Healthy Talks with Regina Fleming
The beauty of running is that anyone can pick it up at any point of their lives. It is a sport that has no age limits, no boundaries and no restrictions. One person that falls into this realm is Regina Fleming who found her love of running after the age of 50 but it’s not only running that we find interest in with Regina, it’s also her wide range of talents from photography, holistic coaching, content creator and also being a Vegan. Lets have some healthy talks with Regina Fleming.
MSM: Hello and welcome to Mid Strike Magazine. In this publication we like to speak on a wide range of topics when it comes to runners, especially those that are experienced in various professional paths. For our readers let’s get an introduction into who Regina Fleming is.
Regina: I came into running by “accident”. While I love being physically fit and enjoyed watching the sprinters during the Olympics and I have always been a forever fan of The Queen, Flo Jo but I never thought that I would become a “runner”.
MSM: Running is something we all come across at some point in our lives. At times I feel like we have a choice when we do. We either run and fall in love with it or just don’t attempt to do it. For yourself what was it that drew you into running, what was your why?
Regina: I was looking at a magazine and I saw an ad for a race. A lot of the women had on pink tutus and skirts and the magazine was for women over 35, so I said to my friend, “let’s do this.” I was very naive and knew absolutely nothing about “races.” Ten days before the race, I remembered that I had signed up for something but had kind of forgotten what it was, but I knew the event was coming up. I asked my friend about the race and she said that she wasn’t going to do it; since I paid for it, I wanted to run the race. After checking my emails, I found the information for the race and it said “half marathon.” I googled a half marathon and it said 13.1 miles. Since 13 didn’t sound like a big number, I was not turned around about it. What was surprising was that, everywhere I looked it said that I had to “train” for the race! Here is where I must say that there are a lot of lessons to be learned. Since, I didn’t really speak to many runners, I had no idea that 13 miles was serious mileage! I reviewed some of the running plans online and put together some type of training plan and ran on a treadmill beginning that day and for the next 9 days. On the 10th day, I completed the Shape Magazine HALF MARATHON!
MSM: You’re a 9x marathoner which is pretty impressive which also means a lot of training. For our readers give us a peek into your race stats and some of your favorite marathons that you’ve run in the past. As a native New Yorker you’ve run the NYC Marathon, which is the best simply because NYC is THE BEST but what have been some other marathons and races that you’ve enjoyed?
Regina: You are so right. New York is my absolute favorite marathon. The runners’ stories, the crowds cheering us on, the volunteers, the signs and the medal, there is nothing like it. Every marathon that I have run has a different story and connection; that being said, the Paris Marathon is also a favorite. It is easy to get into, the course is like a fast sightseeing tour throughout Paris and everywhere you look it is beautiful. My third favorite is not the actual marathon itself, but the day before the marathon race in Berlin. As is customary, all the runners gather by countries the day before and run a short race that ends at the Olympic Stadium!
MSM: I came across a photo on your instagram, your medal count is very heavy, lots of medals. Do we see a possible 6 star medal in your future? Also what I loved about it was the caption. What is Regina’s inspiration as a runner?
Regina: But of course, I was on my way to completing all six races in 8 months until 2020 happened. Nevertheless, God has plans and I will run 2 marathons in 2021 and the final one in 2022. At this point running is a metaphor of life to me. I want to inspire women over 40 to fall in love with themselves and take care of themselves. My choice is running for now, but it can be any movement or act of physical activity that helps women become their healthiest selves. The poem comes from a sense of joy, and accomplishment. It is also meant to encourage people not to let anything hold them back, age or speed or anything else and it is a celebration of my running for 5 years and the end of a decade of my life.
I Am Not the Fastest.
Nor the Slowest.
The Youngest or the Oldest.
What I am Is a Runner..
A Runner who Believes That She
Can do Whatever She Wants to do.
A Runner who Believes That It
is My Mind that Determines How Far,
How Fast and How Slow I Run, Not my Legs.
I Am a Runner Who Inspires and Motivates or
Why Do It At All?.
I Am A Runner of Focus.
I Am a Runner of Commitment.
I Am A Runner of Sheer Will .
I Am A Runner.
This poem has so much meaning and power behind it with such a strong message to all runners.
I only have to prove myself to myself. I raise the bar to how I want to be treated, if you don’t get it , then we can part ways., both personally and professionally. Who wants to work for people or a company that does not respect them or their work. We have to set our own standards.Regina
MSM: I’d like to stick to the topic of Vegan for a minute as you yourself are a Vegan. There’s a myth I always hear that as a runner that’s also a vegan there’s no way you can obtain the same diet as a runner that eats meat. It’s usually a discussion I try to avoid but in this instance I’m always open to a few pointers from a fellow vegan runner. How has becoming a vegan helped you become better both mentally and physically and more so how has it helped you as a runner?
