Gillian Clow is the fitness-obsessed law student behind the blog That’s G. Whether she’s sampling a new IPA, traveling around the world or training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Los Angeles, she’s sharing it with the world. No matter what she’s doing, though, running is always on her mind! We sat down with her to chat about what she loves about logging miles on the road and what motivates her to keep crossing finish lines at races all over California.
1. Why did you first start running?
I first started running recreationally when I was in fourth grade. I was the LEAST athletic kid, and my parents wanted me to do something active. I was shy and the idea of team sports intimidated me, so I started running and then joined a local youth track team in fifth grade. I was one of the slowest kids on the team and frequently came in last in races, but I stuck with it. Eventually, I joined my high school’s cross country and track teams and a lifelong obsession was born.
2. What’s the best part about running? Why do you continue to train?
It’s hard for me to pick just one best thing about running. I love the way it makes me feel — it’s energizing! I also love the ability to work toward a goal and achieve it and see my times fall. More than any of that, though, I love belonging to the running community. Runners are supportive! Connecting with other runners is so great because they just get it. I train because it incentivizes me to stay in shape. I would be way less motivated without a race looming ahead of me.
3. What’s the hardest thing about training?
The hardest things are waking up early on weekends and foregoing bottomless mimosa brunches for 6 a.m. wake-up calls and double-digit mileage. It’s also hard to decline beer on weekend nights when I have a long run the next day, but it’s all worth it. Personally, I’ve been sidelined by injury a couple of times, so it’s important for me to crosstrain and be smart about my training.
4. Can you share a little about Back on My Feet? Why is the cause close to your heart?
I have been running with Back on My Feet for about a year now. When I first heard about this organization, I knew I had to get involved. Back on My Feet is an organization designed to help people living with homelessness and other underserved populations get back on their feet (literally) through running. A lot of the benefits of running apply to life — it teaches you perseverance, builds one’s work ethic and shows that with hard work you can accomplish your goals. I run with the Homeboy Industries chapter in downtown LA’s Chinatown three days per week at 5:30 a.m. It is insanely inspiring to log 3 to 4 miles at the start of my day with someone who has been incarcerated or is overcoming addiction. These guys motivate me to not take my life and my opportunities for granted and inspire me to get out of bed.
5. What is the most unique thing you’ve done to support a cause?
I’ve run several races with Back on My Feet and had the experience of pacing some of our team members when they raced their very first 5k or 10k, which was awesome.
6. Why do you think others should support a cause as they train for races?
Running with a group like Back on My Feet is so rewarding, and it also instills a little bit of built-in discipline because you know people are counting on you to be there. In terms of other organizations, I know a lot of different groups train together, which is key for built in support, commiseration and post-race celebrating. Additionally, having a purpose for running beyond just “let’s see how many likes I can get on Instagram for my finish line photo” may propel some people to push through it when it gets tough.
7. Have you ever run the LA Rock ‘n’ Roll race?
I ran Rock ‘n’ Roll LA last year, and I am going to be running it next weekend, as well! I run with a running group in downtown LA, and we train on part of the course. I’m excited to run it again this year and hope some of my running buddies get a personal record (PR).
8. For those who are running it next week what race-day prep advice can you share?
All of the classics: run your own race, don’t do anything new on race day and make a killer playlist!
9. What are your big running goals for the year?
I plan to run a couple more half marathons this fall through the Lexus LaceUp Run Series in Southern California. In 2015, I want to shift my focus to the marathon and try and qualify for Boston. I just got a PR at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco with a time of 1:36:02, so breaking that 1:35 barrier would be a dream.
10. Why did you start your blog and whats your favorite part about blogging?
I started my blog in the summer of 2009 when I had a summer internship that had a lot of downtime. I love blogging as a way to preserve memories, but by far, the best part has been the people I’ve met and connections I’ve made through it and some of the events and races I’ve gotten to participate in as a result.