Let Me Introduce Lauren Today's Runner Spotlight

Today is Spotlight Thursday 
Each Thursday I spotlight a different runner from around the world.

This week I'd like to introduce Lauren.
I asked Lauren, to tell part of her story and introduce you all to her.  So sit back and enjoy and gain some inspiration!

Tell me what first got you interested in running? 

It was a long process that led me to running. I lived in Australia for 6 months in 2010 and gained about 30-35 pounds in that time span. It was easy to ignore whilst having fun adventures in a new country, but when I came home at Christmas that year, I realized how much I really gained. I half-heartedly tried losing that added weight throughout 2011, but was not successful. Then, in November 2011, my husband and I got engaged at Walt Disney World, thus sparking a huge desire to start exercising. I REALLY wanted to look and feel beautiful on our wedding day! So in January 2012 I started running to jump start my weight loss. Eventually strength training and diet came into play as well. Running really stuck with me though, and then that spring I discovered that Disney held races where you could run through the parks! Without a second thought I decided that the 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon would be my first long distance race and the desire to run for something bigger than just weight loss was born. Since then, I have become very passionate about running and the effort it takes to achieve my goals!  

How long have you been running? 

I have been running for over 2 years now, since January 2012. I hope to be able to run until my last day here on earth. 

What distances do you like to run?  Which is your favorite distance to run? 

Every distance has its perks. So far though, my favorite distance is the half marathon. Training does not take so much time out of my schedule like training for a full marathon, and that feeling of accomplishment and runners’ high is still amazing! 

Do you run races? Which types? 

I love to race (the clock that is)! I have done races of the 5K distance all the way to the full marathon distance, and have also done a sprint triathlon. I love them all, and would really like to do more of everything, even a half ironman someday! 

If you run races, do you have a favorite race ever?  Tell us why it is so memorable to you. 

This is a big toss-up between the Disney Princess Half Marathon and the Woodlands Marathon (my first 26.2). If I had to choose, then the Princess Half would win – it was my first half marathon and runDisney race! There is NOTHING like running through Cinderella’s castle and crossing the finish line while at the most magical place on earth! 
You love Disney.  Tell us who is your favorite princess? 

Another tough question to just pick one! I really love Rapunzel and Tiana because I relate them the most. Rapunzel represents my adventurist side and love for travel, while Tiana represents my intense drive and desire to work hard to accomplish my goals in life! 

On your blog you talk about a pair of running shoes that changed your life forever.  Tell us a little bit more about that. 

I bought my first pair of real running shoes in January 2011. The first time I ran in them I could not go a mile without being out of breath. Each day I ran I just had to tell myself I was still getting stronger. They were the tangible key to an improved life – because of those shoes, I am a happier, healthier me. I like to think of them as an analogy to Cinderella’s glass slipper. When the Fairy Godmother gave her those shoes, she had no idea that they would change her life so drastically, and neither did I when I bought my first pair. 

Have you ever raced in costume?  Would you? 

Absolutely!! Every single Disney race I will ALWAYS be in costume! So far I have run in a Tiara (Rapunzel costume), inflatable wings (Buzz Lightyear costume), and even a wig (Merida costume)! 

What goes through your mind as you cross the finish line? 

The moment I cross is always pride immediately followed by humility. I am SO proud of myself for the feat I have just accomplished, but I am always grateful that I am able to do this because I know not everyone can! 

If you could run any race in the entire world, which one would you pick? 

Hardest.Question.Ever. I am really looking forward to crossing a couple bucket list races off the list next year, such as the Dopey Challenge and the Big Sur Marathon. I am also very passionate about our U.S. military and would love to support them by participating in the Marine Corps Marathon and Army Marathon (I did get to run the Wounded Warrior Half Marathon in 2013 which was incredible). For adventure running, I would love to do the original Marathon in Greece, and the Great Wall Marathon in China. Last but definitely not least, the iconic Boston Marathon! 

What are some of your running goals or plans?
 After my knee heals, I want to get a sub-2 hour half marathon, cross the finish line of the Dopey Challenge (no time goals whatsoever), then maybe snag a full marathon PR at Big Sur next year! I would also like to complete a Half Ironman by the time I turn 30!

Do you have a funny running story to share?   

The funniest thing I have seen so far is from last year’s sprint triathlon. While the race officials were making announcements, a golden retriever jumped in the pool and swam around for a minute before his owner helped pull him out of the pool. It was hilarious, and everyone was snickering! 


What is your favorite running gadget, or must have running item? 

My ASICS shoes and Experia Thorlo socks! They are a magical shoe/sock combo because I have never had a blister or lost a toe nail *knock on wood*. I also need to run with a Bondi Band (headband) because I sweat a lot and it keeps all the sweat out of my eyes! 

Do you enjoy group or solo running? 

Both. Most of the time I do solo running, which I love because I can really clear my mind and figure things out! However, when I was training for my full marathon I really cherished the Saturday’s where I had company for my long run. Logging that much time on that running path every week made me happy to have someone to talk with! 

Favorite time of year you like to run? 

In Texas I really don’t mind running year round. During the summer I don’t run crazy distances or anything because it does get so hot and humid, but honestly, it is rare a day that shows up that isn’t good for running! 

Favorite terrains to run; flat, hills, trails? 

Can I be boring and say I really enjoy flat terrain? However, hills do make me stronger – not down hills though. I hate down hills…they caused my current case of runners’ knee.

Do you listen to music while you run?  If so what are your top two favorites that help you motivate yourself to push harder? 

I used to listen to music more often than I do now. Now I prefer running sans music because I like going through all my thoughts and emotions with each step. It makes me a better and stronger runner! However, the big two songs that help push me are “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, and “Go the Distance” from Disney’s Hercules. 

What type of hobbies/sports do you enjoy besides running? 

I love to sing! It has always been a huge part of my life – my brother and I recently recorded an acoustic cover of the song “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen! 

You’re an adventure seeker.  You love to try thrilling things like skydiving and scuba etc.  What’s been your favorite crazy, yet incredible experiences so far? 

I am always up for an adrenaline rush! So far, my favorite thrilling adventure I have done is skydiving. There is nothing like it…you can’t replicate that kind of nervousness and excitement in anything else!  

What are some of your life’s bucket list items? 

I want to travel, and run races, around the world with my husband. I want to be happy and continue to grow in my career, wherever it may take me. I want to nurture all my greatest relationships and keep them for my whole life – my family and friends mean more to me than anything. I want to do my part in speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves and save as many animal lives as I can. 

You are also a blogger, what is your favorite thing about blogging? 

It is without a doubt the sense of community. Everyone is so encouraging and supportive, and they give me a sense of accountability for which I am very grateful! I am so fortunate to have been able to meet many of my blogging friends in person, and look forward to meeting more of y’all later this year! 

What types of things motivate you and push you toward success? 

I have a very internal drive and motivation, and honestly I always have. If there is something that I want more than anything else, I will NOT stop until I accomplish it. Period. 

Tell me something unique about you? 

My nickname growing up was always Tigger due of my optimism and high levels of energy! 

Are you involved in any charities, or sponsor/ambassador programs that you’d like to give a shout-out to?
 I am actually a sales representative for Bondi Bands. They are a fantastic company that creates various fitness products, such as sweat wicking headbands and hats (with super cute sayings!), compression socks, and arm bands that hold your phone/keys/ID while you run! 
I am also actively involved with Team Red White & Blue (RWB) Houston Chapter. They are an amazing organization that helps to improve the lives of veterans who are transitioning back to civilian life!  
You can find Lauren Blogging at: 

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