NOVA Featured Runner: Dawn Gillis

By | February 4, 2015

dawn gillis

NOVA  runner Dawn Gillis has been selected this week as the NOVA Featured Runner, based on her excellent performance at the JFK 20K on January 18! Dawn was gracious enough to sit down with NOVA and share some insights into her running career to date, running goals for 2015, and her thoughts on Coach Jerry and the NOVA team!

1. PRs: 

5k – 20:06, 10k – 41:42, 10 mile – 1:10:55, 20k – 1:26:00, Half – 1:31:04, Marathon – 3:14:17

2) Goal race(s) for this year? Other races planned?

This spring I am doing the Shamrock Half and probably the New Jersey Marathon. I really want to get a marathon PR because my current one is from 2013. I also plan to get a sub 1:30half and a sub 20 minute 5k. Long term I am working towards a sub 3 hour marathon.

3) What do you consider your best race performance to date?

I try to make my best performance my most recent race, so I am equally proud of my JFK 20K performance and my Charlottesville Half performance in October. I think the best race I’ve run so far was my first marathon, the Shamrock in March 2013, because I ran smart. I paced myself well and sped up over the course of the race to finish strong. It is also the only marathon, to date, that I haven’t stopped and walked in. I have since beat my time from then, but I haven’t run smarter since then, unfortunately.

4) How did you find NOVA, and what do you like best about the team?

I found NOVA online after I noticed my husband’s eyes glaze over whenever I talked about running. I like running with other people for hard workouts because it makes it more difficult to quit when others are watching. There is also a vast amount of knowledge and running experience on the team to give advice about what works and what doesn’t.

5) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from Coach Jerry?

Coach Jerry’s best advice has been to rest. I am a type A person who can push myself endlessly but now I hear him in my head telling me to take it easy. Resting well and running slow on my easy days makes it easier to run faster on race day.

6) What thoughts do you have on your performance at the JFK 20K?

The JFK 20K was really tough with the icy conditions, forcing everyone to run single file down the edge of the trail. I enjoyed having other runners at a similar pace who helped to pull me along and keep me motivated in the second half, when there was a strong headwind. I also knew that I was the first female for most of the race, which makes me run faster, since I never know if someone is coming up behind me or not.

7. What non-running fitness related activities do you enjoy?

I enjoy swimming and biking for triathlons. I do yoga, Pilate’s, and strength training but not because I enjoy it, but because I know I need some cross – training.

Coach Jerry had this to say about Dawn:
“When Dawn came to NOVA I could tell immediately that she had a whole lot of untapped potential, and she’s been making great progress, as her excellent run in the JFK 20k showed. I expect big things from her this spring, and beyond.”

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