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Runner Spotlight: Marathoner & Ironman Finisher Dominique Carmichael

Today's runner spotlight is Dominique Carmichael. At 30, Dominique has shown an impressive amount of focus and determination with multiple marathon finishes under her belt. In August 2013 she achieved a major personal goal by completing her first Ironman in Louisville. Dominique is very active in the Charlotte running community and is a member of the Omega Nation training group through Omega Sports. Dominique is a true testament that accountability, dedication and hard work in will get you to the finish line.

Name:  Dominique Carmichael

What is your day job:  Administrative Assistant for a Broker/Dealer firm

How long have you been running:  9 years

How did you get into running:  After college, I was a bit overweight. My brother, always the athlete, starting competing in local triathlons. I was jealous of his experience, so I signed up for a local triathlon training group and became a triathlete. I fell in love with triathlon, but running and I never clicked. I knew one day I wanted to complete a half Ironman, but I knew that to do so, I would need to enjoy running. I signed up for a marathon, thinking that if I could train for and run 26.2 miles, I'd have to enjoy it by the end. It worked a little too well, and I fell in love with running. I completed several marathons, participated in the half Ironman that had inspired me, and decided to push on to full Ironman.

What’s your favorite race distance:  Marathon. The marathon is far enough that you can't fake it. It truly takes determination and training, but the reward is unlike any other.

What’s your favorite local running route:  I've probably run McMullen Creek greenway hundreds of times, but I have to say I still love it. I like throwing in variety, but McMullen is wear I am able to see growth; the nature surrounding the greenway changes every single day. I love starting a training season in the green thickness of summer with the cattails rising high above the boardwalks, and to finish out a season with snowflakes and bare trees.

What style of running shoes do you wear:  I have been running in the Saucony Kinvara for about three years now. I switch it up every once in a while, but I keep at least 3 pairs of Kinvaras in rotation. The lower drop and light weight make it a perfect distance shoe for me.

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What’s your must-have running gear:  What isn't? I'm a marathoner; I have more space dedicated to running than to normal clothes. I never leave the house without a visor, though.

What’s your favorite music to run to:  I never, ever run with music. I tried. I love to run with friends and chat the whole time, but when I am solo, I relish the time to reflect and just be with my own thoughts.

Are you a morning, lunch break or evening runner:  Training for Ironman, I had to become a morning runner, but I would still rather sleep in. I prefer to run right after work. It helps me ease out of the stress of the work day and reset.

What’s one food you couldn’t live without:  I am absolutely addicted to iced Chai lattes from Starbucks. I have one after almost every run. The spicier the better!

What’s your favorite place to hang out/refuel after a run: When I began dating my husband, I would go run on Thursdays with my triathlon friends, change in the car, and meet him at the Whitewater Center for a beer and music. We fell in love sitting by the water, and I knew if he could handle my smell and appearance post-run, he was a catch. I still run with those friends on Thursdays, and my husband and I still relax with the music and beer after.

What’s your favorite way to cross train:  Usually I am a cyclist, but after the enormity of training for Ironman, I am happier in the yoga studio. Not only is it a great way to cultivate flexibility and strength, but it helps me to tune into the imbalances that can lead to injury so I know what to address with the foam roller or stretches.

What’s your most embarrassing running moment:  I ate Chinese food before a 10k race exactly once in my life. It was a double 5k-loop course, and at the end of the first 5k, I had to veer of to try to get into the clubhouse. It was locked! I never thought I would make it, but I was running with some terrific friends who let me take walk breaks, and I made it to the finish. It was our worst 10k time ever, but we still laugh about eating Chinese food before a long run.

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What’s your proudest running achievement:  I have so many great moments of running that I am proud of, for so many different reasons. If I had to choose just one, I would say that I am most proud of my first marathon. My soul fell in love with running, and even though it was the hardest thing I had ever done, I finished with tears of joy streaming down my face.

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What’s your best running advice:  Distance running is not a club anyone is excluded from. All it takes to run farther (or even run at all) is determination. Distance runners are an incredibly welcoming crowd. Get out there and run, or walk, and make friends along the path. Once the pressure to fit in is gone, you can really start to enjoy the journey.

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