Member Spotlight: Liz Novack

By: Jamie Morgenstern

First off, you’ve been running with PRTC for awhile now, and also with Penn Running Club (our friend/sister club at UPenn). Tell us a bit about your tenure with these groups?

I moved to Philly about two years ago now and knew I wanted to keep running and racing, but I didn’t know anyone to run with or where to even run so I found the Penn Running Club. After a few races with them, Geraint encouraged me to start training with PRTC for more opportunities. The past two years I have been running with both groups (when I haven’t been injured!) and its been great to have the opportunity to train and race with so many different people. I’ve definitely improved since I moved to Philly, everyone is so fast! I like having people to push in the workouts.

And before that, you went to Penn State and ran for their club team. What differences did you notice in the different clubs: different training, attitudes, racing?

My first cross country race ever was fall of my freshman year at Penn State with the club team and I thought it was so hard! I didn’t run in high school so I had no idea what I was doing when I started running at Penn State and I am still learning a lot about running in general. The club team at PSU is huge! It ranges from  people who just like to casually run to people competitive at the DII/DIII level and some ex-PSU varsity runners as well. I didn’t really start seriously training (sometimes a workout a week) until I was a junior and I wish I started earlier. Whats interesting about the club teams at PSU and in Philly is that there is no true “coach” so everyone is there because they want to be. It creates a really positive environment to enjoy running but it also allows you to challenge yourself. There is also no one upset with you after a bad race, you only receive encouragement. I’ve met wonderful people in all of the running clubs… runners are their own unique breed.

You’re in the PhD program in nursing at UPenn. What does your research focus on?

My area of research is intimate partner violence, specifically I focus on those who are currently experiencing or previously experienced partner violence. For my dissertation I am examining the association between experiencing partner violence as a young adult woman and the subsequent risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life. IPV impacts so many aspects of one’s life. There are a lot of outcomes associated with this violence that are impacting people for the rest of their lives. There is a lot more we need to do in this area, but I am hopeful we can help improve people’s lives.

What’s your favorite workout? Place for an easy run in/around Philly?

I think I am still figuring out what workouts I like and don’t like through trial and error ha. I like fartleks and tempos (sometimes). Any workout where I can get in the zone and run for awhile is good to me. I really like running the loop around falls bridge into the Wiss or around Columbus Blvd by the docks.

Any particular goals for this fall training season?

This fall I would like to hit low 22’s for the 6k XC season. I’m really hoping to break 3 in the Philly Marathon, I was so close in Boston so I have to this time!

We hear you have a Big Life Event in the making. As much as I know you love to talk about it, can tell us what/when this will be taking place? Any fun stories surrounding that part of your life?

The Big Event! I’m pretty quiet about it, but I’ll be tying the know next August in my hometown (State College, PA) and we are very excited! Wedding planning sure has been interesting. Both Paul (my fiancee) and my dad are your typical no frills, keep it simple kind of guys. Both suggested (separately) that we don’t need a photographer and we can just have someone take all the pictures on an iPhone at the wedding (my mom and I said no). And recently they both decided that we were just going to grill hot dogs and hamburgers to feed all the wedding guests…. I think they are kidding but I guess we will find out.

 Any other cool tidbits you’d like to share with the club?

Cookies are my favorite food group and I need at least one cookie a day to stay sane.

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