Member Spotlight: Frances Miller

Name: Frances Miller

To sum myself up in a nutshell: I’ve been married to Keith for 32 years, have a daughter and grandson, and work at Wake Health in Neuroscience research. We live on a small farm with 2 dogs, 2 cats and 3 llamas. I am also the face of Tuesday Night Track Night.

And I’m originally from: Cullowhee, North Carolina

I’ve been in Winston-Salem: 40 years. I moved here to work at the medical school after graduating from Western Carolina University.

A proud member of Twin City Track Club: since 2016.

Been a “runner” since: 1982 and started running back when the only races were 10Ks and marathons! I started running because of a guy, and, even though that didn’t work out, it gave me a lifelong love of running.

The longest distance I’ve ever run is: a marathon, Charlotte in 1984, Shamrock in Virginia Beach as my Boston Qualifier in 2019, and Virtual Boston run on the Mount Airy greenway in 2020.

My motivation to run is: Staying upright and mobile! The social aspect when running with others is motivating. It certainly helps with mental health and I use solo running time to mentally work out problems.

But when I’m not running, I enjoy: Skiing, playing with my grandson and relaxing in my garden. I also weave and play the fiddle.

One thing running has taught me: You have unlimited possibilities for why you run. Whether it is for companionship, quiet reflection or competition, there is something about it that can appeal to almost anyone.

I wish I could: Encourage more people to run, no matter their speed or ability. I want to be the reason someone tried something new!

Most people don’t know: I once ran the Mistletoe Half in the morning, then drove to the mountains and skied all afternoon. A double day of fun!

Memorable running experiences:

  • Rave run – Bethel Half Marathon is probably my favorite race with Richmond Half a close second. They are completely different atmospheres. Bethel is a very small race, a fundraiser for the local school system on an open course where you have to draw on your own internal toughness. Richmond is very large and runner-friendly with plenty of crowd support to propel you along.
  • Race – My 2020 Boston qualifier, Shamrock at Virginia Beach, was incredible. Unfortunately I was one of the 10,000 that got cut from the Boston field this year because of COVID restrictions, so I’m not sure if I will ever run Boston now that I have to requalify. The most memorable race was Cooper River, where I was able to pace a friend in a race that she had always dreamed of running but was not sure she could accomplish. Knowing I was able to help her achieve that goal is special.
  • Gone postal run and/or I’d rather forget – The year I ran the Kernersville 4th of July race with Norovirus! I thought it was just nervous runner’s stomach and found out days later I was really sick. Ironically, I still won my age group!

These are a few of my favorite running things:

  • Vice – Being able to run at low tide on the beach at sunrise.
  • Device – Garmin 245 Music. I have only had a music watch for about 5 years and only listen to music if I am running by myself. I don’t mind running without music and use it as a perfect time to mentally work out problems.
  • Advice – Always trust your training! And always brush your teeth before you run, it will help with that dry mouth feeling.
  • Running footwear –  Newtons. I’ve worn them since they first formed the company 15 years ago.
  • Pre-run/post run – Fuel before a long run is a couple of frozen waffles or a bagel with cream cheese and a drinkable yogurt. Before a race add some oatmeal with fruit. Running fuel is usually gummies or gels, but lately I have been experimenting with boiled baby potatoes with sea salt and getting great results. Post run first a Gatorade and either yogurt with fruit and nuts or a pineapple/banana milkshake from Cookout!