The ZOOMA Napa Valley Ambassadors are excited to bring you our “ZOOMA Napa Valley Runner Report!” Each week we’ll be featuring a ZOOMA Napa Valley half marathon or 10K runner on each of our blogs. As women runners, we want to use our role as Ambassadors to highlight and share the stories behind the incredible women preparing to run ZOOMA in June. Each runner has a special and unique story, and we invite you to learn about our runners through this series. Please feel free to click through the links at the end of each post to read about additional ZOOMA racers.
Runner Report: Erin Mink Garvey
Current City: San Jose, CA, as of 12/21/13! (just moved from Chicago)
Race (10K or half marathon): Half
Why are you running ZOOMA Napa Valley?
On a whim, I decided to apply for a social media ambassador gig through ZOOMA in December. The race seemed fun, and having just moved here from Chicago, I've not really seen/experienced/run too many parts of the Bay Area. Landing the ambassador gig sealed the deal :) Additionally, while I usually don't run all-women's or women's-focused races, when I do, I find it incredibly gratifying and inspiring because the atmosphere is so positive and uplifting. Every runner has a story, and I think it's really awesome to see so many women at these events participating in their first endurance run. So many women manage a ton of “life” obstacles to be able to run or participate in events like the ZOOMA races, so to see all that amazingness concentrated in one place is like inspiration overload :)
When & why did you start running?
My earliest memory of running dates back to chasing boys, and then them chasing me, on my elementary school playground! I've always enjoyed running and think I caught the bug early on because both my older brother and sister ran track and/or cross-country. I was a sprinter in middle and high school, didn't run a lick in college (except for a track and field class my senior year—which was one of the best classes I ever took!), and in 2007, I signed up to run and fundraise for my first marathon, the Chicago Marathon (yup, the infamous hot race), as part of Team in Training/the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A friend's mom had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma while we were in undergrad together, as had been my mom with breast cancer and later, a stroke, so my friend and I signed up, fundraised, and ran in honor of our kick-ass moms. The rest is history.
How many races have you done & which was your favorite?
As of today (April 30), as long as my records are correct, I've run 100 since 2007! It's impossible for me to pin down a favorite though because I learn something from each race and experience, but the most memorable races are those I get to share with my friends. I could have a pretty shitty race and still have a wonderful memory of the race experience because my friends were there. My favorite race distance, however, is the marathon. I like the strategy and the game of it, as well as how exposed/vulnerable we are during it. At its core, it's a test of speed, character, and mental fortitude.
If you could pick one celebrity to run with, who would it be & why?
Hmmm.... probably vegan ultrarunner Scott Jurek. I'm a self-proclaimed almost vegan, so I love that he's a badass, fast, and vegan. In addition, I adore his humility and his hair.
What is your favorite running memory?
Too many to choose! Any time I can run, even if it's just a standard training run, and share that experience with a friend, is special to me. Additionally, I ran through 36 weeks of my almost 41-week pregnancy (including two marathons while pregnant), and while RWP (running while pregnant) is an entirely different experience in and of itself, it was amazing. Running with my daughter now is pretty tough—try pushing 70 pounds and running one-handedly, and you'll see what I'm saying—but it's also just lovely to share that with her. She enjoys it, and my heart flutters when she yells “we run suuuuuuuuuuper fast!!” :)
What is your one running must-have?
I'm most particular about the shorts I wear. My legs have their own ZIP codes, so I've been known to order 10+ pairs of shorts at a time, only to return them all, if they don't jibe with me. I'm not too particular about most other pieces of running gear/apparel, but I'm serious about my shorts!
What is your favorite post-run indulgence? If I can swing it, indulging in a nap post-run is downright life-changing. With a three year-old at home, though, that's not always easy (or possible!).
Who is your running inspiration?
I'm fortunate and just stupidly lucky to be able to surround myself with tons of runners who inspire me daily to be a better, faster, fitter, and stronger runner today than I was yesterday. I sing my praises to them constantly. They know who they are.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from running?
I could wax philosophic about this for a long time, but running has become much more than a time on a clock for me. Of course, I'm still very much performance-driven and PR-chasing, but the experience of running, the pure and unadulterated joy of putting one foot in front of the other, repeatedly, efficiently, and as fast as you can, is what gets me out there each and every day. I thank my lucky stars that I get the opportunity to do this and that I can share my running love with so many people cross-country (and abroad) who 'get' it. The running community is very much about love and support, and over time, running has both allowed me to love, and to be loved, in ways that I would have never thought possible before. If that's not the embodiment of hippy-dippy runner nonsense banter, I don't know what is...
Want to read about more of our amazing ZOOMA runners? Check them out here:
Nadia on Running on Waffles
Shari on Dream Body Warrior
Sara on Fitnessmomwinecountry
Are you running ZOOMA Napa Valley and would like to be featured in our Runner Report series? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!