Monumental Runner – Rebecca Middleton

Name: Rebecca Middleton

Self-described age group: 40-49

Residence: Arlington

Occupation: Anti-hunger leader – executive director of Alliance to End Hunger

How has your running changed in the last four weeks:  I was signed up for a number of spring races that were cancelled/postponed so it’s been a big mindshift. I’m most disciplined when I have a race on the calendar, so not knowing when the next in-person race will be is a challenge. A friend in Boulder sent me information about the Un-Cancelled Project virtual race series by Run the Edge  – it has been a fun way to stay motivated.  Another big change has been planning routes to maximize social distancing. For me this means avoiding trails and hitting quieter streets. The upside has been having a bit more flexibility with my schedule overall so easier to stick to a running routine. I’m grateful to still be able to run and try to be mindful of what a gift it is.

Volunteer roles in the running world: I’d signed up to volunteer for the first time at this year’s Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile. I was really looking forward to it, but clearly it wasn’t meant to be. I look forward to volunteering just as soon as races start back up.

Why you run: Health (both physical and mental). I also run to be a good example for my kids (Sarah, 15, and Andrew, 13).

When did you get started running: I started running in fall of 2016. I’d tried to start many times before, but it never stuck. Being in my early 40s made me realize it’s use-it-or-lose it so I really committed and started with C25k. My first race was the 2016 Jingle Bell Run 5k, and I haven’t looked back.

Have you taken a break from running: Yes. I didn’t have a plan after a series of races in fall 2018 (including my first half) and instead of downshifting I stopped running altogether for a few months.

Training shoe: Brooks Adrenaline. Trying Hoka Arahi as well for longer training runs. I wore Mizuno Wave Inspires for years but the new model doesn’t work for me.

Coach or training group: Arlington/Alexandria MRTT/SRTT – such an amazing group of women. I’ve only met a few in person but the virtual community keeps me going.

The hardest race you’ve ever run: 2018 Army Ten-Miler. It was so humid! I was in the best shape of my life, but in a late wave. I ended up running 10 1/2 miles dodging people who were walking in the middle of the course.

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: I think just deciding to start running in my 40s was a pretty adventurous decision. I travel quite a bit for work and try to run almost everywhere I go – sometimes I’ve ended up in spots where I realize I probably should have turned right instead of left but thankfully have never been in trouble.

Running mentors: My husband Dennis and my friends Margaret, Annissa, Jenny, Michelle and Maria

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is:  The National Mall. I never get tired of the amazing views.

Favorite local trail: Mount Vernon Trail, though I’m avoiding it for now (too narrow to keep 6 feet away from others).

My best race was: Shenandoah Leaf Peeper 10k 2018. First (and only) sub-hour 10k, and I finished 2nd in my age group (I think there were only 6 of us!). There was also pie at the end so that was bonus.

Favorite local race:  Without a doubt the GW Parkway Classic 10 mile. It is so well organized (as are all Pacers races), a great scenic (and flat) course, and the perfect size field. The trombone player around mile 5 is a highlight as are the spectators cheering you in along Union Street.

Ideal post-run meal: Immediately after running: Starbucks iced macha latte; after cool down a bagel with cream cheese and fruit.

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Orange Jelly Belly Sport Beans

Pet peeve: People who aren’t aware of their surroundings (particularly during a race).

Goals: A sub-2 hour half marathon.

Your advice for a new runner:  Use the Couch to 5k App and stick to it. It may feel easy at first but that’s the point! Before you’ll know if you’ll be hooked. Get connected to a group, or even one friend, to keep motivated and accountable. Set goals and always have a race on the calendar.

Favorite running book: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

Song in your head during a run: “Glorious” by Macklemore

Have you dealt with a major injury: Thankfully no (knock on wood).

Running quote: One of the greatest feelings is accomplishing something you once thought would have been impossible.

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner:  There are so many incredible places to run. We really take for granted the trails and paths, but when I travel it’s amazing how challenging it can be to find a safe place to run. I also love the running culture in D.C. – from great local running shops like Pacers to in-person and virtual running communities to race options seemingly every weekend you couldn’t ask for a better place to be a runner than here. 


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