As my friend Chris would say,
“Your absence will be noted on the attendance list”
For those of you who know the #CANotOnInstagram you know that this is a serious list and having a mark of absence on it is a major running violation.
Today Chris is not our “Meet the Local” spotlight, but I’m sure his post is coming soon. Luckily today we are chatting about Jess Walhof. This self-described extreme introvert quite possibly has the attendance record for group run when you consider 605 Group Runs and Sioux Falls Area Running Club Group Runs. She actually outran our Wednesday morning group run!
Jess is an incredible athlete who has committed her life to health and wellness through exercise science. She just doesn’t talk the talk, she lives the life. We found Jess to be incredibly motivating at the height of the pandemic posting daily workouts to social media incorporating everyday items you can find around your house. In her own way Jess has helped build an incredible community. We couldn’t be more proud of our friend Jess and her commitment to the 605 Community. Let’s hear a little bit more about Jess in her own words!
What/Who inspired you to start running?
I grew up playing nearly every sport through high school, only running when a ball was involved, because why else would someone want to run?! After playing soccer my first 2 years of college I continued working on my fitness through strength training. It wasn't until my last semester of college that I started running because I was intimidated by the VO2max test I had to do for my Exercise Testing and Prescription class and I didn't want to die in front of my peers. It started so innocently. I ran half a mile on the indoor track. I didn't die and felt pretty good, so I did it the next day and the next. Each week I added a lap. Soon I was doing 'track workouts' and I remember celebrating my graduation by completing my longest run - just over 4 miles - the morning before I graduated.
What is your favorite place to run?
I love running trails and log the majority of my miles at Good Earth State Park, but it's a special treat to enjoy trails elsewhere!
What is your favorite running weather?
My favorite running weather is 40-50 degrees, sunny, and no humidity!
Do you prefer group runs or solo runs?
I do a lot of solo running during the week for training, but love all the company I can get to distract and entertain me during the weekend long runs!
Have you ever experienced any sort of running injuries? If so how have you coped or persevered?
I am fortunate to not have suffered any derailing injuries! The worst I've experienced is a bout of plantar fasciitis. Fortunately I was training for a half Ironman, so I was able to focus most of my attention to swimming and biking while trying to have the patience for my foot to heal - and getting the right running shoes at 605 helped immensely!
What is your favorite post run meal?
In the winter I'm all about a shower coffee to help me warm up from the cold after a long run! Then I usually serve up an omelet and hashbrowns as a recovery meal.
What are some barriers you’ve faced in your running journey?
I haven't found many barriers in running, I've actually found so much acceptance and my voice. I'm an extreme introvert, but bring up running and suddenly I'm not so introverted!
The only issue I've come across is that as a woman, I need to be so much more aware of my surroundings as I'm running alone, meaning I'm not able to zone out as much as I would like, one reason why I hit the dirt trails so much more.
What advice would you give to somebody thinking about starting to run?
My advice to new runners is to take it one step at a time. You're going to have amazing days and not so good days. As long as you're moving forward, you're headed in the right direction!
Describe your best “runner’s high” moment
I get a 'Runner's high' anytime I accomplish a goal - from nailing a training run to completing a race. But one that always gives me the feels is when I won the Hitchcock 101k last December. It's a tough race with 12,500 feet of elevation gain, mostly run overnight in the dark, and can be cold and for my last 6 miles, slick from fresh snow. I was so proud just to finish the race, only to find out I won! It just let me know how deep I can dig and that I have so much untapped potential yet!
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