by Karen Mitchell
As we reported the week before the Olympic Marathon Team Trials, Ann Mazur qualified for The Trials – by 13 seconds. After gradually lowering her marathon times over several years, she met this lifetime goal at California International Marathon (CIM) on December 8, 2019, giving her less than 12 weeks to recover and train for the Trials. On February 29, 2020 on a cold and windy day, she toed the start line on the hilly and challenging Atlanta course, with a huge smile on her face.
Ann loves frequent racing at all distances, 30-40 races per year. We first got to know her at a race we cover annually, the Debbie Green 5K in Wheeling, WV. She has a Ph.D. in English and teaches at the University of Virginia. An E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor, she teaches yoga at UVA and other places. If this isn’t enough, she also designs clothing for running and yoga. She’s found success in her personal running and career with her philosophy of low running mileage and lots of yoga. She has a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and website. Find her with her business name Runners Love Yoga. Search Instagram for Ann’s well-used hashtag – #runnersloveyoga – to find people doing yoga poses in interesting settings.
We caught up with Ann again after she had taken 3rd place in the 42nd running of Colonial Half Marathon in Williamsburg, VA. We wanted to hear about her race, and more important, how she had navigated the pandemic year of 2020.
Asked why she chose the Colonial Half, she said:
I actually always run this one, and even used it as a tune up (albeit a rather challenging tune up because of the course!) before the Olympic Marathon Trials last year. I have actually lost track of the number of times I’ve raced the Colonial Half but it has to be around 6 times or so. I was really happy that they still had it this year!
What were your goals for it?
I actually had to get a root canal on the Wednesday afternoon before the race which was really really excruciating, so my goals definitely adjusted a good bit: I took that Thursday off because of the root canal and Charlottesville got hit with a snow/ice storm, and then on Friday, I ran just 1 mile because my tooth really hurt–I was honestly a bit concerned about running a whole 13.1 miles. I know this is a challenging, tough, though very fun course, so my goal is really never to PR at this one–this year, I just wanted to get a good, hard effort in and enjoy an experience that felt like a normal race, which I did!
How did you feel with the event and your results?
I always enjoy visiting Williamsburg and seeing everyone in the running community there–they know how to put on a really great running race. I was totally happy with my results given the very unusual pre-race week I had, plus the extreme cold/wind during the race itself. The event lived up to my expectations for it as a really well-organized, safe, fun event! The course is one of the toughest half courses that I regularly run, but also very different as it includes a very scenic out-and-back section on a very wooded, winding country road that feels more like a trail.
What were the COVID precautions and how were they?
Runners started in very small waves of 25 and self-seeded according to their estimated finish time. I really appreciated the self-seeding (versus signing up for a time in advance) as I think it makes for a more accurate race experience (instead of just feeling like a time trial where you are not really racing the people immediately around you). Everyone wore masks except when actually racing and everything was very safe–they did a great job adjusting to the circumstances.
How’s your life been during the pandemic? Anything that stands out to you?
My small business Runners Love Yoga has really evolved during the pandemic–I now have 150+ yoga videos designed for runners at Runners Love Yoga TV, with the large majority of them being filmed since March 2020! I have also been working on the Runners Love Yoga app which will be out later this spring! So I have been super busy being a one-woman teaching, filming, and audio editing crew, but it has been really satisfying to get such nice messages from runners around the world saying how much my classes have helped them during the pandemic to both stay injury-free and to be less stressed!
The activewear side of the business has expanded a lot too–I had to really pivot once I could no longer teach my usual 12+ in-person classes each week!!–so that has kept me busy but it has been really fun designing comfortable, fashion-forward running and yoga clothes! Our newest collection benefits our local animal shelter with 25% of every purchase going right to them, so that’s something I would encourage my fellow animal loving runners to check out! I am not sure how I’d have gotten through pandemic life without my own two cats!
What are your future goals and intended races?
Hopefully a fall marathon but we shall see! I am really playing it by ear right now in terms of the racing!
Categories: Athlete Profiles