Hey everyone! Today is the first post in a new series called Rockstar Runners. Each month, I’ll highlight someone that has used running to significantly change their life.
victim guest? Denise Elliott, aka LottaLatte.
I had the opportunity to meet and run with the fabulous Denise earlier this year in Savannah, at FitBloggin. We hit it off immediately, but the moment I knew we’d be friends was near the end of a group run on the last day of the conference. True to her social media identity, she spotted a Starbucks and immediately started running towards it. I followed, no questions asked. Anyone that rehydrates with latte is OK in my book!
How/why did you start running?
I first started running in my late 20s when I was in the midst of losing 110 pounds. In the midst of my eventual divorce, I stopped running and regained all of that weight plus another 10 for good measure. Last year, about July, I gave running another try because I thought I “should” be running since I’d lost about 50 pounds by then and saw everyone else around me running, so I jumped right in. Turns out that deciding to run when you’re 28 and overweight is a very different thing than doing so when you’re 45, on the cusp of 46, and still 60 pounds overweight. Long story short, I fought through shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and IT band problems before finally deciding that I’d give running a miss for a while. After losing another 30 pounds, this January I started running again and while it’s still not entirely pain free, it’s not the bad kind of pain anymore (if you know what I mean).
What do you love about running – what keeps you coming back time after time?
I’m not sure that I really love running so much as I love the way I feel when I finish a run: powerful, strong, and graceful. Walking helps me relax and feel centered, which is great, too, but the post-run rush just can’t be beat!
How do you get yourself out the door on days when you’re just not ‘feeling it’?
I have a couple of tried and true methods of motivating myself when I’m not feeling it:
- I remind myself that I’m diabetic and that running helps my insulin to work better so my blood sugar stays stable, and
- I agree to go out and run just for 10 minutes then if I’m truly miserable I can turn around and walk home. (I’ve never actually tossed in the towel and walked, but I could and that’s the key to this little mind trick!)
Do you have an inspirational and/or funny running story (or stories!) to share with us?
I’m not sure if this is inspirational or funny, but I signed myself up for a sprint duathlon last year with less than 8 weeks to go before the event, not having been on a bike for 2 years and not able to run more than 5 minutes at a time. While I didn’t blow anyone else away with my performance on event day, I jog/walked the entire 1 & 2.5 mile running portions and pedaled my bike for the whole 12 mile riding portion (including a nasty hill). I was feeling really rough during the last mile or so – the race organizers had already pulled all of the support, including water stations, off of the course, thinking no one was still out there, and it was a very hot and humid day – and was wondering if I had it in me to finish, when I heard the sound of cow bells and my blog buddy, Susan Ito, cheering me on. You have to understand that Susan was dealing with a really serious, debilitating injury at the time and shouldn’t have been out of bed, much less in the middle of nowhere with her cow bells! I dug deep, kicked back into focused runner mode, and sprinted across the finish line.
How has running changed your life?
Running gives me more confidence and reminds me that I can persevere when things get tough.
What is your biggest challenge as a runner?
My hip adductors – the muscles that work together to open and close my thighs – are just not getting with the program! I stretch and stretch but my hips and inner thighs are nearly always painful when I run – not painful enough to stop me, but enough to make it just that bit tougher to get out and go in the morning.
What words of wisdom do you have for brand new runners?
Start slowly! Don’t go out and try to run a 5K right out of the gate – work up to it bit by bit. Also, standardized walk-to-run programs might not work for you because each of us is different, so don’t try to follow someone else at the expense of listening to your body. By the same token, don’t mistake mental roadblocks – “I don’t want to run” – for physical injuries or limitations! Pain is bad but discomfort might just be the way your body feels when it’s getting stronger, so you have to tune in very carefully.
What are your favorite inspirational blogs to follow?
I love Martinus and Alan because they remind me that I don’t have to have a small body to be an athlete, and I love Dacia because she’s got the right attitude about weight maintenance (and I’d like to emulate her one day when I get to goal).
What is your favorite running outfit?
My Pat Tillman race technical tee shirt and a running skirt!
What running gear do you think you can’t live without?
My running bras and Road ID. I’m not well endowed in the chest area so I want to make sure I don’t abuse/lose what I do have there. As a Type II diabetic, it’s important that I carry my medical information with me, especially because I’m usually alone, and this little bracelet allows any first responders who might need it to access my full medical history; very cool!
What are your top 3 songs to listen to when you run?
I never listen to anything when I run – perhaps I should?
Treadmill or outdoors?
Outdoors – running on a treadmill is miserable.
Anything else we need to know?
I don’t write on my blog much anymore because I’m busy living the rest of my life, so subscribing to posts through Bloglovin’ or Feedly, or following me on one of the social media outposts listed below, is the best way to connect with me.
How can we find/follow you on social media?
Thanks so much Denise for sharing your story!
Until next time, run fabulous everyone!