As a two-time U.S. 5,000-meter champion and six-time world championships competitor in cross country and track, Lauren Fleshman, aka “Fleshman Flyer,” has competed at every distance from 800 meters to the marathon (including bests of 14:58 for the 5K and 2:37 for the marathon), and has her sights set on the 5,000m at the 2016 Olympics. When she’s not running, the mom and wife living in Bend, Ore., is still on the move with her writing (in addition to her “Ask Lauren” blog, Fleshman co-authored the “Believe Training Journal”), operating athletic nutrition brand Picky Bars (which she co-founded with husband Jesse Thomas, a professional triathlete, and fellow pro runner Stephanie Bruce) and representing apparel brand Oiselle.
How do you manage a dual-athlete marriage?
When you’re partners with another athlete, pro or amateur, you are their cheering section every single day. We joke that sometimes I’m Mrs. Thomas and he’s Mr. Fleshman. But we try to keep our day-to-day relationship less about working out and more about fixing meals, raising our kid (2-year-old son Jude) and talking about other things going on in the world.
What are your thoughts about the 2016 Olympics?
I know deep down I have the talent and the work ethic to be a member of the Olympic team. That said, so do a lot of other people. If I make the team it will be because fortune was on my side that day and I was able to put together my performance.
Why do you run?
I like to say I run because it’s tattooed on my heart. It’s basically a permanent part of me.
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How did you recover from your Achilles injury?
When an injury has turned out to be something big and I realize I’m going to have to start back at ground zero, I do my best to try and let go. I take advantage of the time to be a more balanced human and do things with my family and friends. I think it helps with the healing.
What inspired you to walk a New York City fashion-show runway for Oiselle?
It fits in with the part of me who wants to break down existing systems that I don’t think work properly. We took our runner freak flag to New York and waved it around.
What drives you in your career outside of running?
I didn’t see it as my life path. I’ve realized that instead of being a runner with business interests, I think I’ve always been an entrepreneur who runs fast.