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Wearsafe Running Ambassador Spotlight: Leslie S.

Meet Leslie S., one of our Wearsafe Running Ambassadors.

Leslie has been racing and coaching running teams for over 20 years! Learn more about her running routines, goals and her first hand review of the Wearsafe personal running safety device.

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Name:
Leslie S.
 
Age:
46
 
Home Base:
West Hartford, CT (but anywhere on a beach mentally :) )
 
Where to find her:
When Leslie isn’t running, you can find her at: Barre44
 
Favorite song to run to?
 
Run solo or with others?
Solo, I run with a heavy strike that can just plain scare people. But I'm not opposed to running with a group, especially my MTP's:) (my marathon training peeps).
 
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Leslie (far left) at the Barre 44 Studio in Avon, CT
 
How long have you been running & why do you love it?

My love of running started in 6th grade during a town wide track meet. But "long distance love" began as a result of college gymnastics. After completing stadium steps and timed miles among other distances, I realized it was the most rewarding component of practice. That was 28 chronological years ago, 95 in "running years" :). Running is therapy. Running is a way to put life into perspective. I run because heart disease "runs" in my family and for others that cannot run. I run for those who are less fortunate, less healthy or may struggle in ways that are not apparent, and may not be able to put one foot in front of the other. Demonstrating a healthy lifestyle for my children is important, as well as teaching them you can do anything you put your mind to; and lastly, I run for my cancer families- the ones who smile even though it would be easier to frown, the ones who have a positive outlook on life when it would be easier to give up.

 
What was your biggest achievement as a runner? What obstacles did you overcome to get there?
Boston Marathon, 2000. After having a cesarean birth in March of '99 it was difficult to run, let alone train for a marathon the following April, my marathon debut. I was accepted as part of a Hartford Track Club program. The training weather that year was brutal. Snow and cold temperatures made 2 hour treadmill runs a must. As a result of my charity case, my spot was with those running for regular charities...waaayyyy in the back. At that time you sat in corrals for hours and waited in the cold rain and 40 degrees. It felt like 20 degrees and in my head it was blizzard conditions requiring a snowsuit. I would have rather had another c-section at that moment than freeze in a corral. After 3 miles of walking the field split and water stations staggered both sides of the street. First time runners didn't realize that. So I tripped over someone who crossed diagonally (frantically trying to reach water), and quite ungracefully, fell flat on my face. Funny if you are watching, not funny if you are the one experiencing it. My leggings ripped, my knees bled and my hands were scraped, bloody and filled with tiny pebbles. Needless to say the rain hid my tears. So I kept running and ran a 3:31. Not bad for a first marathon, giving birth, falling and being a wimpy, warm weather distance runner.
 
But that above is a running obstacle, which doesn't really count. The real test of mental running strength was the Hartford Half Marathon after 9/11. That October it was still raw. After losing some friends I decided to dedicate that race to Mark Ludvigsen, a good friend who was in the WTC; and to my family serving our country. With Mark's picture on my shirt, I heard shouts of "way to go Lud, go USA" (which made me smile because Lud was also a Canadian citizen). To experience the running community coming together during a rough time in our country is like being on top of the world. There is nothing like it. However, that test of mental fortitude is diminutive compared to what others endure, especially my cancer clients. Nothing. But I thank others for making me appreciate exactly how fortunate I am.
 
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Leslie at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas.
 
If you could relive any race you’ve done in the past, which would it be?
 
Are you training for any upcoming races? If so, which one(s)?
Oh dear...this is being published? That makes it real. Lyme Rock ½, ...and the 2017 New York Marathon, but that's a secret. Shhhhhh!
 
What’s the biggest race on your bucket list?
Any Ultra. It's running for the pure sake of running. It's slow and steady, like Forrest Gump. My hero.
 
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Favorite way to fuel up: Before, During, & After?
I'm a trainer. Do as I say not as I do. Coffee, coffee and coffee. Do not try this at home.
 
What’s your go-to spot for awesome running gear?
 
What's your favorite brand of running shoes?
Mizuno. They are one of a few brands who carry AA, for string bean feet.
 
What are a few of your favorite running blogs?
 
What are your running essentials?
Nuun in my Nathan run belt. Multiple Layers. Padded, ankle height run socks (most real runners do not like these) Run Gum. My husband and family at the finish line. And Coffee. Did I mention coffee?
 
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How has Wearsafe changed your fitness routine?
"Wear" do I begin? For the past few years I gave up racing. The amount of time it took to train and the early morning/late evening runs were "wearing" on me, especially my hips. Oftentimes I called for rides half way through runs. However, Wearsafe has changed that. My comfort level for training distance increased. Albeit I am still vigilant and not superhuman, I know that if assistance is needed the Wearsafe network is at my fingertips. Additionally, my daughter is taking it to college so I know there will be another layer of security for her.
 
What’s your favorite thing about Wearsafe?
Other than the fact it is user friendly, the packaging. It's a gift in of itself.
 
 
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What’s your favorite way to wear your Tag?
If it came as a small nose ring, I'd wear it because I love it that much. But it doesn't. Typically it is clipped to my pocket!
 
What are your running goals for 2017?
To feel decent after a race. Don't panic if you find me throwing up in bushes, it's completely normal. But if you have new kicks... do not stand nearby. My goal is to complete the New York Marathon, feel good, and to be capable of having a lucid conversation afterward with family and friends. The running group would like my goal to be a sub 3:30, so I will include that for them.
 
 
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Leslie at the Barre 44 Studio in Avon, CT
 
Where do you look for fitspiration?
My mother. She is a rockstar and takes Barre, Pilates, walks, plays tennis and plays golf. My father. He survived heart disease several times over. My husband and children and brothers~ all multi-sport athletes. And Larry Bird.
 
In terms of professional inspiration, the American College of Sports Medicine. As a fellow member and licensed professional, this group is highly educated, inspiring and knowledgeable. If you are an exercise geek like myself, you will love their periodicals, conferences and hints and tips; exercise IS medicine.
 
What was the best training advice you ever received?
Don't start out too fast.
 
What advice would you give to new runners, or people just getting back into running?
Listen to your body, it's voice is loud for a reason. Take one step at a time. Just put one foot in front of the other and soon you will be running distance. Don't focus on what you didn't do that day, or what you can't do, focus on what you accomplished.
 

Stay tuned for our next Wearsafe Running Ambassador Spotlight! To learn more about #TeamWearsafe and #ReclaimYourRun, email us at ambassadors@wearsafe.com

Solving a Problem as Old as Time: Calling for Help
#WeRunSafe: Supporting the freedom to run safe and do what we love.

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