Michelle Hernandez Stay active, don’t quit

Lots of big things are happening for Michelle and her running journey, she's also one of the most consistent runners in the community. Her Instagram line says it all “It's a lifestyle” and her fitness/run journey shows just that. It's women's history month and for this issue we’re here to spotlight all the amazing women in our running community. Let's get to know Michelle, her passion, her journey, and most of all, what keeps her going.

MSM: You’re one of the most consistent runners that I've seen in the community, always running, and always training but let's go back a bit to the beginning. When did it all begin for you, when did you discover running?

Michelle: Well, this all happened at a young age. I was definitely a tomboy growing up. Always active and playing some sport. I am also a military brat in which I feel that gave me a lot of my edge and drive. I also moved around a bit, and I am sure some may be able to relate. I am an athlete. I started playing organized sports in the 6th grade (Volleyball, basketball, track & field) I did field events in track too such as the long jump, triple jump, and high jump. I continued playing all three sports through my senior year. Once I graduated high school, I remained doing what I love which was working out, playing, and staying active. When I moved to California it was mainly for work (promotion). Some people were shocked and wondered how I did it coming from Florida but remember I’m a military brat (LOL). It was just another move, and I had nothing holding me back, so I took the leap of faith to the other side of the world. 

Once in Cali I found some basketball leagues and got back into playing. I played in a couple coed leagues and then women’s leagues. Fast forwarding a bit, I became a mother. What was funny is I was still playing ball while pregnant because I did know at first. I am a mother of three beautiful children. Two girls and a boy, ages 14, 12, and 9. After having my third child I was in a bit of a slump with my weight, my body, and I didn't feel great. I said OK, something’s gotta give and I need to move. I did get a personal trainer to help process a bit faster and found Herbalife nutrition at the same time. Then in 2019 I found and started running with Keep it Run Hundred. From there I became more involved with the running community and activities. I ventured out and saw that this community of runners is extensively large. I then began running with Movement Runners, then Good Vibes, and so many more running clubs. Distance running was never my ordeal because I never ran long distance. I feel I am still learning when it comes to endurance sports, but I am enjoying the ride and the people I am meeting along the way. 

This is also for my children. They are my drive and why. To show them, especially my daughters, that we are capable, strong, beautiful, powerful, resilient, worthy, courageous, and all the things. Use their voices to uplift other people and women. Use their voices for those who are shy and to help them fly. Be a boss in sports. 

MSM: You’re always on the run, literally. Some of your past races include triathlons, marathons and ultramarathons and I'm sure many others. The 3 above races are heavy, which leads to two questions I have. As a runner I totally understand the love/hate relationship with running. While running we can curse up a storm, when finishing there’s a huge sense of fulfillment. What have been some of your favs over the years and ones that have been the most difficult. 

Michelle: Great question. They all have their fair share of difficulty. Not all races are the same and I have learned along the way that your body is also different with every race. One of my favs I would have to say is the ultramarathon I did this past January with Adidas Runners LA in Catalina. Trail running has its own beauty and hardship, but easier on the legs and the recovery time after an ultramarathon compared to a marathon was remarkable. I was amazed. The most difficult I think is a triathlon because that is another level of endurance sports. Having to go from one thing to another and change is intense. However, I must say there is another that was quite the challenge and that was TSP (The Speed Project). TSP is a run from LA to Vegas on foot 350 miles.

MSM: You always seem to be on the go and always training. There's a saying, “stay ready so you don't have to get ready”. As a person that's always on the go, what does a typical training week look like for you when it comes to getting ready. I’ve seen that you’re currently prepping to go capture that unicorn in April, congratulations by the way. I'm sure you’re excited.

Michelle: Thank you very much! Yes, super stoked about that unicorn. Seems unreal. A typical training week for me, and remembering I have three children who are also in activities, is a challenge at times. However, Mothers will make it work. I have track workout once a week and then I run 3-6 miles with some of the run clubs 2 -3 times a week. I also make time for the gym in the evenings. Strength training is super important for runners. All my long runs (double digits) are done on the weekends. And I also have some home workouts I dabble with from time to time. 

MSM: You’re clearly on a marathon journey for the 6 stars. I feel like when we first get into running, we never see the larger picture when it comes to marathoning, we kind of just fall into it. What was it that made you want to tackle the marathon distance?

Michelle: Peer pressure (LOL). I got caught up in all the hype and it went sailing from there. I never in a million years thought I would eva eva run a marathon. I was a sprinter so anything more than a 400m or a mile I’m like but why. Sometimes I still feel that way and ask myself why I am here. And there are many reasons why and that is what I tap into, my purpose. The LA Marathon in March of 2020 was my first marathon, right before the world shut down from the pandemic. Since then, I have continued to challenge myself. 

MSM: We touched on the LA running community which is very diverse with so many running groups and teams, the home team for you is the wonderful running crew of Movement Runners. We met officially for the first time back at the Chicago Marathon 2021 and the crew showed nothing but love of which I am still extremely grateful for. How did Keep it Run Hundred become your run family and what were some of the things that stood out about KIRH that reeled you into the club?

Michelle: Well, this was actually quite reversed. I started with KIRH and then learned about Movement Runners through other members of the community. I then went to check them out which was also later in the same year I started with KIRH and never turned back. I love my running community. So many partnerships, and friendships have evolved. We are really a family and there for each other outside of running. The camaraderie and the accountability is another driving force. People are watching and look up to you, and believe in you, so I say keep going. If I can inspire one person at a time for anything, then I am doing my job. 

MSM: Diversity in running is very important and it is a must to find/run with folks that we can relate to when it comes to running. Did that comfortability come early on for you when you started running or did it take some time early on to find that crew/rhythm?

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