A laugh escapes from the Embassy Theatre marketing director and former radio personality as she recounts how she broke her nose.
“My friend and I were doing some early-morning running in the dark … and I tripped on some uneven pavement,” Richards says. Her face was bloody and she “had a skid mark all the way down.”
Doctors offered to reset her nose but “I said it’s so minor that I said I’d give up my modeling career.”
The fall also ended her early-morning runs outside, and Richards now opts for the treadmill at 5 a.m. The 56-year-old fears broken bones because of her rheumatoid arthritis, a condition she was diagnosed with at 16.
“I can remember it,” she says. “I remember being at St. Joe Hospital. I remember missing most of my spring break because they were trying to figure out what was wrong.”
During that stay, someone at the hospital told her that the chronic condition would eventually require her to use a wheelchair – the “wrong thing to say to a 16-year-old,” Richards says.
“When my doctor did come in, I told him what happened,” she says. “And he’s like, you know how to prevent that? You need to exercise.
“I really took that to heart.”
The workout: Running
Routine: Richards tries to exercise five days a week. She goes to the gym Tuesday through Thursday, where she meets friends and runs 5 miles on the treadmill. Saturdays are usually for a long run, and Sunday is another run of 5 miles or more.
“If you’re training for a half (marathon), you got to get in your 26 (miles),” she says. “I try to do that.”
Richards ran the Go! St. Louis half marathon Saturday and has completed more than a dozen other races of the 13.1 distance.
Cross training: When possible, she adds cycling into the mix whether it’s a class on Mondays or bike commuting to work.
“Last summer, I started riding my bike to and from work. It’s 10 miles. I love that,” she says. Adding, “It’s just a great way to start your day. I feel so energetic when I get into work.”
On track: “I think it’s really important to set a goal because it keeps you training,” Richards says.
In the past, she has run a half marathon each month for a year but 2014 is about being an Ironwoman. To garner the title, Richards will participate in every race in the Fort Wayne Track Club points series.
“I’m a busy person. I have a job that requires nights and weekends … as soon as the calendar came out for the track club points races, I put them on the calendar,” she says. “Now I can work around it.”
Gear: Richards was a loyal wearer of Mizuno running shoes until this year, when she was encouraged to try Hoka One One running shoes. Gaining popularity, the shoes feature a thicker and softer foam that offers a more stable ride, which Richards appreciates. “They make me more sure-footed.”
In tune: This winter, Richards sported a winter headband with built-in speakers so she could listen to her favorite music and stay warm. Her favorite running songs include “Rock Lobster” by the B-52s, “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi and Bruno Mars hits. The next song destined for her iPod shuffle: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
For beginners: Richards says it’s important to remember that “everybody starts with a mile, a half mile. Everybody starts at the same place.”
She also advocates finding a support group, whether it’s joining the track club or a running group. Richards runs with two friends regularly and has a larger group who join based on scheduling and weather.
“You’ll get to know people and they encourage you.”