Dirt in Your Skirt Athlete Profile – Jen Milligan
Jen Milligan might not be a household name on the American OCR circuit but in Canada she is definitely leaving a mark. She is a member of the Canadian Mudd Queens a female OCR group and we are proud to share her thoughts with the world. Learn more about this Canadian speedster…
How did you get involved in your sport?
I got into running when I was working on cruise ships; I got bored going to the same port every week so I started running in them instead. When I eventually quit cruise ships I signed up for my first half marathon in 2010, I really enjoyed it and then signed up for my first marathon in 2011. My Mom got me into obstacle racing. Her personal trainer wanted her to do the Spartan Sprint in 2011 at Camp Fortune and asked me if I wanted to do it and I said yes. I ended up beating her personal trainer and was hooked on Spartan Races from then on. I only ran one race in 2011, two in 2012 and over 20 in 2013.
Were you always an athlete?
I was always involved in sports growing up, I grew up playing basketball in high school and then in College.
What are some of your athletic achievements?
When I played basketball in College I made the 1st team All Star team and was invited to play in the all-star game for the following 2 years. For running it would have to be qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2014 at Ottawa Race Weekend in 2013 with a time of 3:32:08. For obstacle course racing it would be winning the Toronto Sprint and being the top Spartan points leader for females in Canada for 2013 (second overall).
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
My goals for 2014 to start are to focus on training for the Boston Marathon for the next few weeks. After Boston, I am running the Ottawa Marathon and then the Spartan Race season starts. I am hoping to be in the top 5 for all races. I have a pretty packed race calendar doing all of the Spartan Races in Eastern Canada and a few in the States including the Ultra Beast, Prison Break Ottawa and I am going to run the entire 100km for the Sears Great Canadian Run in October.
Who is/are your inspiration?
I would say my Mom and the Canadian Mudd Queens. My Mom has done so much fitness wise, losing weight, eating healthy and I pretty much followed in her path of a healthy lifestyle. As for the Canadian Mudd Queens, I joined the group a couple years ago after looking for car pooling and shared accommodation. It is such an inspirational group of women and all different levels of fitness that inspire me to get better.
What is your most proud moment in sport?
I never imagined Qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2013. My goal was to qualify in 2014 when I was a year older and I had an extra 5 minutes for my qualifying time. Having a great race in Ottawa and crossing that finish line I was so excited because I knew I had qualified, it still didn’t guarantee me entry but that fact that I qualified in the 18-34 year old category I was super excited. I will never forget the 2 weeks I had to wait for an email from the BAA saying whether I got in or not, it was torture.
How do you overcome a bad race or training day?
If I have a bad race or training day I try not to dwell on it, you never know how the day is going to be so I just take each day as it comes.
What is your training routine like?
I usually run 6 days a week, depending on what I am training for. I incorporate speed work, hill training and one long run on the weekend. I do Crossfit 5 or 6 days a week and I am a commuter cyclist from April to around November so I bike around 20-25km a day.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your sport?
For someone just starting out go into it having fun with a group of friends, don’t worry about how long it is going to take you, enjoy yourself and have fun.
What is your favorite pre-race and post-race food?
The night before a race, I usually have a steak and a beer. In the morning I have oatmeal, homemade muffin, orange juice and a banana. Post race whatever is around really; usually a sandwich and chocolate milk is easy especially when I’m on the road.
When not training and competing what do you do with your down time?
Downtime? What’s downtime….I honestly don’t have much downtime. It would probably be watching a show on TV. I like to be doing something so don’t really like sitting around that often.
What is your favorite quote to motivate you?
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away.” Anonymous
What is the best advice a coach ever gave you? Pick up the bar!
If you could share some advice to the next generation of athletes, what would it be?
My advice would be to stick to it, have a training plan and goal in mind and have fun. If you stay motivated running or training with a group of people find a group to train with. Personally I write everything down so I am held accountable for it, if it says run 8km on a Wednesday when it’s freezing cold outside I still go no matter what. Having a calendar with your training plan lets you plan as well so you know what to expect.