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D.C. area boasts more than 200 group runs each week

You’ll probably find the Dojo of Pain running around Hains Point on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Tuesday and Thursday are the most popular days for group runs in the D.C. area. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography

The Washington, D.C. area is spoiled with more than 200 organized runs each week. Some are organized by running specialty stores, others by running clubs, and almost all are open to new members. We’ve organized a calendar that compiles meeting times and details about each run, along with where you can find more information.

Some groups are pretty casual. Others are hardcore. Some ask that you RSVP and others require you to be a member. Some days have more than three dozen different runs.

A few notes and considerations:

  • The calendar includes group runs in Washington, D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties in Virginia and all of the independent cities in Northern Virginia.
  • They are typically organized by running clubs and specialty running stores. Informal running groups have not been included without consultation with organizers, but if your group wishes to be included contact us. Likewise, if you don’t want to be included, let us know and also change the information  your available on your website, because that’s probably where I got it in the first place.
  • Keep in mind any of these groups can change their schedules and frankly, we probably won’t know unless they tell us, so it is important to confirm they are meeting before you set off to join them.
  • It’s better I not try to integrate the various hashes into the calendar, but here’s where you can find more.
  • This generally does not include personal training groups that do not offer public participation.
  • If your group run is not among them and you would like it to be included, email us and let us know all the pertinent information: name, meeting time, location, contact info… what have you.
  • Given how many groups meet concurrently, choosing the “week” display is unwise. Agenda is the easiest to view.
  • I’m still working out a few kinks and formatting issues.

 

A D.C. Capital Striders group leaves the Dupont Circle fountain. Photo: Matthew Lehner
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Running Shorts – May 28

Abbey Green closes in on the Maryland 4A 3200 meter title. Photo: Eric Green

Walter Johnson senior Abbey Green won three titles at the Maryland state track championships, headlining local winners and two 1-2 local sweeps.

800 meters
4A 1. Abigail Green Walter Johnson 2:12.64

4A 1. Eldon Phillips Northwood 1:56.35
2. Chase Osborne Northwest 1:56.39

1,600 meters
4A 1. Green 4:51.43

4A 1. Josh Fry Bethesda-CC 4:19.43
2. Obsaa Feda Northwood 4:19.88

2A 1. Nandini Satsangi Poolesville 5:10.83

1. Ryan Lockett Poolesville 4:20.13

3,200 meters
4A 1. Green 10:22.23

2A 1. Lockett 9:31.20

 

Ten collegiate distance runners with wither high school or college connections qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships

1,500 meters
Diego Zarate – Virginia Tech, Northwest
Nicholas Wareham – Georgetown
Amos Bartelsmeyer – Georgetown

3,000 meter steeplechase
Katy Kunc – Kentucky, Lake Braddock

5,000 meters
Weini Kelati – New Mexico, Heritage
Sean McGorty – Stanford, Chantilly

10,000 meters
Caroline Alcorta – North Carolina, West Springfield
Sara Freix – Virginia Tech, Westfield
Jonathan Green – Georgetown
Michael Crozier – Georgetown, Gonzaga

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Pace the Nation – All three hosts in one place

All our hosts are back together in the studio with a grab bag of topics. Each host wrote down several topics on a piece of paper, which Farley pulls from a vase. Warning – the following descriptions are spoilers if you want to enjoy the topic reveals.

At (3:51) Farley picks the first topic out of the vase. At (4:21) we ask do we even need cars anymore. At (10:47) we talk about Mexican Breakfast tacos.

At (13:40) we discuss the summer movie review podcast spin off. At (15:23) Luigi goes abroad. At (16:26) we talk about the World Cup. And look how long we talk about the World Cup.

At (20:28) we continue to talk about non running sports as we discuss sports teams in the finals, which contains a complete ridiculous argument from Farley so if you do not like soccer hang in there just for his argument.

At (29:26) we continue the same question and talk hockey instead of soccer. At least soccer players run a lot. At (31:14) our first running topic, we talk about the women’s 1,500 meters at the Prefontaine Classic. At (33:28) we get crazy with another running topic on this running show, discussing the Fam attempt at a 40 year old sub 4:00 mile.

At (37:27) the marathon investigator strikes again, with an article about a man who was caught cheating in a finite timed ultra race. At (41:48) we get an update on Joannas toe. At (43:07) we talk baby sitters club. At (44:40) we talk about Laurel and Yanney.

