This month I’m excited to feature Lauren Verderame as the very first She’s Not Your Average Runner profile! Lauren is not only a NYAR community member, but she is also the welcome committee for everyone that joins our little Facebook tribe. Thanks Lauren for all you do to help our new members feel welcome!
Please tell us a little about yourself!
I am a 31 year old divorced workaholic, who is a runner always looking for a challenge, as well as a student. I’m studying for a degree in Funeral Services education. I was in an abusive relationship and so depressed that I contemplated suicide. The thing that ended the marriage was that I finally started fighting for myself and my (now) ex hated that; he wanted to be in control.
I moved back to the Philadelphia area and was depressed, shattered my left wrist needing surgery and then contemplating what I was doing with my life. My ex and I fought over the phone for months about me wanting a divorce to get him out of my life and him not wanting a divorce. I started to walk and hike then jog. I felt better as being in nature helped me clear my head and one day I finally sent him a message saying that I never wanted to see him again and I needed to move on, so I would file for divorce if he didn’t. He filed for divorce soon after.
How/why did you start running?
I started running back in middle school when the craziness of my life began with school, sports and working (yes I had working papers permitting me to get a job when I was in 8th grade). With sports, family life and trying to keep grades up as well as work, I was stressed and running became a release for me. However, when I met my ex, I lost the runner in me, I gained a ton of weight and was no longer the person I had been. I lost not only the runner in me but a lot of who I was due to him. After the divorce and all, my brother signed me up for a 5K to do with him and I was not prepared. I was so mad at my brother for this but I completed my very first 5K with him and was in love with running again. It was a challenge, this 5K had obstacles and it was hot but I made it through!
What do you love about running – what keeps you coming back time after time?
The main thing that keeps me coming back to running is that it’s time for myself to clear my head and is an awesome stress reliever and workout. I love challenging myself with runs such as the Warrior Dash. This weekend (October 10th) I will complete the Badass Dash and on Halloween, I will complete my first half marathon. Next year, I will do more half marathons as well as completing the Hot Chocolate 15K and the Battlefrog 8K.
How do you get yourself out the door on days when you’re just not ‘feeling it’?
On days when I don’t feel like getting out there to run, I may go out for a walk and sometimes I’ll do intervals. Other times, I’ll do another workout like strength training or even running up and down the stairs. It may sound crazy but at least it’s something. If I don’t do anything, I feel guilty at the end of the day for not using any time to workout.
Do you have an inspirational and/or funny running story (or stories!) to share with us?
A funny running story had to be my first 5K — The ROC 5K, now known as the Wipeout 5K. It was a very hot day in June. My brother being a bum and not thinking decided our start time would be 2pm so we didn’t need to get up early. None of us were prepared for what we were getting into. My brother’s girlfriend and I wore very similar outfits of mismatched socks, sneakers, spandex shorts and a shirt with a cowboy cat riding a dolphin through clouds with a rainbow in the background. The DJ at the run was walking around to find funny outfits and stopped when he saw my shirt. He stared for a few minutes and said that it was definitely one of the weirdest shirts that he had seen and he really had no words. The first obstacle was a moon bounce with different heights in places and it wasn’t inflated well. My brother and I were feet from each other and he bounced, I flipped. He grabbed my hand and pulled me off of the moon bounce laughing and asking if I was ok. I was fine and laughing. We moved on, we had fun. The water ended up being very warm so we all, there was 4 of us, took a sip then threw it at each other. Somehow, there were no pictures of us taken by the photographers at the race that day. I blame my brother since every run I’ve done with him and his girlfriend pictures are non-existent. However, any run I’ve done with other friends, there are always some sort of pictures from the race.
How has running changed your life?
Running has made me less stressed, less anxious, happier and brought more friends into my life than before. I have to say that the support in some running groups on Facebook has been phenomenal!
What words of wisdom do you have for brand new runners?
For any new and/or struggling runners, I would say Don’t give up, do what makes you happy. You’re going to have good and bad days but even on a bad day, you should be happy that you got up and did something instead of just sitting on the couch.
What is your favorite season to run?
I love to run in the fall. There’s something about the cooler temperatures, the changing color of the leaves that’s absolutely breathtaking. I live in an area with a lot of hills and love the scenery when I run in the fall.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
One of my favorite inspirational quotes is “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” I love this quote because as a curvy runner, there are times when I look at the course for the race I’m doing and I think I can’t do this because it’s impossible. What I fail to realize is that nothing is impossible because if determined, I can do it & I will feel awesome for doing so.
Have you ever been injured running, and how did you recover?
With regards to injury, I recently suffered a bad strain to my quad in my right leg. It took a very long time to heal, longer than originally anticipated but it’s healed now and on days when I’m concerned, I will use KT tape to help it. In order to heal, I had to rest which meant no running and that was ridiculously difficult. For someone who has ADHD, rest is really tough to do. I also used ice in the beginning and then started to add a foam roller. Now, I will stretch and take it easy so that I do not reinjure myself as I have some tough runs coming up!
What running gear do you think you can’t live without?
The running gear that I can’t live without is simple. Sneakers that fit properly is a given. I know everyone has different opinions but I do like Gu. I also love the Honey Stinger waffles that they have. Glide to prevent chaffing, Bondiband headbands to keep my hair out of my face and I just got a hydration pack to use for longer runs. I do have to admit, since being diagnosed with exercise induced asthma, I have to say my inhaler to use to help me breathe better and lastly, I have to be extremely grateful for the friends who do these runs with me…without them along for the run, I’m not sure I’d complete the runs on my own, especially the longer distances. I do use my phone and headphones on runs around where I live.
What’s your favorite race distance?
So far, I haven’t run more than a 5K but on October 10th that will change. I will run my first 7K and in just a few weeks, I will run my first ever 10K followed a few days later by my first ever half marathon. I do however have a goal to complete a run in every state within the USA and a few international runs in my life.
What was your favorite race?
So far, I can say that the Warrior Dash was probably one of my favorite runs but again, I do have a bunch of crazy runs in my future so I’m not certain which I will end up absolutely loving. I mean, I’m doing the Marine Corps Marathon 10K (yes, it’s a newer distance) and I will be doing the Rock and Roll Philly half marathon on Halloween.
What are your top 3 songs to listen to when you run?
My top 3 songs to run to are Rachel Platten’s Fight Song as this is overall just an empowering song. I can also relate to the lyrics. The day of the Warrior Dash, in the car with Nancy Malsbary, we heard this song about 4 times and I laughed. It was awesome! Eminem’s Rabbit Run because his anger fuels my runs to go longer especially if I’m in a bad mood. Lastly, and it may seem like an odd choice but Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s Can’t Hold Us because it reminds me that the only one holding me back is myself, no one else!
Treadmill or outdoors?
The dreaded debate of treadmill versus outdoors is simple for me. I’d rather be outside in the fresh air with a change of scenery along the route than stuck inside on the treadmill feeling like I’m not running enough.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
Facebook:Lauren J Verderame
Thanks Lauren for sharing your story! And I’m happy to report that Lauren finished her first-ever half marathon on October 31st. Congratulations!
If you’d like to read about other ‘She’s Not Your Average Runner’ profiles, click HERE.