Interview with a Runner

As the coaches for Team Fox, we get to be inspired by runners who bring a deeper meaning to running than just running for themselves, but also for those affected by Parksinson's Disease. This week's runner, Ann Czernecki, is one of those special people. Ann was born and raised in the NYC area and now lives in Upstate NY with her husband Tom and their rescue dog, Abby. She is a higher education professional and also teaches indoor cycling classes at a local gym. She loves to travel and is pretty much up for going anywhere new and exciting. In college she studied abroad in Australia and camped in the Outback for 17 consecutive nights-so she's game for pretty much anything!

When did you start running?
I think I started running after college in an attempt to recoup years of less than desirable food and beverage consumption and little exercise (whoops!). Less than a year after I graduated, a friend was getting involved with the American Stroke Association to raise money for the cause while training for the VT City Marathon in Burlington, VT and asked me to join her. I had never run an organized race in my life, so of course I said yes! I guess you could say it was a couch to marathon training plan? The rest is history. If that didn't scare me away nothing could.

Who or what inspires you to run?
I'm always inspired by the fact that I can run. I really appreciate that my body has gifted me with that ability and I try not to take it for granted. Last year I got involved with Team Fox and the NYC Marathon to honor my father. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease over a decade ago. Running for him, along with other members of my family that have PD, and their caregivers, motivated me every single step of the way. Team Fox gave me the opportunity to find a deeper purpose in the miles I logged and hope that a cure is possible. Pounding the pavement has never been as inspiring as it is doing it for the people I love.

Ann and her dad - she ran the NYC Marathon for himWhat is your favorite running route? Why?
My favorite running route is the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in New Paltz, NY, where I went to college. It's mostly a flat, dirt path that stretches about 12 miles end to end. It passes horse farms, goes over rivers and has beautiful views of the mountain ridge. It is the most peaceful place to zone out in nature. I just love it.

Favorite post-run meal?
Oh that's a good one! I'm not sure I have a go-to meal though there is a frozen coffee/greek yogurt/chocolate smoothie recipe I found in Runner's World that I'm a little obsessed with in warmer weather. Other than that I do like a good breakfast sandwich and cup of coffee from the local bakery.

Best piece of running advice?
One foot in front of the other. It's as simple as that. Let your mind go and just keep moving.

Who would you love to run with and why (doesn't have to be a runner)? 
Abby - my dog! I am slowly trying to train her to run with me, but she is too interested in stopping to smell the roses along the way. Maybe some day she will enjoy coming along with me and my husband but until then, she wants no part of it.

Favorite way to sweat other than run?
I guess that would have to be Spinning. I teach two nights a week and have such a blast doing it. The people in my class are so awesome and I draw so much energy from them I leave exhausted and happy every time!