At (45:58) we ask if Farley is going to go see the new Star Wars movie. At (47:56) we talk about summer running. At (50:23) our second to last topic is an optical illusion, we ask why Farley is wearing a Liverpool jersey.

We close out our grab bag at (54:43) with a story how Strava helps catch a criminal. At (58:55) we close out the show with some fond memories from Mexico.

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Monumental Runner – Jess Micciolo

 

Name: Jess Micciolo

Self-described age group: Right in the middle of 25-29

Residence: Washington, D.C.

Occupation: Attorney

Why you run: I run because I love the feeling of pushing myself and achieving goals I didn’t think were possible when I set them. The joy of breaking a PR makes the weeks of hard training and all of the setbacks worth it.

When did you get started running: I started running when I was in elementary school. My CYO 4×1 team went to the Penn Relays!

Have you taken a break from running: Yes, I took two years off after running two years of Division I cross country and track (Go AU Eagles!). I got back into running when I started law school.

Training shoe: Brooks Glycerin, but currently trying out the Brooks Revel.

Coach or training group: No, but sometimes I do fun runs at Pacers.

The hardest race you’ve ever run: During cross country my freshman year of college, I didn’t realize I had mono. I ran a 6K about 7 minutes slower than my previous race and honestly couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I finished dead last… but at least I finished!

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: I lived in Munich for a year in college, and I raced an 8K there despite very light training. It was such a different experience. I still remember I was one of the only people not wearing the race t-shirt.

Running mentors: All of my high school and college cross country and track coaches. They taught me to push myself, and that it didn’t matter if I wasn’t the fastest person in the race, as long as I was working toward beating my own PRs.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: Rock Creek Park and the Mall

Favorite local trail: Capital Crescent

My best race was: My most recent race, the National Women’s Half Marathon. The weather was ideal for me, and I shaved another minute and a half off a six-week old PR.

Favorite local race: Veterans Day 10K

Ideal post-run meal: Anything I’ve been dreaming about on the run! My long runs often end at Chipotle or Taylor Gourmet.

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Strawberry Honey Stingers

Pet peeve: Drivers who don’t look where they’re going, don’t use their turn signal, don’t follow traffic laws, etc.

Goals: To run a marathon… one day, maybe.

Your advice for a new runner: Get fitted for the right shoes! And don’t worry about what others are thinking of you.

Favorite running book: First Ladies of Running by Amby Burfoot.

Song in your head during a run: I pretty much only listen to weekly radio episodes by my favorite trance artists, Above & Beyond.

Have you dealt with a major injury: I struggled with shin splints on and off for a while. Keeping my mileage consistent and finding the right shoes for my high arches has helped me the most.

Running quote: “Effort equals results.”

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: D.C. is a gorgeous city, with so many parks and green spaces to explore. I never get bored running on the Mall, no matter how many times I run there. And the perfect fall weather makes the harsh summers worth it.

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Off the Beaten Path: Patuxent River Park

Ryan Stasiowski finishes the 2013 Patuxent 10k. Photo by: Charlie Ban
Ryan Stasiowski finishes the 2013 Patuxent 10k. Photo by: Charlie Ban

Patuxent River Park in Upper Marlboro, Md. boasts more than 6,000 acres of nature trails and wildlife just ten miles off the Beltway.

If you prefer a running soundtrack of croaking frogs to mp3 playlists, you’ll be right at home, along with the wandering beavers and occasional snake.

This park’s location on the Patuxent, overlapping the Star- Spangled Banner and Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trails, is steeped in history. The park, which weaves 110 miles from Carroll County to the Chesapeake Bay, is named for the longest river located entirely in Maryland. John Smith traveled up and down the Patuxent in the early 1600s, and sections of the National Anthem were inspired by events from the War of 1812, which took place in the Chesapeake region.

The system of trails is well-suited for runners seeking alternatives to routine Capital Crescent trail out-and-back runs and battling bikers in Rock Creek Park. Don’t expect to lose yourself in a long run, though. While the entire Patuxent River Park offers about 10 different natural areas, they are dotted along the Prince George’s County coast of the Patuxent, separated by roadways, and most areas offer less than 5 miles of official foot trails. But bikers will enjoy the tree-lined asphalt roadways throughout the park area, and you’ll be treated to views of wetlands and woodlands in the same run.

If you want dirt trails with minimal traffic and relatively easy footing, you’ll appreciate the 2,000-acre Jug Bay Natural Area, the park headquarters located off of Croom Airport Road.
The red trail is your Old Faithful, providing a scenic, although sometimes uneven, path that sticks close to the main road.

