Runner Spotlight: Janet Braunstein

When did you begin running and why?
I began running shortly after I graduated from college. I wanted to stay active, but was living in South Florida and rarely ran more than three miles. I would run after work, when it was quite hot. I caught the “marathon-bug” after I moved to D.C. It was a whole new world. There was shade and a huge fall marathon everyone was doing! I enjoy traveling for races and I’m fortunate to have such wonderfully supportive family and friends in D.C., Florida, New Jersey, Colorado, and California, who have either hosted me or traveled with me to races all over the country.

How did you find out about DCRRC and when did you join?
By the time I was in my mid-thirties, I had done several marathons and wanted to get faster. I read something about the DCRRC’s Wednesday track workout and thought I’d give it a try. I went consistently for a year, knocked 24 minutes from my marathon time, and qualified for Boston.

What are you training for right now?
As of this posting, I’m not signed up for anything in particular. I may do the Richmond Half-Marathon.

What is the toughest run or race you’ve ever participated in?
I realize this is this is not an original answer, but it was probably my first marathon, Marine Corps. I made mistakes in training and during the race and was lucky to finish. I commented afterward that this marathon would be my last. I suppose all us of say “never again” at some point.

As much as I love trail running, I haven’t had much luck with trail races. I had an infamous meltdown at the end of trail half-marathon in Northern Virginia a few years ago. Fortunately, my frequent running buddies, Kerry O’Brien and Laura Chipkin, still talk to me. I once got lost during a poorly marked trail race in West Virginia. I was first female and second overall at the time I took a wrong turn late in the race. At one point, I thought I heard the music from The Deliverance. A search party was heading out as I finally made my way to the finish. Needless to say, the race director got an earful from this city slicker. Again, it wasn’t my finest moment.

What’s your favorite part about being a DCRRC member?
It’s difficult to pinpoint my favorite part of being a DCRRC member. I like SLR, track, the Bunion and Snowball Series, the banquet and picnic, and the yoga, which I guess is just about everything. I have to mention post-SLR brunch at Whitlow’s. I realize this isn’t an official activity, but some of have been going for more than a decade.

What is your favorite route in the area?
I love the Rock Creek trails. It’s amazing that we have such a large, lush forest in D.C. I can go on for hours about the wildlife I’ve seen in Rock Creek Park. I also enjoy running on the Towpath, especially from Carderock.

What race day traditions do you have?
I wake up very early, much to the chagrin of my travel partner or the person hosting me.

What’s your proudest running moment?
Other than qualifying for Boston for the first time at the Columbus Marathon, it was when I ran my 10-mile PR at Cherry Blossom. It was one of those perfect days and the blossoms were in full bloom. I’m proud of the improvements I’ve had at the standard distances since joining the Club.

What’s your life like outside of running?
I’m so tired from all the running-related activities that I sleep a lot. I’m kidding. Well, not really. I’m guessing the Club regrets sending me this questionnaire due to my warped sense of humor. I do a lot of yoga, sample the local restaurants, and travel frequently to Boulder, Colorado, where I have family. I can’t end this narrative without saying “Go Gators!”

What is one thing you wouldn’t run without?
I realize I’m getting myself into trouble by saying this, but it’s my headphones. I have difficulty doing road races of 10K or longer without them.