Jesse and Paige Ausec – Featured Runner of the Week
In our 27th edition of our favorite weekly post, we decided to make this our Valentine’s Day special and spotlight two local runners that run EVERY SINGLE STEP TOGETHER! Jesse and Paige are local Beaufort Ultra Runners and I am thrilled to spotlight them this week. The aim of having a Featured Runner of the Week is not to necessarily single out any individuals, but we want to feature runners who through their uniqueness may one day inspire you to run or reach for new running highs. Every runner has broken down their own barriers, whether it was the big obstacle to take the first running step or entering a race. Each runner will have their own story and to most these stories to others are very inspiring. Jesse and Paige Ausec – Featured Runner of the Week is a great way to kick off our weekend and Valentine’s Day!
We welcome your feedback and nominations of runners who you feel deserve to be featured here. Our Featured Runner of the Week is selected at random on a weekly basis. Every runner deserves to be mentioned and we will do our best to select a wide field of runners to bring their stories for you to enjoy.
Let’s take a few minutes and get to know Jesse and Paige Ausec this week!
Names: Jesse and Paige Ausec
Where are you originally from? Atlanta, Ga.
What is your favorite distance to race? Why?
Jesse: 100 miles. It sounds crazy, but I love this distance because there is no guarantee that we will finish it. So much has to go perfect to finish, yet so much can go wrong over 28-30 hours of running. The smallest little blister or minor/nagging injury can prove catastrophic in the end. It requires a ton of discipline and planning both ahead of and during the race, and distance is an emotional rollercoaster. The amount of physical and mental exhaustion you experience…and eventually overcome…makes the finish something almost euphoric. You learn a lot about yourself and it changes who you are. There is just so much pride that comes along with a 100 mile finish; it’s hard to put into words.
Paige: I have become somewhat addicted to 100 mile races. I love getting a buckle!! But seriously, for me this distance is not a given (not that any race is). We have both triumphs and failures when attempting this distance. With the triumphs come such a prideful and humbling moment when you realize that your body has been pushed to a crazy limit, you have pushed past physical ailments, and you have defeated mental demons over and over again. The failures suck, but we have learned that they are not the end of the world. They are definitely humbling experiences which help keep us “Grounded”. After a brief moment of self-pity, we try to gain perspective on how much work it took to even start the race, analyze went wrong so we can prepare better for the next one, and take pride in what we were able to accomplish.
What originally got you into running?
Jesse: It was a beautiful mistake. We started with doing 10ks together, then half-marathons, and eventually Paige decided to agree to my bucket list item of completing a marathon in 2011. Well, we did around 10 of those and were still alive, so we slowly made the progression through 50ks, 50 milers, and finally to 100 milers. She still blames me for everything, but I think secretively she loves it just as much as I do!
Paige: Long, long ago in high school, I was a sprinter who only ran a 400m or 800m. A mile was a mile too long, and I thought those cross country people were insane! Eventually through college and after, Jesse and I would run just to keep in shape (he made me run miles not sprints). After a few 10k’s together, Jesse talked me into a 15K, then a half marathon, then a 30k, and eventually our first marathon. When we moved to Beaufort five years ago, he talked me into our first 50k, and from that point on, he would notoriously sign me up for races without my consent and I would find out when I received emails from ultrasignup.com notifying of my next race. I would be livid! Now I just expect that I will be signed up for at least 1 event a month. It’s exciting to me now 🙂
What is your main motivation to keep going?
Jesse: The next challenge to conquer! Each race we finish empowers me further and I want to continue to push my physical and mental limits. I believe that far too often, people put limits on themselves and don’t like to push their boundaries because its uncomfortable or seems too difficult. Trust me, we are the most average and mediocre runners you will come across, but we have been able to accomplish what we believe to be some pretty awesome things. I think it’s kinda fun to attempt what many view as “impossible”.
Paige: Easy! I run so I can eat, and I eat so I have to run (in my fat bastard voice). But truly, I guess maybe the saying “if you don’t use it you lose it” holds true for me. Once you stop being active, it’s very hard to start back and get motivated again. I want to maintain being active and not become sedentary. I want to stay as healthy and strong as long as possible so I can keep irritating Jesse for the rest of my life!
