Jaema Berry, is a dancer and choreographer in New York living in the greatest borough [her words!] - Brooklyn - in the Prospect Heights neighborhood. During the last couple years as the assistant manager for the lululemon athletica Brooklyn Showroom, she turned into an awesome runner willing to try out any running or cross training workout we throw her way!
How do you know us - Hot Bird Running?
I met the Hot Bird ladies through work at lululemon. Meghan and Jessica led the run club at the store, and after months of me protesting, saying "I'm not a runner," they got me to hit the park with them. That was almost two years ago!
What are your current running goals? Are you training for anything?
Last year I ran my first real race - a half marathon in Vancouver [the SeaWheeze Half Marathon]. It was a blast! Right now my goals are to keep up consistent moderate running (10-12 miles a week) all through the winter, and to ramp up and run another half in less than two hours. My first one was a 2:09:56, so I just gotta get a bit faster!
Who or what inspires you to run?
When I started, running was about the personal challenge. I HATED running growing up. As an adult, I still hated it - I'd try to run every couple years and my knees would swell, my joints would be painful, etc. My efforts never lasted more than a couple days. Learning how to use my body effectively in running was so inspiring to me personally, and what a fantastic challenge after 20 years of refusing to take it on!
Now, though, what keeps me going is the opportunity to be outside! I have never been for a run indoors - the longest time I've spent on a treadmill is the five minutes of intervals in a Barry's Bootcamp class - and I want to keep it that way! I grew up skiing and playing outdoors, and running is a way to get out, see the city, feel the sun (with sunscreen, naturally!), and breathe some fresh air.
What is your favorite running route/place to run?
I like to switch it up! For a longer run, I love running the bridges - over the Brooklyn Bridge and back on the Manhattan Bridge. Especially if it's first thing in the morning and I've beat most of the traffic. It's challenging on the inclines and the view is incredible. I also love a run in the park with some trails mixed in - the northeast part of Prospect Park is fun to get lost in, and the bridle path on the north end of Central Park was one of my favorite training spots when I lived up there last summer.
Who is your favorite person to run with and why?
The Hot Birds, of course! (For real!) Other than those ladies, I love running with my fiance in Prospect Park and stopping for a cup of coffee after at Sit and Wonder on Washington Ave. My brother, Ivor, is a fantastic running buddy, too. He lives in Seattle so we don't get to run together very often, but when I visit we take his Labradoodle for a run. Ivor was my partner in crime during the Sea Wheeze in Vancouver - he ran ten miles of it with me without training! He's a tough cookie.... but he was much more sore than I was the next morning!
What is the best piece of running advice you ever received and who was it from?
Don't start too fast. This was such a game-changer for me, and it's hands-down the advice that got me started on a running routine that lasts. This is what Meghan told me during my first runs - run/walk, run slowly, keep it comfortable and build strength. Even now, if I'm having a tough running day, it's liberating to know I can just slow down and keep going. I may slow down, but I don't stop!
What is your favorite running gear/piece of clothing?
My lulu bright yellow "What The Fluff" pullover! I love that its light enough to not be bulky and warm enough that it kept me running outside all winter. And I will run every race I do in my Inspire Crops. :)