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Open Mic Friday: Coach Koo

Open mic friday I can remember the day and moment I first read this month's ExtraOrdinary Runner Award story.  CoachKoo shared her story as part of one of our Take It and Run Thursday.  I remember it because I was so touched by her story and immediately sent her a note and asked her to share it in the Lounge as well because I think it is a story other runners would want to hear.   Coach Koo's story of why she runs is a testament to the healing power of running.  If you haven't read it yet, take time to read it today. 

Today's interview is with our winner, Coach Koo.  You may know her from her great blog, Chic Runner and as a treat today she shares more about her running and nonrunning life.

Welcome Coach Koo!


Congratulations on being the November Extraordinary Runners Award winner!  What more would you share about your story

The only other thing I have about my story is mostly just to keep going. Running was the outlet for me that helped me reorganize myself as a human being, and it allowed me to control something in my life, which at the time, I felt like I had lost. It allowed me a lot of me time, and allowed me to think and feel again. It was great to just be able to get away and just do my own thing, even if it was crying on a run, or just running really fast. It allowed me to find myself again.

I know you have run for many years, when did you know that you were a "runner"?
I felt like I realized my love for running when I began coaching and how much I loved to see the students succeed.  I wanted them to do have the same passion I did for running and I wanted to share my passionKoo2 with them. I remember after not running consistently for a while, after being at our first race of the season and hearing the gun go off, I got a little teary, which I totally wasn't expecting. After that I realized that I loved it, and I wanted to continue my running career.

What is your fondest running memory?
My fondest running memory is all of my high school races. I did really well in high school and I remember running my fastest race at league finals my junior year. I broke 20, and it was a great course and I made all league. It was just exciting to be able to race with my team and break 20 minutes for three miles.
How are you managing your runs and the holidays? Managing to get in a run in hard enough anytime of the year, but with the holidays you seem extra busy. I am putting in a lot of time at the gym and also fitting in a few more runs in the morning before work, and also reminding myself that I have to get out there and keep going no matter what day it is. I also do all my longer runs on the weekend, instead of trying to sneak one in at night, especially because it gets dark so early.

What are your current running goals?

Well right now I'm working on my 2009 race schedule and my next goal would be to finish my next ½ marathon in under 1:50. Then I want to run 1:45. It's going to be tough to shave that much time off, but I feel like it is a good attainable goal.

What's on your wish list for the holidays (running or nonrunning)?

My wish list includes a few DVDs and some running tights. I really couldn't think of anything I absolutely needed this year because I have come to realize how incredibly blessed I am to have so many rich things in my life. I am focusing more on giving back lately.

What are your holiday indulgences?

Candy. I love all types of Candy, not only holiday candy, but fudge is my weakness. I love eating in general so the holidays sometimes take a toll on my diet, that's why I know I have to get out there and run.

Tell us about your nonrunning life.

Koo1 My non-running life consists a lot of sports. I love watching football, and baseball. I have a wonderful    boyfriend whom I love and a very supportive family and a lot of really great friends. I love writing and reading books and am thinking about becoming a high school English teacher so I could go back to coaching, but we'll see. I am involved with my church as well by being a member of their writing team. I really like to go to the gym and also go to Taco Bell.

How do you like your job in advertising?  How has the switch been from college to full time employment?

I really, really enjoy my job at the advertising agency a lot. I work as an account coordinator and we do advertising for movies and it's fun and very different every day. I also really like the environment I work in and the people I work with are great and really easy to get along with. It's really fun to work with others and I really am glad I got to get my career started there. The switch from college to being a full time employee was quite a challenge, but I felt like I was ready for it. I knew I couldn't go out and get crazy like I did in college and I was ready for the transition I feel like. It was different the first few weeks after I started working again, but I knew what it would entail and I'm glad it happened in my life and I can deal with being employed and not 'wishing I was back in school'. I felt like it was a good time for me to 'grow up.'

What motivated to start your blog?

I started my blog because I felt like I needed to talk to others about running and why I ran. I never realized the support and community of runners out there. I really wanted to talk to others about running and though my family is supportive, not many others run so it's fun to talk about it and other people know what you're talking about.

What do you do when you aren't running?

When I'm not running, I am watching TV or just hanging out. I love hanging out with my friends and I work a lot, so that is also where you could find me, behind my desk.

What is your biggest running challenge?

My biggest running challenge is finding time to run. With work and the boyfriend, it's hard to find time toKoo3 get in a solid run that I feel really worked me out. I know it's because of bad excuses, and afterwards I'm always really glad that I did run, but it's my negative thinking of, Gosh I was so busy all day and now I seriously have to run? I know once I'm finished I feel refreshed and really great though.

Any running quirks?

I guess something that is kind of weird is that I have never run with water or fuel or GU of any kind. I never can run with anything besides my ipod.

What are some of your favorite running routes?

Along the beach path in the mornings on a Saturday or Sunday. I love the people who are so friendly, and just everyone out there doing their own thing. It's great to see so many people out exercising. It's like we are all in it together.

Any favorite races?

My favorite high school race was a 3 miler at Craig Park in Brea and also the "Jungle Run" at Carbon Canyon Park in Brea as well. My favorite race that I've run recently was the Long Beach ½, because it never thought I would be a ½ finisher.

Any favorite running fuel/drinks or post run fuel/drinks?

I love Purple Gatorade and I love Gu Shot Blox. They are delicious. I eat them as candy sometimes, which is so bad. I drink a TON of water so I like that too.

What is your best running lesson learned the hard way?

The best running lesson I learned the hard way is to just keep replacing your shoes or your feet are going to get torn up. I know I go through shoes so fast, but new shoes make all the difference on your body and I used to always get blisters and keep my shoes for well over 500 miles, and I always wondered why. Though expensive, just buy new ones!

What is one unique thing about you that most people don't know?

I actually was adopted, even though everyone says that I look just like my mom and my dad.

Who are some of your virtual running friends you would like to meet up and run with?

I would love to meet up with all the girls in San Fran. They all seem so nice and like we would get along, and I would love to run with Marcy, because she seems so funny and I would like to meet her kids because they sound way to funny. J Steve is super funny too, especially because he races in costumes. I would just like to run with everyone really. Everyone seems so nice and friendly and we are all crazy together.

What is the best running advice you have ever received?

The best advice I ever received was from my high school coach and he told me to just keep going. He told in races, just finish. Don't stop on the hill because it's a hill, you'll be done with it soon. Don't stop because you have a side ache, because it will be gone soon. Don't let that girl pass you because you think you're too tired. Stay with her. Push yourself. That was really great for me to hear because it made me more competitive in all aspects of my life. He gave me the idea that I could do anything I put my mind too.

What advice do you have for half marathoners?

Just get out there and run one! I never though I would have ever run one, but it's a great distance and it's fun to race. Once you start training for one, just keep your eyes on your goal, and you can totally finish it! The best feeling is finishing the race. Finishing my ½, I was thinking at the end, that was it? I'm done? It was great and rewarding and not even hard.

What advice do you have for other runners?

The advice I would give to other runners would be just to stick with it. Everyone has those bad runs and everyone has those good runs. Just listen to your body, and just go with it. Enjoy your running, because you never know when it will be taken away from you.


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YAYYYYY!!!!!!!!!! Great interview!! You are so inspiring + positive :)

Happy Runner

Thanks for the interview. She's terrific!

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