Washington, DC

Name: Ciara (Donohue) Adam

Self-described age group: I am 23 so in races, I guess the age group 20-30?

Residence: I live with my husband in Winchester, Virginia

Occupation: I am a registered nurse at Winchester Medical Center

Volunteer roles in the running world: I can’t think of a volunteer role I have had with the running world recently, but I am hoping to look more into assistant coaching/volunteer coaching at local schools when the pandemic clears up.

How has your running changed in the last few weeks: Running the last few weeks has been a blessing. I work 12-hour night shifts in the hospital and when I fit in a run, I am always way less anxious about work. Fresh air has never felt better when you run after being in the hospital all day. New-nurse anxiety is a real thing topped off with being a new nurse during a crazy pandemic. Running is that something I am familiar with and keeps me grounded. In times of uncertainty, it feels wonderful to fall back to the sport I love most.

Why you run: Although I am not running near as much as I used to during high school and college, I find that when I do find the time to fit in good run, I am so much more relaxed and clear-minded. I find (as most people do) running as a de-stressor and I always feel 100% better when I get my feet out the door. It feels so good to challenge your body, feel your heart beating, and just be in your thoughts.

When did you get started running: I started running way back when I was around seven years old. My Dad convinced me and my older sister to do a local 5K in Purcellville. I remember how hard it was to finish that last mile, but loving the challenge. Thanks Dad!

Have you taken a break from running: Right now I would say I have been taking a break. I still go out and run, but I don’t have a strict training schedule with workouts built in and races. I sort of just run when I have time. Since starting a job as a new nurse, it has been hard to find energy to go for a run after working all night. I miss having that structure though and am hoping to start up a regular training schedule this summer.

Training shoe: Brooks Adrenaline! I wore these all through high school. In college I had to wear Adidas which were not bad, but since graduating I am back to the good old Brooks.

Coach or training group: Not at the moment! Just running with friends, my husband, and brother/sisters

The hardest race you’ve ever run: Any race at Oatlands Plantation. It is a love/hate relationship racing there. One year the Varsity race was at 12pm during the hottest hour of the day and I just remember dying on the hill. But, just like any race you survive and somehow make it through.

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: 1.) Driving south to race Foot Locker Regionals in November. This was totally out of my comfort zone and I didn’t think I was good enough to be there. I am so thankful for my high school coaches who pushed me and encouraged me to race that race. Probably the best day of my running career! Another adventurous decision was choosing to run D1 at George Mason. I was so nervous to balance practice and race weekends with nursing school, but it ended up being my de-stressor at times and helping me keep a good, firm structure during my college years.

Running mentors: My high school coaches Joan and Marc Hunter, my college coaches Andrew Gerard and Tony Mihalich.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is:  Anywhere in the Fairfax area! Burke Lake and C&O canal are my top favorites!

Favorite local trail: The W&OD trail will forever have my heart. It starts in my hometown, Purcellville which is where most of my runs ended up. Many miles were done on this trail.

My best race was: Foot Locker Regionals way back in 2014.

Favorite local race: I loved doing the local Purcellville Turkey Trots with my family each year

Ideal post-run mealFor a quick snack, apple with PB or a fresh home-made smoothie!

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Sadly, I never got into these!

Pet peeve: It is hard to think of any, but maybe when sweat gets in your eyes during a hard track workout. The Virginia humidity can be crazy!

Goals: To get back on a consistent training schedule and start signing up for races in the future! I want to run a half marathon and then potentially shoot for a marathon (only if I can convince Paul, my husband to do it with me)!

Your advice for a new runner: Don’t overthink every little nagging pain and don’t over-stress about each race. I used to get so nervous before every race and looking back I wish I had more fun and relaxed more. I miss it now!

Favorite running book: I love the book Unbroken if that counts. It is one of my favorites.

Song in your head during a run: Wow I always have so many, but lots of times it is either Disney or a Broadway musical (ask any of my teammates)! It is always fun when you can get your teammates to sing along too!

Have you dealt with a major injury: Thank goodness, no. I have had the occasional muscle pull requiring me to take a week or two off/biking, but nothing serious.

Running quote: Not just a running quote, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13 I said this a lot in my head during hard workouts/races. I still say it when I am having a rough shift in the hospital. Always seems to get me through.

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner:  There are so many trails to explore and sites to see that you can incorporate into your runs! There also are many groups to become involved in and connections to make.

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