Runner of the Month

Liz Kelly - March 2021

Thank you Liz for being one of our COVID new members and letting us spotlight you this month! Please enjoy the benefits offered by Peak Recovery and Health Center!

Crossing the finish line after my virtual half marathon - longest run of my life (so far!)
Crossing the finish line after my virtual half marathon - longest run of my life (so far!)
Why do you run?  (e.g. health, fitness, mental/stress relief, competition, etc)
I run for many reasons: physical health, mental health and stress relief, social time with friends (attempting to coordinate chatting with breathing)

What made you decide to start running?
Honestly all through high school and college sports I had always convinced myself I despised running. Maybe it’s because we were forced to run for practices (and when we dropped pop flies…and when we made a base running error…and when we used the word can’t…the list could go on). In mid 2019 a good friend of mine from work decided she wanted to train for running a 5k. She chose the Smuttynose Rockfest (SO FUN) and a bunch of us decided to run it together. I dreaded this choice. But alas, I started running outside after work and completely fell in love with it. Each running milestone I have reached has made me want to do more. I haven’t looked back since.

What is your next race?
I am currently only signed up for one race because, you know, Covid. But it is the Hollis Fast 5k just because it sounds like so much fun. Maybe I’ll even get a PR! I plan to sign up for the Smuttynose Rockfest half if it happens.

Do you follow any runners on social media?
Courtney Dauwalker and Suzi Swinehart

A very tired smile with my awesome two running buddies (Taylor and Tara) who supported me during my half
A very tired smile with my awesome two running buddies (Taylor and Tara) who supported me during my half
You are fairly new to the Gate City Striders, having joined during COVID. What club activities are you looking forward to?
I am excited for group track workouts because I want to increase my pace! And I’ll complete that Gate City Half at some point. I also want to volunteer at some events in the future.

What are your 2021 goals?
To run a half marathon in less than 2.5 hours.
To become a joggler and perform a 5k – I juggle, I run, why not put them together?

What has been your favorite race so far?
I absolutely loved the Smuttynose Rockfest 5k in Oct 2019. A couple friends and I slept overnight in my cousin’s beach cabin that hasn’t been maintained since before I was born. Needless to say it was colder inside the house than outside. I was so happy I thought to sleep with my running stuff inside my sleeping bag. We had such an outstanding group running that race. I think the chowdah, lobstah roll and beer after the race helped make it one of my favorites too. It was a blast!

My first run in double digit mileage! (April 2020)
My first run in double digit mileage! (April 2020)

Did you do any virtual races over the past year?
When I finally accepted the fact that I enjoyed running (weird, I know right?) I made a goal to run a half marathon. I decided on the Gate City Half in May 2020. Well, we all remember that Covid happened and pretty much cancelled all races. I backed off on my mileage but really just had that desire to push myself to run a half. So in November 2020 I virtually ran the Manchester City half. I ran all through Hollis on a course I created with some of the best people in the world cheering me on along the way. It was an absolutely incredible experience.

Outside of running, do you crosstrain and how?
To crosstrain I often bike and strength train, specifically TRX. I also almost always do a hip specific yoga routine after a run.

What other hobbies do you have besides running?
I’m wicked big into skiing – hands down my favorite winter activity. I love outdoor adventures like hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking and downhill mountain biking. In my down time you can find me reading anything I can get my hands on.

Do you listen to music while you run? If so, any favorite songs/artists?
For a while I was listening to murder mystery audiobooks while running on the tree shrouded Hollis backroads and trails. Not the best choice to do while running alone since I started fearing I’d be featured in the murder mysteries next. So I swapped to music primarily electronic and some upbeat punk rock.

After running the Team Make Your Mark Virtual 6 miler to support the fight to end lupus! Sporting our lupus warrior buffs.
After running the Team Make Your Mark Virtual 6 miler to support the fight to end lupus! Sporting our lupus warrior buffs.

What has kept you motivated during the past year of COVID?
Right before Covid hit hard I got diagnosed with lupus. The diagnosis continues to push me to run longer and faster. I am motivated to run because I can and I dedicate every run to those who can’t. I’ve learned to be grateful for what I can do because it always has the potential to be taken away. My favorite quote that motivates me is “she believed she could, so she did.”

Favorite junk food? Seriously, the kind you don't like to admit you eat?
Popcorn is my all time favorite snack food. And brownies. I mean if they are gluten free then they are calorie free as well right?

What is your most useful running accessory? Music player? Article of clothing? Etc?
I am so happy I invested in a Garmin Forerunner 235 obviously in teal. (it’s my favorite color)

My work crew with our post run beers after the Smuttynose Rockfest 5k
My work crew with our post run beers after the Smuttynose Rockfest 5k