Sunday, April 16, 2017

Runner Spotlight: Amanda

If you are reading this post, chances are that I survived the Hot Chocolate 15k and will tell you all about it next week. This week we've got some other exciting business to cover! 

While I'm all about the Cadbury Cream Eggs that come with the season, today is an extra special day to remember and celebrate the true hope and joy we have in Jesus. I hope you and your loved ones are having a blessed Easter!


And with Easter being late this year, Marathon Monday follows just on the horizon. I have been looking forward to sharing this Runner Spotlight interview with you from a runner competing in the Boston Marathon tomorrow!

Meet Amanda. 

She's a follower of Jesus, wife, RN and crazy fast runner of all distances - even two ultras. I have been so inspired by Amanda's commitment to glorifying God in all she does and her ability to balance life with training while hitting some really fast paces in the process.

Amanda has a bunch of running experience and wisdom that is sure to inspire so let's jump into her interview!


All About Running:

When did you start running? What sparked your interest?

I had wanted to join track since ninth grade but, because I went to a private school, I couldn't play public school sports. So I transferred to public school my senior year so I could join track and field. I desired to compete and I chose running because I loved the feeling of flying on my own two feet.

When did you run your first race?

My first race in track was the spring of 2007 and I ran the 800m, the 4x400 and the mile. After each event I was overwhelmed and exhausted, I remember thinking, "Wow this is a lot of work to push my body to the limit, but I like it!"

My first road race was a 5k in 2008 in my hometown of Grand Rapids, MN after I had just ran xc and track my freshman year of college. That year made me realize how much I enjoyed the longer distances and the endurance it took to finish well was an addicting challenge to obtain. However, it was also a difficult year due to the loss of my teammate and best friend unexpectedly after xc nationals. Our team was so close and we clung to each other like family as we sought peace from the Lord and tried to make sense of it. This shook me. How could someone so healthy with so much life and potential just pass away with no answer as to why?

I went to UND after that year to pursue nursing and walked on to the xc team. But after a couple weeks I realized I wasn't ready to be part of a new team. I never did run again at the collegiate level. Looking back now, it's hard not to wonder how it would have shaped me as a runner if I had.

Throughout my four years at UND I continued to run on my own and began to dabble in longer distances. I completed my first half marathon in 2009 and became fond of the distance. I worked to become a stronger runner and began working towards the goal of the full marathon. In 2011 I ran the Walker Marathon in Minnesota and decided there was no looking back, I had found the distance I love!

Do you work with a coach or are you self-coached?

I don't work with a coach but I read runner's blogs, what elites are eating, their workouts and strategies. I research the best exercises and have come up with a lot of workouts, training plans and routines that are working for me and my specific goals as an athlete. Although, I feel I am reaching a point in my running career where I could benefit from a coach assessing and guiding me on occasion.

What weekly mileage do you run during training on average?

My training for the full is usually a 16-18 week plan with average mileage per week at 35-45 and peak weeks are 55-65.

What do you think is the most important aspect of training for a long-distance race?

The most important aspect of training for a long distance race, for me, is pushing it hard on speed days and truly taking it EASY on recovery days. This combo is proving to be so beneficial for me and I know other runners have said this same thing. I feel it's sharpening my endurance and giving me the proper muscle recovery just in time to push my limits again. To see the benefits of this you have to be consistent in your training plan.

What are your PRs?

I have run 4 halfs, 9 fulls, and 2 ultras (30k and 50-miler) with a 1:25 half marathon PR and 2:53:30 full marathon PR.

What has been your favorite race experience?

My favorite race experience is a tie! Being a Disney girl, my first Walt Disney World Marathon in 2015 was the most magical experience! Running though the parks and posing for pictures along the course with my favorite characters was the most fun I've ever had running a marathon (and I even PR'd in it!)

Crossing the finish at the 2016 Walt Disney Half Marathon

Tied with Disney is my first Boston Marathon in 2016. It was such a big goal of mine that I had achieved (with God's grace). I was overwhelmed by the city and the excitement the morning of the race. I even cried after I crossed the start. I was just so thankful to be running this historic race. And never have I raced a marathon with a community that cheers you on from the start all the way to the finish. There's never a stretch of the course that's empty of spectators.

What is your favorite post-race treat?

My stomach tends to be uneasy for the first couple hours after a marathon, so I just focus on hydrating and replacing electrolytes. But as soon as I am feeling good and hungry I like to go out to eat and celebrate with a bacon cheeseburger and fries (preferably shoestring)!

What are your running-related goals for the future?

I am running Boston again this year and hope to break 3:00. I am also running The NYC Marathon, and plan to complete a couple local half marathons through the summer. My plan is to keep growing in strength and endurance and to continue to become the best runner I can be! It's exciting to know I haven't hit my peak and I hope I have a long ways to go before then!

Personal/Family Life Balance:

Is your family interested in running as well?

My family does not run but they are all very supportive of my running goals. My husband is my number one fan. He is always there, at every race to cheer me on. My parents even flew to Boston last minute last year to see me run the marathon for my first time. I am very blessed to have so much support.

Amanda's sister, Amanda and her husband at the 2016 WDW Marathon

How do you balance family time, daily responsibilities and training?

By the grace of God. My husband and I don't have children yet so I don't have to deal with that aspect just yet.

I am a full-time RN who works 12 hour night shifts and this can pose a challenge. It's hard to wake up in the afternoons and have motivation or the energy to run after a night shift and before going back to work. But I draw in Gods strength and force myself out the door on those tough days.

Most days it's not a struggle though. I love to run, it is a passion and a lifestyle for me. I plan out my runs weeks at a time and the time of day I will do them and try to fit the rest of life around that and it works well for me. Of course I remain flexible to life events that may make me reschedule or move my run from morning to evening.

When do you fit running/training into your day?

As I said it's usually the first thing I do in the morning or afternoon if I'm on night shift. I like to start my day with it! It gives me focus, motivation and energy to tackle other tasks!

What advice would you give to new runners?

Be patient with yourself. Fast race times, a strong body and mental endurance come with time and your being consistent and committed to the sport. Practice positive self talk.

When it come to pain, listen to your body! I made the mistake in my early years of thinking I was tough and pushing through the pain, only to end up with an injury.

And lastly, do it for the joy of it!

Good luck/congratulations to you, Amanda, on running your second Boston Marathon! Thank you for sharing your running experience with us!



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

6 comments:

  1. I love Disney races as well. It was both mine and my sister's first marathon. Good luck at Boston! So exciting!

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  2. Always fun to read about other people's training. What she said about taking easy days easy is so hard to do but definitely key

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  3. It is always interesting to hear why people start running and what motivates them to stay at it. Amanda sounds like such a positive and motivational lady! Thanks for the interview, Amy!

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  4. I love her last answer - being patient - I am a new runner and find that I am sometimes impatient - I want that fast pace now. I want that strong body now. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Stories like this is exactly what keeps people running! I just love a good reason! Thanks for sharing!

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