Runner of the Month

Susanne Carpenter - June 2019

Susanne Carpenter running the Gate City Half in 2018

Susanne at the Gate City Half Marathon representing Gate City in the New Hampshire Grand Prix!

Why do you run?  (e.g. health, fitnes, mental/stress relief, competition, etc)

When my kids were little I always told them that running kept mommy sane.  It was my "me time", my time to relieve stress, stay fit and clear my head.  Now, it's just an addiction.  I love the social aspect and the burn of a hard run.

How many miles do you run in an average week both during peak and off peak times?

I try to run about 30 miles a week on a regular basis, and run high 40's during training.

What is your next race?


How has your training changed to meet your goals over the past several years?

When I started running, I had no goals or any real training plans, it was just to run . In 2016 I decided to try and qualify for Boston.  At that point, I stopped just running for fun, and began running with a plan.  I followed the run less, run fast plan religiously and was able to reach my goal of a BQ but it was pretty isolating and I really missed just running for the sake of running.  Now I do a little of both and it seems to be the perfect mix.  I run with some ridiculously talented runners that I'm constantly learning from and who push me to be faster, but I also pepper in the regular, no specific pace/miles runs.

How do you motivate when you don't want to run?

I try to find friends to run with.  It's so much easier to get motivated if you are meeting someone...If I am going solo, then I tell myself; just do 1 mile.  I've never stopped after just 1 mile.

What is your favorite race?

I have 2.  The first is Boston.  I've run it 4 times (2001, 2007, 2018 & 2019), the first 2 were for the Dana Farber charity team, and the last 2 times have been as a qualified runner.  I grew up watching the marathon on tv and put it on my bucket list 25 years ago.  The crowds, the camaraderie of runners, the course..there is nothing like it.  My second most favorite race is the Pepperell Covered Bridge 5K.  Its a small race, but it's held in the town I lived in until I was 10.  The race runs through the streets that I remember riding my purple banana seat bike on.  It starts and ends at the school I went to.  Its a run down memory lane of a place where I have so many fond memories.

What is your funniest running or race related memory?

Hmmm...if you were asking for gross or poop stories I have many to choose from...One funny story that comes to mind is from the first time I ran Boston in 2001.  I was running with my husband, Jeff.  I was very under trained and struggling.  We had gotten to the start of the hills in Newton and Jeff said to me, I have a surprise for you once we get to the top of Heartbreak Hill, you just have to get there.  So, instantly I start thinking, he's going to give me jewelry or something just as amazing.  so, I continued to push forward and when we got to the top I turned to him ready to accept a ring or necklace...and he gives me...jelly beans.  Seriously, jelly beans???  I was not impressed...

Susanne racing the Pumpkinman Triathlon (while eating a banana)

Susanne racing the Pumpkinman Triathlon (while eating a banana)

What is your favorite post-race food?

Tootsie Pops and Tater Tots!!  I have been known to carry a tootsie pop for an entire marathon just so I can eat it as soon as I have crossed the finished line.

What foods work best for you pre-race?  What did you find didn't work for you?

Two days before a big race I always eat chicken Parmesan from PastaAmore restaurant in Amherst.  Morning of a race, I prefer either oatmeal or a bagel with PB and always a banana.  I can not handle any green veggies in the 3 days leading up to a race.  I also can not handle any more than a few sips of black coffee on race morning.

Do you prefer to run in hot/humid or cold temperatures?

Definitely colder temps.  The heat affects me terribly.

Outside of running, do you cross train and how?

I swim and bike on a pretty regular basis.  This was something I started doing over the past 2 years and I have found that it helps me to stay injury free.

Susanne showing off her 2018 Boston Marathon medal!

Susanne showing off her 2018 Boston Marathon medal!

Outside of running, what other hobbies do you have?

I love to bake, spend time with my family & read.

What is your favorite flavor of gel/GU?

I'm a huge fan of HUMA gels, and love the blueberry one, but the campfire s'mores GU is a very close second.

What made you decide to start running?

My roommate in college ran XC, so I was initially intrigued.  I started playing rugby in college and soon realized that I could sprint fast but really needed to build up my endurance.  It wasn't until I met my husband that I started to really get serious about running.  Our second date was a run together.

What do you do for a living?

I am a pastry chef and own my own business teaching pastry classes and doing catering.

How many pairs of running shoes do you currently own?

Just 6 pairs.

Do you like running in the rain?  In the snow?

Both!  I love running in weather that most people would choose not to run in.  You never know what race day will be like, so might as well get outside and run.

Have you ever been Furler'd?

No!  But that's only because I haven't really run with Mark, yet.

Crunchy or creamy peanut butter, and what brand? 

Crunchy, all the way.  Skippy or Teddy's.

Susanne baking French macaroons

Susanne baking French macaroons