Today we're shining a special spotlight on our 2017 TCS New York City Marathon SoleMate, Jennifer Neumann! Jennifer, a Michigan resident, is running her second marathon for Girls on the Run NYC.
Why did you decide to be a SoleMate for the NYC Marathon and fundraise for Girls on the Run?
A group of us from my running group, GP Runners, entered the NYC Marathon lottery. Several got in through the lottery and the others who didn't, including me, decided to run by raising money for charity. I wanted to pick a charity that resonated with me and Girls on the Run was an easy choice!
What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you?
Young women today face so many challenges. Learning confidence, the importance of staying active (for both physical and mental help), and learning to support their peers goes a long way to helping pave a path to success in adulthood. My participation in track and cross country, in a very supportive team environment, was invaluable. I welcomed having the opportunity to help more girls participate!
Favorite place to run?
I most often run the streets of Grosse Pointe, Michigan and my favorite spot there is along Lakeshore Drive, which follows Lake St. Clair. I also really enjoy running in and around Detroit, touring the city's street art and waterfront.
Favorite time of day to run?
It's not necessarily my favorite, but as a working parent, early morning is the only time I can fit it in! Most days I go at 5:15 a.m. On the weekend, I get to "sleep in" until 7 sometimes!
Favorite post-run snack/meal?
I tend not to be hungry after long runs, but normally eventually make my way to a plant-based protein powder shake to which I add spinach, half of banana, and a scoop of peanut butter!
Favorite running accessory?
Music! (And my running buddies.)
Favorite pump-up running song?
Lose Yourself, Eminem
Group or solo run?
95% of the time I am running with anywhere from 1 to 20 other people. We have a great Facebook based running group in my hometown where various runs at various starting locations and times and paces are posted on a daily basis. There is always someone to run with and we really motivate each other to get out there.
When you get tired, what makes you keep running?
Knowing I'll feel better when I am done, knowing I'd be disappointed in myself if I stopped, hearing my high school coach in my head "smooth and strong" or what my kids used to chant when I would be pushing them up a hill in the jogging stroller "go mama, go mama, go!"
Tell us a little bit about your running history!
I ran track and cross country in high school...was middle of the pack at best....kept at it off and on but wasn't committed to it again until after I had my second child. I ran my first half 6 months after she was born in 2011 and have run at least two a year since then. Then decided tackling a marathon before I was 40 sounded like a good idea....hence the Detroit full in 2016.
What do you do besides running to keep yourself healthy, confident and joyful?
I actually spend more time doing Syphus Training (which is a high-intensity interval training) than running, especially in the winter. I find it keeps me in great cardiovascular condition and the strength I've built really helps on things like hills.
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, escaping to northern Michigan when I can, and being outside in the sun.
But, with my busy work schedule, most of my health, confidence, and joy comes from my 5 a.m. runs or sessions at Syphus...
What words of encouragement would you share with a girl starting with Girls on the Run?
Running is a lifelong adventure that will bring you more confidence in yourself, help you create lasting and meaningful relationships, and is a great way to explore a new city when you begin to travel as an adult!
Thank you for all your support of Girls on the Run, Jennifer! If you want to donate to Jennifer's fundraising efforts, click here.