Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Runner Spotlight

Susan running the Rockstar 8k in 2013. “We were told to ‘be a rockstar if we saw a photographer,’ so I rocked out with a little air guitar"
Susan running the Rockstar 8k in 2013. “We were told to ‘be a rockstar if we saw a photographer,’ so I rocked out with a little air guitar”

Susan Kolbay and I have been twitter friends for about a year and we finally met in-person this summer at the Perfect 10 race in Reston, Virginia. She blogs about her running adventures at “Socks and Skirts” – crazy socks and silly skirts keep her running! I am really looking forward to training with Susan when the Potomac River Running Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run training program kicks off on January 31st.

When did you begin running and why? I’ve run off and on since I was a kid.  When I was much younger it was just a mile at a time. In college and shortly after I ran a little bit, but nothing consistent. In 2009/2010 I started running more consistently and made a goal to get up to 3 miles. I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted a way to stay in shape. I liked the fact that I could start from my front door.
What is your proudest running moment? My proudest moment was completing my first half marathon. After I started running consistently I was challenged by a friend to complete a half marathon. A group of us met in Knoxville, TN for the race (many of them had gone to school there). I ran every single step of the race and while it was slow I was so proud to cross the finish line. That was my first time running that far!
Why did you sign up for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Training Program with Potomac River Running? I signed up for the training program because I would like to gain some speed and see some new PRs (personal records). Also, I would like to run with other people. The past couple of winters I have trained for the Reston 10-Miler by myself and it gets cold and lonely sometimes. I’m hoping the coaches and the other runners will motivate me to be my best and run as fast as I can.
Have you run the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run before? No, this will be my first time!
What is your “why” for running the 2015 the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run? I want to try out all of the “big” DC races. It looks like a great course and it’s fun to be part of something so big and support a great cause. I volunteered for the 2014 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and it looked like so much fun!
What was your volunteer experience like? I volunteered as a course marshal. I was stationed near mile 7. We were tasked with ensuring that no one took a short cut across a street. It was exciting trying to calculate what time the elite women would get to us.  The women were amazing. We saw them coming and then they were gone! They were running so fast. After that the runners were coming quickly. There were so many people and it was fun to cheer for them. We really didn’t have to worry about anyone cheating the course so we mostly just cheered. We offered as much as encouragement as we could for the runners towards the back of the pack; high-fives for anyone that needed them. I’m always inspired by people who challenge themselves. I wanted to talk to everyone and cheer for everyone. I already knew I wanted to run the race but after seeing how many people were there and how many different pace groups were represented I was even more inspired. While it’s fun to see elites racing each other I think it’s even more inspiring to see someone who is only racing themselves. Regardless of the time everyone that day went out and ran the same 10 miles.
What is your goal for the 2015 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run? PR of course! I would like to beat my 10 mile PR which was set at the Army 10 Miler in 2012.
Do you have a running mantra? What is it and what does it mean to you? I always tell myself to keep going and finish strong. Finishing strong is the most important part to me. I’ve had good runs and bad runs and good races and bad races. I always tell myself if I finish strong it makes up for everything else. No matter how bad a run has gone if I can pull it together and finish strong I will be satisfied.
If you could use only one word to express what running means to you, what would it be? Strength 
What is a fun/interesting fact you learned about Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals? Even a small donation can have an impact. As little as $4 can provide a blanket for a baby. Combine that with another dollar and you can provide a blood pressure cuff, too. Many people could probably find $5 in loose change in their house or car and use this to make an impact in a baby’s care.
Don’t forget the =PR= Training programs begin January 31/February 1 in four locations: Ashburn, Reston, Tysons/Vienna, and DC (convenient to Arlington, Alexandria, and Rockville).  Reston participants will be coached by me, CUCB Race Blog Team member Kim and will have the opportunity to be a featured spotlight runner on the CUCB Race Blog! Sound good? Program and registration info is available here.Kimberly, @KimberWestrich

About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Elizabeth is a writing mom on the run and was one of two Social Runners from 2012-2013. Originally from Maryland, Elizabeth now runs up and down the hills of Pittsburgh, PA, where things (like rivers) come in threes. She loves triathlons, has published three books and has three sons! She runs her own writing business and finds that a good long run is often the source of her creative ideas. Elizabeth loves being married to a great runner who was a finisher at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

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