Teacher Interview: Lisa Perrone

Perrone talks about how she discovered her love for long-distance running as an adult, what motivates her and how she makes time for running.

As a student athlete, high school health teacher Lisa Perrone did not consider herself a long-distance runner.

Now a busy mom living in the district with her husband, 2 kids and 2 dogs, Perrone has several 5ks, Ragnar Races, and half-marathons under her belt.

Perrone is Ballston Spa High School’s team captain for the Third Annual Scotties Stampede on May 19, 2018, and is determined to beat her personal record time set at the Inaugural Scotties Stampede.

How long have you been running?
I was always an athlete in high school, but I was not a runner. I ran my first 5k 6 or 7 years ago, and I ran my first half-marathon 5 years ago.

Did you run the half-marathon locally?
I have probably done 8-10 half-marathons in the last 5 years. The first one I did was the Adirondack Half-Marathon in Schroon Lake.

What do you love most about running?
I love the way it makes me feel. Because I’m a busy working mom who’s often doing everything for everyone, I like that it’s my time. There is something therapeutic about taking the time to run. It makes me feel good about myself. I also like running with other people. There’s just something therapeutic about running with your friends and talking; it makes the time go by so much faster.

What time of day do you enjoy running?
I like running in the morning. I prefer if I could do 7:00AM, but I’m running at 5:00AM on most school days. I prefer to run outside. In the summer and on weekends, I’ll run outside in the morning when I can. If I have time with a friend, I’ll work my schedule and run whenever they can. I ran after school yesterday because that’s when a couple of my friends could.

Do you have any running partners and how do you motivate each other?
I do, and it varies. I have friends and neighbors I run with at home, and I have friends I run with after school once or twice a week when we can squeeze it in. We motivate each other. I’m usually the one to schedule runs, especially running with my neighbors and friends, and they keep us going longer. My friends are usually the ones to say, “come on let’s go one more mile,” and I’m usually the one that gets us out there.

What advice do you have for beginner runners?
I would say one thing, and I talk with my students about this too, there are a lot of people who are in my position who are super busy working moms who say they just don’t have time. You don’t have time to do it, you make time to do it. So I suggest definitely scheduling runs. I don’t just say, “Oh, I’m bored I think I will go for a run.” That goes for exercise in general. I schedule when I’m going to do it because that’s how things get done in my life. For people who are just starting to run, I didn’t use the couch to 5k app exactly, but I did something similar. When I first started, I couldn’t even do 2 miles at a time. I would run for 90 seconds and walk for a 1 minute– very similar setup to the couch to 5k. It’s really good progression for people just starting out.

Tell us your favorite memory about running…
I used to hate running. When I was an athlete in high school, long-distance running was not a part of the sports that I did. I hated when we had to do it. It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I crave running and really want to run.

I vividly remember the first 5k I did and the feeling that I had. I remember the first time I ran more than 5 miles. As an adult I called my parents and said, “I can’t believe I did this. I can’t believe that I’m capable of running this.” Training for my first half-marathon and every time I passed a distance that I never done before, was just a reminder that we truly are stronger than what we think we are. When I finished my first half-marathon, it was just an incredible feeling I never ever dreamed of, especially when I was a teenager. I never dreamed I’d be able to run that distance. The most fun I ever had running was the Ragnar Races. I’ve done 2 Ragnar Races so far.

How do you fuel up before and after a run?
It depends on the length of the run. Long-distance runs are usually in the morning for me so hydrating the day before is really important. I don’t want to drink a ton of water before a run in the morning. Then I will get up a couple of hours before the run and have coffee, a piece of toast with peanut butter and half of a banana. Then afterwards I make sure I’m rehydrating, depending on the length of the run, and adding protein is important too.

You’re signed up for the Scotties Stampede on May 19th. How are you preparing?
For this run, I’ve been running regularly for quite some time. During the winter, I’ve run on the treadmill a lot more than I’d like to. I typically run on the treadmill before school because it’s dark, cold and awful outside. Even after school it’s dark, so it’s difficult to get outside to run. I’ve been trying to get outside more regularly because it’s definitely a different feel. Then particularly for this race, I need to start doing more hills in the next few weeks because it’s a pretty hilly race. So I will definitely add some hills into my routes and try to get outside as much as I can. I will probably run the course a couple of times.

What’s your goal for the Scotties Stampede 5k?
I actually just looked at my times this morning from the last two years. Two years ago, my time was a PR (personal record) which is kind of unusual because that course is pretty tough. I’d love to beat that. I definitely want to beat my time from last year. If I can get to where I was two years ago, I’d like to do that too.

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