Gloucester native Regina Loiacano is one of the region’s elite masters runners. Learn more about her in this 10 x 10 profile, which first appeared in our Sept/Oct 2015 issue.
- How did you become a runner?
I was first introduced to running in elementary school. It was a field day and my friend Lenia and I were running around the school playground racing to the finish. At the time, we had no idea that our future coach was watching, and that we would one day be part of the best women’s cross-country team in our high school’s history. Later, during my freshman year of high school, I truly started to become a runner. I was encouraged by my friend Lenia to join the team. The coach who spotted us on the field that day was JD MacEchern, and he has remained my coach and dear friend ever since.
- Describe your training philosophy and how it has evolved over the years.
My training philosophy is to listen to my body and run in the moment. To have fun. Give 100% and finish what you start. I try to never walk during a race except to grab water. I was cautious and often afraid during high school to take risks or “go for it.” Now that I am older and wiser my philosophy is “Go for it. You have nothing to fear and nothing to lose.” This evolution has been the result of more confidence and knowledge of how to run a smarter race. I’m still learning and evolving. I especially love to learn and take advice from other runners. Training with friends makes running more enjoyable and keeps me loving the sport!
- What does your training look like on a daily basis?
My training on a daily basis is up by 0400, coffee, bathroom, get dressed, get in the car by 0500, and drive to meet friends for a workout or daily run. Usually, we’re done by 0630. The group I am training with are getting ready for a marathon in October. I am a big cross-country runner but the dirt trails are dark at 0500 so the roads are best. I love to run with my friends, so I am hoping the long distance training will work for the upcoming cross races. I’d like to qualify for Boston and might give a fall marathon a try, especially since I’m doing long runs anyway. The hardest workout I’ve done recently was 6 x 1200, mile, 6 x 200. It was one of the toughest workouts I’ve had in a long time. But I loved the challenge!
- What do you think is the hardest thing about the sport of running?
I think the toughest thing, at least for me, is being mentally tough. I admire runners that can dig deep and put it all on the line. My best races are when I have been mentally tough through the challenging parts of the race. Training is harder as you get older. I find it challenging to fit in a training run or race with a busy schedule, husband, kids, home, and work. If I hit the alarm to snooze, I lose!
Staying injury free has also been the hardest thing lately. When injuries hit, resting or slowing down can be a tough pill to take.
- Speaking of mental toughness, what do you do to keep the pace honest or on some days just get out the door when your body is telling you otherwise? Or better yet, stay in the race when your body wants to tap out?
Running with friends and having friends to meet in the morning is my motivation. Getting up at 0400 is not easy but knowing that I am meeting others helps. The phrase “No pain no gain” has always stuck in my head for getting out there, too. Listening to what my body tells me during a race or hard workout is important. I try my best and tell myself not to quit, to keep putting one foot in front of the other until the finish.
- Describe your best performance and proudest accomplishment.
One of my proudest accomplishments is from high school and the other from a couple of years ago. The first one was during my junior year of cross-country at Gloucester High School when our women’s team won the state title. It was such a great moment for us as a team because it was a buildup of improvement over three years and finally the big moment had arrived and we reached our goal. Working hard on our own individual goals to improve the overall team goal is a very cool thing. We were a small school and it took every member to win. Our coach, the aforementioned JD MacEchern, was so proud of us that day! It was so memorable. We still talk about it.
The second proudest moment was a couple of years ago at the Mt. Washington Road Race. It was my third time running the race and Team Gloucester was hoping for a women’s win. We had recently lost our dear Team Gloucester leader Peter Watson to cancer and were hoping to make him proud. He had a dream of a women’s team from Gloucester to one day win. This race was particularly a proud one for me as well as my teammates because we did just that. We won. We all worked hard to place as high as we could to score as our women’s numbers were low. Everything fell into place that day. Team accomplishments are exciting to me. They motivate me to try even harder. Dig a little deeper. Individual bonus for that day too: I unexpectedly finished as third overall in the women’s division. You never know what can happen on any given race day.
- Are there things that you do differently now as opposed to when you were an open runner?
Now that I am in the masters category, I find myself trying to beat my 20 year old self. I race against the younger me and her times. It is exciting to get a PR now as a masters runner. Sometimes, I can’t believe it. Experience, knowledge, and especially great running friends/training partners have helped make it happen.
- Do you run doubles?
I have never run a double in my life. I’m not sure I could fit them in?! I’m lucky to be able to get a run in once a day (at 0500). My philosophy on this is do what works for your own body. I know mine would fall apart if I doubled. Plus, it sounds scary to me.
- What are some things you do outside of running?
I’m a busy mom of two very busy and athletic boys under the age of seven. A wife to a big- hearted, hard working, Gloucester Guy named Joe. I’m also an owner/ designer/seamstress of a recycled sail bag business here in Gloucester, MA called Again and Again. My family keeps me happy and very busy. The job does too!
- What’s next?
Training for cross-country and a fall marathon are on my radar. I’d love to complete a running series, just not sure on which one to focus. There are so many great ones. I’d also like to assist in coaching one day and give back to my local running community.
Bonus 1. If you weren’t a runner, what would you do with all of your free time?
If I wasn’t a runner, I would love to train as a dancer. I love to watch dancing shows and especially love the costumes.
Bonus 2. What do you do when you have a cold, ache, or pain?
My theory is to sweat it out with a run. Even if it is for 20 minutes. For aches and pains, I have been cautious lately. Cross training helps.
Bonus 3. Describe your diet.
Well rounded. I eat pretty healthily. Not a huge sweets eater. Love sushi and more savory meals. A lot of fish…I’m a Glosta Gal! Ω
To read more from our Sept/Oct 2015 issue, click here.
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