This is the fourth in an ongoing series of short profiles highlighting an ardent local running enthusiast. Up today: DANIELLE WALTHER, a 28-year-old Charlotte lawyer who is currently atop the female leaderboard in Run For Your Life's 2009 Grand Prix Series.
When and why did you start running: July 1995, as part of tryouts for high school soccer. I will always remember those blisters. But I soon realized I liked running a lot more than soccer and joined the track team.
What you love about running: I love the way running makes me feel strong and the way it helps me relax; it's like an old friend at this point.
What you hate about running: There is nothing I really hate about running. Some days I dislike the run I had or how tired I felt or the weather, but I wouldn't say I hate it. What I do hate are drivers who run red lights and nearly hit me on a daily basis. The red light means stop.
Current running shoes: Saucony ProGrid Guide 2. These are my first pair of Saucony running shoes and I love them. They are the most comfortable running shoes I have ever worn! (Thanks to the folks at Run For Your Life, who helped select them for me.)
Do you have a standard running route in Charlotte? I have a few variations on routes that include Cedar and Morehead streets. I am learning new routes from running with Charlotte Running Club, which helps to keep running for getting monotonous. I also enjoy running at the McAlpine Creek Greenway; hopefully the bridge out there gets repaired soon.
Favorite annual N.C. race: This is a hard question, but I will narrow it down to two. The Corporate Cup Half-Marathon because I enjoy the longer distance. And, despite the fact that it doesn't seem to like me, I love the uptown Twilight 5K. It is great to see so many people out running even if I never seem to run that race well. The after-party/free beer is also a nice bonus.
Favorite distance: My favorite distance is the half-marathon; the 5k is a close second. I love the longer distance and challenge of the half-marathon. The 5k is great because it is easy to fit the training into your life and the races are usually fun. Plus, they are over quickly.
PR for that distance: Half-marathon: 1:31:38. 5K: 18:18; my fastest post-collegiate 5K is 18:56. I'm hoping to get down into the low 18s again.
Running moment you'll never forget: I got engaged while running! I knew he had the ring and thought he would never be able to surprise me. I was wrong. On October 17, 2008 in the middle of our morning run on Cedar Street, a beautiful view of the city just as the sun was coming up. That is a moment I will never forget.
Running moment you'd like to forget: I had an asthma attack in the middle of a race in college and dropped out. To this day it is the only time I have started a race and not finished.
Are you a morning or an evening runner? I prefer running in the morning, but I run both before and after work; it's hard to fit in enough miles otherwise. On the weekends, I run whenever it best fits into my schedule.
What's your personal hydration strategy and dress code during Charlotte's summers? I drink water constantly during the day, so I don't bring water on most of my runs. On the weekend, I do long runs at the McAlpine Creek Greenway, and usually run my second lap with a water bottle. I'm definitely going to look into the water belt. Shorts and dry wick shirts are my standard outfit.
Do you listen to music while you run? Why or why not? Not usually. I like music while I run, but I prefer running with others and talking. The time seems to go faster that way.
How do you feel about running skirts? I think they're great -- on other people.
What's next on your race calendar? The Run For Your Life/Run For Your Cause 4-Miler followed by the rest of the GPX races, and the Steamtown Marathon in Pennsylvania. I am training/pacing with someone to try and help them qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Know of another running fool? Tell me about him or her in an e-mail to email@example.com.