Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Joni Gommo: I’ll be 52 years young in the summer of 2019.
RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
JG: I’m happily married to the best guy in the world and I have two grown kids. I was also just blessed with my first grandchild! I’m a “retired” nurse, turned Keto Coach.
RLRS: When and why did you start running?
JG: 5 years ago I started Keto to reclaim my health and weight goals. When I started to feel better and developed more energy, thanks to Keto, I started walking. One day, I decided to challenge myself by jogging mailboxes. That eventually morphed into 7 half marathons, 1 Ragnar relay and countless other smaller races.
RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
JG: The visual I have of crossing my first marathon finish line, coming up this fall! I don’t want to let myself down, so I am utilizing Faith as my coach. I don’t want to let her down either!
RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
JG: I’m passionate about Keto Coaching and my clients, and I love to cook and bake all things keto! I even self-cater my own Keto Lunch ‘N Learn events. My three mini-schnauzers (one of whom is paralyzed and just did a Swiffer commercial!) also keep me happily busy. I maintain the social media site for my special needs pup and occasionally write local articles about him as well. He’s a little celebrity!
RLRS: What is your favorite race?
JG: I’ve run 3 Disney Wine and Dine half marathons and loved all the on-course entertainment! I also enjoyed the Publix A1A Half in Ft. Lauderdale. What’s better than the beach at sunrise?!
RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
JG: The Rock and Roll Vegas, The Grand Tetons Half and The Marine Corps Marathon
RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
JG: I was running a 10K in Hilton Head, and a half was being run on the same course. I always look for my husband when I cross the finish line (he’s much faster than me), but this time, he was nowhere in sight! I was also really impressed with my time. It was my BEST 10K EVER! A few seconds after I was patting myself on the back, I looked at my Fitbit and realized I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere because I shorted myself almost 2 miles!!! On sheer principal, after the race finished, I did those two extra miles just for ME. I was so mad at myself at the time, but now I find it funny!
RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
JG: I will never forget the feeling of crossing the finish line of my very first half marathon! I’m SLOW, but shortly after crossing, a gentleman came over to thank me, saying that he used me as his pacer the entire way! You just never know who you may be inspiring!
RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
JG: That more people than not do intervals and that interval runners are sometimes even faster than full on runners! I was so happy to see this because I’ve had neck surgery and this is the only way I run!
RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
JG: If it were not for intervals, I wouldn’t have been able to run all these races. If you want to run but think you can’t, try intervals! You can always increase those intervals as you build up!
Another piece of advice I have is really more of a mantra from my best friend and fellow runner, Janice. We’ve both had similar neck surgery, so we realize how fortunate we are:“It’s not that I “have” to run. It’s that I GET to run!”
Coach’s note: Joni will be running one of her bucket list races in the fall of 2019 when she takes on the Marine Corps Marathon. We wish her all the best!!