“One in the same, two of a kind”
This week is a continuation of my new interview series on the blog. I’m super excited about this month’s featured fit gal.
On the surface, she and I have a ton in common. We’re both runners, bloggers, and have fur babies – specifically, we’re mamas who love to run with our fur kids. Interviewing her and diving a little deeper, I got an up-close-and-freaky view of just how similar we are. Blog pals, I’m pleased to introduce you to: Lea Genders!
(First similarity: We share a first initial. So I had to go all first-and-last initial on this one)
LB: What’s your fitness background – were you always an athlete?
LG: I played on the neighborhood softball team as a kid and quickly figured out that organized sports were not for me – I’ve always been awkward and uncoordinated. Lucky for me running is the perfect sport for us awkward/uncoordinated types, but I didn’t discover my love for running and fitness until I was in my 30s. I became a personal trainer and running coach at 40.
LB: Yes, why is it so many of us discover our love for running late in life?!
LG: I know, I started running about 10 years ago because I wanted to lose a few pounds. I had no idea that it would become a lifestyle and define my identity.
(Sounds familiar…a little too familiar)
LB: What distances have you raced?
LG: I am the Half Marathon Queen, it’s my favorite distance! It’s long enough to feel like a major accomplishment, but the training doesn’t take over my life.
LB: Are there any races that stand out?
LG: I love a race-cation. I ran Las Vegas last year with the Rock n Roll marathon series and it was an amazing way to see the strip at night!
Crossing the finish line at the Pittsburgh half marathon last year holding my husband’s hand during his first-ever half marathon was one of my highlights of 2015.
LB: Cleary you do a lot of running; what are your weekly workouts like? Take me through a typical week in the ShredShed!
(For those who don’t follow Lea, she has a gym in her backyard – the ShredShed)
LG: I usually do three high intensity interval training sessions a week that include treadmill intervals and weight circuits in the ShredShed. When I’m training for a race, I do a long run on the streets on Saturdays. I take it easy in between my hard workouts with walking, stretching and restorative Yoga.
LB: This is awesome and we’re already talking about everything I love so let’s keep that going and talk about something I know we both love – blogging! What inspired you to start your blog?
LG: I’ve been blogging for about five years. I started out with a music blog, but then I started writing more about running than music, so my second blog was my first running blog. It was through that blog that I discovered and fell in love with the online running community.
LB: And it was originally titled, “Running for Dummies” right? Tell me about that title and how it became “Running with Ollie”
LG: Yes! Running for Dummies was my baby. I named my blog on a whim back when no one was reading except my bloodline, so I didn’t think too much about the name. After a couple years, when my blog started growing rapidly, I got nervous that the ‘for dummies’ book people could shut it down because they own the copyright to that phrase. We just had adopted Ollie at that time and I decided he would make the perfect blog mascot. I rebranded as Running with Ollie and began my new blogging niche, running with dogs.
LB: Now let’s talk about something else we both love – dogs! What’s your favorite part about running with your dog?
LG: Ollie is the best. Oh wait, that was a typo. Ollie is a beast! The best thing about running with my dog is that I always have a willing running partner! I wish I could bottle and sell his enthusiasm for running, I’d be rich!
(Does she know Burton? We could have a million dollar idea on our hands)
LB: And I think I already know this but what’s the toughest part about running with Ollie?
LG: Did I mention Ollie is a beast? He is so strong! We had an incident when Ollie dragged me off my feet and through the mud (at a race in front of people) in pursuit of his nemesis, the Great Dane. Shortly after, we got him fitted for a harness so I could stay in control. Beast.
(The first time Burton went to the dog park, he engaged in tug-of-war with – you guessed it – a Great Dane. Little fella even won.)
LB: How much are you loving Lea Genders Fitness? That’s fairly new for you, right?
LG: Yes! thanks for asking! I launched Lea Genders fitness (www.leagendersfitness.com) last July when I became a personal trainer and a running coach, as a way to promote my services locally in Fort Worth and online. I specialize in strength training for runners because running is my passion and I know fitting in strength training can be a struggle for runners. Just a couple of strength training sessions a week can help runners become faster, fitter and less prone to injury.
(I also love strength training and believe in the power of it for runners – have I mentioned we’re really alike?)
LB: We’re almost done, I just have my three final, most major questions!
LB: My most important question: What is your favorite food? Or foods!
LG: Oh, my favorite topic, food! Sushi and pepperoni pizza are my favorite indulgent foods! I make healthy food choices most of the time, but I always save room for pizza!
(Sushi, pizza, and someone who shares my love of all things food. Yaaasss)
LB: Do you have a personal “slogan” or quote that you really believe in?
LG: I love this one from John Bigham. I don’t like when I hear someone say, “I am not a real runner.”
“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”
― John Bingham
(Um, yes I understand – I wrote a blog on THIS VERY TOPIC)
LB: We’ve reached the part in the interview called, “Anything but the Obvious” – what’s something totally unrelated to fitness and all the obvious stuff, that you’d want people to know about you?
LG: I am a Jack White fanatic. If it were socially acceptable for a married 40ish year old woman to have a poster of a rock star on her bedroom wall, I’d have Jack White. Remember that first music blog I mentioned? It was dedicated to Jack White and his music.
A final fun fact about Lea – one of the first blogs I ever posted was a link back to hers because she featured Burton and me on her blog. Neat, right?!
Lea left me one final note, “Thanks so much for interviewing me and featuring me on your blog. This was fun!”
I love her. She’s the coolest.