Posted On June 1, 2015 By In Interviews And 802 Views

A Turner for the Better

She’s always had shimmering blond hair that drew attention. At its longest, it was 2” below her waist. “It is still pretty long,” she says, “just not as long and I wear it up a lot when running.”

It didn’t hurt that AMY JACOBY TURNER (some people still think of her with her maiden name, Amy Jacoby, or AJ) was athletic (and still is). “There were times I could out run most guys.” And others noticed during the 90’s, when, as a single lady, she ran in the various running groups. “I think guys were scared of me.” Was it hard being a female in a male dominated sport? “Never. I think athletic guys looked up to you and always went out of their way to help.”

Vivacious with a smile to whomever she met, she was a popular “go to” girl for newcomers wanting to know the ins and outs of the local club or the wider running scene. “I did well among my age group for women and beat a lot of guys. I remember some men getting their feathers ruffled when you would pass them at the lake or in a race. You see that less these days.  Of course, I am passing less people these days, too!” She smiles. She says she has a “terrible memory.”

Now she says, “I try to eat healthy, but I pretty much eat everything except dairy, and all in moderation.” Fashion conscious? “Not at all.” Favorite shop? The Gap. Favorite band? The Beatles. Favorite restaurant? Royal Thai. Running shoe? New Balance.

What’s it like for a woman to be a runner in Dallas, married or single?

“No issues with being a woman.  Actually I think people are nicer… When I first started running in Dallas I was quite single. And running gave me everything I could ever want. I established a great group of running partners as well as awesome girlfriends. Yes, we are all still friends. That really made my life special having such an incredible group of friends. As we have all gotten older and some have gotten married, things have changed some, but we still hang out and sometimes run together, though I really run on my own. But it is nice to know I can call them up and always workout with them now. I think the running community in Dallas provides a lot for both married and single people. All my friends in Dallas have come from there and I still meet people all the time.”

She’s done over 30 marathons, Pikes Peak up and down twice, and three 50K’s. “Lots of halves and two half Ironmen triathlons.”

Amy is diverse, as well, having done the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred bike ride in Wichita Falls five times. “I only did the 100 miler once. Actually had a pretty good ride. We got into a pack and averaged around 20-plus MPH. I think we finished right around five hours. After that I did the ‘Party Ride,’ or what I like to call it. Do the 100K, then back track to the party at Mile 98, drink, and then attempt to get back to the hotel.”

Born here in Dallas at Baylor November 29, 1966. She grew up in the Preston Hollow area. “I was pretty carefree, I guess.” She has one brother who scared her most as a kid. She admired both parents who are now deceased. But her dad was a pediatrician, retiring in 2000. Her mom was Amy’s hero and worked in her husband’s office. (Today, her hero is her husband, Tom.)

Amy liked outdoor activities such as swimming, snow skiing, camping, photography, cars, and travel. She graduated from Hillcrest High School here in Dallas, then went to the Univ. of Texas in Austin majoring in International Business, and graduating in 1989. She received her in marketing also from UT in 1991.

It was after receiving her undergrad degree in 1989 that she began running, influenced by an Austin friend. “I had gained a lot of weight and started running to lose it.” Her first race was a 5K in Austin.  “I was very slow. I think I ran around 34 minutes. But I was so elated and couldn’t wait to do another one. I ran another 5k the next weekend.” Her favorite race is The Avenue of the Giants Marathon. “It is peaceful and so beautiful.”

For the most part, running is good, she says. “We have some very talented runners in the Dallas area in all age groups and I think that the people are of a very good stand-up quality. Quite a few races and stores around and a good running community. I was talking to someone recently in Houston and they stated that they wanted to move to Dallas because the community was so much better. Made me feel good.”

She has some very solid PR’s. 5K – 21:58, 13.1 – 1:41, and marathon 3:37. She says she knows she’s going fast when she can’t breathe. “Nowadays, running is more about getting out and just having time to chill and decompress.” She enjoys reading, going to movies, and cooking. She just finished reading “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein and a murder mystery series by Louise Penney.

Her run training peaked out in the early 2000’s when she tried to run 100 miles in one week. “I made it to around 90 and couldn’t take it anymore. My average back then was in the 60’s.”

Injuries? “You name it. Torn hamstring, turf toe, torn labrum in my hip, and ITB issues to name a few.  Now I am getting arthritis in my right knee.”

Still, she likes to race, having done the Irving Half Marathon this past spring. “Also am registered for the Michelob Ultra Half in October. Not sure what else I will do. Maybe a few 5K’s.” Her favorite races include the Chicago and Oklahoma City Marathons. She likes training for distance events. “Not necessarily doing the race, but training for them. Guess because I like just getting outside and being.”

Her schedule is varied. Monday, yoga. Tuesday, 4-6 miles. Wednesday, 3-5 miles. Thursday 4-6 miles. Friday, off. Saturday, long run. Sunday, 4-8 miles. “I try to do abdominal work every day. Running keeps my weight down (I like to eat) and it keeps me from stressing out. I like to keep in shape, and I get to get outside.”

To get out the door and get started, Amy says she, “Sees the sun shining or just wants to get outside. I hate being inside.” She has no training partner. “Lately I have been running by myself, but I like also running with the Tuesday hill run group when I am in town.” Once on the run she enters her own world. “I can think like a guy and think of nothing and just clear my mind. After a while I may start to think, but then I like to make up stories in my head.”

She has a great career with Trimble Navigation as a Professional Services Manager for almost five years. Her future goal is “just to continue running and not get injured. As for work, to have a good job where I can support all my habits.” Her dog, CASSIE, fills in the quiet spots.

For over 20 years, she has organized the Christmas Day Run that begins at T. P. Hill. The social run is free and was originally designed for those with family out of town and stuck here for the holidays.  It’s very popular and always gets a great turnout.

Through mutual friends she met TOM TURNER. They were married in November 2005.

“I am pretty happy with where I am in my life, I have a wonderful husband and an awesome dog.  A good job/career and I can now do stuff that I was unable to do in the past  like travel and relax as I get older. I want to just be able to do everything for a very long time so I am sometimes cautious, I don’t want to get injured or hurt.”

Her philosophy about running and working is simple. “If you don’t feel like it, don’t do it. Never push yourself if you are not there. Do it cause you love it.” Go, AMY, go .

Chris Phelan has written, laid out, photographed, and published The Phast Times News since 2001. He’s crisscrossed Texas on his bike three times, swam 5 miles across Lake Ray Hubbard three times, completed three Ironman triathlons, and has represented the US in completion three times, and run with the Olympic Torch. He maintained All-American status for five years and has also biked across the country, 3600 miles in 30 days. The running/triathlon coach has PR’s of 2:27 marathon, 15:40 5K, 3:55 at the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred, and 10:00:52 Ironman. Chris is the only person to have won overall and Master’s at Dallas’ Crosson Dannis road racing series, DRC road racing series, and the USAT/SMW duathlon series. In 1988 he began Dallas’ oldest track workout, 1998 started north Texas’ first treadmill class, and 2003 he founded the world-wide Ride Of Silence. He’s been twice nominated Master’s Road Runner of the Year, highlighted in a variety of magazines and is frequently asked to speak at camps and organizations about fitness. Outside of swimming, biking, and running, Chris has summited several mountains including Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro.