Executive: Phyllis Ershowsky, principal, PKE Marketing & PR Solutions, Fort Myers
How she got started: Although she was athletic in high school, Ershowsky never enjoyed running until later in life after she had children. She had an hour to spare when she dropped off her children at the bus stop, so she started running 17 years ago. “I started one block at a time,” she recalls. “The next week I was running around the circle.”
Big goal: Shortly after she started running, Ershowsky signed up to run a 5-kilometer race in Fort Myers. “Once I got up to that 5K, I was completely smitten with it,” she says. Eventually, she pushed the distance to a 10K and then a half marathon, or 13.1 miles, in Naples. In 2003, she completed her first marathon (26.2 miles) in Miami. “It was such an amazing feeling of accomplishment,” she says. She ran the New York City Marathon in 2010 through the streets of her native city. Two years ago, she ran a half marathon with her daughter in Philadelphia. “There's no better way to see a city,” she says.
Morning person: Ershowsky rises at 5:30 a.m. for a run in the summer and an hour later in the winter when it's cooler. “I'm a first-thing-in-the-morning runner,” she says. Her monthly goal is 80 to 100 miles a month, more if she's training for a marathon. “Four or five times a week is my optimum,” she says. She's at work by 8 a.m.
Plus yoga: Ershowsky started doing Hatha yoga after work because there's a studio across the street from her office. She attends once or twice a week to improve her flexibility and to relieve the stress of the day. “I feel like there should be a balance between running and something else,” she says. “I don't stretch very much when I run.”
Ideas on the run: Ershowsky says she's had some creative breakthroughs while she runs. When that happens, she'll type them into her iPhone in the middle of a run so she doesn't forget them. Her iPhone also tracks her mileage using a Nike application. But more important, she says a run is a great way to start the workday. “I make it a priority,” she says. “If I don't go, I really feel sluggish. People at work would notice; they'd say, 'Oh, you didn't run today.'”
Perspective: Ershowsky doesn't beat herself up if she misses a run. “I do have things like work schedules and family obligations,” she says. “I can't take myself that seriously. I'm not an Olympian. I'm doing it for my own well-being.”
Energy food: “Because of the running, I've totally changed my nutrition in the last 10 to 15 years,” Ershowsky says. “I don't eat meat because it makes me feel sluggish.” Although she's always watched her caloric intake, Ershowsky confides: “I've always had a weakness for sweets.” On the run, she'll eat jellybeans or Chomps, which are energy chews. She doesn't like liquid gels because they're messy. On weekend long runs, she wears a fuel belt with drink bottles. “I drink Gatorade and mix it with water because it's so sweet,” she says.
No pain: Ershowsky says she's never suffered any injury or pain while running because she follows a training plan, especially for a marathon. “I'm very careful to follow it because I don't want to get hurt,” she says. “I don't go faster than I feel comfortable. I'm very cognizant of giving this running life longevity.” Her marathon time is 5 hours, 15 minutes and her half-marathon time is 2 hours 15 minutes.