An unexplained heart attack at the age of 28 motivated this week’s Women’s Running magazine Blogger On The Run to lace up her shoes to start running! Meet Elizabeth from Running And The City - she’s an NYC girl running all over the city and inspiring her readers along the way. Read Elizabeth’s story and find out why she believes running happy is the key to success!
Women’s Running: How would you describe yourself?
Elizabeth: Central Park Runner born in Argentina and in love with NYC. Also a certified biomechanics coach, a USA Track and Field coach, a race organizer, RunningAndTheCity blogger and a non-profit organizations fan!
WR: How did you begin running?
E: In 2004, for no real reason, I was hospitalized for a heart attack. My heart was functioning at 20% and I got really scared; I was 28 and I didn’t want to be a heart patient for the rest of my life. Instead of the laundry list of pills and surgeries my cardiologist ordered me, I decided to take up running. I thought that if I could run, I would be ok. Really, I could barely walk without palpitations in the beginning. And I had never ever been into sports before then: I thought sweating was disgusting! Eventually, little by little, I started feeling stronger and the running bug caught me!
WR: What keeps you running and training?
E: As hard as it was to get started and get into it, I could not imagine my life without running now. I don’t even need any motivation, it’s a part of who I am. I am a Runner and it really has changed my life. But I do like to have a race scheduled sometime in the future to keep my Running organized and in check, mostly on cold, dark mornings!
WR: What type of run is your favorite?
E: I like combo runs the most! I love hardish-longish runs, like a 14 mile progression run, or a 10 miler at marathon pace, or a 10k at half marathon pace. I like combining efforts, so not just long and slow or fast and short, and also always practicing pacing, which is super important. I also love hill sprinting. It’s hard but always an amazing workout that is over fast! Whatever run, I always prefer a soft trail to hard cold pavement.
WR: What’s your favorite race memory?
E: Finishing my first race. It was the 2006 New York City Half Marathon, the first year they held it, and it poured on us from mile 7 onto the finish. Given I had only had one run of 6 miles once before, I wasn’t even sure I could finish it. And coming from a heart attack two years prior, my #1 goal was to not die. Once I reached mile 11, slowly of course, I started crying. I cried nonstop for the last two miles. I had never felt so empowered and more like I could do anything. As soon as I finished I wanted to sign up for my next race, even if I couldn’t walk straight for a week! And then in 2008, when I finished the New York City Marathon… I felt like a brand new person. I carried that medal with me everywhere in a back pocket for weeks!
WR: What do you hope readers will take away from reading your blog?
E: The main thing I always want everyone to know is that anyone can do this. All the stuff we all worry about when we start, doesn’t really matter… Running is an amazing equalizer. I started running when I should have been sitting and taking pills and definitely not exerting myself. There is no excuse to not run. Not only it will make you healthier, but it WILL make you happier. And also, your whole life will definitely change, for 100X better, and you will get to eat a lot more!! Basically: anyone can do it, speed doesn’t matter, size doesn’t matter, outfits don’t matter, and you’ll be happy. It’s such simple math…!
WR: How do you reward yourself for accomplishing your training/running goals?
E: Racing is hard for me, because I don’t have a competitive personality. But I do like seeing my times go down because of my efforts, so I used to promise myself some particular purse or jewelry or something if I PRed. I don’t do that anymore, I have enough stuff. Now just want to overeat after a race. So, more delicious food.
WR: If you could run with any celebrity, who would you choose and why?
E: Pre! Steve Prefontaine was just so hardcore, I’ll be forever obsessed with him. He never saved anything for later, he was all out, all the time. I don’t have that competitive mentality, and could never be like that, but I find it completely fascinating when people want something that much.
WR: Best running advice you’ve received or given?
E: Run Happy. I really believe being happy is a choice, and when you are happy, your runs are just a ton better. Not having to perform all the time, or putting any pressure on myself lets me run and race better. Just relax and enjoy, then you can feel yourself running on another level.
Want to read more? Head over to Running And The City!
Elizabeth would love to run with Steve Prefontaine. Who would you run with if you could choose anyone?
We love our Women’s Running magazine Blogger On The Run so much that we want to inspire you to check her out! Simply leave a comment below telling us what you think about Elizabeth’s story and you’ll be entered to win a one-year subscription to Women’s Running magazine.
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