Monday, May 28, 2012

Catching up with Rockstar Runner, Jessica Heims...

Following interview was by David Taylor of xcnation.com.
Iowa prep Jessica Heims prepares to enter high school. Jessica's right leg was amputated below the knee when she was 1 year old, but that hasn’t stopped her from being active. Competing in triathlons or running in USAT&F Jessica Heims shows what true determination, persistence and never giving up is all about. Like Olympian Oscar Pistorius she competes beyond barriers.

1. Three words that describe you and why?
Determined, Inspirational, and Tough  (quoted from my family)

2. What does Passion mean to you, how does it apply to running and perhaps succeeding in life?
Passion to me means that I will be loved and supported all my life, no matter what I do or how well I can do something. This helps me when I am running by knowing that just doing my best will be good enough for God and everyone else. I don't need to try to be perfect, for the only "perfect" in a person is being themselves.

3. How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a person who has tried to look past the barriers between able-bodied people and "disabled" people in sports as well as social life.

4. What drives you to never give up despite adversity?
What drives me to never give up is the fact that when I finish, I will have exceeded the expectations of those who doubt amputees. I just love the look on their faces when they see me cross the finish line, and they, for the first time, admit is possible for me to run.

5. Humility in all things...what does that phrase mean to you?
Humility in all things to me means that no matter how hard we try, there is always a way to improve.

6. Looking forward, what goals do you have that are important to you to accomplish in high school?
In high school, I would like to be able to finish with experience of multiple years of running in track and cross country with my friends and sisters. Also, I would like to continue getting good grades.

7. What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
I, once, played baseball, basketball, soccer, and dance, but none of them really gave me the feeling of joy and accomplishment that running gave me.

8. How did you get your start in running?
I started running when my older sister, Beth, joined middle school cross country. Going to all of those meets, I saw how even though there were fast and slow runners, they all came together at the finish with a smile and congratulated each other. I thought that was amazing, so my little sister and I joined a local track team and began running. I was on the slower side and knew it, but what kept me going was my older sister, always happy to be part of a "running family" such as the one at all of her meets.

9. What were some of your highlights from your athletic career so far?
The highlights of my athletic career so far are when I ran nine miles in the San Diego Triathlon Challenge Half Ironman in California in 2010. Also, of course, when I finished my first 5k at the age of 9, coming in at 30:16 min. (I have now reduced down to 26:32). Another time was when I did my first triathlon with my family and my friend.

10. What is your favorite racing moment thus far?
My favorite racing moment this far was when I crossed the finish line at the San Diego Triathlon Challenge. There were a bunch of people there, all cheering me on, not just to the finish line, but to the rest of my life, as I continue to run and beat all of the challenges I face.

11. Tell us a little about your family and how they has helped you develop?
My family consists of my mom, Kris, my dad, Glen, and three daughters- Beth,17, the oldest, Me,13, the middle, and Nicole, 12, the youngest. My mom and dad have both done half marathons (my dad did is first this past weekend. a day we never knew would come, because until recently, he HATED running and only did it for the purpose strictly of exercise). My older sister is a runner in her high school track and cross country team. My little sister is looking forward to doing track and cross country next year in middle school. They have all encouraged me to be able to start running. Since it was hard for me to run on my everyday prosthesis when I first started, they would always be there at my races and were my biggest fans and cheering squad. Even though I wasn't the fastest person at the races, they never mentioned placing in a meet, they only talked about beating your own personal time, because you are your one and only competitor.

12. Your coach...how has he influenced your running?
My cross country coach, Coach Perkins, has done amazing things for me. She has always been interested in how my running leg works, so before the season started, she was doing some research on the mechanics and the abilities of legs like mine. And when the season came, she made sure that I was never left out of a workout, and that I would always be part of the team and never singled out as an outsider. She has been a really encouraging person to me and all of my peers at school. My track coach Coach Winsor, has also been amazing to me. She understands that only I can truly tell how much running my body can take, and she helps me to find workouts that help me to not overdo anything or not get a good enough workout. Also, she has been really generous in making sure that I can get good races in meets that work to the best of my ability. I have definitely been blessed with these amazing people who have helped me become a better runner and person.

13. Favorite distance in track? Favorite run? Favorite invitational? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite track workouts? Favorite run?
My favorite distance in track in the 1500. I like it so much because it is long enough that you don't have to sprint and that you can pace yourself, but short enough that it takes less than 7 min to do. I can push myself to a faster pace and try to get a better time. My favorite run is a 5k. It is just so much fun to pace yourself in a race that is 3 miles-challenging yet simple at the same time. Also, everyone there is there for fun and a good time, and very rarely do you get someone that is just there to win a race. I don't have a favorite invitational, I just like to run wherever I am, and to see all of the different places. My favorite opponents are myself, my family, and my friends. I like to push myself to be faster, encourage my family to run faster and farther with them, and to have a good time running and competing with my friends, who know that success is not a destination, it is a journey. My favorite track workouts are are distance runs. I hate sprint workouts, so oddly enough, I sort of praise when we have to go run 4 miles.

14. What races are you most looking forward?
I am looking forward to the Pigman Sprint Triathlon in two weekends that I am doing with my older sister and a friend. The distances are 575 meter swim, 17 mile bike, and 3 mile run. This will be me and my friends' first year, and my sisters' second.

15. Running ultimately will not define who you are, how would you like to be defined?
What will define you is how hard you work to get the thing you want. Whether it is earning money through a summer job or getting into the Olympics, the way you accomplish your goals will define you more than what goal you accomplish.

16. Favorite running movie, running song, and favorite runner?
My favorite running book (I don't know very many running movies) in Running Dream. It is about a high school girl, the star on her track team who loses her leg  in an accident, and has to over come obstacles to do what she loves. Although this particular story is fictional, it has actual events that take place after something as major as the happens. My favorite running song is Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO. It is upbeat and fun to listen to. My favorite runner is, by far, Oscar Pistorius. He is a south african runner who lost his legs below the knee as a child. In his first year on his school track team, he broke the paralympic world record in the 100 meter. He is now, despite conflicts and doubt, he is going to be in the 2012 London Olympics. He was in the Paralympics for a couple years, but he is fast enough to run with "able bodied" runners. Ask any of my friends or family, he is my number one idol, forever and always.

Thank you very much for your time Jessica!  AJC

1 comment:

rock star pictures said...

thanks for the article.