The blue trail is a narrow, winding path, and let’s just say it’s apparent that it’s a favorite among horseback riders. Pink will give you a smooth dirt trail until it turns into a canal bed with bumpy footing. You won’t find your next hill workout on these trails, but chances are you won’t miss it once you start exploring the park.

What is striking about the area is the sense of escape. Even on a 60-degree sunny Saturday afternoon, I only encountered a handful of walkers on the brown trail and a couple bikers on the main road. The trails themselves are very easy to follow, thanks to their clearly marked and color-coded signposts every quarter-mile or so. The drive alone through woodlands and farmlands was reason enough to turn off the radio and just enjoy the peaceful scenery.

Other promising areas for runners within the Patuxent system include Queen Anne Natural Area, an 18th century port town that has more than four miles of trails for humans and horses alike; the Fran Uhler Natural Area, with more than five miles of woodland trails; and the Marlboro Natural Area, which has more than 1,000 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and open fields.

The Quantico Orienteering Club holds a 10k trail race in the spring, following the Blue and Purple trails.

The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk.

Across the river, Anne Arundel County has its own Patuxent River Park, but it features fewer nature activities and an entrance fee. The PG county side does not charge for access and offers PG and Montgomery residents a reduced price for camping fees and canoe and kayak rentals.

A stop inside the visitors center at Jug Bay will offer trail maps, historical and natural exhibits, and a live feed of the park’s resident osprey, which at the time I visited was quite pregnant. The enthusiastic park official proceeded to explain all I ever wanted to know about the bird’s history. She also explained that the origins of Jug Bay’s name are unclear. Some say the strip of land where rice grows is shaped like the handle of a water jug, but she reassured me that the more popular explanation is that fighters from the War of 1812 liked to dump their empty bottles and jugs into the body of water after a night of partying only early 19th century farmers could handle.

Patuxent is a place to enjoy “slow” running, not necessarily pace-wise, but in terms of the overall experience. If you want to get the family out of the house, there’s something to entertain every age: fishing, kayaking, cycling, hiking, canoeing, and hunting are all offered by Patuxent River Park. Guided nature hikes are offered for the not-too-steep price of $2 for non- residents, and a sunset boat tour will cost you twice that. What can I say, life is a little simpler out here.

This article was originally published in the May-July 2013 issue of RunWashington.

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Pace the Nation – Ryan Hogan

Ryan Hogan, elite athlete coordinator for P3R, talks about recruiting and caring for elite athletes who race the Pittsburgh Marathon, Liberty Mile and EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler. The Pittsburgh Marathon just played host to the first of two consecutive U.S. Half Marathon Championships.

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Running Shorts – May 21

A particularly pockmarked stretch of Beach Drive, south of Wise Road. Photo: Charlie Ban
  • The National Park Service will close Rock Creek Park’s Beach Drive, between Joyce Road and the Maryland state line, for roughly a year starting in mid-July. At the same time, Beach Drive will be reopened between Broad Branch Road and Joyce Road. The closure will include the paved path alongside Beach between Joyce Road and Bingham Drive and the Valley Trail between Joyce Road and Sherill Drive. Wise Road will remain open until work crews reach it.
  • The closure will continue to disrupt traditional long run routes that make use of Beach Drive. Here are some alternative loops.

 

  • General registration for the Army Ten-Miler opens Wednesday, May 23
  • The Runners Connect podcast featured Montgomery County-based coaches Julie Sapper and Lisa Reichmann. Reichmann was also on the Diz Runs podcast.
  • A variety of distance runners from local high schools and colleges are competing in the NCAA championships

Division I runners will compete in regional preliminary rounds May 24-26 to reach the finals June 6-9.

800 meters
Rey Rivera – Georgetown
Blaine Lacey – George Mason
Ruach Padhal – Georgetown
Owen Buck – Virginia Tech, West Springfield for a few years

Ashley Lewis – George Mason
Reagan Bustamante – Vanderbilt, West Springfield
Kelly Hart – Notre Dame, Yorktown
Brianna Belo – American

1500 meters
Tai Dinger – Stanford, St. Albans
Diego Zarate – Virginia Tech, Northwest
Amost Bartelsmeyer – Georgetown
Spencer Brown – Georgetown
Ryan McGorty – William and Mary, Chantilly
Nicolas Wareham – Georgetown
Jack Salibury – Georgetown
Joshua Bell – Georgetown
Matthew Rainey – American