Regina: When I decided to move from vegetarian to vegan, I sought help from a nutritionist. I wanted to make sure that I had the proper minerals, vitamins, food and I did not want to lose weight. Most of the time, I eat for nutrients and fuel. I try to create healthy eating plans for myself in which I can have the most nutritious and flavorful meals and snacks . When I am training for races I really focus on eating for fuel. I like to have a routine for it makes it easier to eat and I use less brain space thinking of what to eat. When I first began my vegan journey, I studied all foods and I was so surprised by what was actually in a lot of foods. Being a vegan really opened my eyes up to the ingredients used in foods. I eat mainly beans, rice, all types of veggies and fruits, some tofu and faux meat products. I drink lots of water, currently a gallon a day and don’t indulge in alcohol at all. I feel good, light and healthy but this works for me and my body. I learned about foods that I have never eaten before such as chia seeds and nutritional yeast!
MSM: TRAVELER!!! You love to travel. The covid pandemic has been tough for all of us as we’ve been stuck in quarantine these past 16 months. As it seems like we’re getting to the finish line hopefully, What have been some of your favorite travel places pre covid and what are some of the places that you are looking forward to going once things are open?
Regina: I have travelled to over 30 states, 22 countries and 15 islands. In all fairness, I was a flight attendant and my photography clients have flown me all over the world to photograph them. Some of my favorite places are Capri (oh, how I love this place) and Paris tied for first place. Australia and Singapore were quite beautiful but the must see for all is South Africa, I cried the minute my feet touched the deep chocolate soil. I speak the universal language of a smile and you never know how far that a smile will get you! A couple of places on my travel list are the Maldives, South Africa (again, but for a month), Kenya, Iceland ,Trinidad, Dubai and Egypt.
MSM: One thing runners LOVE to do is travel to a race, have you ever traveled and planned a vacation around a race?
Regina: Yes, travel to all races are a vacation. Paris, Chicago, Berlin, LA and Philadelphia.
MSM: I find that people who travel a lot are super organized and great planners (lol). Sorry to all my non planners but I do find this to be somewhat of a fact, we can debate that at a later date. Do you find yourself as a traveler being very detailed and organized when it comes to you planning trips?
Regina: I am a former flight attendant and airline employee and you could never miss a flight or you had to learn how to change plans quickly when you travelled standby. I am a master of travel and the secret is to plan early, have doubles of your favorite toiletries and keep them in your luggage at all times. Have one credit card dedicated to your family airline (too much to write about this) and ALWAYS be nice to the check in and gate agent. Also, I always travel on non stop flights when available and usually the first flight of the day. As a wedding photographer, I never want to miss a flight or have a flight cancelled where I can’t make a wedding. As a runner, I arrive a couple of days early to rest with international time difference and to become familiar with the race route. I book my seats in advance because I love to relax on planes, sleep, watch movies and I always dress neat and smile, it is a great way to get an upgrade and bring your own snacks (for real). Lastly, the right credit cards get you in to the airline lounge and this is a true plus, believe me!
MSM: What is it that makes Regina Fleming constantly bring her A game to anything and everything she starts?
Regina: It is innate as I love competition with myself. It is amazing, all the things that we can do that we don’t even know that we can do. I am a curious person and I like to experience new things and accomplish them. I have created my life by choosing to do things that bring me joy, peace, happiness and fun. At the end of my life , at the pearly gates, I want to hear God say, “well done, my good and faithful steward.”
MSM: You are a fierce, strong and very intelligent black woman. Do you ever find yourself taking a step back to see those that find inspiration in you? Especially the young women in our communities.
Regina: I have mentored young women all my life, from volunteering at various youth facilities, mentoring one on one, my Sorority work and I speak at schools and organizations. Also 90% of my casual conversations are inspiring.
MSM: Women in general have to fight so hard in this world that we live in ESPECIALLY black women. Do you find yourself having to continuously prove yourself not only personally but also professionally?
Regina: I only have to prove myself to myself. I raise the bar to how I want to be treated, if you don’t get it , then we can part ways., both personally and professionally. Who wants to work for people or a company that does not respect them or their work. We have to set our own standards.
MSM: Let’s dive into your photography which is a passion of yours and a very good one I might add as your photos could be found in print articles such as Create Magazine, Eden Magazine along with weddings, events etc. Just stunning photos overall, how long have you been a photographer, when did you first pick up the camera?
