Welcome beautiful, strong, independent, always changing, and capable people. I am so glad they you made it to this page. You might know Kathy or myself personally or you might have found us through Instagram or a Google Search. Whatever it is we are both so glad you are here. Reading through Kathy’s fitness journey was wonderful for me. Some of it I saw her through and other parts I never knew! Although I am not surprised our journey’s start off in a very similar way.
How I got started
I grew up as the 2nd child to a very athletically talented older sister. I was always trying to keep up with her and watched others awe at her talents. I struggled with believing I was “seen” being the younger of the two. I knew that I felt free of that when I ran. I would run through my families series of trails (we owned 16 acres) when my dad mowed the lawn trying to find ways to get to a certain point in the trail before my dad got there on his mower. I loved it and felt happy and free. A few years later at age nine I experienced my first taste of public school, up to that point I was home-schooled. All of a sudden I was playing and running next to kids my own age and boy did it feel good. Like Kathy the first time I felt what it was like to compete was running the mile in school. I could beat EVERYONE in my class except for Johnny, Dallas, and Rebbie. I loved trying to get faster times and trying to beat everyone I could.
Although I loved running I still acted as a little sister. In 7th grade track I ran hurdles and shorter distances, because my older sister did and did it well! I had to be good at it right? It was in my blood! I was definitely not being “seen” by my track coach. It wasn’t until my 8th grade and 9th grade year in school that I found my true calling mid-distance and long distance running! I was not a natural; it was something I had to work at. I remember to this day the cold Michigan winters going to the YMCA with my dad as a 13 year kid running repeats on a .1 of a mile track. What I still love to this day about long distance running is that you are able to get out what you put in. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you put in the miles you will improve.
In high school, running is how I found my place in the school and the world. That is where I found a title that fit me well. Runner. Not only did I find myself I also found friends, one that would last a lifetime. I grew to know Kathy throughout high school. Once we realized that we
could cut more time by training together every summer we would be running hip to hip. Both of us wanting to beat the other yet not quite being able to pull away from the other. Yikes did our cross coach hate that! She always thought that we ran together on purpose however we were just so evenly matched at the time. Even later in college when we were running on opposing teams with many more girls running at meets we would end up running hip to hip.
College Cross Country
After high school I wanted two things, a strong education and to be able to run. I found both attending Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame. College cross country was hard. The easy workout that I had in college cross compared to the killer days I had in high school. Six mile run at a 7’50” pace…thank goodness we get a break today! That is not the tune I would have been singing in high school. This was a different beast. My college cross country career is something I will never regret but it is not the highlight of my running career. I could never beat my high school times and I was struggled with traveling for hours to go run a race the same day. I did sneak in my first marathon during college however! I remember turning 20 was a hard for me (laughable now) I wanted to do something big before the big 2-0. So I decided to run a marathon the summer before my birthday. Sorry Coach Jackie! The only thing she really didn’t want any of her athletes to do was to run a marathon in the off season. I told her what I did between my 1st year and sophomore year during my senior exit interview with her.
After college I began my teaching career and lost a little bit of my athletic self. I tried to keep up but my eating wasn’t fantastic and I never felt like I had time to get a workout in. I am positive that I am a stress eater. I tried to get workouts in but it was not like what it used it be. During this time I had some knee problems in which the doctor after doing x-rays told me that my knees didn’t look bad but they did look like a 40 year old not a 24 year old. To say the least I was extremely discouraged and began having a negative view of my body and myself.
Fast Forward 4 years and I had officially had it. I was sick of not putting myself first. Four
important things happened in order for my lifestyle to change. 1. I began coaching both Cross Country and Track and 2. I signed-up to be a member at Tone It Up 3. I began exiting a toxic relationship 4. I found yoga. The two women that founded TIU, I truly believe helped save me and helped me find myself again. I used their meal plan to clean up and portion my eating. I began working out twice a day. I learned to say no to unhealthy choices and I learned to reward myself. The biggest lesson I learned were women should be a network of support NOT the enemy or the competition. After 8 weeks on their program I had lost 15 pounds (I didn’t know I had that to loss) and had ran a race that I didn’t train for (I had been getting strong with my workouts but was not intentially training to race). The race opened my eyes. Without even meaning to or having the goal to gain speed I was fast again. I broke my 10k time without even having as a goal. This ignited a fire within me. I
AM NOT DONE, I WILL LIVE, I WILL BE, I AM ENOUGH, I WILL LOVE LIFE by doing the things that make me happy. After that point I did start making running goals and I continued to eat well and work my entire body. I set a goal to break my 5k time which I had set at age 17. Nearly a decade later I beat it by over 30 seconds! Then I ran another 5k and took off another 30 seconds! One more race… 30 more seconds! My new PR is now a 19:32 which I intend to break in 2017.
I know it will take a lot of work and I know that I can do it. Just like I know you are able to reach your fitness goals too! I am so excited to share this year with you and to share the journey we call life.