Rocking Runner of the Week: April Groves

Mrs. April Groves after finishing the Little Tybee Conquest 10.6 mile Beach run

Mrs. April Groves after finishing the Little Tybee Conquest 10.6 mile Beach run

The latest Rocking Runner of the Week is one of those amazing types that seem able to accomplish anything.  She is a wonderful lady and dear friend.  She is fairly new to running (2 years) and yet has accomplished a great deal as a runner.  I think the world of her as most people do.

Please take a few moments and get to know a little more about the amazing mother/business lady/athlete/ultra-badass, – Mrs. April Groves, modern day Wonder Woman.

April's first marathon, the Rocking and Rock 2011 marathon where she finished just below 4 hours.

April’s first marathon, the Rocking and Rock 2011 marathon where she finished just below 4 hours.

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  • Name: April Groves
  • How long have you been running? 2 years. August is my runnerversary month.
  • What brought you to running? My expanding waistline and the crazy voices in my head.
  • What do you get from running? Growing up, I was never really good at any sport. I am spatially challenged, I don’t have very good balance, and I am dangerously uncoordinated. In the Navy we had to run. That took all the fun out of it. Now, as a 37 year old mother of four, running has given me a whole new way to test my limits – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It has been the catalyst to being a better wife, mother, and person. I am healthier and stronger so I can be a better version of myself to people who need it. I am the most comfortable in my own skin I have ever been, so I can dream bigger and strive harder. I have hurt, fallen short, and been bested, so I can offer compassion, grace, and encouragement at a level that I had never been capable of before. I have done more than I thought I could do, so I can honor myself and my being in a way that had never felt authentic before. Running has given me my real self.
  • What kind of runner are you (5k demon, 10k road runner, half marathon madman/woman, marathon zombie, ultra-nutjob, make up your own description)? I enjoy the variety that being a runner affords. I think I am a, “Hey, how would it be if we ran that?” kind of runner.
  • Are you a trail runner or road runner? Yes.
  • Do you race?  favorite race?  Why is that your favorite race & how many times have you run that race? Lowcountry Ultras’ Cremator 50 Mile Endurance race probably holds the title of my favorite race. I first had the opportunity to volunteer there in 2012. It changed my whole outlook on what running could be. It introduced me to the folks who would become like family to me. It inspired me to think bigger than I had ever really thought before. When I had the chance to actually run it this year, it did not disappoint. It was, even with its challenges, one of the best runs of my life.
  • If you could run any race in the whole world which would it be and why? The Connemara 100 in Ireland. Why? Duh – Irish pubs!!
  • How many times do you run per week and what is your weekly mileage average? Erm…action movies and margaritas by the pool…as good answers as anything else I could say to this question. I am not a very disciplined runner. It’s a goal. I am failing.
  • Favorite running shoe?  Why? My feet. I LOVE to run barefoot. I feel like I am 8 years old and breaking the law! However, it gets a little sore on most surfaces. So, if the surface is real bumpy, I have a pair of Merrell Mix Masters with a 4mm drop and a more substantial sole. But, I am usually in my Vibrams. I just grabbed a new pair of KomodoSport LS. I am kinda in love.
  • Do you have any specific running goal? I want to be able to run a 50 miler whenever I want. I want to be the kind of runner where a buddy can call me up at a moments notice and need a training partner, pacer, crew, company, whatever, and I can say “Yes!” regardless of a point on a training schedule. And I want to be able to run every day of my life. I may not choose to run everyday – but I hope very much that it will always be an option.
  • What is a running milestone of yours? Pr and such? My 10k PR is 49:22 which I snagged 3rd in division at Tybee Runfest weekend. My 26.2 PR is a glorious 3:59:43 (I never knew I could be so grateful for 17 seconds!) at RnR Savannah in 2012. Winning the Inaugural Little Tybee Conquest was an amazing high. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would actually win a race.
  • Please share a funny and/or an interesting moment you’ve experienced running (could be racing or training) There are really so many. The beautiful thing about running is the friendships, the experiences, the memories. I guess the time I really enjoyed everything that running could be all in one run was during a long run with my running bestie, Verity Gray. We met up to do a 22 mile training run through downtown Savannah. It was an amazing run through the squares, along River Street, back up through Daffin and Memorial Trail. Great friend, great views, great run. Towards the end of the run we started to get hungry and I had to buy a communion veil from a downtown shop. So we spent the last mile literally running errands. We were running through the streets of Savannah towards VegHeads with a shopping bag. We forgot to stop our watches while we ate lunch in the Square, so the last mile clocked at a 25 min/mile pace! The last quarter mile was spent walking, talking, and eating a cupcake from Sweet Caroline’s as it happened to be Vegan Cupcake Thursday!
  • Do you have any training tips you would like to share? Just be you. Running so so amazingly personal. There is just no way to stay tuned to the way you are beautifully and wondrously made as an original if you are letting all the “oughts” and “have tos” mess with your brain. There are wonderfully smart, helpful, amazing runners out there. By all means, listen to them. But, at the end of the day, your race is yours, your body is yours, your heart is yours. My running happy may not be your running happy and that is okay. A sister belief for me to that is I cannot be the best runner I can be if I don’t do just as much to help others as I do to help myself. All the personal training in the world is not going to get me to where I want to be if I am not encouraging and supporting others along the way. The spirit must be even stronger than the body.

