Wednesday, January 16, 2013

BLOG INTERVIEW: Jill Whitaker, Jill Will Run

I am happy to introduce you to Jill Whittaker, owner of widely Jill Will Run blog.  Not only is she a running advocate, Running Coach, is a great personal friend.



1. When did you start running and why?
I started running "for real" in 2008. I had repeatedly tried to start running for years, since 1999, but it was always because I thought "I should do this to appear healthy." It wasn't a decision for myself though. Then my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. We discussed how we wanted to do "something big" when she had beat it. That "something big" became completing a marathon. And that accomplishment changed my life forever.

2. What is your favorite race distance?
I think my favorite distance is the half marathon. Long enough to feel like I've put forth a really good effort, but the training and time it takes isn't too overwhelming with everyday life right now. In my heart I want my favorite distance to be the marathon though!

3. When did you start your blog and why?
I first started blogging in 2001 after reading something in a tech journal at work. But I started my running blog in 2008. It began when I decided to run my second marathon with Team In Training and thought it would be fun for friends/family to read about my training and fundraising. However, I found that they weren't that interested in running and I connected with a bunch of other runners around the world instead!

4. You have been very open about your previous eating disorder - how has that affected your life, overall?
It's a total game changer. I have to be very careful and cognizant of my thoughts and how I approach food. I have to make sure that I am nourishing myself, and I don't just mean with food. I have to take care of my mental and emotional health too, or else the ED tendencies tend to re-surface. It's also made me very aware of how the world approaches food. People are always placing moral values on foods and themselves for eating or not eating something. As a coach it used to really bother me when people's ONLY reason for training was "skinny jeans, skinny jeans, skinny jeans". There is so much more to health that just a size and yet we've all been tricked into believing that number on our scale and pants is the be-all-end-all that defines us.

5. You recently became a new mom. How are you managing your dedication to fitness and new motherhood?
Wow... that's been tough. I feel like I get really gung-ho and have a good streak for a few days and then BAM!, life gets thrown for a loop. She's just 5-months-old now, every week it seems like new patterns are emerging and we never have a consistent schedule. I just have to be flexible, which is hard. I used to be very staunchly a morning runner, but that doesn't necessarily work out now!

6. What trends do you see coming in running? What appeals to you and what doesn't?
Shoes are crazy lately. They're super bright, they're super minimal, they're super maximal. It definitely feels like the shoe market is exploding the past year or so, far more than when I first started and we all just blindly assumed that whatever the running store recommends is the answer. Don't get me wrong, I respect specialty running store employees and I think every new runner should go get fit at a store and listen to the advice. But we also need to listen to ourselves and if a shoe doesn't feel right, it's probably not right. I have moved toward more minimal shoes myself, so the super maximal shoes don't appeal to me... but then again, I've never tried them either! I have friends who swear by them!

7. Your goals for 2013?
For the most part, it's to build my base back up so I could run a half marathon distance at any given time like I could do before pregnancy. I am trying to not be too ambitious and sign up for too many races, simply because of the unpredictability in my life schedules since having a baby!

Jill and I at the Finish to her return to racing, postpartum - Dec 2012


8. Anything your followers don't know about you, that you want them to know?
I hate cooked peas. As much of a veggie fan as I am, I REALLY REALLY do not like cooked peas!

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(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-12
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Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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*San Francisco Marathon Ambassador 2012-13
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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