They say competition makes you better and this has definitely been the case for me and a friend I’ve come to know through racing in Arkansas. I first met Tracy at the River Trail 15k in 2013. I followed her the entire race and although I never caught up to her she did push me to run my first sub 60. This was the first of many races like this. Chasing Tracy has actually brought me a couple of PR’s over the years. My fastest 1 mile and 5k times have been in races I finished right behind Tracy.
Tracy and her family are moving to Ohio later this month and she will be greatly missed by the Arkansas running community. It really won’t be the same without her. I decided she would be an excellent Arkansas running mom to interview for the blog. In the past two years she’s had a baby, finished her Masters degree, and has continued to train and race competitively all while working full-time as a teacher. I admire many things about Tracy and have always wished I lived closer so I could train with her.
1. How long have you been running? How did you get started?
I have been running for 22 years. I started running in 7th grade- cross country
2. Did you run competitively in high school or college?
I ran competitively in high school, red-shirted my freshman year at Kent State University and decided I wanted to take a break from competing.
3. Family- Married? Number of kids/ ages?
I have been married since 2010. I have one daughter, she is 20 months.
- How was your transition from running/ racing competitively pre-kids to after your daughter was born?
I was in the best shape of my life right before I got pregnant. I had finally run a sub 3 hour marathon. I was able to keep running until I was 30 weeks pregnant, and even ran a few races. At 30 weeks I started having some issues and I was no longer allowed to run. I was on bedrest for a few weeks, which was SUPER tough!! It took me a few months to bounce back after having my daughter, especially since I had to have a c-section. Since my daughter was born I have run my second fastest mile, fastest 5k, and fastest half marathon.
- What have been some of your biggest challenges with training since becoming a parent?
I would say the biggest challenge is finding time. During the week I have to wake up at 4:45am in order to get my run in before work and it’s hard to get in long runs on the weekends. I can run with the stroller, but if it’s raining or super cold I don’t want Charlee to be out there. My husband has been extremely supportive but he works a lot too so that makes it hard.
- How have you balanced motherhood, working, finishing your Masters degree, and training?
I am not really sure haha- the last two years have been a whirlwind. I am a planner so I basically just make sure to schedule everything out so that I can make it happen. It is not always easy, but it is doable!
- What is your favorite Arkansas race?
I have a few but would have to say that the go! Mile is up there at that top! I also enjoy the CASA Half Marathon and the Firecracker 5k.
8. What is your most memorable race experience?
The Little Rock Marathon, 2010- Onat Tungac proposed to me at the finish line! I was hoping to run a sub 3 and had a terrible race. He definitely made up for it at the finish line 🙂 I have had some really great racing experiences here in Arkansas over the past 8 years!
- What will you miss most about running in Arkansas?
The running community. There are some really great people here in Arkansas and it makes running/racing here that much more enjoyable. I will NOT miss the humidity! haha!
- Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or something you repeat to yourself during a race when you need a little push to keep going?
I talk to myself sometimes, tell myself to suck it up. I always try to remember how hard I train and know that I am ready to race, even when it hurts!
- What’s next? Family, job, running?
I am moving to Ohio in 2 weeks. Then I’ll be trying to figure out what I will do for a job. Onat is already there and started his new job! I am planning to run a 5k in Hartville, Ohio on June 25th with some of my high school teammates. If my hip allows me, I plan to run the Akron Marathon in September!
- Ways to follow your training on Social Media? (Website, Instagram, etc.)
I have an instagram! It’s: runtracyj or you can follow me on my FB page!
- Tracy’s Race Stats:
- Mile PR- 5:05
- 5k PR- 17:24
- 10k PR-37:19
- Half Marathon PR-1:24:33
- Marathon PR- 2:57:36
Your Arkansas running friends will miss you Tracy but I have no doubt you will jump in and raise the competition in your new running community in Ohio. Thanks for always pushing me to be a better runner.