Piper Donaghu – Georgetown
Katie Kennedy – Virginia Tech, West Springfield
Rachel McArthur – Villanova, Patriot
Leya Salis – Cornell, Oakton for a few years

3,000 meter steeplechase
Fitsum Seyoum – Virginia Tech, Tuscarora
Carter Day – George Washington
Matthew Lange – George Washington
Trent Lancaster – George Mason, Dominion

Katy Kunc – Kentucky, Lake Braddock
Margie Cullen – Georgetown
Meredith Rizzo – Georgetown

5000 meters
Sean McGorty – Stanford, Chantilly

Carolina Alcorta – North Carolina, West Springfield
Sara Freix – Virginia Tech, Westfield
Lauren Berman – Virginia Tech, Robinson

10,000 meters
Jonathan Green – Georgetown
Michael Crozier – Georgetown, Gonzaga
Chase Weaverling – Virginia, Poolesville
Alex Corbett – Virginia, Lake Braddock
Nicholas Golebiowski – Georgetown

Carolina Alcorta – North Carolina, West Springfield
Sara Freix – Virginia Tech, Westfield

 

Division III runners will compete in the finals Mary 24-26.

1,500
Tristan Colaizzi – Williams, Georgetown Day

5,000
Griffin Colaizzi – Williams, Georgetown Day

10,000
Jeff Gibson – Mary Washington, Edison

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Local running specialty stores keep pace against national trends

A Potomac River Running’s Shannon Scanlon evaluates a customer’s form. Photo: Potomac River Running

It doesn’t take long in the D.C. area to see a flyer for a 5K, a social media post about a group run or a specialty running store. There are dozens of local outlets for runners, but the specialty running store industry is facing a changing landscape, as online competitors siphon business and customers adopt new shopping habits.

Potomac River Running is one of many stores that has felt the pinch. Owner Ray Pugsley said over the last five years, sales have been down 15 to 20 percent. He attributes some of that decline to a shift in consumer habits: more people are turning to online and big-box retailers for lower prices and convenience.

“Customers get used to something that’s always on sale and feeling like they’re getting ripped off if things aren’t on sale or marked down,” Pugsley said, adding that brands often limit the discounts running stores can put on their items. “We cannot, as a brick-and-mortar company, say we are going to compete directly on price — but we can compete in other ways.”

It’s a change in consumer habits and expectations — where the discounts and convenience associated with online and big-box shopping can outweigh benefits offered by smaller retailers, Pugsley said.

Many specialty running stores are having to rethink their strategies as more and more people turn to their computers to land their next pair of running shoes.

In 2016, 31 percent of runners purchased their running shoes online, according to that year’s National Runner Survey, which gathered data from more than 10,000 runner responses. That number was up from the 2015 National Runner Survey, where 27 percent of respondents said they purchased their shoes online. The 2017 National Runner Survey did not delve into running shoe buying habits.

Pacers Running, with five locations in the D.C. area, has lost customers to internet sales, said president and owner Chris Farley. In the past five years, he estimates about 20 percent of the store’s customers have turned to online or big-box shopping. He suspects customers may shop once at a Pacers store and then go elsewhere — often online — for their next pair.

“Overall, the internet is our biggest competitor. The internet has endless aisles of every single color, size, style, whatever you want. There’s an unlimited amount of inventory,” Farley said. He added that overhead costs favor online retailers too.

The internet has taken on another of duty that used to fall to local running stores: providing information to runners. When Farley started working at Pacers about 18 years ago, he said athletes came to the store for information about local races. They relied on the store to network with other runners and coordinate running groups. And getting someone in the door is the first step to making them a customer.

“We kind of cornered the market on information and running community [then],” he said. “It’s different now. It’s a more challenging time for us as retailers.”

Pugsley said he hopes that community engagement and knowledgeable staff translate to sales and customer loyalty, but ultimately, profit margins are at the top of his mind.

“We watch the bottom line every single day and think about it every single day. But it’s a constant struggle. It may not have been for the past decade; now it is for all retail.”

Pacers owner Chris Farley estimates about 40,000 unique runners participate in Pacers’ races every year. Photo:Brian W. Knight/ Swim Bike Run Photography

How races factor into profit

One way that specialty running stores have supplemented their earnings and engaged in the communities is by organizing their own road races.

“Races are an extension of retail that really are a huge part of who we are. It’s an opportunity for our customers to celebrate their journey and accomplishments — and that’s a huge thing for us,” Farley said. Pacers runs more than a dozen races a year in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey.

