Member Spotlight: Nadine Cheung

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If you missed the amazing Huffington Post article “For A First-Time Marathoner, There’s Strength In Numbers” by Nadine, you can read it here by clicking here.

What excites you most about running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon?
I’m excited to experience the energy of the day. I volunteered at a water station for the 2013 NYC marathon, so I have an idea of what takes place, but to soak it up on the other side of the table as a runner, mile after mile…that just seems amazing to me. I also feel like the NYC marathon is one of the most New York things you can do. I’m proud to be a New Yorker and rep our city in the best race there is.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I think it’s a toss-up between Central Park and the Williamsburg Bridge. I love the park because you can run a solid 6 miles in one loop and not have to think about streetlights, cars or traffic — well, not as much as you would on the regular city streets. It’s hard for me to get to that “zen” place when I run, but I’ve been able to do so one or two times on the Central Park loop.

I love the Williamsburg Bridge for many reasons. It’s challenging but short, and the views are amazing. I love that there’s a wide running path, and it’s relatively shaded and breezy. Running downhill is the probably the closest I’ll ever get to flying, and when you have an awesome song on and the light is just right, it’s transcendental. The bridge is also a perfect 5 miles from my house, over and back, so I can just run without getting caught up in the distance. Plus, the views get me every time.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I have a love/hate relationship with running with music. When I trained for half-marathons, I found that I ran faster without it. I even got to a point where the headphone wires drove me crazy. Now that we’re covering much longer distances, I need the music to keep me company — that is, when I’m not running with my TFK teammates.

My marathon running playlist is currently 50 songs strong, and is made up of a shameless spectrum of up-tempo jams and soaring power ballads. I’ve got everything from Jack White to Sia, The War on Drugs to Drake, Manchester Orchestra to Taylor Swift. I don’t think every song needs to be a club banger. The music should just drive you in some way. Tip: Continue to add to your master marathon playlist and then hit shuffle every time I you go out for a run. This way you won’t memorize the order of the songs and get bored. It’ll be like a new playlist every time.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Anything I can get my hands on! I love food. Eating is probably my No. 1 hobby. If we’re talking about post-long-run meals, I’m happy with a bagel egg sandwich, pizza or a full brunch. Otherwise, I’m just generally excited to eat after I run.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My relationship with running began in April 2013. I broke my wrist two months prior, and even though I was no longer in a cast, it was difficult for me to return to the activities I loved. Running was one of the only things I could do. My fiancé had been running a lot (he’s a natural), so I was also inspired by him. I think my first run that spring was 2 miles long. I used the Nike+ app and started to get competitive with myself, pushing to run a little farther each time. (Who knew bar graphs could be so motivational?) I eventually signed up for the Pride Run (my first race) and was wowed by the whole experience — seeing runners on the train in the early morning, the race shirts, the cheering, the medals — not to mention feeling super accomplished before most people wake up on the weekend. I’ve since run two official half-marathons, as well as many unofficial ones during TFK practices!

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I don’t really do anything interesting before a race. I lay out all of my clothes, gear and fuel so I don’t have to think about it in the morning, as I generally only wake up 15-20 minutes before I actually have to leave. Then when I get up and it’s still dark outside, I can just grab the pile of clothes and change in the bathroom so as not to wake up my fiancé. I’ll put my fuel, watch, keys, etc. on the kitchen counter so I can grab and go. I never do bag check.

Why 26.2?
I mean, why not?

Tell us a little more about yourself
Running has taught me many things, while training for the marathon has taught me even more. There are so many life lessons to be learned by simply putting on your sneakers and getting out there. Truthfully, though, every run is hard for me. I am not at the point where I feel like I have to run, and it’s very difficult for me to lose myself while I’m doing it. I’m always in my head and thinking about this or that. However, since I never know what to expect, running has kept me engaged longer than any workout craze. As I’ve said before, you never feel bad after a run, and that’s usually what gets me out the door. I’m hoping I can keep it up after the big race, but no matter what happens, I’ll have these life lessons in my heart forever.

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