Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Drag Queen
Time Running: 3 years
Reason for Running: I started running because all the gyms were closed and I just have one of those bodies that naturally wants to thicken up. But I’ve learned that I love running because it’s for myself, by myself.
I got into running during the pandemic because all the gyms were closed and my first hobby during the pandemic was making ice cream. So I made a bunch of ice cream and gained a bunch of weight. And then I pivoted to running. I lived in Los Angeles where the streets were a ghost town—no traffic, no people. So I could run all day and not ever see anyone.
In the beginning of my running, I was using the Nike app, which is really great if you like guided runs where you can listen to your own music and then the music dips down and a trainer talks to you. Peloton is also great if you want to do a program and you really want to commit to something every day. It was just nice to basically have somebody in my ears for hours while I was running.
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I remember my first long run, I guess it was about two miles. I ran to my boyfriend’s house in one shot and I couldn’t believe I ran two miles. Pretty soon I was running three, four, and five miles. And then in February 2021, I ran from my house to the Santa Monica beach, where my music producer lives, which is exactly 13.1 miles. So my first half marathon was just on a whim to meet my friend at the beach.
I have never competed in a race officially, but I have signed up for three and then had to default on them because of work. I got the first season of judging Queen Of The Universe that I had to do, and subsequently I missed the Los Angeles Marathon and the Milwaukee Marathon. On top of that, when I was supposed to do the Los Angeles Marathon, my appendix had to come out. So I think it’s bad luck.
I guess my biggest fear with running was that I was going to get bored of it. But I love it. If anything, I get very downtrodden when I can’t stick to it now. So if I’m too busy with work to support a healthy running schedule, that bothers me. Or lately I’ve been dealing with some lower back pain from corseting in drag. And that’s been preventing me from being able to do my distance runs, and that’s been hard.
My proudest accomplishment was doing a marathon by myself. My in April 2021. I downloaded the Milwaukee Marathon course and I took an Uber out to Grafton, Wisconsin, and I got dropped off in a bank parking lot and I ran the full 26.2 miles of the marathon without any actual people there. So it was very bizarre. I figured out when I tell people my first marathon was alone, they’re like, “you’re a crazy person.” But that’s how I get with things. When I get focused on things, it’s all I can think about and it’s all I want to do. Once I get into something, once I get interested, I’m going to do it until I’m absolutely sick of it.
Running is for everyone. In my opinion, when you’re not a runner, all the talk about pro athletes and celebrities running or someone losing a lot of weight while running sounds intimidating. You feel like you have to lose 100 pounds to be a runner or you have to be a professional athlete or a celebrity. But in fact, running is for everyone. And so that’s the impact I want to make.
My current running schedule is more cross-training because of experiencing lower back pain after being on tour. I’ll run three or four miles a couple times a week and then on the other days I will do weightlifting and biking. And then on the weekends, that’s when I will do an 8-, 10-, or 15-mile run. That’s my dream schedule. I love long runs on the weekends, like Sundays.
I have some running goals. It seems like the London Marathon ends up being when I film Queen Of the Universe every year, so I would love to do that. For the Malibu Triathlon, they do a celebrity division where they have pro athletes pair up with celebrities for charity. And I would love to do that. Oh, and I would love to do a little mini triathlon. I’m not a great swimmer or biker, but I think overall wellness is becoming more important to me.
Before I started running, athletics in general scared me because I didn’t have a great relationship with physical education or other athletes in high school. We didn’t have track in high school—we didn’t have anything like that. So either you played football or you were not an athlete. And I guess I’m lucky that I discovered something that just works for me. I’m really antisocial and I need a lot of time by myself and having an hour or two multiple times a week that I’m not with people is really good for me.
Listen, I like to get drunk and eat pizza. So having a hobby that burns calories is the only way to sort of balance that out. I guess what I like about running is you physically are running away from your problems when you’re running. I work from home, all my drag is at my house, and now I have an activity where I unplug and step out of my door and I run away from my responsibilities. So it’s just a great way to reset.
I will admit, nothing is all that interesting about running. No one wants to hear about it, but you will get something out of it, and it sort of becomes your personal, little weird secret that you succeed at. It’s kind of nice for that reason. Everybody talks about the running community, but honestly, why running works for me is that it’s so solitary.
Sometimes, when we talk about running, we talk about community and doing races where everyone meets up, but don’t be afraid to pursue running as a solitary experience. I love that running is for myself, by myself. I don’t ever want to go running with people. I don’t like chatting with people. People have jogging buddies who want to talk—that’s kind of my nightmare. So just enjoy the fact that you have this thing that is totally your little private experience you have.
These three tips have made my running journey a success:
1. Start slow, finish fast
This is the most important thing when you ask people if they run and they say, “I can’t run. I get winded right away.” That’s just telling you that you start too fast. You start too hot and you tire yourself out. Your body doesn’t respond to anything that’s not gradual. Your body does not respond to walking out your door and immediately sprinting. You will burn out really quickly. So, just start slow, start extremely slow, and finish fast. You almost want the beginning of your run to feel way under your ability.
2. Wear sunblock
I’m extremely fair and bald. So when I’m doing my long runs I wear SPF 50 all over my body and head, and SPF 70 and 75 on the high plains on my face, like my cheeks. You’ve got to wear sunblock when you’re out there for hours and hours and hours!
3. Set reasonable goals
This is really corny and it sucks, but when you’re training for something, if you’re not running, you’re recovering. So everything on paper you’re supposed to be doing is supposed to be in service of your running, right? Drinking water, eating the right foods, getting enough sleep. I’m not always good at that. That’s part of what I like about running, though, is that it’s all scalable. My success or what I’m trying to do works if I set reasonable goals knowing my life and the demands of my professional life. It’s really impossible to let yourself down if you’re honest with what you can actually do.
Trixie’s Must-Have Gear
→ : I think they are delicious.
→ : I remember in the very beginning of my running journey, I was getting shin splints off and on and I had to be really careful. And that’s how I went from running not even a half mile in my life to a marathon, I just was extremely slow and careful. And I used Tiger Balm a lot.
→ : I need my AirPods. I know that there’s probably cooler, easier ones to use or like fancier headphones. But the AirPods just work for me. I can put two pairs in my little running vest and when one dies I have another set.
→ : I love my Clifton 8s. They are my favorite shoes. I’ve clocked so many miles in these over the years. And pretty much every time now, I buy the same shoe over and over and over again. And I really like that.
→ : I like listening to the Attitudes! podcast while I’m running. They usually run about 45 minutes to an hour, and it’s a great way to catch up on current events, women’s issues, LGBT issues, and it’s in a comedic way. So sometimes, it’s fun to step out on the road and pick something that’s timed for your run. Like if a podcast is 50 minutes, I will run until this is over. And then I don’t have to think about the clock or my pace. I just enjoy it. You could also listen to ! You can listen to my podcast while you’re running. We usually ramble for a full hour.
Emily Shiffer is a freelance health and wellness writer living in Pennsylvania.
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