My name is Mireille and I am a Cameroonian born/ Los Angeles raised runner/dancer/daughter/sister/friend and future health care clinician. I like hanging out with old friends and new people, practicing personal development, and as you can probably guess- running. Ice cream is my not-so-guilty pleasure and I LOVE sleep!
When did you start running and what inspired you to start?
I started running in high school. Instead of doing regular PE my junior year, I decided to join the track team as most of my friends were on it. Back then, speed and shorter distances were enough for me. I did not continue running immediately after high school, but my interest was reignited while majoring in Exercise Science in undergrad. We were required to complete a course that measured our level of fitness such as strength and cardiovascular health. We would build up our mileage periodically, and our class final included a timed 5k run. Living away from home and eating dorm food did take a toll on my prior level of fitness from high school. So, you could say my inspiration for running is rooted in wanting to obtain a healthier lifestyle. Even after I completed the course, I started running 5ks at the school gym on my own. My very first running goal was to do it in 30 minutes!
What has been the biggest lesson running has taught you?
Running has taught me many things, but I would consider one of the biggest lessons to be “you’ve always got more to give.” That goes for the hard runs and the runs when you feel you can go on forever. We all have that little extra push in us, it’s just a matter of reaching down and pulling it out of ourselves.
How do you stay motivated to keep running on days you don’t want to get out the door?
I stay motivated to keep running on the difficult days by reminding myself that the act of running is a privilege. Very few of us HAVE to do it, and there are a number of those who CAN’T. But I remember my goals, why I’m training, and remind myself that I GET to do this. Seeing as this always wasn’t the case, I often pull from my own life experience. I’ve been living with Lupus since 2013 and running was practically non-existent in the first year and a half of treatment. In late 2014, I decided to try again, even if was just half a mile or one mile. I went from being barely able to walk to now having two full marathons under my belt! I have motivation for days, and I love sharing it with others.
What has been the biggest challenge for you when it comes to running?
The biggest challenge for me when it comes to running has been getting used to how my body functions and feels during a run. There are a lot of things that set you apart from the runner next to you. What works for you, may not work for them and vice versa. I believe in trying different approaches to training and nutrition to find what works for you and makes you a stronger runner. Another challenge used to be the fear of pushing myself. I was afraid that if I tried to run with a faster group or run a little longer, I wouldn’t make it or I would get injured. But it was getting outside of my comfort zone that has made all the difference.
Who has been your biggest inspiration to get you going?
My biggest inspiration is not one person specifically but the community of runners, especially the run families in Los Angeles. People come from all walks of life and I think it’s beautiful that we can pause our separate lives for a couple hours and do something we all love. You may not get to know everyone personally, but we still celebrate each other’s accomplishments nonetheless. Seeing others put in the time for their training or goals inspires me to do the same.
What are your favorite shoes to run in?
I am not sure if I can say I have an absolute favorite right now. I have been experimenting this year and rotating between Nike Pegasus, Adidas Ultraboost, Hoka Clifton 4, and APL Techloom Phantom. The shoe I end up running with depends on the workout for that day.
What does healthy mean to you?
To me, being healthy means being well in mind, body, and soul. I believe we get out of our bodies what we put in. I do my best to eat nutritious foods, meditate daily, and take time to do other things I enjoy like reading or catching up with friends, and cross-training. The little things add up and it’s what you do day after day that make up a whole year. So always be mindful of your food, thoughts, and heart.
How has running affected other aspects of your life?
Running has enhanced the other aspects of my life. It is the ability to trickle into everything else you do and change your perspective. I would say that time management and discipline are the two areas that have shown the most growth since I started running/training more seriously. Setting a schedule at the beginning of each week lets me see realistically where I have time to do my run, work, study, or plan other things.
What advice do you have for new runners?
First, congrats on making what’s sure to be one of the best decisions of your life. Things might not be glamorous in the beginning, but everything will improve with time, patience, and discipline. Never listen to yourself during the warm up- I promise you you’re not actually dying. I encourage you to find a community but if you prefer running on your own for now, that’s perfectly fine. Eat well, stay hydrated, and most importantly HAVE FUN.