I have been a lifetime athlete,but as a mom I put my health (mental, physical, and emotional self) on the back burner. I got lost. After 15 yrs and several divorces later I was forced to look in the mirror and take a really good look. I felt like a failure. Embarrassed by failed marriages and embarrassed of my ‘mom bod’. I was also embarrassed by day-to-day behaviors and habits. I just didn’t like me, where I was, how I was living, or who my “friends” were; none of it. I missed being active, fit, healthy, happy, and ALIVE.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
I started walking with our standard poodle. Then I increased it to a jog to see if I could go one whole mile. Then I started setting goals: by the end of the year, I wanted to “go” 10 miles, then I wanted to go10 miles without stopping, then it became 10 miles at a specific pace. When I registered for my first 13.1 I was scared as hell. It was 3 more miles than I had done and it was “A RACE”. That morning I felt out of place, awkwardly following signs where to stand, looking at others and measuring myself up. I panicked that “my shoes aren’t right; what kind of socks are those? Should I have a vest thing for water? I need to be skinnier.” I was lost and it was scary. My fiancé at the time thought I was joking when I signed up. Unfortunately he didn’t really believe I could “run a race” and my only goal was to prove him wrong. I finished RnR Dallas 13.1 in 1:58:42. No clue if it was a “fast time” or a “slow time”. I FINISHED! Maybe he would believe in me now.
I AM A MARATHONER
My “friends” laughed. boozed. and smoked it up that night. They joked, “Andrea you’re not really a runner.” They didn’t know it but it hurt my feelings and I was more determined than ever to “become a runner.” I lost 20lbs, bought what I felt was “real” running gear (whatever that was), and started running every day at 4am while the kids were sleeping. I said “no” when “friends” wanted me to go out and get drunk and high. My fiancé asked me to stop and when I told him I would run a marathon someday he laughed and said, “marathoners don’t drink; they train, have coaches, and special diets.that’s not you, Andrea.” I wondered if he was right? I had no clue. I watched “real runners” on social media to study and learn what they ate and drank, how they “trained,” and how they “raced”; what they wore and products they used. I found a community there of positive uplifting people who applauded my efforts and fueled my desire to be better. I dumped my fiancé and ran the BMW Dallas Marathon that December with a finishing time of 3:58:46. Again, I had no clue about time and pace. I was excited I FINISHED! At last, I am a marathoner!
I FOUND A SUPPORT SYSTEM
In that community I found my now partner Jackie (thank you IG) and she pushed me to run another marathon and push harder. She said, “you know you’re just like 15 minutes shy of qualifying for Boston right?!” “What is Boston,” I thought? I researched the Boston Marathon and then registered for the Cowtown Marathon. Two months after Dallas, I ran Cowtown at a time of 3:43:52, enough to earn my first Boston qualifying time (BQ). Jackie went on to BQ at the Mountains 2 Beach marathon that May and we ran our first Boston together in 2019. Since then she has coached me into triathlon and I’m currently training for my first IM70.3 this September at Augusta. She has completed 24 Ironman 70.3 triathlons, a full Ironman at IM Arizona and competed in the Ironman World Championship in 2018, representing the top of her AG. Jackie achieved AWA (ranked All World Athlete) status and has taught me that anything is possible.
The power of someone believing you can do anything; it changes your life. We try to pay it forward every day. Since COVID, our IM training has been on hold, and in pursuit of endurance limits we are dabbling in trail/ultra running. My first 50k was at Cowtown in 2019 and I would continue to push the limits to longer distances with my first 50 miler last summer (2020) at the YetiRunners Ultra Challenge. I finished at 9:45:17. Wanting to push further, the trails were calling. This year was my first trail race and first 100k at Rocky Raccoon 100, which I finished in 16:45:37. I also completed my first 24 hr trail run. I completed almost 64 miles in snow and mud. Searching for the next distance PR, we are heading to a trail race called Possum’s Revenge to fight for 69 miles! The goals keep growing and now I’m looking for my first 100 miler!
YOU CAN! YOU WILL!
I’d be lying if I said I don’t dream about Moab 240 and a full Ironman red carpet finish! Until then, I’ll keep going and we’ll keep going! Our endurance community is amazing. They say we can and we believe them! I would say to my beginner self: FEAR HAS NO PLACE HERE! Never quit; ever! Badass is Beautiful! Do it for YOU! YOU CAN do anything your heart is on fire to do! Limits aren’t real! Remove negative toxic energy, people, relationships, family, thoughts, and social media if it doesn’t serve you or your dreams! YOU CAN! YOU WILL!