Everyone has someone they look up to, a person who inspires them. If you ask most female runners who they look up to, you would probably get answers like Kara Goucher, Lauren Fleshmen and Shalane Flanagan. All are women I look up to as well, but, if someone asked me what woman inspires me everyday my answer would be Michele Gonzalez. Michele is an amazing woman who not only shares the good days of training but also the days when she's not really feeling it. She is former Military and I hold a very special place in my heart for men and women who choose to serve our great nation. Michele, I thank you for not only being such a great example for runners but for mom athlete's everywhere as well. You are truly an inspiration to us all.
Name: Michele Gonzalez
Years running: 11
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
I'm a stay-at-home mom to two little boys, an ultra runner (prefer the marathon and half marathon distance right now), Ironman and running coach. I am also a former Army Captain and 3x Iraqi veteran.
1. When and why did you start running?
- I grew up running as a way to stay in shape for the other sports I played (basketball and softball). I played basketball through my freshmen year of college. When I stopped playing, I started going to the gym and running, recreationally, on my own to stay in shape. At the start of my senior year, I decided to challenge myself and signed up for my first race - the 2002 Philadelphia Marathon, despite never running more than 7 miles. I trained myself over the next few months and ran a 3:54 at Philly.
2. What has been your longest run?
- I ran the Knickerbocker 60k (37.2 miles)in Nov 2011 - it was my first official ultra race and I loved it!
3. What is your dream race ?
- I have lots of dream races - some are my long-term than others. I would love to do Badwater one day (135 mile ultra race) but likely won't get into high mileage like that until the boys are a bit older. I also want to focus more on triathlons and would love to qualify for and compete at Kona (Ironman World Championships) one day (another longer term goal!).
4. What has been you favorite race so far and why?
- This is a tough one. Honestly,so many races hold special memories for me...but I think I would have to say that the 2011 NYC Marathon was my favorite because of the entire experience. I was selected to represent my hometown for the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge and competed against four other runners. We got to start the marathon before the elites and rest of runners, ran the first 13.1 miles together and then literally raced to the finish. And the best part was that my husband and son were waiting at the finish line for me to cross!
5. If you could run with anyone (alive or passed on) who would it be?
- Definitely Chrissie Wellington. She is one of the most amazing, talented, positive athletes!
6. What are your goals in terms of running?
- I have so many short and long term goals here but my biggest goal is to always challenge and enjoy myself - sometimes these two seem to be at odds so it's a struggle to keep them in balance! But right now, my short term goal is to PR at the LA Marathon in a few weeks (would love a 3:15).
7. Name 3 running essentials that you can't live without.
- Sparkly Soul Headbands
- Garmin watch
8. Top 3 songs on your running playlist.
I'm always changing the music on my playlist - I just added a bunch of new songs including:
- Best Day of My Life
- Hey Brother
9. And last but not least....what is your favorite quote?
- "Believe in the Dream". I have some pretty big goals and sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed with the idea of them...but this quote just reminds me to keep believing in myself and my dream and work one day at a time to get there.
Thank you Michele for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm crossing my fingers and saying some prayers that your PR for LA Marathon comes to fruition.
Love ya girl!