How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Natasha Henderson

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In honor of our inaugural Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season, I’ll be introducing my teammates via this interview series throughout the next few months…get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for a run Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland (click here for details)! 

Introduced through Jamie, our mutual friend and running buddy, Natasha Henderson (aka Tasha) and I hit it off immediately over a double date with our husbands at a local brewery last summer. While the boys chatted about their shared obsession with love of all things Boston, us gals bonded over our own favorites: long runs, good beer, hard laughs, curly hair and delicious meals.

So when it came time to create this year’s Team LUNA Chix Portland Run, Tasha was a natural choice. She’s the brightest ray of sunshine on those cloudy Portland days — an embracer of life, healthy cooking and a good farmer’s market; a blogger who runs marathons, skis double black diamonds and climbs rocks.

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Tasha’s one of those people who not only shows up, but each time she does, she brings her A game. Whether it’s concocting recipes in her kitchen, “runching” along the waterfront, being a hostess with the mostess or meeting up for mid-week workout dates, her enthusiasm is only surpassed by her warmth, which makes her an incredibly inspiring person to be around (not to mention she’s on my short list of belay partners who I trust to literally hold my life in her hands as I scale a 55-foot-high wall).

Tasha started running in junior high school, and says she’s been hooked ever since. She prefers trails over roads and is looking forward to running her first trail half marathon this year.

If she’s not navigating her way through Forest Park, there’s a good chance you’ll find her grabbing a quick lunchtime run along the waterfront in downtown Portland. And as far as favorite mid-run convos go, Tasha’s topics of choice range from peanut butter, skiing at Mt. Hood, lip gloss, hiking and camping to cooking a good meal for her friends and family, food blogging, used book stores, yoga and coffee!

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1. What’s your favorite route? I love catching a run on the Portland waterfront during the week days. At least once a week I like to go there to squeeze in four to five miles at lunch. It’s such a beautiful loop, and on a sunny day and it energizes me for the afternoon to come.

2. What shoes do you wear? Right now I am running on hot pink Nike Air Zoom Vomeros! Before that, I was running on Asics. I’m due for a new pair of shoes soon, so we will see what the future brings!

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? I’m not sure if it counts as “gear” but I absolutely love using the Strava app. It makes it easy to track and log my runs, plus I like that I can follow my running buddies and see what type of running mischief they’ve been getting into.

4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” I’m all about planning ahead and always trying to think of little things I can do to make my day (and running) easier. I am NOT a morning person, so for early morning runs or races, I literally lay out every single piece of clothing that I will wear the next morning, set the coffee machine and even prep breakfast. Not only does it save me time, but it also keeps me from forgetting something!

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5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I’m not sure if I’m better than anyone else at it, but I am I’m great at saving a little bit so I can kick into high gear at the end of my run and finish strong.

6. What do you listen to while running? I am totally indiscriminate about my running music. So much so that sometimes I’m a little embarrassed if a song from my running mix comes on when there are others are around. Really, I’ll listen to anything with a good beat that keeps my feet moving. When I am in a running slump, I download a few new songs and they usually motivate me to get me out the door.

7. What are you currently training for? I am so excited for the Trail Factor Half-Marathon! This is my longest trail race distance so far, and I’ve been very dedicated to my training. After this I’d love to do a trail marathon, and maybe even a 50k!

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? Sometimes I have some tummy troubles after long runs, so my recovery planning starts pre-run by keeping my pre-run fuel simple. My favorite pre-run breakfast is a cup of coffee and banana with a little Chia Seed Peanut Butter Bliss (if you love peanut butter – you’re going to love this stuff!).

After my run, I like to put my legs up, re-hydrate and then re-fuel with something easy to digest. I am working hard to get more sleep, especially now that I am training for my race, but it’s still something that I struggle with because I am a total night owl. I definitely notice an improvement in my performance (and in everything) when I get a full seven or eight hours.

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9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Very recently on an especially hilly nine-miler, my good friend Jackie told me to take five quick steps after I got to the top of every hill. It kept me from pooping out at the top and helped me keep my pace steady.

10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? In junior high school, I had an especially great performance during a race at an away track meet. I was sitting in the bleachers after the race — not feeling very well — when some cute guys came up to talk to me. One of them said something like “great race,” and as soon as the words were spoken I proceeded to puke all over the place.

I still vividly remember the look of horror and disgust on their faces before they walked away. At the time, I was horrified but looking back as an adult, I find a lot of humor in the whole situation. Plus, after relaying the story to my mom, she felt so bad for me that she bought me a brand new two-piece swim suit!

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with ______. Lauren Fleshman.

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12. Anything else you want to add? Check out my blog, Tasha’s Dish, for recipes, meal prep ideas and my musings on running and working out!

Thanks, Tasha! Can’t wait to hit the roads, the track and the trails with you this season, along with other sweaty endeavors, I’m sure 🙂 

Runner friends, shoot me a note — info (at) kineticfix.com — so I can feature you, too!

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3 thoughts on “How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Natasha Henderson

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