WHEREVER MY FEET MAY TAKE ME…
Sweat. Effort. Sprained muscles. Injuries. Hours of training and self-sacrifice. This is how a runner’s life look like to ignorant people, not interested in sport at all. Of course, each of these statements may be applied to this and many other sports disciplines. What’s the true essence of this particular one?
The willingness to master one’s own body and to take control over one’s own life. Making use of the potential, which is often not supposed to see the light of the day, especially if it demands to undertake increased physical activity, repeatedly uncomfortable to many of us. Challenging oneself and one’s body is a fight we cannot always win. However, overcoming further limitations brings us real satisfaction and willingness to gain things greater than we are able to imagine.
Wherever my feet may take me… Actually, where? Exactly, the moment we discover the possibilities our bodies can give us, we will continue running. No matter whether in its literal meaning or through taking up following challenges in our lives.
I’m pleased to introduce you to my today’s interviewee – Jeannie Mañaga, who will tell us a little about her passion for running, as well as about her vegan experiments in the kitchen.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Jeannie: My name is Jean but since college close friends started calling me Jeannie and I became used to it and started using it as my nickname. I’m based in Singapore, living here for about 10 years now. I’m an avid runner and I like making dairy-free/vegan desserts.
Passion Piece: Healthy lifestyle and being active is promoted by athletes of all sorts. How did you find out your passion for running?
Jeannie: It started when I moved to Singapore, where parks are so much accessible and you can run anytime of the day. I love how their government promotes healthy lifestyle and gives rewards/incentives like grocery vouchers if you participate in their initiatives.
Passion Piece: How did your first steps look like? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome?
Jeannie: It was horrible. I signed up for a 5km run I started fast, not enough training and ended up walking in pain.
Having the right discipline is important, like not staying up late, conditioning your mind that you have a run. Eating better and healthy foods and also following training plans is important to achieve goals in running.
I wasn’t comfortable as well joining races alone, I felt so shy and lacking confidence until I was able to complete my first solo half marathon. That helped a lot to overcome my shyness and I started signing up for races alone.
Passion Piece: How does your daily training look like? What do you pay your attention to?
Jeannie: On weekdays, I usually run 3 times a week. I’m a morning person, so I set my alarm at 5 am to prepare and I’ll be out before 5:30 am. These are usually short runs before work. Then on weekends I plan a long run, also in the morning if the weather is good.
Sleep and meals are important to me. I also try to avoid alcohol when I’m having a long run. I usually skip it if I have a marathon coming.
Passion Piece: What tips would you give to everyone who would like to take up running in the future?
Jeannie: Find a goal and stick to it, start slowly and watch movies about running or read books about running. Find comfortable running shoes. They play an important role in avoiding injuries and giving you comfort.
Have an accountability partner or a running buddy and help each other grow in running. Discipline is the key to enjoy running. Respect training days and off days.
Our body is so much capable of anything, believe me.
Passion Piece: Do you have your favorite running apparel? What do you check before buying one?
Jeannie: Not really a favorite, but when I was new I used to buy Nike stuff from shorts to sports bra. Then because of too much running I was able to collect running shirts and singlets that I don’t need to buy anymore.
I discovered Decathlon, it’s a cheap European brand, but of good quality. I’m lucky that my family gifts me running apparels because they know its what I needed.
I look into price then quality, I don’t need expensive running apparels. I splurge more on running shoes because I’m after comfort and quality. It is important to wear the right pair depending on your gait.
Passion Piece: How about diet? Do you follow a specific one?
Jeannie: I focus mainly on eating vegetables and dairy-free. I practice a plant-based lifestyle, so if I’m craving for sweets, I bake a vegan cake or cookies.
Passion Piece: You run your own website. What else besides running related topics can your readers find there?
Jeannie: Aside from running articles you can find recipes that are dairy-free and vegan on my blog. I share easy, budget-friendly and uncomplicated meals for busy people like me. I also have a lifestyle section where I share information to understand plant-based lifestyle, where to get protein and iron.
Passion Piece: What do you love doing in your free time?
Jeannie: Aside from running and baking or cooking, I play badminton as well, but it recently stopped due to restrictions regarding covid-19. I also like to read and watch documentaries about taking photos.
Passion Piece: What are your goals for the near future?
Jeannie: I hope to do another world major marathon, I want to have my own dairy-free/vegan café.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Jeannie: This is a difficult one cause I have a lot of mantras in life.
‘It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.’ – Confucius.
This is applicable in our journey in life, our dreams and aspirations.
Passion Piece: Thank you for this interesting conversation and I wish you success in your next marathon!
See you around!
Photos by: Jeannie Mañaga