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November Athlete Spotlight- Jill

Many of our GRIT team members have been closing out the fall race season this month. One athlete in particular has totally crushed this race cycle, getting a PR every race that she has done-- despite being in nursing school, a stay at home mom, and homeschooling her children!!!! I am so inspired by her drive and motivation every week. Here is my interview with athlete, Jill!

What are you currently training for?

I'm done racing for this seasons, so I'm focusing on strength and stretching over the next few months, and then hope to ramp back up for spring and summer racing! In April I'll be doing the "triple I-Challenge of a 1 mile, 5k, and half marathon over two days, and I'm hoping to get chosen for the Chicago Marathon lottery. We'll see what next year brings!

What is your favorite running snack?

I did an 8 hour ultra a few years ago, and have never had anything more satisfying than an ice cold coke during that race. I couldn't believe how great it tasted and felt! During "normal" running, my go-to is Honey Stinger Waffles. I recently ordered a sample pack of gels and chews from The Feed to try out a bunch of new options, and so far have really liked the Gu Roctane gel, too.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

A little bit about me.... I'm a 37 year old mom of 4; my kids are 11, 8, 6, and 1, and we have a mini golden doodle, Twix. I homeschool the oldest three (one of whom is neurodivergent), and am going back to school myself for a degree in nursing. Going back to school has been challenging, but rewarding, and I'm grateful for a spouse who supports me! Running keeps me sane with everything that is going on in our lives, and gives me goals to reach for that aren't about anyone else but myself.

How did you get started on your running journey?

My dad has been a runner for as long as I can remember. I started running in middle school doing cross country, and ran on and off through high school. It became much more consistent for me in college, and aside from pregnancy and postpartum, has been a pretty solid routine in my adult life.

What keeps you motivated?

I am most motivated and consistent when I have specific goals to reach for, like a race PR or mileage goal. As my kids have gotten older, though, being a model of staying active and being healthy and strong has become a much more important focus for me. I want my kids to see the value of movement for physical and mental health! I had the amazing opportunity to do a 5k with my 6 year old this month, and it was the first time one of my kids has asked to do a race with me. It is something I won't forget, and I hope it's the first of many to come!

Do you have a quote or mantra that gets you through tough times?

"We can do hard things!" It's what I tell my kids, and it's what I try to model for them.

Do you have any advice for other athletes?

Also, know your "why." It doesn't have to be earth-shattering, but have an idea in mind of why you want to be doing what you're doing! Mental health? Physical health? Specific goal? Knowing WHY you're working so hard will keep you going when things feel hard.

What is your favorite workout of your program so far?

I really enjoyed the Fartlek run/strength workout. 6 rounds of 3 minute run, plus a circuit of 15 squats, 12 lunges, 45 sec plank with shoulder taps, 10 push ups. It was hard, and fun!

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