Laura G., a 6th grade student at The Speyer Legacy School for advanced learners is not your average 12-year-old girl. When Laura is not studying, playing with friends or dancing with the National Dance Institute’s Scholarship for The Willing, Achieving and Talented (S.W.A.T.) advanced team, she spends her time training for long distance races. On April 13, 2014, Laura was part of a team of 7 women who raced through NYC’s Central Park in the 11th Annual More Magazine & Fitness Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon. PALNYC sat down with Laura to get to know this unique girl and ask her about her experience training and running in her first half-marathon.
What made you decide to run a half-marathon?
My mom suggested it (she believes I’m a natural athlete) and I thought it would give me bragging rights.
How have you prepared for the race?
I trained for 3 months, running every Thursday in Central Park and doing long runs on Sundays using the Hudson River Greenway. The last month of training we did our long runs in Central Park so we could get use to ALL the hills! I take dance on Saturdays and enjoy P.E. at school to keep my body active. I also learned to hydrate and eat properly to keep my energy up.
What challenges have you faced while training?
Having to get up early every Sunday especially on race day was not fun. I also ran on Thursdays after a long day in school. But the biggest challenge of all was training my body to keep a pace so I could finish the long milage.
Who do you look to for support and guidance?
My mom. She is an experienced marathoner and trainer.
Any advice for other students like you who might want to train for a half-marathon?
First get advice from someone who has done it before. Run at least 2 times a week and do some type of physical activity daily on the days you are not running. Start with low milage and continue to add a little bit more distance every time you do a long run. But before the big race, reduce your mileage and get rest (called tapering) for the last two weeks before the race to save your energy and avoid getting injured.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by Kesha, a singer and songwriter. She says “No one should tell you what to do in life…and go for your dreams.”
What is your favorite thing to do with your friends?
I love going to friends houses to hang out and play games. Its kind of like reconnecting with them outside of school. Not having to do a specific thing is relaxing, and chatting with friends about the latest thing going on with their life is fun.
What would you do with a million dollars?
I would invest it in a house, bakery shop/ children’s comic book store.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I love Barnes and Noble! They have many books I’ve been dying to read, and I usually talk my mother into buying a book or two. They are also usually near some of my favorite eating places: Whole Foods and Chipotle.
What would you like to be/do when you get older?
I want to become an entrepreneur and own a bakery/children comic book store. I love working with my hands, reading comics and science fiction books and chatting with people. I find these activities a lot of fun!
What makes you YOU?
My love for Doctor Who, a science fiction series that is funny and adventurous. My love for animals no matter what they look like because they don’t judge you. They just want to be fed and cared for. Also my witty sense of humor, my love for reading, my love for young children (I’m a baby sitter in training) and my ability for endurance sports are all aspects that make me, ME!
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