Rock My {Running} World – Meet Jodi

I am so proud, honored and thankful to introduce you guys to my incredibly inspiring sister, Jodi!  Jodi definitely rocks my {running} world and I know she will amaze you, too!  She has overcome all odds and her determination and strength are truly incredible.  
I am so lucky to have Jodi as a sister, a friend and of course as the ultimate running buddy!!!
Name: Jodi Rakoff
Age: 39

Location: Reston, VA

What do you do in “real” life?  I am a mother of two teenagers (!) and have been married to my best friend for 15 years.  I teach authentic Pilates at my studio, Reston Pilates.  I am passionate about my work and so grateful to be able to do what I do!

How long have you been running? 
5 years

Why did you start running? 
I started running in 2006.  My bestest sister Jessica inspired me to run!  I had signed up to run the Army 10 Miler.  It was great for me to have a goal.  I had such a blast and I didn’t want the race to be over.  I signed up with Team In Training and trained for and completed the 2007 National Marathon (my first). 
Your story is so inspiring.  Tell us about your weight loss and your back surgery:  I weighed 208 pounds a year and a half after my second child was born.  People say “yeah but you had just had a baby” — but let me tell you the chunk was in the trunk!!  I started going to the gym when my son was about 18 months old.  I remember when I couldn’t even run a mile!  I slowly started to lose the weight, but all of the weight put so much strain and pressure on my lower back.  My back was already weakened because of an injury in high school followed by breaking my tailbone while delivering my first child and all that extra weight only made it worse.  I thought I had slowly healed, but one morning I woke up and was unable to walk.  The MRI results showed that I had herniated a disk in my spine and my doctor recommended surgery.  The surgery helped my pain but, as a result of years of compensation my right leg was weak and I developed Sacroiliac Dysfunction and had nerve damage in my right leg.  My doctor told me I would probably never run again.  I was determined and did not give up.  I discovered Pilates and it changed my life – I was able to regain stability and build strength.  My body is stronger now than ever before and I am not only running – I am running MARATHONS! 
How many marathons have you run? 6

Personal Records:

Marathon: 3:56:23
Half Marathon: 2:03:38
10 Miler: 1:27:22
10K: 53:53
5K: 25:03

What is your proudest running moment:  My proudest running moment was my current Marathon PR – 3:56:23, at MCM 2011!

Pick one of your favorite parts of the lululemon manifesto and tell us why it speaks to you:  Listen, Listen, Listen, and then ask strategic questions!  I chose this one because I believe that listening and asking questions are the single-most important thing one can do for another!  In my work it is important to listen to the unspoken words as well as to the spoken.  Sometimes listening to the language of the body can tell you about how the person is feeling both physically and emotionally.

Do you have a favorite running mantra?  Why does this work for you?:  My mantra is run strong, breathe and believe. The only thing I have to remember to do while I run is to breathe and believe in myself. When I am feeling like giving up I say over and over in my head run strong, breathe and believe.  For my races I always have my sister write “Breathe” on the back of one of my legs and “Believe” on the back of the other leg.  It never fails — in every race I have people tell me how thankful they are to read those words!  It makes me feel good to know that I am reminding others of these simple yet powerful things.
Jodi is always encouraging and inspiring others!
Tell us a little about what you do to strengthen your running and what do you do to protect yourself from injury?  Pilates, cleaning my house and carrying grocery bags!

If you run with music, tell us a few of your favorite running songs:   I do not typically listen to music but if I do I like music that I can sing to! I ran with music for the 2011 National marathon and I had my 14 year old daughter put together a playlist!

What is your next race?  What is your goal for that race?  My next race is the Richmond Marathon. My goal for every race I run is to make it to the start feeling good.  I don’t discuss a time goal.  I may or may not have one!!

What are your long term running goals?  My long term goals for running are to run at least two marathons a year until I cannot walk anymore!! And maybe Boston!

What advice do you have for other runners out there?  A mile is a mile no matter how long it takes you.  Movement heals!  Some days the hardest part of the run is putting on your shoes! 

sisters celebrating shiny new Marathon PRs ~ MCM 2011

5 thoughts on “Rock My {Running} World – Meet Jodi

  1. I, for one, and a HUGE fan of you both! Great interview, Jess… couldn't have picked a better celebrity rock star. You both continue to inspire me in so many ways. – Paul

  2. I just hopped on over here to read more about your sister! I wish I lived nearer to her–her PR times are a lot like mine–we could be running partners. And I love her mantra. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to run a marathon behind her someday. So glad you two got to run Richmond together.

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