Feature Friday: This Mom Loves To Run And Refuses To Act Her Age

Every Friday we chat with one of our blog content network contributors to find out what most inspires them to be fit and find adventure every day.

This week we're chatting with Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home.

Wendy is a mother of two teenage boys and a pediatric nurse practitioner who loves running because it gives her the chance for some much-needed alone time.

Keep reading to find out how running keeps her feeling young and strong and what inspires her to keep working hard and running fast.

The Active Times: How did you first become involved in running?
Wendy: I started running in my late 20s to help deal with anxiety and depression. It worked and has kept me sane for the last 25 years!

What are the wisest words you ever heard about running?
It's all about the journey, not the destination. So true for running as well as for life in general.

What spurred you start your blog?
I love to write. Writing is an outlet for me. But the blog is also a way to connect with other runners, to share experiences, and to inspire.

Describe in 140 characters or less (or more, if you please) how you judge the success of your blog.
I've been blogging about running for about year. I'm shocked and thrilled by the growth of the blog. My goal for this year was to continue to grow the blog. People have told me how much they enjoy my posts and how my writing makes me seem real and down to earth to the reader. Recently, I was at a small local race and a woman came up to me and introduced herself. She told me she recognized me from my blog. I love connecting with other runners. This has been a great experience for me.

What is the greatest joy you get from running?
I love to run fast and there is no better feeling than a hard, fast run. As I age, running makes me feel strong. Dare I say young?

What's one thing many people don't know about running?
Running does not ruin your knees. I can't believe how many people say that to me!

What's the biggest challenge you've had to overcome while running?
The voices inside my head that tell me I can't. They say running is 90% mental and it is true. I work as hard on training my mind as I do my body. My mantra for last year's marathon was "I can and I will."

What is the one mistake you've learned the most from?
I'm not good at taking time off from running. I continue to learn that lesson!

What advice would you give to someone trying running for the first time?
Run slow and walk when you have to. Set a time goal for yourself. Keep at it and eventually you will be running more than walking. Most people start out too fast and get fatigued really quickly.

What is the one piece of kit or equipment you'd never be without?
My iPhone. I have it for safety, but I listen to music when I run. I take pictures for my FB and IG pages. If I forget my Garmin, I can keep track of my run. It's really the all-around best thing to carry with me.

If money were no object, what piece of kit or equipment would you buy?
 I'd buy a Woodway treadmill. I don't love the treadmill but it's a necessary evil when you live in Chicago. I have a 17-year-old ProForm. It's a workhorse that's on belt number two and sometimes spits out pieces of plastic at me. I'd love a sweet ride like the Woodway....

What is the one book everyone should read about running?
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Best. book. ever.

Who do you think is the most inspirational figure in running?
This is a tough question. I don't think I could name just one person! Right now, I'm impressed by Shalane Flanagan. But I think about all the pioneering women who made it possible for us to run in road races and those women who are still racing in their 70s and 80s.  

Are you passionate about any activities besides running?
Yes! I love yoga. I also have a road bike which I can't wait to get back on and ride. I waterski in the summer; and yes I still slalom. I love to read.

What is your favorite quote, and what do you so like about it?
See question number 2 above.

What is at the top of your bucket list when it comes to running?
It's a stretch but I'd love to BQ. My coach thinks I could do it, and my BQ time is 4:00. It would be a dream come true. I'd also like to run the Big Sur Marathon.

What, if anything, did you most recently knock off your bucket list?
Running the Chicago Marathon with a 1h 10 min PR. It was sweet redemption from my disastrous past effort three years ago.

What is your least favorite word, and why?
Can't. When you say you can't do something, you've already made up your mind. I think you have to try something before you decide that you "can't."

What would your life be like without running?
I can't even imagine it. I think I'd be really sad.

Where is your favorite place to be?
The beach. Hands down. I love the beach.

Learn more about Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home.