Profiles in Running: Dawn Johnston

Dawn is a friend and coworker who is also a training buddy for this year’s Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon. Dawn’s no stranger to the Mini. She’s run it for the past two years, and I’m trying to convince her to take on the big one with me this fall. Dawn loves the Kentucky Wildcats almost as much as I do. And she’s an accomplished painter, which you can read about at her blog – A Year of Paintings.

Dawn after her first half-marathon

How long have you been running?
About 2 and a half years. Off and on.

Why do you run?
I started running to win a weight-loss contest at work. I kept it up because I’m goal oriented. I run to train for something larger like the annual half-marathon that I have run for the past two years. I would like to say that I carry on after the race because of how great I feel, because I do feel great. However, without something to train toward, I usually fall off of the wagon.

How much do you run each week?
When I’m training I will run two short runs during the week (2-5 miles each) and then larger runs on Saturdays. Those will start at 3 miles or so and work up to 12 before the half-marathon in April.

Which is a better result of running regularly – being able to escape a pack of zombies (the Night of the Living Dead plodders – not the speedsters in 28 Days Weeks Later) or being able to eat more because you’re burning a ton of calories?
Well, I’m a pretty slow runner. The zombies might be able to lap me, so I will go with being able to eat more.

Best tip for a new runner?
Get a training partner. One that matches you not only in ability, but in personality and running philosophy. It will make the good runs spectacular and the bad runs something to laugh about later.

Would you rather: run an entire 5K naked or run an entire marathon wearing just one shoe?
Oh, the marathon with just one shoe, definitely. I’m not running anywhere without my super-trusty-stabilizing-save-my-poor-back sports bra.

Describe your perfect run.
Outside. Cool or cold weather. I don’t enjoy running when it’s above 75 outside. And the whole run would be in that zone where you’ve hit your stride after you’re good and warmed up

What race is most memorable to you? Why?
Finishing my first half-marathon. Crossing that finish line with my friend, Amie, and getting the medal was one of the best moments of my life. Never again will I ever doubt that there’s anything I cannot do.

Any race day horror stories?
It was the Papa John’s 10-miler. I was at mile 9. I crossed over the Central Avenue bridge which has a very deceptively difficult incline to it. Crossing the bridge wiped me out. I was on fumes. I was at the corner of the last turn before the entrance to the stadium where the finish line was. I was in tears. I was not going to make it and I was devastated. I had worked so hard and I was about to fail. Out of nowhere, my friend Eileen, who finished with the race and was on her way out to her car appeared. She knew this was my first race and was thrilled for me that I was about to finish. I don’t think she knew that I was at the point of dropping and quitting. She cheerfully turned and ran with me until I hit the turf of the stadium. Once I hit that point I knew that there was nothing that was going to stop me from finishing. She saved my race that day and I’ll never forget that. I believe with my whole heart that I would not have finished if she had not come along.

What races would you like to run?
The Tough Mudder. It’s a 10-mile muddy run/obstacle course. I’ve been told I’m a little off my rocker.

Profiles in Running is a biweekly effort (published every other Wednesday) to showcase other runners on this blog, regardless of his/her skill level or experience. Know someone who should be featured? Drop me a line.


8 responses to “Profiles in Running: Dawn Johnston

  1. One of the things I admire most about Dawn (besides her amazing talent as an artist) is her ability to BE a little off her rocker and still, well, ROCK!

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