Regina: This is my 20th year as a business owner and lead photographer of the 8 time award winning Regina Fleming Photography specializing in weddings and events, portraits and branding and interiors. While, I have always loved black and white story telling photography especially in the 60’s with Civil Rights images as well as fashion photography and the images of Gordon Parks, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Vogue; it wasn’t until I began my career as a model that I decided to go back to school and earn a degree in photography. Loving to see the stories in everyday life is a blessing and a curse because it is hard to turn off, so I am thankful for camera phones which allow me to capture moments that could be missed without my dedicated camera.
MSM: I’m a production guy at heart an editor, usually we know what goes into the best shots from a video standpoint but when it comes to photography, what’s your process in getting the shot?
- Having the ability to piece together a story quickly.
- Communication, seeing the unseen.
MSM: I’ve seen many fashion shots not only in your photography but also within yourself. For our readers that are into fashion what are and have been some of your favorite looks and styles. Any chance we would ever see a Regina Fleming design? Possibly on both the clothing and run apparel side?
Regina: Yes, fashion comes and goes, but style is a person’s essence. Have you ever seen two people wear the same thing, but one person adds a belt, or cuts off a sleeve or adds bold jewelry and you can’t stop looking at them because they look stylish. Different. Confidence. One of a kind. I love turning a fashion piece into my style. I would love to have an athletic wear collection.
MSM: You have a quote “If not now when”. For you, what is the importance of that meaning?
Regina: Stop waiting for perfect conditions. Study and learn from others who have done what you want to do, next write a plan and then execute! So many people die without living and sharing their gifts because they are waiting for the perfect moment. The perfect moment is now!
MSM: You’re a runner, photographer, content creator and traveler but one thing we have a tendency to struggle with at times is balance especially when it comes to a healthy mental well being. How do you find your balance?
Regina: Balance is the key to life. Sometimes you can have it all at once and other times you can’t. For my healthy well being, I prioritize what I need that day or at that time. I slow down and listen for the quiet voice which dictates how I move. One of my favorite Bible verses begins with simply, “peace, be still’.
MSM: Mental health in our communities are things that are overlooked as it’s something we at times generally don’t discuss, we essentially ignore the red flags. I’d like to go back a bit as we touched on the struggles that black women have to fight with daily. Having to constantly be held to a “standard” professionally can cause us to fall into the wrong type of headspace. Mentally how do you work through this to keep your mind at ease, where you keep your headspace clear of all the daily issues?
Regina: When will that end? It ends when we stop the struggle, when we reset the narrative. Enough already. There are over 50 bible verses in which God tells us who and whose we are. That is where my mental strength comes from. If it is good enough for God and He has the final word, then I will be fine fine fine with that. Also, what are you telling yourself, seriously, words have power. Speak what you want. Give yourself grace. Power comes from your belief in yourself. Be committed to greatness. Always be ready to assist another sister. Pray. Chant. Meditate. Cry. Love.
MSM: Have you ever found yourself coaching others to help manage some of the issues we face daily, helping them to break through the mental barrier and eventually come out better than they were at the beginning?
Regina: I use my life ‘coaching” skills daily. Women like to talk everything out. (yes, I know that is a general statement, but it is a good one) We learn, teach, help and assist each other in that way. I would recommend that we all create a “women squad” to discuss empowering strategies and life plans with. What you focus on, you multiply, we should focus on what we want. Period.
MSM: Self care and wellness are very important. What are some of the things that help you to achieve that mindful reset?
Regina: Peace of mind is one of the most priceless and precious resources that we have. I love to take baths with salts, music and candles. Sit still and read. I love early sunrises on the beach . Shut down all notifications, tv and phone calls. Surround myself with beautiful aesthetics and laughter, the medicine for the soul.
MSM: We can’t wrap this article without you giving a shout out to your AKA’s.
Regina: I have been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha for 36 years and I have loved every moment of it. We are a service organization, changing the world with a dedication and commitment to service for all mankind. I have many meaningful connections with my sorority sisters and did I mention that the Vice President is one of my sorority sisters?A lot of my leadership skills were crafted in college when I became a member of AKA.
MSM: What’s on the horizon for Regina and for our readers how can we keep up with everything Regina Fleming?
Regina: The sky’s the limit for Regina! I am writing a book, there I said it, so please hold me to it! Ha! I have began the work on my women over 40 fitness community and a fitness and wellness retreat next year and I am living my life to the ABSOLUTE FULLEST!! I can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org for info on holistic health coaching, upcoming fitness information including webinars, classes and retreats and on IG at @iamreginafleming. For photography needs, www.reginaflemingphotography.com.
MSM: Any last words that you’d like to share with our readers?
- Stay in your lane and focus on your race. People trip in races when they are looking back and looking at what others are doing.
- If at first you don’t succeed, ask for help.
- Lastly, who is going to lose if you don’t win?
- Let’s run the world, it is counting on us!
MSM: From us here at Mid Strike Magazine we appreciate you, your journey and most of all your inspiration.