Whippet of the Week: Andrey Kirichenko

Most of my life outside of running consists of working with my Dad at his moving company in New Jersey loading and unloading 18 wheeler’s of furniture. Although, I may look shy, I’m really not. I may be shy at first but after you get to know me, I’m pretty fun to be around. I’m a die-hard sports fan, and live-and-die by sports. Basically if I’m not running or working I’m either listing to sports on the Radio (YES PEOPLE STILL LISTEN TO RADIOS) and, or, watching the games on TV. I try to attend as many games as possible yearly. I mostly follow NYC teams like the METS, Knicks and Rangers. For football—I’m a eagles fan. For college sports, I’m a Duke basketball fan and Michigan for football (Although I never went to those schools I’m a fan of their teams).

Hi, My name is Andrey, and for most of my life I used to HATE running.

Running to me was a way of punishment when you did something wrong, and the gym teacher made you go run laps around the gym. Being on my high school basketball team, my coaches always made us run laps when we screwed or made mistakes during the past games.

Up until 2012, I have dealt with weight problems. In early 2012, I was nearing 200 pounds give or take, and my doctor told me if I kept this up I wouldn’t make it till 50. So thats when I took action into my hands.

Now I weight close to 115-120 pounds year round, less in the summer and around 120 in the winter.

I decided to join the gym Valentines day 2012 and never looked back.

At first, I barely ran 1 mile a day. Before you know it, by the summer of 2012, I was doing 10-20 miles a week. That might seem like nothing to some people but to me 10-20 miles a week was like 50-60 to some.

I felt like I was getting somewhere and I started to love to run.

By beginning of 2013, I was doing closely to 40-50 miles weekly.

I first started to run competitively with NYRR in 2014 because I was looking for a challenge. Before you know it, I was addicted to the race bug.

I heard of the Dashing Whippets through my sister who knew a few of them and she suggested I join them.

At first I didn’t think I would be good enough to join (I thought you had to be super fast to be in a running group). However, I took a chance and decided to join after the NYC half in 2016 where I finished at 1:53.

At the end of 2016, my half marathon pace was at 1:31:20 (One of my goals for 2017 is to get under the 1:30 time).

My first workout with the Whippets was a Hill workout at Prospect Park. After that workout, I almost died. I didn’t know what I got myself into, but the supporting group and the motivation I got throughout the workout is what kept me coming back.

My favorite workout besides the long runs on Saturdays has to be the track workouts on Thursdays with Forti and the gang at East River.

When I first joined the Whippets, I was doing a 7:30ish pace, but at the end of 2016 I was doing a good 6:45-7 minutes pace without any problems all thanks to great workouts posted by Scott.

In 2016, I finally ran my first ever Marathon (which was the TCS NYC Marathon). Although I didn’t get the time I wanted, I was still pleased with the result I got. If had you told me 4-5 years ago that I would run any type of marathon, let alone a half, I would look at you crazy.

The day before a race or a half, I try eat as little as possible. I still eat the same foods I eat throughout the week, just small portions. The morning of the race, I usually have oatmeal with banana and that’s it. I try to eat as light as possible, unless I’m doing a half then I eat something more.

My motivation to run on days, I usually don’t feel like is that I know that someone somewhere is training right now to get faster then me. Although that sounds like a old cliché, and cheesy, I just have to push myself out of bed and go for a run.

So far besides the NYC marathon by favorite race so far has to be the Nittany Valley Half Marathon in Pennsylvania. Its a gorgeous little town in the middle of PA, right next to Penn State college. Although its very hilly the last 3-4 miles, its a pretty quite little town.

Although I made a lot of good and bad decisions in 2016, joining the whippets after the NYC half was the best decisions I made hands down. There isn’t a certain amount of money I wouldn’t pay to stay with the whippets. Although we have a huge range of runners ranging from Elite, middle of the pack, to slow runners (no offense), I know we all have one goal in mind and thats to make everyone feel like they belong in the running community no matter how fast or slow you run. I know with the proper training we all can achieve our goal even if it seems unrealistic.

If I could shred 85 pounds in 1.5 years and shred close to 25 minutes of a half marathon in less then 6 months, I know with the Whippets anything is possible.

Photo Credit: Tom Flanagan and Ben Ko

Jerlyn Thomas

More about Jerlyn Thomas

Jerlyn Thomas, also known as Jade, is a marketing professional and brand specialist. She's part of the website committee and is credited for conceptualizing, designing and developing the website for this running team. She's also an adrenaline seeker, inspirer, Caribbean Islander?, Sr. Art Director/Dev?, Published Illustrator, Triathlete, Ultramarathoner and Marathoner (who has completed over 15 distances ?), 2x Ragnar finisher and 2x Tough Mudders finisher she blogs about her lifestyle on Design Lady NYC and you can follow her on Instagram @jerlynthomas. She runs in Brooklyn, trains in Manhattan and loves escaping to head on trails on the weekends.

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