Each week, we'll be profiling members of our action team. Tune in and learn some more about these amazing womyn.
In Their Shoes: Gretchen A
Q1: Who are you? Describe your work, life, and sport of choice.
I’m Gretchen A. (Find me on Instagram @running4thehills) I taught Spanish in private schools for 12 years but now work part-time tracking attendance data for an online public school. I own a fitness business “Run 4 the Hills” where I coach runners and hold online workout classes. I absolutely love helping others to achieve their running and fitness goals through individualized plans!
I’m a stepmom to two girls and mom to a 30+ yr old horse. When I’m not working, I can be found running the local roads or curled up on the couch under a blanket - I’m always cold! I also enjoy hiking with my husband - especially if there is a waterfall involved - and I dabble in nature photography.
Q2: What is your sport of choice? How did you get started with it? Do you compete in races, if so what's your favorite distance?
I’ve been a runner since high school; I wasn’t athletic but my school had required sports and my dad coached cross country and track so I became a runner! In college I focused more on horseback riding, but returned to running after graduating, gradually increasing the distance until I realized a half marathon was possible. I got hooked after my first half in 2010 and have now run over 40 of them. I ran my first marathon a year after my first half and have since run a few more, with my latest being Boston 2019. I loved the experience of Boston, but find half marathons to be a much better distance for me so I am now enjoying focusing on them with the occasional 5k thrown in because it’s fun to run fast! I’m very competitive so I love racing and can’t wait for races to get back to normal; I have been able to run a few in-person races since March, but am really itching for more. My all-time favorite race is the Blue Ridge ½ in Roanoke, VA. It’s challenging but I love it. I tend to avoid flatter races and seek out the hillier ones!
Q3: What is your driving force behind your sport?
Running has always been my stress-reliever, anti-depressant, and personal challenge. I love the feeling of pushing my limits on the run and seeing what my body can do. I have also found over the years that running significantly strengthens my lungs, which has been really good for my asthma.
Q4: What are three words that people use to describe you?
Stubborn, dedicated, creative
Q5: What is your favorite thing to listen to while working out (music, podcast, audiobook, etc)...or do you prefer to go without headphones?
Music! The genre varies, it doesn’t have to have a good beat for running, it just has to be something I like that will keep my mind occupied. “The Champion” by Carrie Underwood is one of my favorite songs to hear while running lately.
Q6: What is your favorite meal or recipe?
Ex: It’s hard to pick a favorite, I love to cook! Pasta, salmon, and avocado are very high on the list. My favorite runner-friendly breakfast recipe is this one for Quick Oats.
Q7: Name a book you recommend to all your friends?
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Q8: What is your secret pleasure TV show to indulge in?
Parks & Rec, Bones, House, The Office, New Girl
Q9: Last question - what are your favorite workout shoes?
Brooks Glycerin are my current shoe, I have tendonitis in my feet and they are pretty picky about what I can run in! Brooks Glycerin has been working really well for me, and I rotate through 2-3 pairs at once as I find that they last longer that way.