Name: Toni Winchester Octave
Hometown: I’m a NOLA girl.
High School: Xavier High School
College: Northwood University
How long have you identified yourself as a runner? When was the moment you started identifying yourself as one?
I began running at age 9 with my father (Garry Winchester) who ran marathons. I fell in love with running in high school, and didn’t really identify myself as a runner until age 33 when I joined the Navy.
You found your way to Louisiana Running Company through a few friends that do the Run Black Girls Run NOLA group? Can you tell us a little bit about that group, and also the group’s mission and goals?
I have degenerating disc in my neck and was unable to run for a year. I enjoy group activities so a friend referred me to Black Girls Run (BGR), and I joined the LRC group run in Mar 2013.
BGR’s mission is to eliminate obesity in African-American women and to promote healthy lifestyle choices. Culturally many African-American women believe they must be a certain fitness level or body type to begin running. Seeing women that are the same size, body types, and experience the same lifestyle challenges as you, often helps break through that perception. The name attracts that demographics.
How has having a group BGR/LRC helped in your journey as a runner?
BGR/LRC are my life partners and resource; they provide support, education, motivation and love 🙂
For those who run on their own, or struggle with motivation to get out the door and moving, can you share with them any pros of group running?
Running in a group provides support and motivation. I have made appointments to run with someone from the group at 5am, woke up and was not motivated to run. But knowing someone was depending on me, motivated me to get moving. Also, friends often cancel appointments to workout, but your group will always be there, RAIN OR SHINE. They will walk, jog, or run with you. You start together, you finish together.
You recently experienced a bit of a set back with knee surgery, can you tell us a little about all that as far as what happened? How has the recovery been? Have you learned, or grown in any way by having to take a few steps back, in order to get back on track?
In early October while walking through the Atlanta Airport, I sprained my patella tendon (charge it to aging and weak muscles). I attempted to run for about two weeks with no luck. I saw my doctor, had an MRI and I am currently in physical therapy. I am disappointed that I am unable to run, but I will take my rehab as an opportunity to learn more about my body and the importance of diversifying my training. Strength training, cross training, flexibility training, etc… are just as important as the run.
What is your favorite aspect of of the New Orleans running community?
The run community in New Orleans runs with a purpose: to party when you are done! No just kidding, but we always have a mission.
Favorite place to run in New Orleans? Elsewhere?
My favorite place to run in New Orleans is my neighborhood- Bayou St. John, City Park and LRC.
Favorite places to run outside of New Orleans- The St Tammy Trail in Slidell, and Portland Oregon; scenic and asphalt!!
We’ve got some pretty cool costumes on our LRC employees for the local races. If you had to pick one to race in, would you choose the bunny suit, the banana, or the hot dog?
If I could run in any LRC costume, I would run as the “Banana”. Sweet and yummy, that’s me!