Blyss Running Champion - Meet Jill

Blyss Running Champion - Meet Jill

January 15, 2017

We are starting a new feature here at Blyss Running. This monthly post will highlight one of our fabulous customers. This month we start with Jill. Jill is not only a Blyss customer, but a dear friend. I thought it only appropriate to start off this series with Jill as she not only started this running thing with me 6 years ago, but she was and still is my biggest champion for starting this business and following my dream. Really, I think she just wanted a pair of shorts that didn't chafe, ha! But anyway..... 
Jill lives here in Asheville, NC, is a mom of 2, an assistant teacher at our local elementary school, PTA mom extraordinaire and wife to a selfless family doc. She worked as a conservation biologist before moving to North Carolina 15 years ago. So as an added bonus, I get to learn all about plants, birds and bugs on our trail runs together! She has the biggest heart of anyone I know and is equal therapist and friend out on the trails. As for running apparel, her favorite Blyss item is the Distance Short. Meet Jill .....

(Jill at the Steep Canyon Relay in 2016 wearing her Distance Shorts)


 When and why did you start running? What’s your story?

I will start with a confession .... not too long ago, I was a running hater.  Yup, seven years ago if you had asked me if I wanted to go on a run, I would not only have declined you but I would have had some very clever but snide remark about how running is actually bad for you.  I was one of those!  I am so ashamed!  But, as the product of two overweight, Type II diabetic parents, I knew I had to keep active as I have an 80% chance to be just like them.  So, seven years ago, a friend saw me walking in the neighborhood and asked if I would like to do the Couch to 5K program with her.  Being true to my old self, I promptly said "about as much as I would like to put needles under my fingernails."  Being a good friend, she did not balk at my response and talked me into it.  Looking back now, I cannot believe how hard it was to run for 30 seconds without stopping.  But I did it - I DID IT!  And I went on to run that 5K, then a 10K, then a Half - Marathon. . . alongside a number of wonderful, dedicated women friends. 


 Favorite distance? And /or favorite race you have run?

I don't have a favorite distance, I just love those magical runs during which I actually feel strong.  My favorite race I have ever run is the Steep Canyon Relay.  It is well beyond my comfort zone but it is beautiful and run by some of the nicest super athletes you will ever meet (who don't care that I am not one BTW!).


If you could go on a run anywhere, where would it be? Your ideal run?

I love running in the woods but I also love running in places I have never been.  Last summer, my family took a road trip up to some National Parks in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that we had never been to.  It was an amazing feeling that I could put on my running shoes and explore the park under my own power and in my own time.  I wish I could do that more.


Favorite pre or post run food?

Pre-run I like whole wheat toast with peanut butter.  Post-run, if it is a long run, a burger from the Chub Wagon at Oskar Blues and a G'Knight beer to drink. . . yuuuuummmmmm.


 Do you cross train?

In the summer and fall, I ride my bike and swim. 


Do you use a GPS or track your mileage and if so, which one?

Yes.  I use a Garmin 220 which I have a love/hate relationship with.  I want to break up with it right about now!


What have you learned/gained through running?

Wow. . . I hope you have a lot of space!  There are so many things I have learned.  One is that running is so personal.  How a person copes with running and what drives them to run and what they consider running success is so different for everyone I come across.  I have learned that running levels me out emotionally and makes me a happier person (even when I am angry and cursing on my actual runs).  I know running will never be easy for me and that I am the only one that can chose to embrace the struggle.  I have learned that strength is not so much in my legs as it is in my choosing to embrace that struggle.  I have learned never to say things like "only 10 miles" or "only 5 miles" to anyone and especially not to myself.  And I have learned that having a good friend who is willing to push you beyond what you want to do or think you can do is a real gift. 


Your next running goal?

To have another really great run where I feel strong and I feel grateful for the fresh mountain air in my lungs and the hills that surround me.


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