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Runner of the Month

Runner of the Month


Runner of the Month is a series of short interviews with various athletes from Focus-N-Fly to highlight their success and the motivation they use to keep running.

Jerry_Finish_5x7_smJerry Riemer is a Wyoming born, Houston area resident, who spends his days as a quality control manufacturing supervisor for Halliburton.  A volunteer paramedic who has taken mission trips to Honduras, Reimer is also celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary this week.  In his own words, “Five years ago,  ‘running behind,’ ‘jumping to conclusions,’ and ‘passing the buck’ were my only exercise.  Now, I’ve developed ‘Adult Onset Athleticism.’  I’ve been to doctors and there is no treatment….”

With two marathons in the books already for 2012, Reimer looks forward to turning 60 and continuing to forge ahead with training and racing.

FNF: How did you start running?

JR: Growing up as a kid, I was not only chosen last, but the team captains fought over who had to take me on their team.  I was in the army, and did a mile at 6:30 something in combat boots, but as an adult, I did a variety of different jobs. Finally, I saw my doctor in my mid-50s.  He said I needed to lose weight and here is your medicine [exercise].  I discovered that all these years I had this endurance athlete hiding inside of me!  I walked a 5k in 45 min, was dragged around a 5k in 33 minutes by a friend in 2007, and then worked up to doing three half marathons last year.



Dabao_cropped

Lisa  Dabao is a recent 4:45 Surf City USA Marathon finisher who lives in Newport Beach, commuting an hour to Los Angeles every work day.  She’s a television commercial producer  (including some we’ve all seen) and a very busy one at that.  One could rightfully say that working is her life.   She works 6-7 days per week, 14 hours per day, which with the two hours commuting makes finding time to train extremely difficult.   Lisa slips in runs when she can and often finds herself running in the dark, getting her time away from what she describes as “the insanity of production.”   Lisa spent a precious few minutes with us, answering questions from FNF despite a 4:30am wake-up call the next morning as she worked on a shoot in Milwaukee.

FNF: How did you start running?

LD: I have been running since I was in high school.  Not with track or cross country, just on my own.  I've been on team sports ever since I was a kid and running has always been a part of my personal training. After school and organized sports ended for me, I kept running as a supplement to my workouts.

FNF: Who is your running role model?

LD: My sister Jamie, who is a year and a half younger, always inspired me.  She has run many marathons and after watching her complete them and listening to her talk about them for years, I finally committed to running my first in 2009 - the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.  It was a VERY rough run for me.  Jamie and I set out to run that marathon together.  I made the horrible mistake of running in my relatively "newer' shoes and was hurting at mile 8.  I remember thinking, “what have i done to myself?'” I finished that in 5:12 and was horrified.  Since that marathon, I have always known I would do another.  I was properly trained to run faster, I just BLEW it in wearing the wrong shoes.   Anyway, my sister Jamie got me started with this long running "madness" (as I call it).

FNF: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

LD:  As for running, I coaxed my wonderful boyfriend, Mike, into running with me.  He had never run prior to dating me.  I talked him into training for the 2010 Santa Barbara Half Marathon with me.  He completed his first 1/2 marathon in less than 2 hours.  That was so rewarding to me.  In racing, probably the last 2 miles of my most recent full marathon -The Surf City Marathon.  I started to cramp and my feet were aching.   All of a sudden, ALL of my aches and pains just disappeared and I was able to really push it to the finish.  I couldn't believe it when it was happening but just felt joy.  Actually, that entire marathon was memorable and enjoyable.  I believe FNF had a lot to do with that marathon being such a positive experience.  I felt pretty good the entire race.  I went out feeling strong and felt strong through most of the race.  There were many times when I looked down at my Garmin and had to scale back.  I wanted to respect the course and the distance.   Looking back, I know I could have finished in less time however, I'm VERY pleased with my results considering a week prior to the race, I didn't even think I could finish.

FNF: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

LD: I have thoroughly enjoyed the forum section of FNF.  I utilized the forums A LOT throughout my training for tips and suggestions from the coaches and other runners.  - While I was training, I felt as if I had my own personal trainer, Kate O'Neill Tenforde.  She would respond immediately with such care and insight.  I attribute much of my success in the Surf City Marathon to Kate's guidance and recalculating my schedule when I got sick for 2 weeks during my training.  I got a pretty bad flu over the holidays, but my longest runs (19, 20, 22 miles) were scheduled over that period.  I missed those long runs and tried to power through the shorter runs (at times only making myself feel worse).  I thought I wouldn't be able to finish the marathon.  With Kate's careful suggestions, I not only finished the marathon but came within minutes of my original goal time.

