Monumental Runner – Hannah A.

Name: Hannah A.

Self-described age group: Millennial (25)

Residence: Crystal City

Occupation: Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist

Why you run: Because I can! Running has not only helped keep me in shape but also allowed me to achieve some of my biggest dreams and goals. Plus, living in this area, it’s the perfect excuse to do some local sightseeing!

When did you get started running: I ran JV cross-country all four years in high school and ran here and there throughout college until the summer before my junior year when I decided to train for a half marathon. That was August 2014, and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Have you taken a break from running: The last planned break I took was for six weeks following the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2018. An IT band injury derailed the last few weeks of my training, but I was able to still run the race without any major pain or difficulty. I started back up running 5 days a week when I was visiting my parents for winter break, and I haven’t taken more than 1-2 days off per week since then!

Training shoe: Brooks Ghost all the way – if it’s good enough for Des Linden, it’s good enough for me!

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: That would have to be my next big adventure…I’m doing the Goofy Challenge as part of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in Orlando! For anyone who isn’t familiar with RunDisney lingo, this means I will be running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday morning followed by the Walt Disney World Marathon the next Sunday morning.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: I love the Hains Point/Potomac Park area – flat, shady, and somewhat sentimental (it’s part of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and Marine Corps Marathon courses, and I love seeing the mile markers painted on the road!).

Favorite local trail: I live just off the Mount Vernon Trail and love that it connects to so many great running spots in the area.

My best race was: Rock’n’Roll D.C. Half Marathon 2017. It was the first time I went into a race with a goal time, and I left breaking two hours for the first time despite the gargantuan hill right around mile six.

Favorite local race: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile. It’s the only race I’ve run every year since I moved to the area, and it’s one I look forward to year-round. The course is fabulous – how else can you get an exclusive look at all the D.C. cherry blossoms in the middle of spring – and the race itself is incredibly well-organized. I can’t wait to take it on again this spring!

Ideal post-run meal: My #1 go-to after any run is Diet Pepsi, and then whatever I eat depends on how far I ran that morning and what time of day it is. This training cycle post-long run it’s been a variation of leftover pizza from Whole Foods, a box of macaroni & cheese, and/or a cupcake/slice of cake from one of D.C.’s many famous bakeries.

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: I have two! 1) Jelly Belly Extreme Sport Beans – Very Cherry. 2) PowerBar PowerGel Shots – cola flavor.

Pet peeve: It’s a tie for people who say they “can’t run” but have never actually given it a shot (you never know if you don’t try!) and non-runners with negative attitudes towards the sport. I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan and she said it best in an interview a couple of months ago: “the worst kind of person is someone who makes someone feel bad, dumb or stupid for being excited about something.”

Goals: I have two big goals at the moment; the first is to enjoy and finish the Goofy Challenge this weekend, and the second is to continue to take measures so that I stay healthy and injury-free in 2020. I’m running Chicago in October and I know the aforementioned second goal will keep me on the right track as I begin training for that race over the summer.

Your advice for a new runner: Find your niche. And don’t get frustrated if it takes a while. I was not the best 5k runner by any means in high school, yet I convinced myself that I would never run more than five miles. And then I ran three half marathons in college. And then just when I thought 13.1 was good enough for me, I took the risk and signed up for my first marathon. Now I’ve run two and have two on tap for this year. You just have to find what works best for you, and when you do, you’ll learn to love it with time.

Favorite running book: Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer

Song in your head during a run: State of Grace by Taylor Swift is the second song on my playlist, which gets me into a good beat/pace for running, and the Rise remake by State of Mine (original by Katy Perry) is a high-energy motivational song with lyrics I use as a mantra to keep going when I get tired.

Have you dealt with a major injury: As I mentioned, I hurt my right IT band towards the end of my training for Marine Corps in fall 2018 and ended up getting some physical therapy for it before the race. While all seems to be in the clear now, I take preventive measures before big runs to ensure I’m being as careful as possible.

Running quote: “Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running.” – Julie Isphording

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: Because, hello, D.C. has it all! From the amazing trails connecting one area of the region to another, to the ability to literally go sightseeing and visit world famous landmarks for free while getting some fitness in, to the incredibly supportive community of fellow runners of all levels and abilities. It’s allowed me to make the most of my time living here and I can’t wait to continue on that journey for years to come.

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