attracted you to running, and how do you keep that spark alive?
When I was about 8 or 9, my mom, siblings, and I went to downtown Winnipeg to watch the Manitoba Marathon. At that time, they allowed bicycles on the course (!) and my grandfather was participating as a cyclist. But I only had eyes for the runners, for reasons I still can’t explain.
So I guess the spark is just inherently part of me–something that can’t be ignored. Running anchors me, but also helps me fly. It calms me, yet gives me something to get excited about each day. (Ok, most days.) And running makes me intensely grateful for my health and the freedom to make my own choices.
What do you enjoy most about your running at the level you are now?
The fact that I’m still learning and growing–even though I’m nearly 46! After years of injury and heartache, I finally ran my first AND second marathon this year, and BQ’d to boot. And I surprised the heck out of myself a few weeks ago by signing up for my first ultra-marathon …
You attended our women’s advanced running camp this year. What things did you enjoy most about the camp, and what were your biggest takeaways?
Registering for camp was a scary leap for me. I hadn’t done much altitude training, had done almost zero trail work, am a bit on the shy side, and was intensely anxious about holding the group back. What I found was a loving, warm, passionate group of people who all had something to learn AND to teach, and are now part of my running family. The scenery wasn’t half bad either.
Since camp you have followed a training program with me as your honored coach. What do you like about working with a coach, and what have you enjoyed about the program and the way that it has been structured?
You’re my third running coach, but the first one I’ve met in person. My first two coaches taught me a lot about different workout types, the value of a solid warm up before a run, the benefits of regular strength training, and how to push my limits. They also looked over my shoulder more (i.e., reviewing every workout), which was helpful as I was starting something new. However, I’ve discovered that what I need most from a coach is someone to bounce ideas off of, and someone to help keep me calm. I’m plenty motivated, and will follow a plan, but I like to know the WHY of the plan. I also still get stuck in my own head more than I’d like, and you’re really good at getting me into a better place. You’ve also finally gotten me to take my easy runs truly easy–something I used to struggle with.
You have also been using our activacuity app to help you with mental preparation for both training and races. What difference has this made to your thinking as an athlete and why would you recommend someone to use activacuity?
Activacuity is like a little oasis from the craziness of the world. It forces me to slow down, concentrate on just one thing, and not attempt to multi-task my way through every minute of the day. When I use it regularly, I find I’m better able to roll with the punches in life and in running.
What has been your favorite place to run in the World?
Ooh, this is tough. Pretty much any place in the western U.S. or Canada. I much prefer low humidity, cooler temperatures, and mountains or the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. My least favorite place is normally anything involving a treadmill. The only exception to that is the treadmill I used when I stayed in Antarctica for three and a half weeks. A treadmill with a view of penguins, glaciers, and leopard seals isn’t half bad.
What are your running and personal goals for 2019?
(1) Run my first ultra;
(2) Whittle down my half marathon time, and maybe my 10k time; and
(3) Run a marathon in Edmonton, Alberta, which is my birth city and and where my mom lives. My mom has become my biggest fan, following my training ups and downs almost as closely as if she’s my coach–even though she’s never been a runner.
I also have a less tangible goal of continuing to inspire colleagues who are new or returning to running. Because of my evangelizing about the sport, I regularly have people sidling up beside me to tell me about their newly-minted running successes–which makes me really happy.
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