Sunday, August 16, 2009

Runner of the Week - Vera Kuipers

Your name: Vera Kuipers
Location: New York, NY

Good luck to Vera - running the Manhattan Half!

What is your most memorable running moment?
Finishing the Human Race in September 2008. I had been running as part of my fitness routine for mostly 30-50 minutes on a regular basis, but never participated in an official 10K and I wanted to be able to run for more than an hour without breaks. I felt that my condition was in good shape, because of the cardio workouts I did, but I guess I hit a plateau and needed a real goal instead of just using the treadmill and do an occasional run outside. The only race I had done before was a 5K back in Holland, my home country. I had joined a ski-club over there, which offered group running sessions and we trained once a week in the dunes, near the ocean, a gorgeous environment with hills, woods, water and different types of surface. When I joined that club back in 2003, I fell more in love with running, enjoyed the training runs and I made sure to run a couple times a week. In 2004 I moved to New York and I kept running once or twice a week, but I focused more on gym time with different cardio workouts.
Last year I realized that I was looking for a clear goal in training besides all obvious health reasons. I was eager to take my running to a higher level, since it’s the sport that satisfies me most. I got a renewed passion for running and started training for the 10K by joining Nike group runs and adding miles. Since the Human Race challenged people to make a pledge, I was motivated to do so, by letting friends and family know about my official first 10K and I asked them to support the charity I selected. I raised almost $500 and ran the 10K in 56 minutes.

What race are you training for?

Right after the Human Race, I was so enthusiastic and motivated to keep up with the more intense training and new goals to accomplish, so I was looking into half marathons in the fall. However, I got a nasty shin splint and it took a long time to go away. It seems that it was a combination of shoes that I bought too small and all the added mileage and intensity in a short time span. I couldn’t run for almost 2 months and relapsed to fitness and spinning. During winter I was ready to get back in the running groove and build up running again to get ready for the next challenge: The New York Half Marathon on 8/16. I was very excited when I was able to register. I am following a 3 month training program that I downloaded from Runner’s World and so far it’s going well. I do feel though, that my shins are my weaker spot so after the race I will have that checked out hoping that I find some solutions to prevent injuries better. I already made sure to get expert advise for my new running shoes in a specialty store and I also understand that sometimes you just need to listen to your body and skip a run when needed.

What do you think is missing most from running apparel?
Ever since I heard from The Fashionable Runner, I am more aware of this question, when I buy new running gear or during a run. I miss running specific thongs and panties, that don’t move, lack labels and nasty seams. I don’t think there are many choices out there and I recently got a scar from a bad case of chafing during a long run. It turned out to be a sharp seam from my underwear. Now, I am so much more aware of labels, seams and the feel of the fabric. I love the stuff Lululemon makes, I got their swifty tech tee, it’s perfect and doesn’t smell bad after a long run. I think they have a smart sense of creating a product that feels, fits and looks good with some original features.
Nike makes good running shorts, it fits and feels good, doesn’t move up and they offer nice color combinations. Everybody has them though!
I also miss tops and tees with built-in support. I know they’re out there, but the choice is limited and very often the support is not enough for intense training. More fashionable running socks, would be nice. If there were fashionable compression socks out there, I would have gotten them already. I am also not able to find a cool, fashionable running jacket for rain/wind or for super cold weather. What’s out there, looks the same to me, except for different color options, but I’d like some more original designs. Something that stands out more. Oh and running tights, I wish their were more flattering ones, that still give you the warmth, but don’t look like tights ate the lower leg level. How about an outer layer (as in ski-pants) or leg warmers attached that are changeable!

Most of the time, when I speak with other runners, or people who regularly participate in races, I always feel that everybody is so open and social. It’s easy to connect with other runners and they are all passionate about it and willing to share their experience and give advise. After the half marathon I want to join a running club since I think that will give additional motivation and will push me extra to do more races and hopefully complete a full marathon next year!


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