Today we feature Tatiana Bongcompagni Hoover, a Girls on the Run NYC SoleMate for the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon and a proud parent of a Girls on the Run NYC program participant.
What motivated you to run in the NYC Marathon this year?
I've wanted to run a marathon for as long as I've known what one was. It's the reason I started a bucket list. In fact, it's the only thing on my bucket list. Last year, my daughter joined her school's Girls on the Run program and watching her fall in love with running inspired me to push my fitness to the next level. I did a half in the Spring and loved training for it so much, I decided to keep training and go for the full. Plus, working at a place like SELF -- it's hard not to be inspired to go after your dreams. I work with athletes!
How has running been a part of your life?
Since I was in grade school. I think 4th or 5th grade. I happened to be pretty good at long-distance running. Once a really cute boy called me superwoman when I passed him during a practice run. It was the best compliment I've ever received--to this day. Last year, my physical therapist called me a jock. I liked that, too.
Why did you choose to support Girls on the Run?
The program changed my daughter's life. I know that sounds like a gross exaggeration but it's not. Before Girls on the Run, my daughter struggled with self esteem. She felt like everyone was good at something except for her. It impacted her relationships with her peers and her academics. Then we signed her up for Girls on the Run and she found her "thing" - running. Her confidence skyrocketed. Her grades improved. She's no longer beset by worries that another girl in her class doesn't want to be her friend. I'm so grateful to the program and want to help bring it to other children around New York City who might not be able to afford the participation fees. I'm running this marathon for myself, for my daughter and for all the little girls out there who deserve to know what it feels like to finish strong.
What tip do you have for other SoleMates?
Hydrate! I never realized how crucial it was until I hit the wall on my 17 miler. It was awful. But I just ran 18.5 over the weekend and felt great, and I think it was all because I was better prepared. I also like those glucose chews. My new thing is letting myself walk or stopping altogether at certain mile marks to drink some water and have some chews. It makes a difference.
What is your favorite running accessory?
It's a toss up between my iPhone (because I need my music and I love the Nike+ app for tracking my distance and pace) and my Asics Kayanos.
And, what is your favorite run in NYC?
Actually, I hardly ever run in the city. I do my long runs upstate near Hudson, NY, where we go on weekends and then a shorter run mid-week on a treadmill at my gym, Equinox. I have to workout at 5:30 am and I would rather just get it done in a gym at that hour.
Thank you Tatiana for sharing your story with us!
We are so excited for you to run your first marathon on November 1.
You can support Tatiana in her fundraising efforts by visiting her online fundraising campaign page here: www.raceplanner.com/donate/Tatiana-marathon-run-for-Girls-on-the-Run.