Caldwell: ‘I stop thinking, I stop worrying, and I just run.’

imageAlex hails from Durham, NC and works in sales for Blogads. She has 4 marathons and 5 half-marathons under her belt and is currently training for the Bay of Fundy Marathon and the Chicago Marathon. Her next goal? A Half Ironman. Unlike most runners her audio of choice while running is a good podcast — more often that not it’s NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, which is why if you ever see her while she’s training she’s usually laughing. 

Q. How far do you run in a week?

When I’m training for something I average about 45-50 miles a week.

Q. What’s your longest run?

The longest race I’ve ever done was a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon the following day — a very appropriately named event, The Goofy Challenge.

Q. Do you have any dream races or dream runs you aim to complete someday?

I dream of qualifying for and running Boston one day soon.

Q. What or who inspires you to run.. even on the hard days?

I coach and run for a charity group that raises money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On days when I don’t want to run I think of my friend’s daughter, Lindsay (aka LL), who survived cancer and all the other people who weren’t as lucky.

Q. Do you remember the first moment you felt “like a runner?”

I finally felt like a real runner when someone asked me for running advice…and took my advice.

Q. How do you measure success as a runner?

I’ve gotten bogged down in improving my time and running faster than other people I know and I’m finally realizing that it takes some of the love and glory out of running for me. So lately I’ve been trying to just savor the moment. If I have a run or a race that doesn’t go well I try to take stock in the fact that I’m incredibly fortunate I can run at all. It’s easy to lose sight of what a great gift being active is. I’m trying not to take it for granted anymore.

Q. What’s the coolest connection you’ve made through running?

I’ve met some of my best friends through running and have gotten to coach an incredibly talented and charitable group of runners through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Seeing someone you’ve coached not only cross the finish line of their first half or full marathon but cross it smiling is the absolute best.

Q. What role does running play in your life?

I’m sure plenty of people say this (and that many more roll their eyes at statements like this) but running is my therapy. It’s the one time in my life when I can turn off. I stop thinking, I stop worrying, and I just run.

Q. What role does RunWithMe play?

RunWithMe is a great way to put friends and family members on an equal playing field — Boston Qualifying runners can easily be beat by someone that runs a 14 minute mile and I think that’s fantastic. At the end of the day it really is about the miles and the time you put in and not the speed in which you do it — that’s what running is all about.

Q. Do you have any great before or after marathon rituals? Good luck charms?

I have a pair of Shwings that I wear on my shoes for every race. So far they’ve been great luck — I’ve PR’d every time I’ve worn them. Other than that I like to try to run each mile for someone — my parents, my friend’s kid who survived cancer. I always run the last mile and change for me though.

Q. And finally, what’s one word that best describes what/how running makes you feel?

Running makes me feel strong.