Runners Spotlight Let Me Introduce CARMEL

Today is Spotlight Thursday

This week I'd like to introduce Carmel
I asked Carmel several questions, to tell part of her story and introduce you all to her. 

What distances you like to run? 

My favorite distance is a half marathon (13.1 miles) - this distance is great in that it challenges me and is a considerable distance to run.  I see more and more half marathons popping up on my radar so I must not be the only one who favors this distance!  My second favorite is a 15k (9.32 miles) because it sounds farther than it feels.  :)

How long have you been running?  Or at what age did you start running?  

I began seriously running when I was 25.  I was inspired by my then-boyfriend (who is now my husband) who loved long distance running and had recently completed a 50k in the New Mexico mountains.  I remember thinking how incredible that must have felt and wanted to see if I could accomplish big goals of my own.  So I really got serious and within a year I had completed my first half marathon - 1 year after my first half, I crossed the finish line of my first Full Marathon.  

What made you want to become a runner?  What is it that keeps you at it?  

I keep running because I want to see what else my body can accomplish.  I see the benefits and changes in my body from running and I love it.  Plus, running allows me to have that extra cupcake or margarita when we have date nights!

What is the furthest distance or race you have ever run?  

The farthest I have run is a Full Marathon (26.2 whopping miles).  My Full Marathon was the SF Marathon, which is rumored to be one of (if not THE) hardest full marathons in the country.   

What has been your favorite race and distance you have run?  Tell us why?  

My favorite race/distance is hands down the 2nd Half marathon of the SF Marathon.  It is 13.1 miles and begins in the foggy mist of GG Park, near Ocean Beach.  You run through the park, down iconic Haight Street, through my favorite SF neighborhood The Mission District, through my old neighborhood of Potrero Hill and ends with a mile through Giants Stadium and under the Bay Bridge.  So beautiful.  This race is my favorite because it was my first double digit race, and through my hometown, no less!  I felt great throughout the race except for some gnarly blisters around mile 11 - but the pain was worth it once I crossed that finish line.  That's when I knew I really have what it takes to be a runner!

If you could run any race in the entire world, where would it be and why?  

I am so curious about the London Marathon.  So much, that I've been planning to go in 2015!  I also have a friend who recently ran his first marathon while living/working in Tanzania.  Now that's an incredible destination race right there.

Do you run for fun?  Or run to compete?  Both?  

I like a little bit of both.  I know myself enough to know that if I become super competitive about running/races then it's no longer fun for me. I will admit that a little competition empowers me and is probably the reason why I signed up for over 20 runs in 2013.  For me, running is a lifestyle and I see it as something that enriches my life.  I would never want to be disappointed about not reaching a certain pace or not hitting a certain distance.  I celebrate every mile I run.

Have you ever won a race or placed in your age group? 

I've placed in my age group during a local run in Boulder.  While that was a nice surprise, that sort of stuff is not important to me.

Have you experienced any trials/injuries/health issues that you have had to overcome?  Tell us about them. 

Oh sure!  I find there is a direct correlation between increased distance and the number of maladies my body suffers.  When I first began running half marathons, I used to get a bad cold immediately after the race, every time.  It was horrible.  My body seems to have gotten past that and it no longer happens.  During my Full Marathon, I pulled a hip flexor at mile 22 and limped my way to the finish.  When I run long distances or lots of downhill, the strain in my hip seems to flare back up.  To offset this, I see a sports masseuse once a month and work on stretches to loosen up my hips and leg muscles.  Other than that, the only other issue I encounter while running is the occasional blister.

If you run races.  Tell us what crossing the finish line feels like to you.  

This is a great question - and I am sure everyone will have a different answer.  For me, crossing the finish line is a mix of different emotions.  I usually feel a huge sense of relief that it's over (LOL) and then this rush of adrenaline comes over me.  I feel like I radiate heat and light and float for a bit.  My body stops aching and some times, if it was an especially difficult race, I tear up.  It's wonderful.  The SF marathon has a great tagline, Worth The Hurt, and it's what comes to mind when I cross that finish line - it is 100% true.

Have you ever ran a race in costume?  Would you?  

