Heartbreaker Highlight - Reena Aggarwal
Introducing our next Heartbreaker Highlight, Reena Aggarwal! Born in Kenya and raised in the UK, Reena's cheeky humor keeps the mood light and fun at Heartbreak sessions. A scientist by trade, she is not afraid to ask questions. When in training, she's one of our most prolific contributors to Coach LIVE Q&A sessions. Reena recently finished her first marathon in Chicago and is now focused on becoming a more confident runner. Chat with her and you'll immediately feel like old friends. Read on to learn more about Reena and why she's our latest Heartbreaker Highlight!
Hometown & Alma Maters (High School and College(s), if applicable): Born in Nairobi, Indian descent, grew up in England. Went to Uni of London to study pharmacy and then did grad medicine at University of Cambridge.
How old were you when you started running? I am old! I am 45!! I was a sprinter in high school -- ran 100m/200m and 4x100 m relay, hated being out in the cold and cross country. Never really ran in my 20s or anything -- I did a half marathon in 1996 after only having run 3 miles ever and hated every single second so never ran again. Moved to Boston in January 2017 and the cold, sparkly, sunny and blue days just made me want to be out. Ran by myself for about 6 months as was sooooo slow, then ran a few 5k in summer 2017 and heard about marathons -- and also Boston.... and go inspired to sign up for Chicago. So, in reality, I started running seriously this April when I joined HB.
Why did you start running? I came to Boston on the back of a couple of crazy years of working as a resident and had barely any time for exercise. I had done a decade of yoga previously but it just wasn't me any more. I love being outdoors, I am such a noisy, rambunctious and chatty person, but when i run, I love the quiet, the silence and really don't even like talking to anyone. It becomes something for me to just be still (while moving) and to give my mind a break from all the thinking and stuff!
How did you learn about the Heartbreakers and why did you join? I had heard about HB and was so intimidated by them! I remember seeing them huge crew at Salem 10k in 2017 and it looked so overwhelming. But, I knew I had this big goal, I had signed up for Chicago and I wanted to ensure I could deliver. I came to the HB recruiter night last November, met Dan, Hilbert, Jordan (yes all the crazy speedy ones!) and they were just so nice. Welcoming and reassuring and told me that HB was a place for all runners. Took me till April to believe those words, but I came along to your first spring track workout and haven't looked back since. I love being part of the team.
Favorite part about being a Heartbreaker? Community first and foremost.
Who's your favorite runner? I grew up watching Sebastian Coe -- I would love to be a runner like him.
Do you run with music? If so, what's your favorite song to run to? During the awful humidity, I ran in August with headphones to survive -- used Ellen London Crane's killer HB August spotify playlist. but normally, I prefer to listen to the sound of the world around me!
What's your favorite interval distance? (200s? 400s? 1000s? other) 200s I think, but I am starting to enjoy 400s.... I love running a bend!
What's one lesson about life you've learned through running? The thing about me is that I am too fast in every aspect of my life -- and it gets me into bother in my personal and professional life. Running and training for a marathon has taught me to be present. I am still learning this but during Chicago, I stayed present to every mile. That was amazing.
What's your day job? (If you care to share) I am an OB by trade! But currently work as a researcher at Ariadne Labs in Boston and am working to improve outcomes and the experience of women during childbirth.
If you could run with anyone dead or alive who would it be? Nelson Mandela -- I would love to know how he survived for so long on Robben Island and remained able to forgive.
What's your favorite podcast? The Daily and Desert Island Dics but more recently I have listened to "Morning Shakeout' and 'Rambling Runner"
Your social media handles? (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) Insta: raggarwal Twitter: @drraggarwal
Your short-term (2018) and long-term running goal(s)? Test my body with speed having done Chicago - get under 2 hours for a half, run a sub 26 min 5k
- eventually run all the majors!