This month we interview Meredith Rennie, a Sonoma County native who graduated from Casa Grande High School, attended Sonoma State, and now calls Windsor home.
How did you get into running? What was the initial appeal and what keeps you interested?
Meredith: I started getting into running as an adult doing charity run/walks. The Avon Walk for breast cancer was my first big event. 39.3 miles in two days. Then MS Walk, Heart Walk, Autism Speaks etc. etc. Then I tried running an actual race. My first timed 5k I ever did was in May 2010, Windsor Green Half-10K-5K. I had not recently even run more than a mile and I thought I’d give it a try. I wasn’t even sure I could finish. I ran the route the week before solo… run/walked it in 40 mins. My goal was to finish in 30 mins. I got 30:51, close but didn’t get it, but excited for finishing my first race. Then it was a challenge for me to beat my time… I got under 30 mins a few months later. PR is now 24:56 (2015 Windsor Green Half-10K-5K) and I am working on getting under 24 mins.
The appeal to me is the challenge for self-improvement. I do look to see what times I need to hit the podium, but for me it’s about beating my time from the last race or the same race from the year before. I set a personal goal for every race and try pretty darn hard to get it!
I see you have signed up for Run the Year 2016 – http://runtheyear2016.com – Tell us what that is all about.
Meredith: Run the Year 2016 is an international virtual run group, with a goal of run/walking 2,106 miles in 2016. This is my second year, I joined as a team in the 2,015 challenge with family members. This time I am going solo. I find it to be a very inspiring group of people, it’s really all about getting out there. Great support and really fun!
Assuming you started on your journey to run 2,016 miles on January 1st you will have to average over 38 miles a week all year. While not a huge number for most serious runners it is not insignificant by any means, and leaves little margin for injury or other unforeseen disruptions. How are you planning to approach hitting your goal? What is your contingency plan in case of injury?
Meredith: All I can do is my best every day. I have a desk job, so just staying consistent with low miles in winter is my goal until I ramp up in the spring and summer months. I have hit injuries from time to time, and I will tackle them as they come. I have a number of cheerleaders following me and encouraging me and that really helps a lot.
After following you on Facebook for a few weeks I can see that you are a savvy user of social media and applications. Just this morning I saw a Map My Run post from you that included a goal time and your chip time (you beat your goal!) – I assume these tools help with your motivation and training. Tell us how.
Meredith: I’m an accountant… so the data is appealing. I track everything! I use mapmyrun, myfitnesspal and my Fitbit to track my daily activities. I also use the 2,016 challenge run tracker to log my miles for the challenge. Runs To Go is another app that tracks a countdown to my goal. It is fun to watch it get closer.
Sonoma County has a nice network of running specialty stores now ranging from Athletic Soles in Petaluma to Fleet Feet Sports and Heart and Sole in Santa Rosa and now the Healdsburg Running Company serving the north county. Tell our readers what kind of support and weekly runs are available from the Healdsburg Running Company.
Meredith: I really love being a part of the running community throughout Sonoma County. Healdsburg Running Company is just one of the many groups I enjoy. HRC hosts regular group runs, often times it includes some sort of education piece… whether I am trying out a new show on a demo run, learning yoga stretches for runners or even how to select the best sports bra, it is always a great time with great people! Like HRC and ERC I love the regular activities to get out there. We even started a run group at my office (Moss Adams) twice a week. I especially like that it is something I can do with my kids and share with other youth. I’ve been a GOTR (Girls on the Run) running buddy several times, inspiring young girls through their first 5k. Last spring I got to chair my son’s school 3k color run Spartan Stampede, inspiring the whole school to get moving! The local running community inspires me every day!
What is your favorite hard work out?
Meredith: I like to double up my workouts to really turn on the burn. 5k or 10k followed by a soccer game. Running and soccer are quite complimentary. The regular runs help with my endurance on the field. On the field I am constantly moving, sprinting hard, jogging it out… excellent interval training and helps with improving speed on my runs.
What is your favorite easy run?
Meredith: I LOVE our community parks, anything through Foothills, Shiloh, Riverside or Annadel is awesome! I feel so lucky to have such a great park system close by!
You seem like such a positive person. Given all of the negativity in both the traditional and web-based media, where do you continue to find good things to share? Does your running factor into this positive outlook? If so, how?
Meredith: I really do surround myself with awesome people. A positive attitude is quite infectious. Some of my dearest friends I have met through running and for that I am quite grateful.
At some point runners and all athletes of every level must deal with setbacks and disappointments. Tell us about a time when you were not able to achieve some running goal for whatever reason and how you dealt with it from both a short-term and long-term perspective.
Meredith: I have had two torn ACL’s reconstructed. I’ve broken toes, sprained ankles etc etc… I am not as fast as I used to be, but I feel very fortunate to still be able to get out there. I have friends with MS and severe asthma who can’t run at all. If you ask me why I run, it’s simply because I CAN. Whether I meet my goals or not, I am going to keep on running!
Is there some question you wish we had asked you here that you would like to answer? Or something you would like to share with the rest of the Empire Runners, the greater running community or people in general?
Meredith: I like to mix in a few other things with my running. In 2011, while volunteering for the Vineman Triathlon, another athlete asked me why I wasn’t out there competing. I was embarrassed to admit I didn’t know how to swim. They had suggested I try out a sprint triathlon. I went home and signed up for one! I had just about 6 weeks to learn how to swim ½ mile. I did it! The message of course, is it is not too late to try something new. You can start from zero miles, and with a little determination and a lot of effort you can really accomplish anything!