The other night, I was thinking about one of my favorite people, Dave Mingey. Mingey was at Nike in communications, in the late 90s and early 2000’s. The guy actually loved running, and he worked his butt off to help those of us in media to get the access we needed. He was fair and honest in protecting his client’s corporate culture. We not only respected him, we liked him.
Mingey facebooked me last week about a friend of his, a young mother of two, who had started running again and qualified for the Olympic Trials. He thought I might find the story captivating. I did.
A good high school runner in Maine, Jodie (Lake) Conway ran in high school, then at Boston College, loving the half mile and mile. She ran a couple marathons, on a whim after college, then put running away. She had a life to live.
photo courtesy of Philly Marathon
A sister got her running again, so they could run a half marathon. A sister-in-law then worked on her to train with her for Boston. After each marathon she swore she would not run another!
Then, she found a coach, who encouraged her, and that 3:28 marathon best dropped to 2:52! This past fall, Jodie Conway too third in the Philadelphia Marathon, running 2:44:09 and qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials-Marathon.
A few weeks ago, she became a Saucony Hometown Hero, part of a program that the footwear company uses to promote grass roots running.
We hope that you enjoy the quick interview we did with Jodie, she on loudspeaker, as she was driving back from dropping off the kids in Maine with her parents. We wish Jodie Lake Conway the very best on Saturday, January 14, 2012. After you read this interview, reconsider how busy your day is!
RBR, #1 : How did you get started in running?
Jodie Lake Conway: I started running in junior high. We ran a mile, and I beat all of the boys (laughing). So, the coach suggested that I go out for track. I tried the half and the mile.
RBR, #2: What was high school running like?
Jodie Lake Conway: I ran cross country and outdoor track. Our school did not have indoor track and field, so I played basketball during that season.
RBR, #3: How fast did you run? What was your mile? Your 880?
Jodie Lake Conway: I ran 5:04 for the mile and about 2:20 for the 880. I don’t remember running the two mile. I liked the short races!
RBR, #4: What did you do in college, where did you go?
Jodie Lake Conway: I ran at Boston College under Randy Thomas (famed marathoner, coach). I did not like cross country, loved the shorter races, like the 880 and the mile. I loved indoors, and got my mile down to 4:48. Outdoors, I did not run well as I was burnt out, after cross country and indoor track & field.
RBR, #5: How did you get into marathons?
Jodie Lake Conway: After college, I did a couple of marathons. I had a goal of keeping in shape. I ran a 3:22 at New York City, and then, the next year, I ran 3:18 in Boston. After that, I just did not have time for running. I told myself, after the 3:18, that I would never run a marathon again! I had two kids.
RBR, #6: How did you return to running?
Jodie Lake Conway: Well, my sister convinced me to train with her, so we could both run a marathon. Six months after having my second child (who is now two years old), I ran a 3:28 marathon and qualified for Boston. I had ITB trouble. It got bad after thirteen miles and I cramped up. Again, I told myself, that I would never run a marathon again!
My sister-in-law then got involved in running and as she had qualified for Boston, like I had, she wanted me to train with her. She had found a coach, which I needed. So, I signed up at the YMCA, and ran into her coach, Fernando Braz.
RBR, #7: How did coaching change your running?
Jodie Lake Conway: It was just what I needed. My quality work improved, my mileage improved, and I liked running with people! In three months of coaching, I improved my half marathon from 1:27 to 1:19! My coach then noted I should be trying to break 3:10 at Boston. I got sick, the stomach flu, from my two year old, so I did not run Boston but raced at Vermont City.
Vermont City was hot, 85 degrees and humid, yet, I ran 2:52! After that, I thought, maybe I could make the Olympic Trials qualifying standard (2:45). Maybe I had a shot at qualifying on a good day!
RBR, #8: How did your training change between Vermont City and Philadelphia?
Jodie Lake Conway: I added quality work and increased the volume. More miles, and the intervals were more aggressive. For example, before Vermont, my tempo runs were 6:30 pace, before Philly, they were six minute pace. My speed was improving, I think I ran around 37:30 for 10k.
RBR, #9: Tell us about the Philadelphia Marathon?
Jodie Lake Conway: It was a perfect day. Sunny, hot hot, not a lot of wind. I felt good. I hit the halfway in 1:22:04, and ran 2:44:09. I took third. I passed a girl in third. I felt I had too much left, and I had tried to be conservative.
RBR, #10: How are you doing now?
Jodie Lake Conway: I had excruciating pain in my left shin two weeks ago. I got an MRI and it was tendinitis, and the pain has gone away over the past nine days while I cross trained. It had made me a little nervous.
RBR, #11: What do you think about qualifying for the Olympic Trials?
Jodie Lake Conway: Oh, wow. I am so thrilled, like a little kid. I am thirty-five, and I have two kids, never thought about running a good marathon. I felt I had a shot at this though, and at Philly, I ran well.
RBR, #12: What would you tell women who read this and think about training for a marathon?
Jodie Lake Conway: My husband really adjusted. He first had me running one marathon, then another, then training like crazy. Managing the kids was an adjustment. Now, planning family trips, I will find destination races for long workouts. I know that I could not make it without a treadmill, and I train the morning, as, with juggling kids, if you wait til later in the day, you will be too tired.
During the winter, I have a babysitter scheduled for track sessions, all winter, so I can get to it. My husband travels with his job, too.
RBR,#13: What are you hoping for in Houston?
Jodie Lake Conway: Before the tendinitis, I thought sub 2:40. Now, I think, with a good day, I can run close to my personal best, I hope.