FNF: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

LD: I have learned that I MUST eat in order to run any distances.  I've always been a bad eater, but through my marathon training, I have learned that I simply cannot go without my oatmeal, raisins and banana before a long run. No way!

FNF: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

LD: On of my favorite training runs is The Newport Beach Back Bay Trail - it is at least 10 miles around the back bay, and you can add mileage from there if you need to.  It is a scenic run around a nature preserve and bird sanctuary.  There are beautiful sights, sounds and even parts where you get peeks at the glistening ocean.

FNF: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

LD: Well, I have the Orange County 1/2 Marathon coming up.  I wish to finish that in under 2 hours.  Halves have always been fun for me, but now that I have a time goal in mind, I think the fun will change to TOUGH.  Other than the OC 1/2 – when and IF I decide to do another full marathon - I will finish under 4:30.



Debra_H_croppedDebra Hexsel

Runner of the Month – February 2012

 

Debra works full time at the Weil, Gotschal, and Manges law firm in downtown Houston.  Debra grew up in St. Louis, where, her dad took her to the skating rink at age six.  Before she knew it, she was a competitive youth speed skater.  After a previous relationship originally brought her to Texas, she has stayed in the Houston area.  Several years of cycling with her husband eventually led to trying out running, and on January 15, she completed her first marathon at the Chevron Houston Marathon.


FNF: How did you start running?

DH: I thought that I couldn’t run after I blew out my knee playing soccer with a women’s team.  I became an avid indoor cyclist, then took that to outdoors.  I had the mindset that I could ride a century, and then I thought why couldn’t I make it to the marathon.  I have always been athletic.  Years ago, I decided I wanted to run a marathon in San Diego.  My parents used to be snowbirds out there so I was familiar with the one that used to go over the Coronado Bridge.  I trained too hard, too much, and too fast, got a stress fracture, and never got to run the race.


FNF: Who is your running role model?

DH: I don’t really have one in running, but there is one I can trace back to speed skating, my coach Johnny Werket [Olympic speed skater in the 40s and 50s].  He would always say, “Plan your work and work your plan.”  It was just a motivation thing that got me through.

 

FNF: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

DH:  Probably the most memorable experience was doing the half marathon in St. Louis [first half marathon in September]. I was worried about the hills, and conquering the hills.  It was the first event I had run in since the 70s. The race was about a mile away from my mom’s house.  After I ran, I just went home, but then looked on the computer and saw that I actually won my age group! So, I had to go back up there.  They gave me a plaque, and I got a great picture with Craig Virgin!


FNF: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

DH:  First off, I like the support – I can get answers to any questions I have, any fears, any anxieties.  It is a plan that is set up for my abilities, that has allowed me to reach my goal without getting hurt.  I’ve made some friends along the way too.  We haven’t met in person yet, but we‘ve been facebooking and are both planning to run the same half marathon this spring, hoping to meet up there.

 

FNF: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

DH: I have certain things I like to wear.  I’m really into compression clothing and I like all my things to be matching, but that ‘s a girl thing!  As far as a food thing, I was really focusing on what should I eat before this marathon.  I looked back at what I did before the two longest runs, then tried to read as much as I could about what people suggested and tried to combine the two.  I didn’t want to do too much differently than I had done in my other long runs.  I also wear my “never give up” bracelet.


FNF: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

DH:  It is definitely not where I train most of the time!  In a perfect world, it would be anywhere near water.  Honestly, if I am training for something, I can run anywhere, because if it is on my program, I do it.  One day when I was visiting my mom and it was really cold and raining, I did my 19 miles on the treadmill.  Actually, I changed treadmills every 5 miles. I have found that a lot of this is mental, and you need to train your mind as well.

 

FNF: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

DH:  I definitely want to continue with running and to continue enjoying it.  Additional marathons are not out of the question [she does plan on Boston in 2013 based on her age group qualifier of 3:56]… I just want to go as far as I can with it and stay injury free.  I want to follow the guidelines of a good training plan like yours as I know I can be my worst enemy!

 



Yocum_cropped_IITrebor Yocum

Runner of the Month – January 2012

 

A Monroe, Louisiana native, Yocum lives in Seattle, where he works in Everett for the Labinal Company, a contractor for Boeing.  Yocum spends his days doing statistical analysis for electrical wiring on the new 787 aircraft, and his off hours finishing his PhD in Public Policy from Walden University.  In late 2010, Yocum found himself considering gastric bypass surgery to address his 440 pound weight.   He decided to begin exercising instead, joining Focus-N-Fly in January of 2011 to train for the Amica Insurance Seattle Half Marathon.  Now down to 210 pounds and counting, Yocum has an ambitious 2012 schedule ahead.

