Today, we start a series following Gina’s journey from novice to NYC Marathon. Gina works as a program manager for an intensive children’s mental health program. She also runs an overnight camp for children who have been affected by addiction in their family. She finds herself with stressful days and on call, which occasionally affects her running. She’ll be running the New York City Marathon and fundraising for Eluna Network.
From Novice to NYC Marathon: Gina’s Journey
What is your running background?
I started running in 2015 when I was 27. I’m a pretty unlikely runner — I never played sports but did dance and musical theater in high school and college. I was working in a residential treatment center for teenagers with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders in Oakland, CA. While there, I convinced the leadership team it would be a great idea to take a group of boys to run the Oakland 5k. I probably ran a total of like 10 miles before that race. They had a blast, and I loved running (and races). I did a couple of half marathons that year and ran with the kids at work at least once a week. That part was really rewarding. I ran very casually for a few years while in grad school. For the past few years, I have picked back up training and racing consistently.
How did you choose NYCM?
I have been itching to do a marathon with considerable race experience just in case I’m one and done. I’ve tried to get into NYCM via the lottery for 3 or 4 years. I’m from New Jersey (now live in WA state) and have a lot of family in the area. All those connections got my heart set on racing NYC. After I didn’t get in this year, I was allowed to fundraise for a nonprofit I am involved with, and here we are.
What is your goal for the race?
Mainly to get through training injury free and to finish the race feeling strong. I’ve heard that I should not have a time goal for my first marathon, so I’m trying to keep that in mind for now.
What do you do for work? How do you think it will affect training?
I am a program manager for an intensive children’s mental health program. My job includes managing a team of 10 therapists, care coordinators, and peer counselors working with children. These children have complex cognitive and behavioral health needs. I fit training in pretty well before work (super morning person), but I can’t always control how busy my work days are. There can be late nights and pretty stressful days. I’m also on call and can end up working after hours. I’ve felt work stress creep into my training. In addition to that, I also work at an overnight camp for children affected by addiction in their family. This is loosely associated with my work and is also part of the non-profit organization I’m fundraising for Eluna Network.
Camp is fantastic and a highlight for me, but I give up six weekends per year. This means that I have to plan training around having shorter weeks. Usually, that means fitting in a weekday long run or cutting out an easy run.
What does your training/running look like right now?
I’m in a fun run season right now since I just ran a half marathon in early May. That half-marathon was a PR and since then I’ve maintained a base of ~20 miles per week. Essentially, I’m running whenever I want. I will ramp up over the next month or so, and I’m starting my marathon training in mid-July. I’m also doing a Ragnar relay somewhere in there. This will help me to start getting in some longer runs to get ready for that.
We look forward to following Gina’s journey as you ramp up training in going from novice to NYC Marathon. We cannot wait to see how it goes!