However, over the past few years, fewer runners are participating in local races, according to data gathered by RunWashington. An examination of D.C.-area race results from 2013-2016, for timed races that catered to adult runners, found that after hitting a high in 2014, the number of local finishers dropped off by 5 percent in 2015, then fell nearly 10 percent more in 2016.

The 334,376 registered race finishers in 2014 fell to 284,400 in 2016, a 15-percent drop. At the same time, the 654 races in 2016 nearly equalled the 668 held in 2015.

“Most everything we do has to end up as a profitable venture,” Farley said. “We want to reinvest in our employees and our stores and our communities… and you have to make money to do it.”

Outreach like hosting races or timing for other large events helps Pacers connect with their target audience, Farley said. He estimates about 40,000 unique runners participate in Pacers’ races every year.

RnJ Sports, with two locations in Montgomery County, Md., partner with races in the county, and holds group runs typically in spring and summer.

“We’ve always participated in races,” said RnJ Sports’ owner Reu Scherf. “You would hope that [runners] look at that and think about it and the advantages of shopping at the store.”

Local running groups set up by specialty running stores can add value to runners’ experiences and create brand loyalty, too. Thirty-four percent of runners who participated in the 2017 National Runner Survey trained with a local running group; but 40 percent of the more than 6,800 respondents were not involved in a running group.

Farley said getting someone involved in a Pacers running group can be a portal: it can draw them in to future events, push them to sign up for new races, help them meet new people or encourage them to listen to the company’s podcast, Pace the Nation.

“Our goal is to get people into a couple of those communities,” he said. “Our best customers are people who are involved in every single one of those. We have to find ways to connect with people on many different levels, with the ultimate goal to inspire them to run.”

“If you do stay authentic and stay super passionate about [running], that’s going to lead to sales.”

 

Competition around every corner

“Runners are no longer just running,” Farley also said.

Around the D.C. region, boutique gyms such as solidcore, Orangetheory fitness and Pure Barre are gaining popularity. The trend has reverberated through the specialty running store business, Farley said, grabbing the interest of runners who are looking to mix up their workouts.

“Around every corner there is something that you don’t need shoes — or the shoes that we are selling — to do,” he said. “We have to be bold, try new things, put ourselves out there, connect with runners who are trying new things.”

For Pacers, that means working with some of these businesses and being prepared to “diversify what we are doing and who we are.”

Meanwhile, Potomac River Running is working to rebrand itself as a “fitness place,” Pugsley said. It’s reaching out to schools, corporations, fire departments, walkers — anyone who wears shoes — to let them know “we aren’t just for runners,” he said.

“Everybody has a pair of athletic shoes in their closet, and everyone wants them to be comfortable, so every one of those people is a target audience for us,” Pugsley said.

Performance sneaker sales were down 1 percent in 2017, but casual sneaker sales were up, said Andy Polk, Senior Vice President at Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, a trade organization. The rise of what Polk calls “brunch shoes” are a reflection that “America is becoming more casual, but not more performance driven.”

Trendwatching like that is high on RnJ Sports’ priority list. Knowing what’s hot and keeping a product selection that reflects it is one of the things Scherf strives for.

“We are constantly learning new things and keeping up with what’s happening,” Scherf said.

What are runners looking for?

So what exactly are runners looking for in a shoe- or apparel-buying experience?

Pugsley said all customers value price, convenience and service — the last of which is where specialty running stores can thrive.

Farley has a similar philosophy: “We have to be more purposeful and our connections with individuals, more than ever. When you come into our store, we have to make a connection and make a memorable experience. It has nothing to do with sales, but that’s the key to meeting our bottom line.”

The D.C. market is a different one, too, Pugsley added. Because of its transient nature, it’s difficult to establish a large core group of loyal customers. Also, D.C. is a time-stretched, commuting population where people want to know “if they stop in our store, we will have what they are looking for and with great service and a good experience?”

“People spend so much time commuting around here they don’t seem to want to be wasting any extra time getting what they want where they want it,” he said.

Potomac River Running’s answer is an online store where customers can shop for what’s at the locations and reserve a shoe to try on later at the store or complete their purchase and have it shipped directly to their house.

“We want people to come in when it’s convenient and then blow them away with our service,” Pugsley said.

Looking toward the future is crucial for all store owners, Farley said. He envisions a world where running stores “are no longer going to be just at the corner of your Main Street anymore.” They will have to come to the customers… and be available on their smartphones, too.”

