Friday Fartlek: April Russell

Name: April Russell2012-12-22_16-00-00_154

Age: 31

Web/blog address:

  1. What was your running “light bulb” moment? How did you get started and when?

I have always been a runner.  I used to race with my cousins when we were little, and my Dad has video of me beating my cousin who is now a Navy SEAL.  I ran cross country and track in high school, though I wasn’t very fast.  I ran off and on in college, but more in grad school.  I ran through two pregnancies, but was on bedrest for the third, so it was like starting all over again.  I literally could not run for a single minute.  Now I have many races under my belt – a bunch of 5ks, some other distances, and even two half marathons.

  1. What distance are you looking to tackle or have tackled recently?

I signed up for my first marathon!  I will be running the Vermont City Marathon on May 26, 2013.

  1. What has been your biggest challenge in your journey? What (or who) has been your biggest motivator?

Not being able to run while pregnant with my son was very difficult for me, as was starting again.  My children motivate me; I am a better mother and person after getting a good run in.

  1. What do you seek to accomplish through running?

Running is important for my mental and physical health.  It feels good to set and reach goals.  I want to inspire my children, friends, and others as well.  Show people if you want something, and work hard at it, you can do it.

  1. Time to motivate! What’s your advice to fellow beginning runners?

It gets easier.  Keep at it.  Push yourself a bit.  When I get tired on a run, I tell myself “this is where the hard work pays off”.  If you’re not challenging yourself, you aren’t getting better.  That’s helped me get from not running for a single minute to finishing a half marathon in 2:18.

  1. What’s your advice for seasoned runners? (just because you may be new to the sport doesn’t meant you don’t have anything to offer!)

Mix it up.  Run with the tech gadgets, run without them.  Run outside, run on the treadmill.  Don’t be afraid to split up a long run into multiple parts – start inside, finish outsid,e or vice versa.  Run with and without music.  Run with others, run alone.  Run flat courses, run lots of hills.  It keeps things fresh and helps prepare you for all different kinds of races.

  1. Tell readers one thing about you that we don’t already know (doesn’t have to be running related):

I am an astronomer, and work for Dudley Observatory in Schenectady, NY doing education and public outreach.

  1. Time for the spotlight! Let’s hear about your proudest running (or exercise related) moment.

I PR’d in the half marathon this year by 14 minutes.  My first (HMRRC half – Oct 2011) was 2:32.  I ran the Dragonfly Half in Brunswick in May 2012, and finished in 2:18, even though the course was much more challenging.  I credit repeating the last 3 weeks of my running program, as well as running with music and compression socks.  I felt so much better at the end!  Wasn’t tired at all.  Awesome feeling.

  1. Extra Credit (optional): What running related topic do you wish you knew more about? Don’t be afraid to ask.

How other runners deal with GI distress- it seems to only happen to me in high-adrenaline situations – after races or long runs.  What can I do about this, besides lots of Pepto?  What I eat doesn’t seem to matter.

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