Gaither Smith

gaitherWhen did you begin running and why?

I started running in middle school and have been running ever since. I first opted to run because at the time there were only a few options for middle school sports—I didn’t want to play volleyball or basketball (I never had great hand-eye coordination for it) so running it was. I competed in cross-country in the fall and track in the spring all the way through college.

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

My husband and I moved here from Steamboat Springs, CO in 2018 and I struggled to find a good routine with running. I wound up doing Orange Theory for a while but then the pandemic happened and I had a baby. Sometime after that I reconnected with Sara Putterman (another DCRRC member) when my sister was visiting and she encouraged me to join. My sister and Sara are good friends from their time running together at Wellesley College. Very grateful to Sara for the nudge. 

What are you training for right now?

Up until a few weeks ago I was training for Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN on June 18th. We got a notification that our flight to Minneapolis was canceled about 15 minutes before boarding and given all the issues with the airlines this summer the best they could do was rebook us on a flight that landed the day after the race. Instead of trying to find another race at the last minute I decided to sign up for Richmond Marathon in November and take on a whole additional training cycle. I am also using a coach for the first time for this race.

What is the toughest run or race in which you have participated?
Two come to mind: 1) running the Nashville Marathon grossly undertrained—I was in the middle of an intense graduate program and just didn’t have enough time to devote to training. It was such a slog and my legs were terribly sore afterwards. 2) Collegiate Peaks 25 mile trail run in Buena Vista, CO—it was my first trail race and I was living in Nashville, TN (essentially sea level) at the time. The course started at over 8,000ft above sea level and there was around 3,500ft of elevation gain during the race. It was a good introduction to trail running and very humbling. I remember being so confused by all the solid food at aid stations haha.

What is the most important lesson running has taught you?
I am not sure if there is a single lesson that comes to mind, but I know when I am running that I am my best self. I feel better on every level. 

What is your favorite route in the area?

I run on the C&O canal multiple times a week. I love the flat soft surface, lack of stoplights, views of the Potomac, abundance of green, and all the wildlife sightings. What race day traditions do you have?

A really good cup of coffee, some sort of carbohydrate topped with a dab of peanut butter, usually a gel about 10 minutes before the start (if the race is 10mi+), and a good playlist. What is your favorite post-race meal?
In the first 30-60minutes after finishing, I like to drink chocolate milk. I do this after most hard, long training runs as well. I love breakfast and brunch food, so an elaborate spread of waffles, eggs, bacon, donuts, you name it would really hit the spot.

What is your proudest running moment?
Probably my first marathon finish at Grandma’s Marathon in 2013. I put in a solid block of training, but didn’t really know what I was capable of (I was hoping I might be able to qualify for Boston). My right calf seized up just as I crossed the 25 mile mark, but I still managed to surprise myself and run a 3:19. I was supposed to do the race with a friend but she got injured so I drove up from Madison the day before, ran the race solo, and drove the 5 hours home shortly after finishing.

What is your favorite running book and/or movie?
I would like to read more running books—in an attempt to get inspired for my upcoming marathon in the depths of winter I checked several running books out from the library, but only had the chance to finish one, “26 Marathons” by Meb Keflezighi. I really enjoyed it—each chapter detailing one of his 26 races was full of both inspiration and practical advice. I need to get cracking on some more good books before Richmond.

What is your life like outside of running?

I work at Virginia Hospital Center as a Certified Nurse-Midwife and when not at work or running enjoy spending time with my son Henry (17 months) and husband Eric. We bought our first house last June and are trying our best not to let the beautiful landscaping turn into a jungle of weeds, so you can often find us in the yard or hanging on the porch with neighbors.


Upcoming Events

May Happy Hour/Snowball Series Awards Ceremony
Thu, May 23rd, 2024, @6:00pm
DCRRC Women's Distance Festival 5K and Run After the Women 5K
Sun, Jun 9th, 2024, @8:00am
Book Club
Sun, Jun 16th, 2024, @4:00pm
DCRRC Hugh Jascourt 4-Miler
Fri, Jun 21st, 2024, @7:00pm
DCRRC Age Handicapped 4-Miler
Thu, Jul 4th, 2024, @8:00am
DCRRC Bastille Day 4-Miler
Sun, Jul 14th, 2024, @7:00pm
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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.