There is so much to learn and do in life!

Hello Coach Magee – thank you for allowing me to interview you for my new blog segment – ‘Running Interviews’. It seems that we not only share having Celiac but also the same reasons why we don’t like running track. 

Not Running Related:  Basic stats:  I’m 53, married for 27 years, lived in Durham 20 years, grew up in Iowa & Michigan, mom to 2 boys, I am the oldest of 3 siblings, and my Mom lives across the street.

Various Jobs: Theater Teacher (Tech & All levels of Acting), English Teacher, writing coach, Theater Director, XC & Track Coach.

Loads of unrelated skills: Instant Costume Construction, various arts & crafts (macramé, batik, tie dye, knitting, crocheting, stenciling, soap making, candle making, linoleum prints, etc.), short order breakfast cook, interior & exterior house painter and lots of vital & trivial knowledge of literature & Durham.

Name story:  My mom was a Children’s Librarian so if I been a boy my name would have been Christopher but since I was a girl my name was Robin.

Also, it takes me forever to learn people’s names.  I will learn all the details about their lives and remember those but it takes me lots longer to remember their names.  I am very good at calling people the names of their best friends or siblings.  I even call my own family members by other family members’ names.  My grandfather used to do this and it drove me crazy when I was a kid.  Now I do it!


  1. First Running: I first started running for a team my freshman fall of high school. September 1977.  Before then I used to run home from elementary school through the woods to my neighborhood.  I loved to do that!  It was the closest I’d ever felt to flying!  Early trail running?
  1. Favorite & Least Favorite Running Workouts:

Faves:  a long distance run with friends in the woods or on dirt roads or anywhere (lots of time for chatting), a challenging hill work out, running with friends or a team.

Least Faves: anything on an indoor track!!  Hate it (the indoor track hack, the tiny turns….argh!)

  1. Other Sports: These days I practice yoga regularly which I love. I also like bicycling to get around town or to chase XC runners. I also love hiking & backpacking.

4:  A favorite race:  I have two favorite races the mile and a 5k XC race. From my high school career my two favorite races were the 1979 Class D State XC meet and the 1980 County Meet of Champions (track).  Locally I have 2 favorite races: The Pumpkin Run (in Chapel Hill) & the Miracle Mile (in downtown Raleigh).  They are both fun & benefit good causes.

5: Fuel the body:  Wow, that is a tough question because I didn’t find out I had celiac until well after my running and racing career were over.  My go to fuel is one of four types of Lara Bars.  They are great for any time my I’m feeling hungry.  I always have one in my purse.

Nowadays (if I were racing) my answer would be I would make sure to have plenty of carbohydrates and protein throughout the week.

My diet tends to be paleo because I can’t eat dairy anymore (wah!) & I’m even sensitive to some GF grains (I think it is because I didn’t learn until my early 40s, so I became sensitive to lots of foods along the way).

In the winter: Hot Chicken & Rice, salads, Beef stews, Chili, meatloaf & veg’s, sweet potatoes & eggs, giant stir fry dinners, Tomato Soup & Rice (some of my favorite dishes), slow cooked root veggies & a really awesome steak.

In the summer:  more fresh veggies, fresh salads, fish dishes, cold chicken salad, tuna salad, Rice Salads (loads of veg, cold meat & balsamic vinaigrette).

Anytime of year: spaghetti & meatballs, King Arthur Mix pancakes with blueberries, Lara Bars & Tanka Bars.

6: Favorite Person to Run with:  a good friend or anyone who I want to get to know.  Nowadays I’m more likely to go walking with my friends than running.

7: Favorite Running Outfit or lucky item:  I didn’t really have “lucky” items but I do have some historical stories about what we wore back in the mid 70s & early 80s.

Summer:  I used to love running in XL t-shirts because they were so roomy (lots of air circulation).  For some reason I didn’t wear tank tops.  Running bras had not been invented yet so there was no way to run “shirtless” like the guys.  But then the weather wasn’t too hot & humid in Michigan during the summer as it is in North Carolina.

Winter Competition:  Running tights had not been invented yet so we used to wear waffle weave cotton* long underwear under our uniforms.  My mom used to knit me the cutest lightweight wool running hats for competitions.  One time, when I was competing at the age group XC Nationals in Kansas, I showed up a little unprepared for the weather.  It was below zero with snow everywhere.  The course we ran on was hard packed snow so spikes were essential! I had forgotten the long underwear for my legs so my coach took me to a store to buy pantyhose to wear under my uniform.  The only type of pantyhose was control top (which had a weird weave from the knees up).  I looked ridiculous but I was a bit warmer!

*by 1979 the Duo-fold long underwear company invented a warm wool-cotton blend with super cute prints & colors.  This became my winter running gear of choice for late season competitions & my base layer for winter outdoor training.  Fortunately wind suits for running had been invented by 1979 so wearing one really helped make training more comfortable during the seasons with cold wind (fall, winter & spring).

8: Fitting running in with my family:  I usually walk or run right after the kids go to school.  If I wait too long then I never get around to it.  When one of my boys ran with the Durham Striders, I would go jogging while he was doing a workout.  That was great because then I was sure to run 3 days a week!

9: Running Bucket List:  I don’t have one yet. I do have some places I’d like to hike…parts of the John Muir wilderness in California, Canadian Rockies, the 100-mile Wilderness in Maine, various regions of Switzerland, France, Spain, Scotland, the Lake Country of Britain, and some of the trails in New Zealand.

10:  Team:  In high school my team was vital to my success and enthusiasm for running.  When I first started and could barely run a mile my coach and my team mates were so kind and encouraging and ran with me.  Once I got in shape it was lots of fun.  We had so few girls running XC and track that everyone was welcoming and encouraging.  Each member of the team was valuable.

In college some people were inspiring generous people and some were unpleasantly competitive.  It was a big team so I could train and enjoy the people who suited me.

11:  Who inspires you?  On any given day I could come up with a different list of people who inspire me. There are so many people who inspire me. I’ve been lucky to meet, to work with, and to be friends with some truly incredible people. There is so much to learn and do in life!

Coach Magee

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