Welcome to the Orca Running Ambassador Q&A. Each month, we chat with one of the inspiring women on our panel. This week, we are talking to Grace, 40, who started running when she moved to the Seattle area almost 20 years ago because "it seemed interesting to me that people paid to run." Grace spends her days working as a substitute teacher and middle school cross country and soccer coach, and is a running coach/mentor by night.
Q: When did you start running? And why?
A: When I moved to the Seattle area in 1999, I thought, “those 5k races seem fun, let me try to run”. No one ran in the small town I grew up in California. It seemed interesting to me that people paid to run. At that time, a 5k seemed hard to me. I could never imagine running anything further than 3.1 miles, plus, why would I want to do that anyways? As the years passed, I started taking my running more seriously and actually got faster. Running became “our thing” – it was something my husband and I did together. Then we started having kids and running got hard again. I started playing soccer and that’s when the injuries started. I rebuilt my base and started to do longer distances. I eventually did one full marathon, but that’s another story.
Q: How has running helped you in your life?
A: Running is challenging every single time. It is never “easy”, just “different”. I run to train and train to run. The years I’ve been injured or having kids has caused me to run less. The lack of running has impacted my overall fitness and well-being. I run because I can.
Q: What’s your favorite distance? Why?
A: 10ks are the best! Enough time to warm-up, but not as draining as a half marathon. Always feel like I got a good workout when I run a 10k!
Q: What is the most challenging thing about running/fitness for you?
A: I am not a morning person. The challenging part for me is getting up on race day. It’s literally like pulling teeth. To this day, I have to set a few alarms and get over my grouchiness. That all goes away when I take the first step on the course. Then I forget that I am not a morning person. Goes to show, that the hardest part is always showing up!
Q: When friends come to you asking how to get started running, what do you say?
A: Make a plan. Fail to plan – plan to fail. Join my running group – you won’t regret it.
Q: What are your running and fitness goals for 2017?
A: Running without pain was a big one. I’ve had multiple knee surgeries and finally can say I can run without pain or my gangsta’ limp. After this year, I’ll re-evaluate my goals. But for now, I just want to continue to run without pain and focus on my running form. Another big goal this year was convincing my oldest daughter to “like” running. She had ran some 5ks, but honestly it was always a struggle for her. Her first half marathon will be the Iron Horse. She is excited, but worried. My goal is to provide tips and tricks to help her get through any discomfort or pain. And maybe, just maybe smile!
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about how you got started in your business Run 2 Be Fit?
A: After having my last daughter, I started researching ways to stay motivated to workout. I worked out at home a lot, but soon that became lonely. I joined a mom’s group and fell in love with the concept of working out with others. I got a certification to teach and that’s how I started teaching fitness classes. I then got certified to teach other formats (Insanity, PiYo, Schwinn Cycle, Silver Sneakers, Aqua Fitness). My husband in the meantime got his personal training certificate and I got my group personal training certificate. Due to this background, we decided to do boot camps, 5k trainings, after-school programs, and corporate trainings. I taught the different fitness formats at various gyms as well. Eventually teaching for others was not working with my schedule and I had to let that go. But I got certified in running and never looked back. Running has always been the constant as an adult. And has brought me the most satisfaction knowing that I’ve shared some knowledge to new and experienced runners.
Today, Run 2 Be Fit, puts on small group runs that incorporate wine and beer! We organize hikes and charity walks. But the main focus is running training. Because of Run 2 Be Fit, I was able to train groups for local races and that’s how my PNW Ladies Running Group was founded. It’s been two years since the group started and at first it was just for running. But over time, has morphed into a sisterhood of support, motivation, advice, discounts, and adventure.
Q: What Orca races will you be running this year?
A: Iron Horse, Orca Half Marathon, and Captain Jack's Treasure Run!
Q: Any last words to the Orca Running community?
A: I encourage everyone to buy some running shoes, an outfit that feels and looks good, grab a friend or two, make a commitment to walk, then eventually run, keep running, and be grateful every day that you GET to run!
You can learn more about Grace at Run 2 Be Fit and PNW Ladies Running Group.
Kerrie Turcic is a runner from Maple Valley, Wash. Kerrie is currently a copywriter by day, and also a