“More than that, we have to bring connection, personality and authentic energy for running to you. I think that’s where we really win,” Farley said. “But if we can figure out a way to deliver authentic energy to you the same day in a box, we can’t be beat.”

Despite the new challenges they’re facing, one place where competition is not flourishing is between the local specialty running stores, Pugsley said.

“I’m a cheerleader for all of us,” he said. “By having other strong specialty running stores in the general geography, it really builds a strong community and helps all of us in the long run.”

Potomac River Running’s Vienna store is the newest in the chain’s eight locations in D.C. and Northern Virginia. Photo: Potomac River Running
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Monumental Runner – Tim Hughes

Tim Hughes

Self-described age group: Thirties

Residence: Columbia Heights

Occupation: External relations and outreach manager, Trust for America’s Health

Volunteer roles in the running world: YTri and Teens Run D.C.

Why you run: I love it – both competitively and recreationally – and, it makes me feel good. I also love the outdoors and exploring, so running is a great way to combine the two.

When did you get started running: After college. I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon at the encouragement of my older brother. My goal was to beat him … I did, but he’s also 12 years older than me … We’re competitive, and I knew if he beat me, he would hold that over me given how much younger I am. After the half, I ran the Los Angeles Marathon. However, I started running regularly after moving to D.C. and meeting the Pacers 14th Street Fun Runs.

Have you taken a break from running: Not really … However, I started doing triathlons five years ago, and I love mixing in the two additional sports to break things up from time to time. I also think it has made me a stronger runner and helps me avoid injuries.

Training shoe: Adidas Pure Boost

Coach or training group: Pacers 14th Street Fun Runs, YTri, and the P and 15th Street Saturday run group – I meet so many amazing people from there; made great friends; and gone on many adventures with them!

The hardest race you’ve ever run: Boston 2016. It was my first time running it, and I was trying to go for a PR … that did not happen. It was hot, but also a harder course than I expected, and I ended up walking quite a bit. I was excited to finish, but also pretty disappointed with my performance. I ran Boston again this year, and the conditions were miserable – 30 degrees, torrential downpour, and 40 MPH winds. It was another mentally and physically tough race, but this time, having learned from experience, I ran a much better race. #redemption

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: I always try to push myself further and to see how far I can take myself. After several years of half and full marathons, Olympic and half-iron triathlons, I completed my first Ironman at Lake Placid. It was awesome, and I will do another one.

Running mentors: My running and triathlon friends. They are all uniquely inspiring, and I love seeing them all preserving and achieving their goals. I learn something, and draw motivation, from each of them.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: Rock Creek Park and anything involving the Klingle Trail (That’s now my favorite hill in D.C.)

Favorite local trail: Custis Trail

My best race was: Chicago Marathon 2014 and 2016. Both times I set my marathon PR there and qualified for Boston. Moreover, many of my friends ran as well, or were there spectating making both times memorable experiences.

Favorite local race: American Odyssey Relay

Ideal post-run meal: PB&J: Wheat bread, chunky peanut butter on both sides, and strawberry preserves.

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Salted Caramel

Goals: I want to break 2:45:00 to qualify for the Tokyo and Berlin Marathon. So far, among the Abbott World Marathon Majors, I ran Chicago and Boston, and I am running New York this fall. I qualified for each of those marathons, and I got my eyes set on doing the same for Tokyo and Berlin. Technically, I qualified for London, but they only allow qualifying time for U.K. residents – so for now, I will keep adding my name to the lottery.

Your advice for a new runner: Join a running group. Also, run strong, run smart, run with heart, smile, and have fun.

Favorite running book: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami; The Last Pick: The Boston Marathon Race Director’s Road to Success by David McGillivray; The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb.

Song in your head during a run: Oh there are many … but a few include, Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked, How Far I’ll Go from Moana, and Till I Collapse by Eminem (that’s my pump-up song before every race).

Have you dealt with a major injury: During training for my first marathon, I had runners knee and did not run for about a month. Fortunately, I’ve not had any other major injuries which I think is partially attributed to the triathlon training and strength training that I do.

Running quote: “My time, the rank I attain, my outward appearance – all of these are secondary. For a runner like me, what’s really important is reaching the goal I set myself, under my own power. I give it everything I have, endure what needs enduring, and am able, in my own way, to be satisfied.” – Haruki Murakami “Run the mile you are in.” – Rachel Tulchin

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: D.C has many great trails and you are so close to nature. Also, the running and triathlon community is wonderful and so supportive.

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