Name: Francie Lin
Personal Records? I haven’t done very many races, but last year I ran my second half-marathon in 1:48, which was a good ten minutes shorter than my first!
Achievement you’re most proud of (running or otherwise): Having a novel published. Raising two happy, kind, funny children with my husband, Steve Platt.
Local running/SMAC “claim to fame”: Well, this is the first year I’ve joined, so I don’t have a rep (yet?).
Where are you from originally, and (if not from here) what brought you to this area? I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah, and came here via northern California. My husband grew up here, and although he moved away for a long time, he happened to get a job in the area, so we moved back. While I complain regularly about the mosquitoes, black ice, and humidity (neither Utah nor northern CA have any of those things), I love the Pioneer Valley. I love the seasons and I love living in a small town. I’m very grateful that my kids have such a lovely place to grow up in.
Runner since: I started running in 1998, mainly because the guy I was dating was a runner. The guy turned out to be sort of a jerk, but hey, at least he introduced me to running! But I never ran very long distances. I wasn’t an athletic kid – my biggest fear in middle school was Friday gym class, because that’s when we were forced to run the dreaded mile. So I had it in my mind that I was not capable of running more than 3-5 miles at a time, tops. Then one day, it was springtime after a very long, cold winter, I suddenly decided to see how much further I could go on my regular running route, and poof! that mental block suddenly disappeared. Since then, I’ve been doing a regular long run on the weekends, even if I’m not training for anything – it just feels good. I sometimes kick myself that I didn’t work out my mental block earlier, because I lived in Berkeley for six or seven years, and wow, the runs I could have had!
Favorite distance to race/run: I’m sort of new to racing, but so far I like the half marathon best. If I’m going to train and taper and all that, I want to get a good number of miles in!
Favorite place to run: San Francisco. My sister lives near Golden Gate Park, and my favorite route there is running up the tiled steps in the inner Sunset district (you can see the whole city from up there), and then running through Golden Gate Park out to the ocean.
Favorite author/book/movie or TV show (s): Black Mirror, The Bridge
Interests (besides running, of course!): Knitting, gardening, reading, cooking, travel
Top songs on your running playlist (or favorite music): I don’t listen to music when I run. I probably should, I might run faster!
Greatest adventure: Living in Taiwan for a year, where I got to meet a bunch of long-lost relatives. I also met my husband there!
Secret ambition: To win the Great British Baking Show
Favorite recovery drink: I only drink water. Maybe that explains the post-run headaches in the summer?
Recent memorable moment while running? I was out on a long run with a friend last fall when it suddenly started pouring while we were way out in the middle of nowhere. And then I suddenly had a serious bathroom emergency, so I went off into the woods, but we’d been running so long that my muscles cramped up as I was squatting there (sorry if this is TMI), and I literally could not stand up. My poor friend was standing there waiting in the downpour as I tried to figure out how to get up. I think I finally rolled onto my knees and crawled out.
Secret tips or good advice? Never run after lunch.
Training partners? I have one really good friend who I actually met at the starting line of the Happy Valley Half Marathon. I knew her a little bit, since our sons went to the same preschool, but I didn’t know she was a runner. We ran the whole race together, which clearly was a sign that we were meant to be friends! Now we do a long run every week, and in this past year I think we’ve only missed two runs together.
Cross training activities? I started HIIT and strength training recently, plus yoga. I wish I had something else that I liked as much as running – my husband enjoys biking – but the thing I love about the sport is how equipment-free it is. Running is just you and your shoes, and you can go anytime and anywhere you want. You can do it alone or with friends, and while you can make it as competitive as you want, you can also just do it meditatively, to be outside, or to clear your head. I picked up cross-country skiing this year, which seems like the winter equivalent of running, but it depends so much on the weather.
Favorite local running route? Going up North Farms Road from Florence, coming down through Haydenville, then going out Audubon Road. Or running by the Smith Pond in the fall.
Favorite season to run in? Hot or cold? Time of day? How come? Fall, definitely! I guess I’d rather have cold than hot, and I always try to run early in the morning. It just gets the day off to a great start, and then I never miss a run because of other obligations.
What is one of your biggest running aspirations? To be still running when I’m 80
Favorite piece of running gear: Good shoes
What was the last running event you participated in? The Hot Chocolate Run in Northampton
Favorite non-running activity: Sleeping in a sunbeam
Favorite food: Indian food and ice cream, any kind of dessert
Personal goal for 2018: To run some kind of destination race in the fall. My neighbor wants me to do a marathon with her, but I’m not sure my knees will be on board with that.
Last concert you went to / favorite band: The Pixies
Last movie you saw in the theater: I, Tonya
Best advice you ever got: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
Article of clothing you own way too many of: Socks with holes in them
***** If you would like to suggest someone for an upcoming SMAC member profile, please contact us at alpinefin [at] comcast.net
Originally published in the Sugarloaf Sun March/April 2018 issue
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Original artwork by SMAC member JoEllen Reino. Originally published in the January/February 2021 issue of The Sugarloaf Sun.
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