Glenda Adams is a familiar face among runners in the Madison area. Besides being a talented runner, she serves as a part-time photo editor for Focal Flame Photography, the official photographers for the Madison Marathon events. Here, Glenda describes why she loves competing in races—including the Madison Marathon.
FFP: How many Madison Marathon Events have you run?
Glenda: This will be my third Madison Half Marathon race. I ran it in 2010 and 2014.
FFP: Have you participated in other similar events?
Glenda: I have run 12 marathons, and about 40 half marathons. I started running at age 35, after pretty much being a couch potato for most of my life. After running for several years, I also took up triathlons and duathlon. I have done many of those over the years as well.
FFP: You race a lot! How do you keep it fun?
Glenda: I’ve done many destination races, like ones at Disney World and Disneyland, and visited lots of different states and countries to run. Different challenges and scenery keep it exciting. Over the last few years, I’ve also started running several races a year in costume. Whether it’s a themed race or just something that seems fun (like dressing up as a chocolate bunny for an Easter race), the creativity involved with putting together costumes and the response from spectators and other runners is a blast. It’s hard not to smile and enjoy yourself when you are running wearing bunny ears, or running with a light saber.
FFP: Are there personal accomplishments that you are particularly proud of?
Glenda: I run both for fun and to be competitive, and I think my proudest moment was representing Team USA at the age group world championships in Ottawa in 2013. I had an amazing race and won the gold medal for my age group in the sprint distance race.
FFP: What does running and participating in these events mean to you?
Glenda: It started as a way to get fit and lose weight, but after a while I realized I loved training and competing. I work at a computer all day, and sometimes there is nothing better than getting outside, turning off your brain, and just running along the lake, or on a bike path. Since my spouse has started running the last several years, I’ve also found it a great way to connect and have some time together whether we are just out for a training run together or doing a race together.
FFP: Can you tell us what it has been like to train/prepare for this event?
Glenda: I had been running a good amount through the spring, training for duathlons, but most of it on my own. One of the reasons I decided to do the Madison Half Marathon was to train with a group, the Fleet Feet Sports running group. It’s a great social time to do long runs on Saturday with a group of other people that are all training for the same race.
As far as what my training was like, I generally ran about 30-40 miles a week, with runs 5 days a week. Some hills, usually one long run a week, and some speedwork. Since I’ve been running for about 15 years, I have a pretty good feel for what level of training I need to run a good half marathon.
FFP: What will it mean to you to participate in this event?
Glenda: It will be a party with a couple thousand of my best friends! It feels great to finish up a few months of training with a big goal and see how the hard work has paid off.
FFP: Besides being an athlete, you do some work on the other side of the camera as an editor for Focal Flame Photography? What is that like for you?
Glenda: I started doing the job early this year, and it’s been neat to see things from the other side of the camera. I’m used to looking through race photos after I’ve run, and picking the ones I really like, or laughing at how ridiculous I look in some, depending on how the race went. Now that I’ve been doing editing, and looking through thousands of photos for an event I’m even more inspired by all the people that get out there and run. Seeing runners of all shapes, sizes, and ages, every one working toward their goal, is amazing.
It’s interesting picking out photos to keep for an event - I know some of my favorite race photos may not have been graceful or where I look happy and full of joy. Some are the ones where you can tell it was tough going, but I was pushing through. So I’m more likely to keep those photos that someone might not think are super flattering- you never know for a particular person if that photo might capture exactly what they felt in the race, or all that went into getting to the finish.
FFP: Has working for Focal Flame changed anything about your racing?
Glenda: I’m definitely more careful to make sure my bib is on the front and visible! Trying to identify runners to tag their numbers so they can look up their photos, I’ve seen lots of bibs peeking out of jackets, only pinned with two pins so they flap up in the wind, or just missing. And it’s always a bummer when I notice a great picture but there is no way to identify the person.
I also keep an eye out for photographers on the course more—both because I might know them, but also so I can try to look up, smile, and give them a good chance for a nice shot.
FFP: Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?
Glenda: I love being able to train and run for a hometown race like the Madison half. As much fun as it can be to go to some exotic destination, there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed the night before a race, seeing friends and family out on the course, and supporting your city. Plus, being able train on the course for months leading up to the race is a great confidence booster.
This article is part of a series featuring athletes and others who are participating in a Madison Marathon event in 2016. Focal Flame Photography is honored to serve as official photographers for the Madison Marathon. All runners will receive free FocalShare™ digital race photos courtesy of the event organizers. The autumn events will take place on November 13, 2016 on the streets of our capital city.
-by Suellen Adams