I see lots of people running in tutus and colored socks. The costume theme is not for me, but if it pumps you up enough to run those long distances then by all means, dress up!  I guess I would dress up for a theme 5k.  It's a short distance and not very technical.  I don't see myself being able to run comfortably (or at my best) while in a costume during, say, a half marathon.   

When someone asks you why you run, what do you tell them?  

I tell them we all have our vices.  Perhaps running is one of mine.

Do you hope to be a lifelong runner?  

I hope to always be active.  I know there will come a time when my body will not allow me to run long distances or on pavement.  For now, I make sure to keep a balance when it comes to my body.  I train it to run long distances and sometimes run it into the ground, but I take good care of it, too.  My husband and I eat well, take supplements and value 'rest days' - we always give back to our bodies.

What states have you run races in?  Tell us the state and the race distance

(5k, marathon, ultra, Tri ect..)  I have run races in California (5k, 10k, 12k, Half Marathon, Full Marathon), Colorado (5k, 10k, 15k, Half Marathon), New York (5k, 5 Mile, 10k) and Hawaii (5k).

Have you run races in any other countries?  

No, but that's definitely on our list of races within the next few years!

What is your favorite kind of running, solo running or running with a friend or group?  

I prefer to run solo.  It's 'my' time and my chance to do some internal housekeeping.  I think about present things, future things, etc.  I also run with earbuds on so I can listen to my favorite music.

Do you listen to music while you run?  Give us the top 2 running songs on your playlist.  

I do!  I prefer to listen to late 90's-early 2000's rap/R&B and modern chillwave bands.  Also, and this is going to sound crazy, I heard once that to train her lungs for an upcoming tour, Beyonce used to belt out songs while on the treadmill.  I thought this was absolutely genius so I decided to take that and put my own spin on it.  I'd hate to scare fellow runners with my singing so instead of singing, I quietly rap along to some of my favorite jams.  2 favorites that always find their way on the trail run with me are: Missy Eliott 'Work It' and Jay-Z 'Dirt Off Your Shoulder'. 

Do you cross train?  What types?  

Of course!  This is so important.  My cross training activities include vinyasa yoga, bootcamp once a week, hiking, SUP surfing and spin.

What other hobbies/sports do you do besides running?  

I am a huge crafter.  I love DIY projects.  I also love to cook.  Sports include:  our local kickball league.

What type of things motivate you and push you towards success?  

Seeing those jeans get baggier, baby!  Also, when my active lifestyle was in it's beginning stages, I used to imaging running into my husband's ex-girlfriends on the street.  Having that thought in my mind helped me run that extra mile or do that extra pushup.  :)

Do you have any tips of suggestions for someone who is thinking of starting up running?  

I highly suggest getting fitted for proper shoes.  If you run on road, get road shoes.  If you run on trail, get trail shoes.  You'd be surprised how many people buy shoes based on style/color/brand.  Buy for purpose!  I would also advise them to gradually add distance and not attempt to run races or long distances without proper training.  It's not worth seriously hurting yourself.  One more thing - every mile counts!

What is your must have running accessory? 

I love my HipsSister belt.  It is made of stretchy material that moves with your body, has 2 zipper pockets for keys, ID, cash, GU, chews, etc.  It also has a top slit that holds my iPhone in place!  I need to run hands-free and running with a pack always through me off - my HipsSister takes care of all of that and even looks stylish!

What is the best thing you have learned from being a runner?  

I've learned that the human body is an incredible machine.  It can do things you never thought possible.  

Favorite pre and post run food?  

I like raviolis and Bobo's Oatbars for pre-run food.  Post run is the same every time: an ice-cold margarita!

Water or Sports drink?  

Equal parts of both.  You need to dilute sports drinks in order for your body to properly absorb and I don't care for sugary drinks while active.  I use Cytomax to replenish electrolytes and add a bit to my water.  It's refreshing, nourishing and tastes great!

What do you do with your race t-shirts and medals?  

I keep my tech shirts and wear them while training or on a run.  They are made with dry-wicking fabric and are perfect for that.  I keep my medals but have yet to find a home for them in my office!

Tell us something unique about you.  

I am allergic to bananas.  I also have 3 wonderful dogs (2 pugs and 1 Heeler).
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