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May Athlete Spotlight

GRIT Endurance athlete spotlight for May is Jessy Siefken- Mother, Ultra-Runner, Vegan, Badass! Jessy has been on the GRIT Endurance Team for a few months as she trains for her first 50 Mile race. Jessy's key race is Grayson Highlands 50 Miler on May 7th in the mountains of Virginia! Here is her interview:

What are you currently training for?

Grayson Highlands 50 Miler

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I grew up in the mountains in Ecuador. I moved to the US in 2004 and have lived in North Carolina since. I am a plant based runner and a mom. I love animals, the trails, and the mountains and I have completed 14 marathons and 2 50k ultras.

How did you get started on your running journey?

I started running in 2011 when I needed to heal a broken heart. I adopted a dog (her name as Sue). She had a lot of energy and needed exercise but I had no motivation to do much and got tired just walking around the block. Sue rescued me from this rut and I signed up for a couch to 5k program and 4 months later I ran my first 5k with Sue. Running changed my life by giving me a new perspective on life and showing me I was capable of much more than I ever thought. Sue was my running buddy and got hooked on challenging myself to longer distances, so I went on to 10k, half marathon. In 2013 I discovered NoDa Run Club, I went vegan and I met a group of plant based runners (Team Humane League) who called this run club home. I was able to make so much progress and had such a great time with this group, I ran my first marathon (Chicago) that year! In 2015 I ran my first 50k, and now I’m going for my first 50 miler!

What keeps you motivated?

That moment when you cross the finish line and prove the impossible is possible, no matter how hard it got, no matter how many people doubted you. I live for that feeling!

Do you have a mantra or quote that you use when things get tough?

It’s silly but I use a military chant from when I was 3 years old and saw a squad run every morning: it is call and response in Spanish and it goes: Vamos, vamos, fuerza, fuerza. Una cervecita me voy a tomar. Vamos, vamos, piernas, piernas. Un día menos es un día más, vamos vamos, fuerza, fuerza…

If you could give any advice to another athlete, what would it be?

Don’t compare yourself to others and train wisely!

What is your favorite workout so far in your training program?

The long run of course!

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