Rachel is a runner and yogi from South Jersey who is relatively new to the sport. We talked about how she got into running and her upcoming race plans.
After Sunday’s interview and track training session with Darren, meeting with Rachel for an easy pace four miler was back into my comfort zone. Rachel is relatively new to running, and started out as a New Year’s resolution in 2015. She has younger sisters who are twins, and made a deal with one of her sisters to “work on things in our life we want to change.” She says, “I just needed to make some changes in my lifestyle. I went through a pattern of really bad choices and needed to make a change.” She and her sister were keeping each other accountable and training together at the gym. At first, things were a bit rough. “We both started running on the track together and we were both really bad. Like, terrible. I think that was the first time I ever ran, in January of 2015. I think my mile was at, like, eight minutes, but I was dying,” she says. With time, she and her sister both improved, and started signing up for races together.
They have traveled to run together, racing in California. They enjoy running fun races, and have done the Inflatable 5k as well as a knock-off color run in Camden, which was not Rachel’s favorite run. “The inflatable run was really fun, though… It was really wet, but we had a good time.” She and her sister have done the Super Run twice, including the whole family. Rachel enjoys making costumes, and one of her favorites was Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy from Spongebob Squarepants.
Last year, the Hot Chocolate 15k was Rachel’s longest distance yet. She and her sister ran together, but she said it was tough because it was a very rainy day. They have also done a Spartan Sprint at Citizen’s Bank Park, and Goliathon twice.
Rachel also has an active yoga practice, and mainly goes to classes at Laughing Buddha in West Deptford, and occasionally at Riverwinds. She says that yoga has been beneficial to her running, particularly with her breathing. Hot yoga has helped her build stamina for running. “I feel like it does go hand in hand,” she says. She was surprised in some ways by yoga, as she had expected it to be “peaceful and calming.” She says, “It is that, but it’s also pushing yourself, and seeing results, but not right away. You kind of have to wait for it and stick with it, but you see yourself getting a little bit better each day.” She sticks to mainly Vinyasa or hot yoga classes. Vinyasa, she says is more athletic and really works the core. In hot yoga, the breathing is more important, because if you aren’t controlling your breathing, you won’t make it through the class.
She has the Sasquatch Trail Run coming up, as well as the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Run. She is training for the Love Run to be her first half marathon. (If you are interested in the Love Run and have not yet signed up, check out my interview with Jen Nichols for a discount code, and be sure to sign up for the Run856 team!) Rachel so far has been kind of making up her training plan as she goes. Rachel likes to rock out to some tunes while she runs, and just got a set of Bose wireless headphones; “They’re life changing. They’re so comfortable, and the sound is really good in them.”
She gets in cross training days at South Jersey OCR, which also helps keep her in condition for Spartan and Goliathon events. Rachel says she has been shocked at some of the things she can do. She was really doubtful that she would be able to climb the rope in the gym, but with some advice from lead instructor James, she was able to climb the rope.
She says that since she has been working out and training, “I feel a lot happier overall.” She says running “is a calming thing for me. It’s more for my mental health than anything.” She enjoys starting her day with a run or a workout so she can start her day on a positive, productive note.
Rachel was a bit nervous that her running experience wouldn’t compare. As we were parting ways, she said, “If you don’t have enough to write about, just say I climbed Everest or something!” I hope you enjoyed getting to know Rachel as much as I did. Join me in wishing wishing her the best of luck on her first half marathon!