Please name three inspirational runners to you and why they are inspirational (they can be famous, family, friends).

  1. Kelley Wells – I first met Kelley when I volunteered at the Cremator 50 miler. I had just heard of “Ultra” and had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to see anyone who looked like me. There was just no way. But here comes Kelley. All smiles and happy. About my age, about my build, a husband, four children, running 50 miles in the South Carolina heat like it was a walk in the park. Always happy, always friendly, having the time of her life. I went home and told my husband, “I want to do that, I know how I want to do it, and I saw somebody today that showed me it was possible.” I had the opportunity to run with Kelley at this year’s Cremator. I was nervous and she was gracious. Her encouragement and friendship allowed me to get comfortable, get confident, and set me up for the best run of my life. Then we drank beer.
  2. Melissa Groves – My sister in law has the heart of a lion. While she will rock your world on a core workout and leave you crying to complete a HIIT cycle, running is hard for her. She has some body temperature and hydration challenges that we just haven’t figured out yet. But she keeps pressing forward. She runs with me anyway. Running when it is easy is awesome. Running when it is hard is the true measure of greatness. She inspires me to get over myself and put in the training. She reminds me that hard isn’t what matters – dedication is.
  3. Sandra Elliott – If you ever need an example of what selfless giving to others looks like, look no further than Sandra. She is appreciative of every step she is able to take and never fails to encourage and empower every single person around her. Sandra never appears swayed by the negative. There is always positive purpose as far as she is concerned and she is going to pass that on to the people around her. She works tirelessly to help others do what they never thought they could, overcome challenges they thought too daunting, and dispel misconceptions that keep them from their goals. Just being around her makes me want to be a better person.

Any favorite quote that lends itself to your running and/or philosophy on life?  Please share.

  • Jeremiah 29:11-13 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'”This is my passage for life in general. For running in particular, it reminds me that there will be easy runs and tough ones. Sometimes I will hurt. Sometimes I will think that there is just nothing else in me. When it is wonderful, I give thanks. When it is tough, I trust. At all times I continue to seek and know He is there.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

  • I believe in Bigfoot – I saw him hiding in Whole Food parking lot on my way back from the Tybee Conquest. He didn’t look happy.

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April, a few months after the RnR Savannah Marathon, after completing her very first 50k ultra marathon!

April, a few months after the RnR Savannah Marathon, after completing her very first 50k ultra marathon!

Well, there you have it, our Rocking Runner of the Week, Mrs. April Groves, aka. Super Woman, Wonder Woman, Dr. Jean Grey all in one!

I wonder what’s next on her “to do list”?  With April, the sky’s the limit…

Thanks for stopping.

peace,

dh

08/24/2013

 

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