Coming off impressive second place finishes in the 2020 Summer Stumptown 10K, 5K, and Uphill mile, Jeannie Groesz is a superstar masters runner who has been a member of TRL for over 10 years. Originally from Eugene and based in Redmond, Jeannie has competed in masters running events throughout America and internationally for many years. We got a chance to interview Jeannie and chat about her life and experiences as a runner.
When did you start running? I started at age 33. I had three kids, was playing on a women’s soccer team, but wanted to do more. It was easy for me to go out the door and just start running. I ran my first 5K race in Eugene on Pre’s Trail and loved it.
Have you run consistently since that first race? Yes. I started moving up in distances and eventually started running marathons. I ran 1st marathon in 1993 (Portland Marathon), ran Boston in 1998, and had my personal best at Avenue of the Giants marathon in California. In total, I’ve run 8 marathons. Then in 1999, a friend of mine encouraged me to run a Nike track race in Eugene where I competed in the 5000 and 1500. Then I got interested in masters track events and ran those events for years. I competed in USATF grand prix and world masters competitions domestically and abroad.
What’s your favorite distance? 10K
What made you want to be a Red Lizard? I loved the team comradery and wanted to compete with others in my age group. I started on the 60+ team and now I’m in the 70+ division! It’s great to receive awards, and I do well in races that award based on age-grading.
What’s the trick to your longevity? I’ve been blessed with good body mechanics. People always ask me, “Don’t your knees hurt?” I say I’ve never had any problem with my knees. I tell them that you’ve got to keep moving or you’ll lose your strength. I’m grateful that the Lord has given me this gift of running. Strength training has also helped me stay in good shape and keep strong, so I don’t get injured.
What’s you training routine? I use the Faster Beyond 50 plan by Coach Parry. He makes you do easy runs and recovery runs at a slower pace. You do 1-2 quality interval runs and strength training 1-2 times a week. Overall, I’m running 30 miles per week and that works for me.
Where do you run? I start running immediately when I leave my house, and I have training partners which is critical. I stick to the streets most of the time. I like running in trails but have stopped because there are too many tripping hazards. I’ve fallen a few times and really hurt myself. Unless it’s a really smooth trail, I usually avoid trail running.
Besides running events, what other events have you tried? I’ve done triathlons and have competed in Pole Pedal Paddle in Bend for the last 20 years with my daughter and son in the pairs division.
Are you kids athletic like you? Even though my children are not runners, they are all quite active. My kids Jeremy and Valerie are avid sailors. Val rides her horses and does drill team with them. Michelle and Nicholas are mountain bike and gravel riders. They are definitely not couch potatoes!
How are you staying active during COVID? I continue to train and haven’t stopped. I enjoy traveling to Elk Lake, near Mt. Bachelor in Bend with my training partner Sharon Gerl who recently placed 1st in many of the 2020 Summer Series events. We do a lot of training together including running biking and open water swimming. As a mother of 4 children, and a grandmother of 5, I really enjoy spending time with my family. Family life and running keep me happy and fulfilled in life!