Regina ‘Reggie’ Henderson is a runner who found her love for the sport in a hilarious-yet-relatable way. “I was asked if I wanted a bib for a half marathon by a friend whose brother broke his leg. The most I had ever run before that was maybe 8 miles just running around my neighborhood.” By day, Reggie is a chiropractic assistant who recognizes the value of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Reggie got serious about running in 2014. She remembers, “I fell in love with running and wanted to run a marathon for my dad who was always active as a young man but as he got older and had a family, we were his first priority and his health came last. He had a stroke and died at age 70. This propelled me to be even more vigilant in my health as my family medical history is riddled with health issues and nobody in my family was living a healthy lifestyle.
I wanted to be that example for my family. I chose to run the Marine Corps Marathon as my first marathon as my dad was retired from the Coast Guard, my brother was an Army Ranger, and my husband is a 21-year Air Force veteran. It made sense to run a race that would make my dad proud. I ran it and completed it and honored my dad. He died 8 months prior to my race.”
What is your greatest achievement as an athlete?
Honestly, raising children that know the importance of movement. My 21 year old daughter stays active by walking and playing with her 1 year old son. My 19 year old son is an amazing dancer as well as a great coach and influence on many young adults when it comes to fitness. He loves to lift and dance. My 17 year old is a runner like me but loves to run shorter distances. We have two treadmills at home and at times we can both be running simultaneously. My 14 year old son loves to dance and is a skateboarder. I will sign us all up to run local 5k’s and 10k’s and they will come out and participate. They know why their mom will run at all times of the day and sometimes in the middle of the night. It all comes down to staying healthy and fit and enjoying our lives as long as we can.
What advice do you have for athletes to help them stay motivated for their virtual races?
For me, I always go back to my why—my reason I started to run: to stay as healthy and fit for as long as possible so I could be here for my children in all milestones of their lives. I also make sure my LOVE of running is there, too. Otherwise, going through the motions gets old quickly, especially in times of social distancing. I also love keeping others accountable/being accounted for with other friends that are running that same race, or another race. There’s nothing better than having friends that you can share your daily struggles or victories with.
How have you adjusted your goals to stay excited and keep training?
Being a mother of 4 and a grandmother, I always use my children as an example. I know that they are a reflection of me, and through 2020, the year of all uncertainty, moving and activity has been a must, especially when one of my children deals with mental health issues. Being active, specifically running, has had such a positive effect on them, which in turn helps with coping and dealing with everyday life as it is today.
I have always had to work around my work and family’s schedule and sometimes that means miles that have to be done on my treadmill. To keep it fun and exciting, I have chosen to run races like the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1,000k, a virtual race across TN with teammates, and the virtual MCM50K in October.
I also plan out my runs in advance. If my family is going fishing at the reservoir, I’ll run from our home to the reservoir to get my training miles in and finish with family time. Family is always first regardless of my training.
How do you overcome the mental hurdles as mileage increases?
I am a huge dork in that I am all about lists—packing lists, grocery lists, back-to-school lists, etc. So, if I already know what my training plan calls for that week, I try to plan it in advance. Everything from my outfit (I wasn’t kidding about being a dork!) to my hydration and fuel, my jams, my route. Yes, we will have great runs and sucky ones as well, but it’s the prepping and everything else that will get your feet out the door with NO excuses. My love of lists helps me get one step closer to my goal.
And then as each week ends I do treat myself to something like a DQ Blizzard because I earned it!
What resources (books, podcasts, films, etc.) do you recommend to help athletes stay motivated?
I love it all! Since Covid hit, I promised myself to read more, and I have—I read at least 2 books a week. No, they’re not always running related. For podcasts, I love listening to Nicole DeBoom and podcasts put on by Run the Edge (Gouchers and their team). I follow many inspirational runners online who help to keep me motivated. I have go-to motivational sports movies that I’ll watch—Rocky, Creed, Rudy, The Bad News Bears, and Hoosiers (basketball was my passion before I fell in love with running). Check out more motivational sport films here.
I recommend joining an online group of runners with commonalities. There’s a ton of amazing online groups that motivate. Join a running club, too, if they are available. I love being a part of my Runclub (we have yet to run as a group because of Covid): Aurora Runners Roost Runclub. Running is such an inclusive sport that everyone who knows they are a runner regardless of gender, age, experience, or race can find motivation everywhere.
How do you pump yourself up to get out the door to train or race?
For me, it’s all about preparedness, a cute outfit, a route that has possible potty breaks, a great playlist, a goal to strive for, and being okay with the day if it all goes to pieces because ultimately we have NO control! 🤣
And for a race day: enough sleep (yeah right!) a bit of mascara, and lip gloss for those on course pics!
What are some of the perks to virtual races?
No worries about crowds, especially if you need to potty. Your pace, your race, your place (or mine or at the park). You don’t just have one fixed race date or start time.
You choose the date, time, the aid station products, everything. Virtual races let you be the the runner, race director, and cheerleader.
Now that you have tools to help you stay motivated for virtual races, learn athlete secrets to have a successful virtual race.