Name: Jennifer Muller
Jen, thanks for taking time to speak with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you end up in Philadelphia and running with PRTC?
Hey Kevin! No problem 🙂 I came to Philly 6 years ago to study biomedical engineering at Drexel University. I really love Philly so I stayed to get my masters at Villanova right after graduating. I started “running” with PRTC about a year ago which unfortunately coincided with my first major injury, so I haven’t been able to really train or compete for anything the majority of the year.
When did you first become a runner? Did a specific event compel you to take on the sport?
My mom and her 6 siblings were all really great swimmers in Taiwan. She was also once a sports reporter, sports, psychologist, and Michael Phelps enthusiast (as am I), and she always encouraged me to be active. Somewhat randomly, when I started at Drexel, I joined the club track team.
Once you began running, how did your career develop? Take us through day one to today.
Throughout college, I simply ran every single day. The club team was awesome, but it was not in any way organized. I ran my first 5k in 30 minutes and could not have been happier. After a few years, I started working with a running coach and focused on improving my speed and training strategy.
Can you tell us about a favorite running accomplishment or moment?
Three years ago in the Philly half, I ran a pretty big PR for me at the time. The club track coach at Drexel (Coach Snow) immediately texted me congratulations, even though I had already graduated which made me feel very special. Coach Snow, if you’re reading this (which, you probably are not) you da bomb!
How about a not-so-great-moment?
One time I was trail running during some rain. I came across what I thought was just a little bridge next to a puddle. I disregarded the bridge, stepped into the “puddle”, and found myself waist-deep in a river.
We know you’ve been fighting through some injuries. Can you tell us about your progress in this area? How have you kept focus given these challenges?
I’ve had a lot of injuries over the years… most recently a tibial stress fracture which kept me out for a few months. I immediately re-injured that fracture running a pretty sweet 10k PR! (worth it?) I’ve spent a lot of time this past year pool running at Penn’s rec center, which as boring as it may sound (and is) introduced me to a lot of injured athletes on the Penn track and cross-country teams. Those girls have been super motivating and helpful, they taught me that your attitude contributes a lot to how well you bounce back. Knowing that you’ll return from the injury a stronger, smarter, and more motivated runner makes any time that you need to take off seem totally trivial. Keeping up with the accomplishments of the members of PRTC has also been super helpful, so keep kicking ass guys!
Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?
My obvious short-term goal is to return to regular training and stay healthy. Long-term I still have a lot that I’d like to accomplish… I would like to break 1:30 in the half, and eventually, run a marathon. I’d also really love to re-run my 10k PR, but this time not on a stress fracture!
Can you tell us about your studies and academic pursuits?
I just started my Ph.D. at Villanova in engineering. I’ve been doing most of my research so far in the neurosurgery department at Jefferson.
What inspired you to follow that career path?
Three years ago I met a couple at my yoga studio who both worked in autism research – they helped me find my first job at CHOP. Before then I actually knew nothing about MRI or brain research and wanted to study biomechanics (to help injured runners!).
Any non-running related hobbies, hidden skills, or talents we may enjoy hearing of?
I love poetry, a glass of scotch, and of course, my friend Baxter here.
(side note: This is actually my dog, Bud. The above quote is from the movie Anchorman – scotch is just OK).