This song not only gets the adrenaline pumping, it is homage to my most valuable runner’s asset: my Thunder Thighs. All runners come in various shapes and sizes. I’m sure as I’ve toed the start line a time or two, opponents have looked at me and doubted my ability to race long distances because I’m not long and wiry. In college I had teammates on my track team who thought I looked more like a sprinter than a distance girl. I get it; I don’t have the stereotypical distance runner’s bod. But I always shake off these scenarios and take pride in what I do have: strong, muscular legs that can propel me to and through any finish line from the 200 meter dash all the way through the marathon. I love that I am seeing a shift in the way women perceive their bodies. Women all over the globe are grunting through workouts and breaking a sweat because they want to be STRONG. Strong is the new skinny and I have no problem thunderstrucking anyone that gets in my way with these quads and hamstrings! I hope to be an inspiration for other women out there to embrace the shape they have been given and to not shy away from their strengths.
In all of my years of running I have had the opportunity to race on relays of all distances ranging from the 4 x 200 meter relay up to the Akron Marathon Relay. The distance missing from my list is one of the twenty-four hour persuasion. I was recruited to partake in a Ragnar Relay team this summer but the plans unfortunately fizzled as team members backed out. I took it as a sign that my first time should be saved for something bigger and better. I’d love nothing more than to lose my twenty-four hour relay virginity to the biggest and baddest of them all, Hood to Coast. And don’t you worry, after my tryst with this event instead of indulging in a smoke break and pillow talk; I’d definitely reach for some freshly brewed Nuun.
When I first began to tackle the 26.2 distance, I had dreams of qualifying for Boston. I may have gotten a bit over confident and was convinced I would qualify rather easily. I had SO much to learn. It ultimately took me seven attempts to score that BQ. But not once did I ever stop believing that I could accomplish this goal. When things get tough for me, I put my nose to the grindstone and continue to press on. For instance, in 2007 I ran the Chicago Marathon, convinced it was my time to break 3:40. When Mother Nature handed us high temperatures and humidity, I chose to continue to race. I never dropped out, even though it took me well over 5 hours to complete that race. Even after such a marathon disaster I was still convinced I had that sub-3:40 in there somewhere. I never stopped believing in myself and it ultimately paid off at the 2010 Cleveland Marathon!
When I was a wee little baby my parents would sing me songs, anything from your typical lullaby to a recent top 40 hit and everything in between. Apparently one day when I was really fussy and crying my dad started crooning this Hall & Oates’ classic which calmed me down and the crying ceased. So my dad continued to sing this song to me on a regular basis and it became a bit of a family joke. I have a rather deep competitive spirit, and I love to ‘Chick‘ as many males as possible when out on a race course. I guess I still have that ‘Maneater’ hidden deep inside! I would pass as many males as possible on the Hood to Coast course and make them eat my Nuun dust!
I can’t deny it, I love a solid Girl Power anthem! Growing up I was always encouraged by my fantastic parents to dream as big as the sky! As an aunt to two little ladies, I strive to be a role model for them; I want to help mold them into strong, confident women. I am a firm believer in the power of athletics and teams and their potential to have a positive impact on females. I know that the athletic endeavors I was fortunate enough to experience during my formative years were a large factor in shaping me into the confident woman I am today. One thing that I miss from my younger days is being on a team. I would be over the moon to have the opportunity to join a team of all females to tackle this epic race course. Sharing the love of the run with so many other brilliant, confident and strong women would be such a fantastic learning experience and life opportunity for me to continue to fuel my evolution of womanhood.
Historically I’ve been a pretty conservative Type-A girl, especially when it comes to running. I like to stick to a plan and follow it. But last year during my training for the Boston Marathon, I decided to allow myself to unwind a bit and get a little crazy. I decided that 13 days after crossing the finish line in Boston, I would be lacing up my running kicks for another 26.2 journey at the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. I had a fantastic experience, and even got to see a streaker! I like to challenge my body and after I quenched my Boston thirst, I wanted to go hard or go home. After crossing the finish line in Cincinnati, I qualified myself as Marathon Maniac #3837. This decision and experience opened me up to a whole world of fun and a new found sense of adventure was sparked within me. I am craving a new adventure, and hopping in a van with 11 complete strangers while pushing ourselves to our running limits sounds like a perfectly maniacal next quest for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a nice group run with friends, but nothing truly compares to those miles I log by myself. I don’t listen to music while running, I prefer to enjoy my surroundings and get lost in my own thoughts. I’m really fantastic at being introverted and the chorus of this tune is the perfect explanation of my ability to crank out 20 mile runs on my lonesome - ‘I live in my own mind, ain’t nothin’ but a good time’. Being on a massive relay team such as this requires individuals who can balance the excitement of being a member of a team with the true loneliness of the long distance runner, and revel in the beauty of the experience while out pounding the pavement on each of our legs.
Probably best know for its feature in the film ‘Dumb and Dumber’ this jam completely cracks me up. Just like the song’s main muse Mary Moon, I too refrain from eating meat. I strive to live a cruelty-free existence by avoiding the consumption of meat, dairy products, and eggs, basically any animal product or by-product. I want to inspire others who currently adhere to this lifestyle or are considering it. I want to shush the nay-sayers out there who equate Vegans and Vegetarians as weaklings. I am a living example of how you can be a No Meat Athlete and push your body to the limits. Nuun it is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly product, I think it only natural that Nuun pick at least one No Meat Athlete to represent them at Hood to Coast, we would be a match made in endurance heaven!
I was raised by two of the biggest Beatles fans to ever walk this earth. There literally is a Beatles song that can apply to the majority of the major events in my life. This particular tune has helped me find strength during some of the darkest days I have ever known. The simple lyrics have always brought such comfort to me. I know at some point during the relay all of us will be tired, we will doubt our abilities to get out and grab the baton for yet another leg. But we will all push ourselves further than we thought possible, and out of the darkness we will find light. I thrive on inspiration. For my career as a Wellness Coach I am required to keep a sunny disposition and motivate others on a regular basis. I find such joy, peace and fulfillment in motivating and cheering on others. I have been Team Captain for both my high school and college cross country teams, not because I was one of the fastest on the team, but because of my leadership skills and my ability to motivate even the most down and out of my teammates. If chosen for this opportunity I would certainly bring some sunshine in the form of encouraging words and spirit to my assigned van and team.
While in college I watched my father fight the battle of his life with lung cancer, which he ultimately lost. It’s been seven years since I had my final conversation with him. While his body was failing him we had a heart-to-heart conversation. Fighting through the tears he told me he was proud of me, and that I needed to stay in school and continue to focus on my studies and my future. He didn’t want his death to cripple me and derail me from my ultimate life plans. He assured me that it would be okay to make mistakes, we all do, but he didn’t want me to be so rigid when it came to life that I didn’t have a little fun along the way. My father had impeccable work ethic, but he sure knew how to have fun as well. Since losing my father, I’ve eventually come to realize that life is too short and that I need to put myself out there, take risks and live life to the fullest. Anytime this Tim McGraw song comes on the radio it strikes a different chord with me. Some days I sing along to it and sob. Other times I belt it out and smile. I’d have to say that if I was chosen for one of these coveted spots, I would really be living my life how I want to and to the fullest. Being able to do my favorite activity along such a picturesque course while making new friends with like-minded individuals? That sounds like a dream come true and truly living if you ask me.
Are you interested in applying for this amazing opportunity? Check out Nuun’s Blog for more details.