Feature Friday: Run, Love And Live

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 Toni from Running, Loving Living.

Toni is a nurse, a wife, a mother of two and of course, a runner. She recently finished her first ever marathon in New York City and she uses her blog as a way to document her progress as well as inspire other athletes.

Read on to find out she balances work, motherhood, running, blogging and a happy and healthy lifestyle.

The Active Times: How did you first become involved in Running?
Toni: I started running at 19 after the birth of my first daughter.  I had never been active as a child due to severe asthma, but found running actually improved my condition and I have been running ever since.

What spurred you to start your blog?
I started my blog Running, Loving Living in January 2011 as a way to hold myself accountable while I trained for my second half marathon with a goal of running it in under 2 hours. I achieved this goal at the Long Island Half Marathon on May 1, 2011 with a time of 1:54:36. This journey reignited my passion for not only running but also for writing.

Describe in 140 characters or less how you judge the success of your blog.
I judge my success by the people who tell me I inspire them, it is not about the numbers, it is about the lives I have touched with my story.

What is the greatest joy you get from running?
Peace of mind!  Running is the only time that my mind is not going a thousand miles per minute, it is my time.

What advice would you give to someone trying running for the first time?
Start slow, too much too fast will lead to injuries, take it from someone who has been there.

What is the one piece of kit or equipment you'd never be without?
My sneakers!

What is the one book everyone should read about running? 
'The Long Run' by Matthew Long.  This is an inspirational story of how Matthew overcame severe injuries when he was hit by a bus on his bike during the NYC transit strike to become an Ironman again.  Matthew was an accomplished Ironman at the time of the accident who was told he would never walk, let alone run again.  Everyone should read his story because his accomplishments will both inspire and motivate you.

Who do you think is the most inspirational figure in running?
My personal inspiration for running was Grete Waitz.  Grete, who recently passed away from cancer, was one of the first elite female marathon runners.  She won her first marathon, NYC, in 1978 which was the year I was born.  She also broke the world record by more than two minutes and was the first woman to run the NYC marathon in under 2.5 hours.  Grete went on to win the NYC marathon 8 more times, a true legend and inspiration.

Are you passionate about any activities other than running?
I love yoga and CrossFit!  I also love cooking when I have the time.

What is at the top of your bucket list when it comes to running?
To qualify for the Boston Marathon.

What, if anything, did you most recently knock off your bucket list?
On November 2nd I completed my first marathon, NYC, with a time of 4:49:14.  I have always wanted to do at least one marathon and being a New Yorker the first had to be NYC.  This has been a bucket list item since I started running in 1997.

Where is your favorite place to be?
At home with my family.

To learn more about Toni, visit her blog at RunningLovingLiving.com.