Runner of the Month
Shelby Walker-Adams: July 2019
How did you get started in running?
I was totally tricked into running. My friend Yolanda asked me to come run with her on the trails at Mine Falls so she wouldn’t be by herself. I didn’t want my friend to be alone on the trails. So I explained that I didn’t run, but I would come and walk while she ran. She responded “oh that’s ok! Just walk and I’ll run back and forth.” Of course, I got embarrassed with her constantly having to come back for me. So I started walk-run-walking with her. Well one day, she asked if her sister in law could start running on Fridays with us. Of course. One problem. Her sister in law had the best stories. And juicy gossip. And she could run for miles while talking. So the three of us would start out together and Francis would start telling cool stories about this person or that person. And if I stopped to walk, the two of them would keep running and then turn around and come back. The problem? I would have missed half the story. So I started pushing even longer and harder. One day, I was running with them and Francis suddenly stopped. “Shelly! You’ve just ran a mile without stopping!” That’s when I realized, I can actually do this.
How did you first hear about GCS / Why do you run the Mine Falls Trail Series every year?
After taking the winter off, The following summer, Yolanda and I were back at it. I don’t remember if it was our first week back. Or the second. But very casually, Yolanda said, “hey! So on Monday nights they have these races here and you can run a 5K for $5. I really want to do it. But I don’t want to do it alone.” Yolanda was very good at tricking me with this alone thing.
In the back of my mind, I was nervous. But I wanted to support my friend. So I said yes & we showed up at the race.
The first person I met was Mike Wade. He grinned this huge grin and said “So! Is this your first race?” I was a little embarrassed. Fear was all over my face. But when I looked around, I saw all these people with long skinny legs and thin little bodies. All the people I wanted to be like. I was in awe. I did not think I was good enough to race. My thighs were not thin. My body was ... chunky. How would I do this? Why did I let Yolanda talk me into this?!!
I started out too fast. And so I started walking about a half mile in. But everyone who saw me told me to keep going. Even crazy Kevin at the water stop! So I ran/walk/ran and finished my first 5K in 38 minutes. When I got to the finish line, I was in SHOCK to see Mike there to high five me. The race director??!! He remembered my name!??? And why were all these people cheering when I hadn’t even run the whole thing? And why were they telling me I’ve done a good job?
As I turned in my popsicle stick, one of the volunteers said, “are you a GCS member?” I had to ask her to repeat it because I didn’t know what she meant. But she wrote down the website and handed me the info. “You should join.” She said. “38 minutes is a really good first race.” I turned to leave and Mike said, “See you next week, Shelby.” Maybe it was because the races were smaller then and Mike was trying to grow it. Or maybe I just had a look that said I was competitive. But yes. I was going to come back. And I was going to beat 38 minutes: I went home and looked up GCS. That’s when I realized it was a running group. And it was those people with the thin long legs. And their director had told me “see you next week.”
I thought to myself, “maybe I’ll never be as fast as them. But I was invited back. So I’ll just go until I beat 30 minutes. Then I’ll stop.” Back then, I thought the races were the running group. So I was trying to “earn” my way in. I didn’t realize that running was an attitude. Not a speed. I wanted to belong. So I kept practicing running so I would fit in. Eventually I started picking up on the habits of fellow runners. Encouraging others. Joining running meet ups. Running in any kind of weather. Last year, when Richie asked me to officially join GCS, I finally felt “worthy” of officially being in the group. Hey, it only took 11 years and 100+ races.
Editor's Note: We wish it hadn't taken you so long to join! We are all about the positive attitude, supporting other runners, and being involved in the community. Every runner counts!
Editor's Shameless Plug! Not a member? Check out the GCS Member Benefits page, learn more about the club, and join!
What's your running goal this year?
To develop a faster MINDSET. Last year, Spinks and Buck helped me run my fastest 5 miler ever. So I started believing in myself. Now Smigs and Shapiro want me to run my fastest 5K. I want to run it in 25 minutes. Even if I don’t reach that time this summer series, I know I’ll get faster. But I just need to believe.
What do you do for cross training?
With my job as a Beachbody fitness coach, I cross train using weight training and HIIT programs like LIIFT4. I’m also an avid proponent of flexibility programs like PiYo or Yoga for Runners. Then I will do running about 3 days a week. Speed training, tempo runs, and hill training. On weeks when my anemia is under control, I will add on a 4th and do the long run. I’m also very careful about eating well. Nutritious Eating is a running fanatics best cross training program.
How many pairs of running shoes do you currently own?
One. Hey. I’m a minimalist. But I have two sets of insets. Does that count?
Have you ever been Furler'd?
No. But I’ve been “Von Pichl’d.”
Furler is that “Daddy Long Legs” guy right? The one who’s like 6 foot 100? Yeah. I don’t run with people who’s legs are above my chest. It’s not good for them. They might trip over my short shrimpy body and go down.
Have you ever been Yuki'd?
Yeah. Once. It was really cool though. This unicorn came along and threw fairy dust in my face and it powered me thru 3 more miles of my half marathon.
What do you eat pre-race?
So I cannot eat before a race. The excitement is too much. Even the Monday night races. Instead, I drink my “Runner’s Crack” as I affectionately call it. It’s really called Energize and the stuff works! My fingers tingle. But I can run faster and farther. The day of the race, I don’t eat sugar or anything heavy.
What's your favorite post race food?
I will LEGIT run faster if I’m promised Hayward’s ice cream afterwards. Oh. And Petschek needs to stop talking about Denny’s and take us all out for pickles and donuts. I’m not into donuts. But I will eat everyone’s pickles and they can have my donuts.
Peanut butter? Crunchy or creamy?
Both. As long as its REAL peanut butter. Where all my Teddie fans at?!
What is your funniest running story?
Oh my gosh. Ok. So this is a little embarrassing. But I will confess. So one of my friends told me about this 5K in his town. (Not telling you the town) It bragged to be super hilly and super hard and so of course I really wanted to do it, but I didn’t have any money. So I ghosted the race. And when I say ghosted. I mean I got into the crowd at the starting line and as the runners passed by... I slipped right in. Welllll, my plan had been that I would just break off before the finish line. But as I always do, I got to talking with fellow racers. And this race was KICKING. MY. BUTT. But the runner I was talking to... had run a marathon the day before. Like, how was I NOT going to keep up with a guy who had run 26.2 miles the day before? And so my pride got to me and I kept up with him the whole race. So literally we get to mile 3 and the guy looks at me and says “Are you going to let me beat you?!!! GOOOO!” And I see the finish line and take off. Like... take OFFF. And people are cheering and waving cow bells and all excited.
Well as I cross the finish line, I look up and see that I’ve set a PR. Legit run the fastest 5K I had ever run. And guess what? I couldn’t prove it. Cuz I wasn’t signed up. To make matters worse, I apparently had gotten the crowd all hyped up. And the next day, my fist pumping finish ... was on the front page of the newspaper. The caption asked if anyone knew who I was to please give my name so they could give me credit. My friend was laughing hysterically as he showed it to me. I, however, was mortified.
Needless to say, I have paid for every race since.
Why do you run?
- Because I can. No really. Because I CAN. I’ve passed people in wheelchairs along a race course. And that was it. That was the defining moment. One day I could be in a wheelchair. So run now.
- Because Shapiro the Hero, Dianne Smigs, and Spinks MaJinks text me like every day and ask. Ha haaaa! Ok, Guys. I’ll be there. At 6... ish.
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