The Magic of Mammoth Diaries: Lauren Jimison - Running With Passion and Purpose
By: Cait Chock
For Lauren Jimison running is just as much a pursuit to test her abilities as it is a means of feeding her soul. Running is her passion, and it speaks to her.
It tells her she can run faster, further, dig deeper. It whispers that she is destined to accomplish more, even greater things. It calls to her, "I am your gift." Running is both a passion for Jimison and a purpose.
After gradating from Azusa Pacific University, Jimison followed that calling to Mammoth Lakes, CA where she now trains with the ASICS Mammoth Track Club. The runner who loves to smile, and a strong cup of coffee, is a true long distance spirit. "My favorite workout is anything long!" Let her dial into a rhythm and she feels most at home. "I love a high mileage workout. It builds my strength and speed. A solid long 8-10 mile tempo run really gets me excited. It helps me tap into marathon pace and builds my confidence."
It very well may have been a bit of the magic of Mammoth that Jimison heard running speaking of, drawing her there. An escape of a town, high in the mountains, the training environment idyllic for the distance runner, the trails an Eden for the eye. But the magic which calls from Mammoth speaks also of legends, the MTC was formed in 2001 and since then has birthed 12 Olympians and 64 National Champions. Now headed by Andrew and Deena Kastor, 'Mammoth Track Club 3.0' has a mission to create the best half-marathon and marathon runners in the US.
Jimison knows the history but she has eyes on the future, "We want to be a team full of Olympians and athletes making World teams and representing the U.S. We come from a rich history and we want to continue to build on it!" In breeding that success, the MTC is more than just a training group, they are a family. Running is a sport that pushes the bounds of an individual both physically and mentally; even with passion, willing oneself to hurt on a consistent basis requires a special kind of strength. "We meet every morning, as well as two other times for gym. The men live together and the women live together in condos the town has generously given us. So, we spend a lot of time together! Sometimes we enjoy doubles together, too. We love to have dinners together and hang out!" Being surrounded by others who share the same goals and battle the same pain over the course of the miles makes pushing through feel more manageable. Amidst the misery of a workout, everyone loves company.
That means Jimison is working hard but also recovering 'hard.' "I believe that when it comes to staying healthy, it's really focusing on doing the little things. Nutrition, lots of sleep, rest, stretching, etc., all play into staying healthy." That means up to 12 hours of sleep a day including a nap in the afternoon, seeking out quality, nutrient-dense foods, and refueling immediately after a run are imperative. Her go-to's are kale, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, grass-fed cheeses and, "I do love a few cups of black coffee prior to workouts and an almond milk latte post-workouts. I also have a few nutrition sponsors I really stand behind: GoMacro Macrobars and Siggi's Yogurt."
Outside of running, she keeps herself injury-resistant with a strength, core, and flexibility routine. She's learned to take her easy runs more seriously, "I also do recovery runs much slower than I used to. It helps me handle the load of training and mileage, while letting my body recover well, especially training at altitude; it can take longer."
Running is her passion, her calling, and she finds joy in the "Eat, Sleep, Run, Eat, Sleep, Run...repeat" routine. But she recognizes the importance of balance and nurturing the relationships that are most important to her, "The people I love help fuel what I do! This keeps me healthy mentally: serving God and serving others." Ultimately, those connections will make your running better too.
This weekend Jimison lines up for the 2014 Chicago Marathon. In what promises to be a fast race, she's excited to be one of the top American Women in the field. What gives her the most confidence before a marathon? "I love a 22-24 mile long run at a faster pace." Long runs nailed, a full team supporting her, bring on the starting line.
Jimison joined a running legacy and is helping carry on that tradition; she also found a second family. She feels very connected to her faith and mission to give back to the greater good as, the MTC is heavily involved in giving back to the very community that's supported them so much. "Mammoth Lakes is hugely supportive and helpful to what we do. Whether it's hosting fun runs or races, cleaning up the town, or speaking to high school teams that come into town during summer, we enjoy giving back."
And so she runs. A smile in her heart, a whisper in her ears to keep going.
Caitlin Chock (caitchock.com) set the then National High School 5k Record (15:52.88) in 2004. A freelance writer, artist, and designer she writes about all things running and founded Ezzere, her own line of running shirts (www.ezzere.com). You can read more, see her running comics, and her shirts at her website.