Northern Louisiana is on the map this week with Runner of the Week, Amanda Daniel from West Monroe. This impressive 33 year old has been running for 20 years, as she started running the summer before 7th grade. Amanda says “I’m NOT a ball player. I’m the epitome of a girl when they say throws like a girl! I started running track and I ran short distance just because I thought that was the easiest distance to start out with. I quickly learned that I was not a sprinter! The Cross Country coach recruited me that year and that’s when I discovered that I loved running!”
Amanda doesn’t consider herself a serious runner as far as competition is concerned, she does consider herself a “real runner” with 20-30 miles per week in the fall and 12-20 miles a week in conjunction with power punch/kickboxing, boot camp, weight lifting and yoga during the hot season. We say she is a Run Louisiana girl through and through & she’s even studying to get her Personal Trainer and Wellness & Nutrition Consultant Certifications right now! Check out her answers to our running questions…
Favorite place to run? I love running on wooded/nature trails. My favorite place to run is on the bike trails in Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston. This course is a nationally known bike course and they have annual races here. The Park also hosts the Big Dog Ultra Trail Races every November where the distance races include 5 mile, 10 mile, 20 mile and a 30 mile. Part of the Forge Trail Series is here this year (Hell’s Hills 10K/half marathon)!
What shoes do you run in? Brooks are my favorite brand (and I’ve run in most of the known brands). My shoe of choice is the Brooks Glyercine series. I’ve been trying to go between the “traditional” running shoe and the minimalist shoe but I can’t seem to fight off the blisters!
Favorite & least favorite workout? Favorite workout is long and steady runs on hilly nature trails in cold temperatures, hands down. Least favorite is speed work. Remember, I said I was not a sprinter! But, speed work is something I need to incorporate into my workouts to improve.
What does the voice in your head say when you want to give up? I try to focus on a set time and mileage and I say to make it to the longer of the two! I often have to fight off the urge to stop, thinking “it won’t hurt to just walk 30 seconds to break up the run”! I jam to my iPod and that usually keeps me going!
Guilty pleasure? I love good quality dark chocolate. I recently discovered this 70% dark chocolate bar filled with salted caramel and encrusted with Hawaiian sea salt…it’s to “run long miles for”. I also can’t say no to a freshly made blackberry cobbler (blackberries we pick on our own property) topped with vanilla ice cream.
One piece of training gear you can’t live without? Like most of the other runners interviewed, I cannot live without my Garmin or my iPod! But, if I have to choose only one, it would be my iPod. I use music to keep me focused and moving. I don’t HAVE to know the exact distance or my pace per mile! I can tell about how much I’ve run based on the amount of music I’ve listened to.
Who or what do you look to for motivation? My motivation is keeping myself physically fit. I consider myself a “health and fitness nut” and not only do I love to run, running is a very good total body cardio workout.
Pet peeve of other runners or races? I honestly cannot stand it when runners (and even sometimes walkers or “woggers”) get up in the front at the start of races! They KNOW they aren’t going to be the fastest runners or have a chance to win! I win my age class often and I don’t start in the front! Another pet peeve is when other runners (slower) and walkers don’t share the trails. They usually hear you coming up on them (the horse galloping/tromping and heavy breathing quickly approaching them) or even look over their shoulder and see you coming yet they don’t think about stepping to the side to let you through. I’ve had to jump off of the trail into the briers and mud and rocks, or whatever, just to get around people.
Do you have a bad habit? Yes, of course. Don’t we all though? My biggest bad habit is not adequately stretching and warming up/cooling down before and after I run. I tend to do a couple of calf stretches and quad stretches and hit the pavement and do the same thing when I return. I also do not hydrate like I should. I’ll run 8 miles and only take maybe one sip of water halfway through and another sip when I finish! Later in the day I wonder why I’m so parched!
Favorite pre race/workout snack? I like protein/snack bars like Zone Perfect Bars, and my latest snack of choice are the Cookies and Cream Protein Bars from Nutrilite.
Favorite electrolyte replacement? I usually go for good ole’ Gatorade—my favorite flavors are Riptide Rush and Grape Frost.
Favorite post race/workout meal? I don’t really have a favorite meal to eat after I run. I just eat whatever is available because I’m usually starving! I do love a pizza after I run, and French fries!
In your opinion, what is your biggest achievement? I would like to say that one of my biggest achievements as a runner was my completing my first half-marathon in Memphis, TN in December 2011. I ran in honor of Jake Raborn on Team Jake for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. My goal was to finish in under 2:10 and I ran a 1:51:51!
Lifetime goal? I want to continue running and being in great physical shape for as long as my body will let me! I would like to run 2-4 half marathons a year (in addition to the various 5K’s, 10K’s and other mileage runs). I am only planning to run one full marathon and that’s just to say I’ve done one. There is nothing about running 26.2 miles that sounds good to me! I am set to run my first full marathon at the 20th Anniversary of the Disney Marathon on January 13, 2013 as part of the Run for Our Sons- Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy on “Steps for Seph” team. I run in honor and celebration of a local boy here in north Louisiana!
What’s your secret weapon? I feed off of family, friends or partner runners cheering for someone just ahead of me. I’ll do my best to “pick them off” and continue to my next victim