When you’re not running, what do you do?
Jesse: I work full time as a pediatric occupational therapist and I love everything about it. I like to say that I “skillfully play” for a living. Other than that, I love traveling and exploring new cities with Paige, which most often turn out to be “racecations” because they usually center around an out of town race we have. We also recently began exploring mountain biking/cycling last year, which we have found to be a great way to cross train and break up all of our training runs.
Paige: Most of the time that I am not running is spent working as a nurse taking care of babies and mommas. Other than that, I really just enjoy being outside and being active. My favorite non-active activity is sitting on the couch and cuddling with my fur babies while I recover from races : )
What is your next race?
Jesse and Paige: The Pistol Ultra Run-100 miler– in Alcoa, TN on March 17, 2018.
Describe your perfect run:
Jesse: Race day. I love everything about it. It’s a perfect storm of excitement and anxiety. There is something special about being in an event that you have looked forward to and prepared for weeks or even months beforehand. I love being out on the trails, but preferably not in the extreme cold or heat (which seems to be impossible these days).
Paige: My perfect run is impossible! All of my friends would be there. Specifically, it would be 62-64 degrees, would include not getting out of breath, no muscle fatigue, no chaffing, no ankle rolling, no tripping over a tiny root or pebble, no blisters or other injuries, no snakes, mosquitos, spiders or other creepy critters, and no nausea. Tim Waz may even be at the finish line with his sinister like smile congratulating me. Oh, and Waffle House hash browns would be waiting for me at the finish line along with a carbonated and caffeinated beverage!
What piece of advice do you have for someone who is just starting out?
Jesse: Train your own way, race your own race, and always have fun. If you google running plans for a certain distance, you will likely get overwhelmed by the weekly mileage and training plans that most “running experts” recommend. Most are highly unrealistic and most likely result in over training and/or injury in the end anyhow. I think that it’s important to train doing activities you enjoy doing, mileage that you feel comfortable doing, and to simply progress slowly while listening to your body. Use your local running community and ask them to share their knowledge with you. Everything we have learned about running we have learned from others while talking out on the trails. On race day, don’t get caught up by what everyone else is doing around you, stick to your plan and stay disciplined. Most importantly, always have fun.
Paige: Just start by putting on a pair of shoes and then it’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. It doesn’t have to be fast to count! With each run, attempt to build on your current abilities (ex. distance, pace, conditioning, or mental endurance) and/or learn something new that helps you achieve your own personal goals. Be proud of each accomplishment made; big or small.
What has been the single greatest thing you have gotten back from running?
Jesse: The friendships we have made. Running is an extremely close-nit and friendly community, and the ultra-running community is even more so. When running some of our longer distances, we end up meeting folks and talking for hours at a time on the trails. By the end of the race, I end up knowing more about those individuals than some of our closest friends and even family members! We have met some incredible individuals who have inspired and guided us along during our journey, many who have become like family to us. It seems like each race these days is like a family reunion, and I love that!
Paige: I love the pride and sense of accomplishment when I hit my goals. But even greater than that are the friendships that we have made. When Jesse and I started running ultra-marathons, we quickly gained a running family made of individuals of all different ages, experiences, and backgrounds that we have learned a ton from.
Goals for this year?
Jesse: First, to stay injury-free so that we can enjoy all the races we have planned. I would also love to complete a few more 100-milers. If I’m allowed to be greedy (and if Paige doesn’t read this), I’d love take a shot at a race >100 miles just to see what we are truly capable of achieving!
Paige: As always, my goal is to run smart, stay injury free, and enjoy the experience, even if it’s not that enjoyable at the time!
Thank you for taking the time to tell us your story this week Jesse and Paige. We wish you the best this year in meeting all of your training and racing goals! #staygrounded #runbeaufort #runwithpassion
Grounded Running Beaufort
864 Parris Island Gateway, Unit B Beaufort, SC 9906