Anna Staats

annastaatsWhen did you begin running and why?

My birth announcement said “look for me in the Boston Marathon in 2018” so I guess you could say I was born into it. I did my first race the week I learned how to walk and my childhood was filled with weekend adventures to different marathons to watch my parents race. For a long time I was reluctant to take running all that seriously and though I did cross country and track in high school, I was famously called “mediocre at best” by multiple coaches. In college I joined the club running team at UMBC (Go Big Dawgs!). It was there I discovered the joy in running and the club team offered the perfect balance of a competitive atmosphere without the external pressures to perform well. I haven’t taken a day off since the week before classes began (August 21, 2017) and I guess you can say the rest is history.

How did you find out about DCRRC and when did you join?

My parents, Charlene and Kerry, were both members many moons ago and used to run the Snowball Series and many of the low-key races. When I moved to DC for an internship during the summer of 2019, I crossed paths with an SLR group and have been hooked ever since. One of the main reasons I returned to the area after graduation was because of how wonderful the running community is here and even with the event limitations caused by the pandemic it’s been a blast.

What are you training for right now?

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve focused on building a strong foundation and experimenting with workouts I probably wouldn’t do during a normal training cycle. Right now that means doing 100 mile weeks while throwing in some speedwork occasionally to get the legs to turn a little. I’m eagerly awaiting the opportunity to race again, but patience isn’t about sitting back and doing nothing. It’s tilling the soil so when the opportunity presents itself I’m ready to go. I’m in no rush to enter a race and am planning on waiting until I feel it’s safe to do so. Currently, I’m signed up for Grandma’s Marathon in June, but who’s to say what the world will look like by then.

What is the toughest run or race in which you have participated?

My college does a Monster Dash 3K around campus every Halloween that also features a costume contest. This past year I won the race while wearing an inflatable alien costume and it was one of the most difficult races I’ve ever done. I now know what my dog felt like when she got a garbage bag stuck on her head and will confirm it is not a fun experience. A 3K alone is a painful race, but between the hills and outfit this one stuck out as the worst, but in a fun “I look like a fool” way.

What is the most important lesson running has taught you?

You get out of something what you put into it. Every long run, every core session, and every workout directly impact how you perform in a race. It’s building a sandcastle one grain at a time. Every grain is important, even if you can’t always see them.

What is your favorite route in the area?

I don’t think I’ve done a single run in the area that I haven’t fallen in love with. I highly recommend checking out the SLR route catalogue for some fantastic routes, I’ve been picking out long runs from there throughout the pandemic. Some of my favorite runs include guessing the countries on Embassy Row, watching the beavers swim from the Anacostia Riverwalk, finding all of the boundary stones in Jones Point Park, eating ripe raspberries straight from the bush on Roosevelt Island, leaping from rock to rock on the Potomac Heritage Trail, and tracing the murals of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. You also can’t go wrong with a workout on the mall or at Hains Point!

What race day traditions do you have?

When I was younger I used to have a ton of pre-race rituals and good luck charms, but I started to notice those hindered my performance instead of helping it. If I forgot my lucky hair tie, for example, it immediately became a mental block instead of an edge. My freshman year of high school, however, our team made states for the first time in 17 years and our coach sat us down before the race and told us to “take a moment, look around, and be thankful for the experience”. At some point before every race since then, usually on the warmup or the way to the start line, I stand completely still, inhale, look around, and take in the beauty of being the calm in the midst of the pre-race chaos.

What is your favorite post-race meal?

I’m a huge proponent of forming healthy relationships with food and believe you shouldn’t run or race to “earn” your next meal, so I try to avoid using races as an excuse to indulge. Usually after races, though, I’m craving some form of fruit, frozen mango being my favorite.

What is your proudest running moment?

In 2017 my father passed away from ALS and before the funeral we hosted a run with some of the people he used to train and race with. Seeing everyone come out to celebrate my father’s life, get in a few miles, and drink a couple beers was incredible and really showed me the power a good run can have. A whirlwind of people told me about how he got them into running or trained with them for their first marathon. It was his legacy and it was beautiful. I’ve had many great runs and races since then, but I’m not sure anything is going to top that.

What is your favorite running book and/or movie?

I’m a huge fan of Meb Keflezghi and actually met him before the US Half Marathon Championships a few years ago. His book 26 Marathons, which details every marathon he’s ever run, should be mandatory reading for any marathoner. For training, I steal a lot of workouts from Scott Fauble’s Inside a Marathon so I have to shout that out as well. Alexi Pappas’s new memoir Bravey is also a wonderful read and I can’t recommend it enough.

What is your life like outside of running?

I’m not quite fast enough to quit my day job, so I spend a lot of time working for twosix labs. I also enjoy playing in Capture the Flag cybersecurity competitions with my old college teammates. Due to the unfortunate fact that I now have to cook for myself, I’ve also been enjoying trying out new recipes and pairing them with some great local beers.

 

Upcoming Events

DCRRC Burke Lake 12K
Sun, Mar 7th, 2021, @10:00am
Annual Club Membership Meeting
Sun, Mar 7th, 2021, @7:00pm
Book Club
Sun, Mar 14th, 2021, @4:00pm
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The DC Road Runners Club is a member of the Road Runners Club of America and is also affiliated with USA Track & Field. We provide a year-round schedule of running events that offer everyone a chance to participate regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability.