Lisa Miller: Keeping Life on Track with Running

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Lisa and Wellby the Yavabear after a Whiskey Row Marathon race.

Lisa Miller, BSN, RN, was 19-years-old when she ran her first Whiskey Row Marathon. The Chicago native – who was All-State in track and field during high school – was attending Northern Arizona University (NAU) at the time.

“I didn’t know a soul in Flagstaff,” she said. “I met some fellow runners and started training with them. It took about six months to adjust to the elevation. But then, I started doing tons of 10Ks and half-marathons.”

Among those first races was the Whiskey Row Marathon. While Lisa has lost count of how many times she has run the Marathon, the race is definitely a favorite.

“The Whiskey Row Marathon is so great because it has such a sense of community,” said Lisa, Employee Health and Wellness Nurse, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC).

Lisa Loves the Whiskey Row Marathon
Lisa is looking forward to running the Marathon’s 10K on Saturday, May 4. The 41st Annual Whiskey Row Marathon is especially important to her because YRMC is the Signature Sponsor.

“I’m expecting to see lots of familiar faces running the race and volunteering along the course,” she said. “The Marathon starts and finishes at the Courthouse. There’s music and that’s where they give the awards. It’s just a great celebration.”

Let’s Ask Lisa!
Lisa has become an informal advisor to many YRMC employees who are preparing for Whiskey Row Marathon races. Her credentials are impressive. Lisa qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2002 and has run 10Ks, half-marathons and marathons throughout her adult life. With all of her success as a runner, Lisa has kept only two medals.

“Running is not about the finish line. It’s about the day-to-day work you do to reach the destination,” she explained. “When I get a medal, I give it away to the first kid I meet after the race.”

What questions does Lisa typically receive about preparing for a 10K, half marathon or a marathon? Here are Lisa’s responses to her FAQs:

Q: How much running should you do to be ready for a race?
A: It’s important to build a base when you’re preparing for a race. For me, that’s running about 20 to 25 miles a week. Once I have my base, I plan for a long run once a week. I’ll get up to about 10 miles for a 10K, even though a 10K is 6.2 miles. I also do hill training and hill repeats.

Q: What can I do to get faster for the race?
A: I like to run fast so the last four weeks before a race, I do speed workouts on the track—400s and 200s. It’s like a warm up and a cool down in between to build up my speed.

Q: Should I follow a special diet when I’m training for a race?
A: I make sure I’m always hydrated and I eat right. Since I’m a vegetarian, the main thing for me is to make sure I have enough complex carbohydrates and calories before a race. Of course, I eat fruits and vegetables.

Q: I’m a new runner. What’s the most important thing I need to do?
A: Invest in a good pair of running shoes twice a year. Your shoes are really, really crucial. And when you’re new to running, I recommend you buy your shoes at a running store. They will be able to match your running motion – pronation or supination – to the best shoe for you.

Take to Trails
Lisa also recommends running on the great trails around Prescott and Prescott Valley as a way to connect with nature. She also likes to run with a friend, which she will be doing with all of her YRMC colleagues on May 4.

“I am so proud that YRMC is sponsoring the Whiskey Row Marathon,” Lisa said. “People come from all over to run the Marathon. You get bragging rights because it’s an uphill course.”

There’s a run (or walk) to fit nearly every fitness level at the Whiskey Row Marathon. To register, volunteer or for more information about the Whiskey Row Marathon:

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