FNF: How did you start running?

TY: Last October, I was going to get gastric bypass, but decided to do it on my own, walking and running.  I started FNF in January 2011, and I've gone from 440 to 210.   I have done fifteen 5Ks, two 10Ks, one 12k, and one half marathon.  I have also become a big Cross-Fitter at Cross Fit Belltown in Seattle.  I have an amazing support group there; it is really cool.

 

FNF: Who is your running role model?

TY: My mother.  She's seen me fat, she's seen me thin, and she's proud of me as a runner because she knows I'll be here for a long time now.  I was on high blood pressure medicine and others, and now am off all my medications.  I’ve gone from a size 68 to 34.  I’m running the New Orleans [Mardi Gras] Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon with her in February.

 

FNF: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

TY: Finishing the half.  It was my ultimate goal this year and I did it.  I almost was in tears, crossing that finish line, thinking it was like you see on television…but it also made me want to go further.

 

FNF: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

TY: I like that it breaks down the workouts so I don't have to think about it!  I like that it gives me the paces I need to go by, and that it allows me to adjust the schedule, and to build in all the races.  This week, I'm going to put in all my 2012 races so I can get my training schedule all set up for next year.

 

FNF: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

TY: When I'm running through the finish or see the finish, I always put Katy Perry singing Firework on my iphone, and I sing it.  I sing throughout the race, and I belt it out.

 

FNF: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

TY: My waterfront loop in Seattle, basically 4th to union, to the water, and back up.

 

FNF: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

Three half marathons and three full marathons.  New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll, Seattle and Portland Rock ‘n’ Rolls, the Heroes Half in Seattle,  the Kirkland Half, and the Victoria [BC, Canada] Half.  I want one of those shirts that say “Marathon Maniac!”

 



M_Allen_croppedMargaret Allen

Runner of the Month - December 2011

 

Originally born and raised in England, Margaret is a 62 year-old mom who started running at age 59.  She had been pretty healthy, but her sons, one of whom ran in college, encouraged her to start running.  Margaret has been a family practice Physician’s Assistant for 20 years, with a very busy practice working primarily with the homeless and the uninsured.  After meeting and marrying an American, the Allen family settled in Northern California, where she still resides.

 

Recently, Margaret enjoyed a breakthrough race at the BUPA Great South Run 10 Miler in Portsmouth, England.

FNF: How did you start running?

MA:  My mom suffered some debilitating arthritis and back problems.  As I was about to turn 60, I thought, “Wow, I should be doing some exercise.”  I don’t like ball games, because I can’t see well enough.  I don’t like team games, because I don’t much like winning and losing, and I don’t like swimming, because I grew up swimming in the sea, which I loved [and cannot do often]. My son got me going, and has really continued to encourage me.

FNF: Who is your running role model?

MA:   Well, Paula Radcliffe is actually a friend and stayed with us after having some surgery in the area.  I sometimes run at Rancho San Antonio [park In Mountain View, California]. But as for a real role model…I learned a lot from both of my kids, but Tom especially. I watched my kids grow up and be really athletic. Tom and his [running] friends would stay here and it was very inspiring.

 

FNF: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

MA:  Competing in the Great South Run was something I had always wanted to do, and I signed up for it a year ahead.  I figured I‘m not getting any younger, so if I’m going to do it, I better do it now!  It was the most exhilarating and fun experience I have ever had.  I had done a 10K a few weeks earlier and literally came in last.  I had felt so bad, so I was a bit scared of the Great South Run.

FNF: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

MA:  Kate has been terrific; she is great about answering my questions.  I like the training log, although sometime I cheat and put it in on the next day.  It does push me, and I can see the mileage I am supposed to accomplish, which is very helpful.  I credit FNF with helping me improve my speed and stamina.  It never occurred to me to switch it up, I would run the same old run every day.

 

FNF: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

MA: I do like to register before. I don’t like race day registration; I do like to figure out what I am going to wear.  The biggest challenge is figuring out what I am going to wear while waiting for the race to start.  I have a little cache of used sweatshirts… I really don’t approve of the plastic bag thing!

FNF: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

MA: I do like going up to Rancho San Antonio.  I do like running around Stanford campus.  It is really beautiful, parts of it, I run around Lake Lag.

FNF: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

MA:  if I can keep up this level of fitness, I’ll be very happy.  I’d like to aim for a half marathon in the next year or two.

 



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