run, janelle, run!


What motivated you to start your own website?

Starting my own website was something that I had thought about for a really long time. However, I didn’t have the courage or the wherewithal to even know where to begin. There are SO MANY running blogs/sites out there. Why should mine be any different? And who would want to read it? RJR! started off as a blog that I maintained in my free time. Then, one day, I randomly happened to come across Danica’s website, Chic Runner, and read her ‘About’ page.

It really inspired me to get my butt in gear.

I emailed Danica on a whim (not really expecting a response) just to say that I thought her site rocked, and then I followed it up with a separate contact to ask her who helped her design her website. I figured that if other people could design and implement a website, then I could too! She was SO sweet and responded to me almost immediately, detailing how she got her website started. She even referred me to the guy that she used to help set up her website. That was all of the ammunition I needed to finally take it to the next level!

Who helped you design your website?

Matt Wilbanks at Rackspace is AWESOME. He has (and continues to) work with me to implement the various design elements that I am forever, constantly re-hashing and ruminating over. You can contact him here.

Where do you get the pictures for your website?

Unless otherwise stated, all of the pictures are self taken. Currently, I have a Canon PowerShot A590 IS that my younger brother gave to me as a gift a couple of years ago. I also recently added a Canon EOS Digital XS to my collection as well as a bunch of other equipment to go with it (Thanks, Dad!).

How did you get into running?

Running stemmed out of the fact that I played travel soccer while growing up and then JV & Varsity Soccer during high school. One of the girls on my JV soccer team suggested running as a way to stay in shape during the off-season.

What is your nationality?

I’m American. Duh! The simple explanation is: I’m half black & half white. The less ignorant explanation is that my mother is West Indian [aka] Barbadian [aka] Caribbean [aka] from Barbados while my father (who is of French Canadian descent) was born and raised in the U-S of A!

What kind of running shoes do you wear/prefer?

I have really narrow feet and pretty normal arches, and Nikes have always worked really well for me. However, my first pair of running shoes that I ever owned were New Balances, and this is the brand that I am currently running with. I also have an extra pair of Nikes that I stash in the trunk of my car for secondary runs.

What were your main events in college track?

I mostly ran the 1500m and the 3000m. I also ran the mile and the 800m with the occasional 400m thrown in.

What was your best running memory?

I traveled to NC State (well before I had signed on with them) to race at the National Scholastic Outdoor Championships during my junior year of high school. I was running the 3000m the first night and was following it up with the mile the next day. I placed 8th overall in the 3000m (which wasn’t bad), but the next day when I ran the mile, it was amazing. The stands were crowded because everyone was there to watch the sprinting events (which are far more enjoyable to watch than the distance events). I could see my father in the stands with the video camera. There were several heats of the mile that were supposed to run that day, and up until that point in my short-lived running career, I hadn’t broken 5 minutes for the mile. They put me in the 3rd or 4th heat. Either way, it was one of the slower heats.

When the gun went off, I was totally calm and paced off of the first girl. With each lap though, I felt better and better. I knew who the head coach was, and at one point, he was standing on the inside edge of the track just past the top of the first turn, watching me as I ran by (funny the things you remember). I pulled ahead of the pack a little more than midway through the race and totally broke away from the rest of the girls. It was the one time in my life where I literally felt like I was flying. Absolutely indescribable. It was an incredible out-of-body experience in some ways. I could have gone another lap even faster.

As I came down the final straightaway, the people were out of their seats in the stands cheering. I could hear my dad. I could hear my breathing. I could hear the announcer, and I could hear the silence behind me. There wasn’t another competitor who could even touch me at that point. That’s when I saw my time. I had not only broken 5 minutes in the mile; I had run 4:52, which wound up bumping me into the fastest heat of girls who had already run. When all was said and done, I ended up running the 4th fastest high school girls mile time for that year. It was a great way to cap off an incredible season. I was pumped :)

Do you still participate in races?

Since college ended, I have not participated in any running events. I was more than happy to no longer feel “obligated” to race, having felt a wee-bit burned out. One day, I’ll make my way back into it…maybe. Right now, I am in the process of re-discovering running as something I genuinely enjoy versus something that I am motivated to do for others. *P.S. There is nothing wrong with you if you choose not to race!

Do you ever think you will run a marathon?

I am asked this ALL THE TIME. It’s at the point where I feel like I’m going to have to run a marathon one day, just so that people will release me from their tethers! My father ran several marathons when I was a child (none of which I remember, and all of which seem to point to my innate running abilities-according to some people). At this stage in the game, it’s up in the air. I think I’d probably try a triathlon before I would even think about tackling 26.2. I have, however, randomly walked 20 miles before as a workout!

If you could give any advice about running, what would it be?

Have fun.
Run at your own pace.
Enjoy the fact that you are able to move your body freely without pain or restriction.
Do it for yourself.

If you were blessed with two arms, two legs and the ability to move, then why don’t you?