Alice Hunter Morrison, Moroccan-based Journalist, winner of Best Africa Blog, RunUltra, author of “Dodging Elephants: 8000 miles across Africa by Bike,” and Special Correspondent to IRun4Ultra, a subsidiary of Hope So Bright
Each month, we will be selecting an IRun4Ultra Club runner to feature and learn more about how, why, and where they run. It is a historic moment as we present our first I Run 4 Ultra featured runner: Martina O’Connell, a 34-year-old from Ottawa, Canada.
The following are ten running questions we posed to Martina and her responses:
1. Martina, describe your running style. My running style is fun loving and exploratory. I run to explore and have an adventure. It’s not always about nailing a certain pace, but more about enjoying the scenery and appreciating the moments on the trail.
2. What is your proudest running moment?
Thus far, I would have to say that completing my first ultra, the NFEC Ontario on Blue Mountain (a 50 miler) was my proudest moment. I ran in shoes that became too small and my feet swelled up. This led to me losing several toenails. Running through that pain and completing the race in a decent time (11 hrs. 23 min.) was a proud moment in my running history! I celebrated by buying new trail shoes in a larger size. Live and learn!
3. What inspires you to run?
I’m very busy with a full-time job, husband, and five young kids. I feel that in order to be my best for everyone else, I need to run to stay physically and mentally healthy. I want to be vibrant for my kids and their eventual kids. I also love exploring. Running a new muddy trail unleashes your own inner kid. It’s like playtime for grown-ups and I think that is really important and healthy. For a couple hours, you reset and don’t take yourself too seriously.
4. Describe your average daily run.
My average daily run usually has a total distance goal and a tone to it (hard, easy, intervals, etc). I try to take into
consideration of how my body is feeling. If I’m tired, I may skip a technical trail and do gentle rolling hills instead. I try to push myself to do the best my body can accomplish that day without stripping all of the fun from my training.
5. What is the most beautiful run you have ever done?
There have been so many. The one that sticks out in my mind right now is the night running portion of the i2P (100 kilometers in Gatineau Park). It was a small race, so the runners got pretty spread out. There was something incredibly peaceful about running a beautiful stretch of trail by yourself in the moonlight and hearing the rhythm of your breath and steps.
6. What is your favorite post-run meal?
I’m usually ravenous, so I’m not at all picky about what I eat after a run! I won’t lie…I have a hard time declining pizza at this point!
7. What is your favorite running track song?
My music selection is all over the place depending upon my mood. Kanye West’s “Stronger” always gets my adrenaline going and the fire within burning!
8. What has been your lowest running moment?
I had a tibial stress fracture last year and had to take three months off almost all activity. It was frustrating and so much hard work afterward to regain my level of fitness.
Her experience with stress fractures and bouncing back after them really resonated with me last year when I was recovering from my injury. I relate to her love of exploration and admire her boldness to embrace a less conventional life.
10. When things get bad, what is your favorite running curse word or phrase?
I have two. It depends on where I am mentally in a race as to when I use them. “Suck it up, b***h” is my go to when I’m feeling lazy or whiny. When things really get tough in a race, it’s a very basic: “One foot in front of the other.” If you focus on that phrase and repeat it enough times, it gets you across the finish line.
Nice to meet you, Martina. What a great member of the IRun4Ultra Club!