Juliet Okpalanma

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Finally, I get to do this... 

This has been the worst week ever! Sleep was a rumour. 

I believe there is more to running than running and I continue to experience that every day. I am loving the running scene in the NYC always such a pleasure to read their running thoughts. 

I don't know they just kinda own the running in the city thing!

Q. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for a living? 
My name is Juliet and I’m a Brooklyn resident who works with international citizens that wish to intern or trainee with companies here in the U.S. Born and bred in NYC, I’ve spent a lot of time elsewhere (Connecticut, Central NY, Peru and Spain) and am happy to be back in my city. 

I’ll be going back to school for my Master’s in International Education this fall. In my free time, I enjoy searching for cheap travel deals, reading works of fiction and indulging my sweet tooth.

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life?
I think of exercise as something that is mandatory rather than optional. I usually plan out my week exercise wise on Sunday evenings and do everything I can to stick to it during the week. I don’t think I would be as effective professionally if I didn’t exercise.

When and why did you start running?
I’ve always been a runner. I ran Track in high school and ran on and off during college and in the years after. After moving back to NYC from Spain in 2012, I searched for a group I could run with in an effort to stay in shape. I found that group with Nike Flatiron’s run club and took it from there. Running then morphed into a form of therapy when my professional life became rocky and I started exploring the next steps in my career.

What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it?
I think about how good I’ll feel when I’m done. I never regret a workout after I’m done and that feeling is usually enough to get me going.

What is the longest distance you have ran?
13.1 miles

What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?
It’s something I never thought about. I just do it. I have as much right to be in the streets as the walkers or bikers do. I also like to think that my presence motivates someone else to start running. It’s awesome when someone comes up to me at a light and asks about the group I’m running with or for tips.

What do you think about the lack of exercise among the youth? 
It’s something I can’t really comprehend. Growing up in NYC, I was always outside riding my bike, rollerblading, racing my mom’s minivan, swimming, dancing, etc. With such an active childhood, it’s disconcerting to hear and learn that there are children who don’t have that kind of activity in their lives. 

It’s a complex issue with no easy solutions but I’m really happy that it’s become one that people are paying more attention to.

What was your best running experience?
This run back in February comes to mind. It was a pretty normal long run (12 miles) but I remember starting out annoyed that I was running. On days like that it helps tremendously to run with a group or a few other people, which I did. I was able to strike up a conversation with a few people., and the miles flew by. Midway through I noticed that I was moving at a great pace. I finished that run with a great kick and I felt invincible.

What was your worst running experience?
Two weeks before my Brooklyn half. I set out to do 10 miles for my long run but my legs weren’t cooperating. I was 2 mins slower than my average pace, my legs felt heavy, and my allergies were killing me. I ended up cutting the run short halfway through, but I felt so defeated and was worried about how I would do in my half. Looking back, I think I suffered from overtraining.

How do you push through the pain?
I remind myself that the pain is temporary and I always have more to give.

What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running? 
Start small and take it as slow as you need to. It’s easy to get caught up in what other people are doing, but that’s also the fastest way to hurt yourself. Make sure to listen to your body and rest when appropriate. Also, hit up your closest running store and talk to someone about the proper gear. Having the right footwear/clothes can make all the difference. P.S. Stretching is life.

Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you?

Instagram: @jujuberunnin

My best running shoes is …Brooks PureFlow 3

I love running because …it’s therapy, freedom and fun all in one.

Injury is …my worst fear. I do my best to avoid it!

My body is …powerful.

My running playlist has … Beyonce (duh) and Soca.

I hate running when …it’s on a treadmill.

Pain is …challenging and humbling but temporary.

The road … is mine to follow…or not.

Sweat is … proof of a good workout.

In future, I would like to run …for years to come. (Not much of a racer!)

Indie means … coloring outside of the lines.

I do not like runners who … are too cool for school.


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