Today we are featuring one of my biggest personal inspirations, Rachel Wagner. Rach and I attended the same high school in a small town in the Lehigh Valley. She has always been athletic, but over the past year I have seen her take her fitness to a new level. I love checking out her social media pages when I need a little extra motivation.
This past weekend, she completed the Blue Mountain Spartan Race in an awesome time of 2:40.27. I interviewed her before her the race on how she became a runner. She has been a huge supporter of Run Life Co. and I cannot thank her enough for doing this interview.
You can follow her on Instagram for more inspiration and motivation at @rachhwagner
Q: When and why did you start running? Why do you love it?
A: Running was a given when it came to high school sports. I played field hockey, soccer, and ran track. I actually did most of my running with field hockey, believe it or not, and began to realize how much I liked it when I was the only one on the team who got excited for distance runs. After graduating high school and no longer being part of a team or sport, I picked up running because it was free, something I liked, and I knew it was a good way to keep fit.
I love running because it’s your legs against your mind. It’s a challenge, unlike any other. It’s time to yourself, to sort out your thoughts, or even forget them for the time being. It’s time to be one with nature, seriously, I can’t tell you enough how much I love having the D&L Trail three minutes from my house (fall runs are absolutely stunning). I love that running is something anyone can pick up or do, you don’t need to be taught how to run. I truly believe it is beneficial to your mind, body, and soul. Seriously besides the getting back into shape part, what’s not to love about running?!
Q: Do you prefer running with a group or on your own?
A: I honestly prefer running on my own. Like I previously side, it’s “me” time. Everyone needs that. You can go at your own pace and create your own challenge. However, I will say that it is nice to run with a group or partner when you want to be pushed and know that they will challenge you more than you would yourself. It is also a good way to socialize while getting exercise. 🙂
Q: What is your favorite place to run?
A: D&L trail is my absolute favorite place to run (going south). West Chester is my second favorite just because I trained for my half marathon while I was living there and really fell in love with the beauty of the town by running so much of it. Any place that gives me something to look at and admire is a place a like to run. I’d love to explore more trails, if anyone has any really beautiful ones to suggest, please let me know!
Q: Do you do races? What has been your favorite race?
A: I have done quite a few 5k’s and one half marathon, the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon this past October. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to do their first race. I plan on doing another half marathon at some point in the future. My first one was a thrilling, awesome experience that I will never forget and definitely has me itching to do another.
Q: What running shoe are you wearing right now?
A: I run in Brooks right now! Love them. And have previously run in Asics. I am prone to shin splints so I need a shoe with a decent amount of support. If you plan on taking running seriously, highly advise either brand for a running shoe.
Q: What is your best pump-up song?
A: Hmm, I can’t think of a specific song. Truthfully, any rap or Beyonce is a go-to when in need of some pump up music. I listen to Pandora for my runs and the station always depends on what kind of mood I’m in. A lot of the time I like listening to relaxing music for a run, like country or some reggae (Rebelution).
Q: What other workouts do you do besides running? What is your favorite kind of workout?
A: I am currently really into lifting. I picked up on it more seriously this past winter break and stuck to it. I moved back home post graduating while figuring out my future and joined the gym Spillanesfit in Palmerton. Absolutely love it, and it’s become a huge part of my life now. I am contemplating going for that personal training certification! Favorite body parts to work are definitely back and shoulders!
Q: What are your hobbies outside of running?
A: Outside of running and the gym I really enjoy…not much, haha. They truly are my hobbies. I do like to cook. Tubing down the river, being outside, and taking my pup for a hike is what my days off consist of typically in the summer. I really love being with my friends AKA drinking with my friends. I’m a fun person, so I like fun things. Posting on Instagram might be a hobby, many might agree with that, haha. I also love the beach. That’s not really a hobby but I will drop anything to go to the beach. I hope to move near a beach within the next year or two.
Q: You just got your degree in nutrition — does your nutrition and health play into why you run and workout?
A: It has definitely influenced my active lifestyle. After learning all the ways nutrition and fitness can affect your body, I feel like it’s essential for me to be a role model for those who are unaware of the information that I’m so lucky to have learned and know about. My knowledge in nutrition compliments my active lifestyle and enhances it because of foods’ ability to fuel and recover the body. I would definitely say that besides enjoying working out, my health is another reason why I do it. I know that in the long run it’s only going to benefit me.
Q: Have any tips for new runners or people trying to get back into running?
A: Do not give up! It sucks in the beginning. Anything worth having sucks in the beginning. You have to get past that stage. It all will be worth it in the end. Know that you are not always going to want to run or workout. That’s okay. Learn to discipline yourself. You’re not always going to enjoy exercise, that’s the reality of it. But disciplining yourself to exercise is the key to success when it comes to fitness. That’s what’s special about athletes, they push their limits. You become stronger not only physically, but mentally. Likewise, becoming mentally stronger makes you physically stronger.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A: I advise anyone and everyone to join the fitness community in some way. Its such an empowering foundation to a heathy lifestyle. I know it sounds cliché, but seriously consider surrounding yourself by uplifting, positive, encouraging people with similar goals as you. You will see and feel the difference in yourself. I have recently joined a fitness community, Alpha Pack Fitness, which sells gym apparel. But it’s not just about me promoting their clothing, I am part of a community of people that I just described above. They help me be the best version of myself in and outside of the gym.
I could go on and on about the benefits of running, lifting, yoga, exercise, etc., etc., but my true passion lies in spreading my love for it. I know not everyone is going to love it, but I feel like so many people would that just haven’t given it a chance. Fitness is beneficial to your life is so many ways, join the bandwagon and start your journey towards a healthier you!
Follow me on Instagram @rachhwagner for some flex Friday pics and updates on where my post grad life is goin’! 🙂
Thanks so much for the interview and for your inspiring story, Rach! I can’t wait to see where life takes you!