How long have you been running? 13 years (since 9th grade). I ran occasionally in small road races when I was little, but I did not like it until I realized I was good at it in 9th grade.
Do you recall when you first knew you loved the sport? 9th grade, entering high school, my mindset switched from the negative association I had with running from other sports and being out of shape. After that season of cross-country, I realized I had a gift for running. I began to like it in part because I was competitive at it and also because I had gotten in shape and running was not as miserable as it had previously been.
What race did you qualify for the trials at? Silo District Marathon 2019, Waco TX
How many marathons have you run? 3
Is this your first marathon trial experience? Yes
What was your high school and/or college top accomplishments? In college I worked my way up from being a walk-on in undergrad to getting recruited for my 5th year and winning the NCAA XC national title as a team at New Mexico as a graduate student. This NCAA title was my top accomplishment.
Do you have a favorite race experience? Favorite distance? The first time I broke 17 minutes in the 5k, I was a junior in college and hadn't even improved on my high school times because of so many injuries. In that race I ran an 80 second personal best and broke 18 and 17 minutes for the first time in one big jump. It was the first time in years I felt fit and healthy, and it was such a dramatic shift from early college competing, This was one of my favorite race experiences because it came as such a pleasant surprise. My favorite distance is the half or full marathon but probably the full. I am figuring out both of them but I know these are where my strengths lie.
What's your nutrition of choice while racing? Generation UCAN superstarch, Lemonade
What's your favorite shoe? Right now, I wear the Saucony Ride for training and the Nike Next % for racing. That said, I tend to try different shoes often so I'd say I don't really have a favorite :)
Do you have a pre race ritual or superstition? I try to keep a similar routine of breakfast, lighthearted comedy TV and rope stretching. I don't really have any rituals.
Post race, what's your must have meal? That always changes but I love a big brunch after a morning race and burger or sushi after an evening race.
Married? Children? Furry friends? Married, no children, no pets. But we do a lot of dog-sitting so we get some furry friend time.
Who is your running icon? I look up to lots of runners but I don't think I have one person I hold that high. I am trying to be that person for myself, confident in my ability and confident in my training/racing. I don't have all the answers so I am constantly learning from other runners.
Favorite mantra or motivational quote? 1 John 4:18 - "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." < This verse reminds me how loved I am and I have nothing to prove and nothing to be afraid of. It helps me through doubt and fear of failure when a race or workout gets tough.
When you aren't training, how do you like to spend your time? I love spending time with my family, baking, cooking and trying out new recipes, also playing my violin. My favorite way to spend time in the off-season is just a casual day out with my mom and sister in Asheville, NC.
Any fun fact you would like to share? My husband has coached me for the last year and I've improved quite a bit! So I guess he is doing a good job :)
Social media handles: whitneythornburg on Instagram