Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Post - Amanda @ Get To Goal

Today's guest blog post comes from Amanda! She may seem familiar as we've run together a few times over the past 1.5 years we've known each other (see slide show below). I hope you enjoy reading along! :)

Chicago Marathon 2012

Illinois Marathon 2012
Grand Rapids Marathon 2011

About me…

My name is Amanda and my blog is  I originally started my blog as a weight loss/healthy living blog while trying to lose the last 10 lbs of 90 lbs to get to my goal weight but since then, I realized there are goals throughout life so it fits no matter what circumstance I’m in.  It has since then turned more into a running blog. 

I never used to run growing up or in school.  I hated running the mile in gym class (which was the only running I did every year).  I have been working out since I was 11 years old though, doing fitness classes and at 16, my dad signed us all up at the gym.  I wasn’t too terribly active in school and hated sports (because I am just awful at them all).  I joined bowling for 3 years in high school because they needed people and I liked to bowl.  I was on the swim team my junior year (straight into varsity swimming!) because they needed people (we had only 3 people on varsity).  Both in bowling and in swimming during my first year, I was given the most improved award and my senior year of bowling I was given the MVP award.  I’m pretty proud of those awards because even though I wasn’t the best in the sport, I was the most reliable and I always tried my best (and I got the 110% award in swimming, lol).

Why do you like to run?
I like to run because it’s a huge challenge for me.  Whether I’m running 1 mile or 26.2 miles, there are many times I struggle or have self-doubts about it.  Nothing compares to the challenges I face, mentally and physically, while running.

Why did you start to run?
As I said, I never used to run.  My dad started running when I was a teenager and was doing 5k’s up to 10k’s.  Sometimes I would go for short runs with him but really don’t remember much of it.  He was faster and better so it wasn’t often.  When I was about 24 years old, I had a friend that was turning 30.  She wanted to run a 5k on her 30th birthday and asked me to do it with her.  I was overweight (well over 200 pounds) but decided to go ahead.  I never really trained.  I think we would go for a few runs every once in a while.  I ran my first 5k on September 20, 2003 in about 40 minutes.  I kept doing a couple races every year (the Shamrock Shuffle 8k and the Ridge Run 5k) even after my friend stopped.  In 2006, I decided to run a half marathon with a coworker (who was also not a runner).  If you notice, I just wrote that she was “also not a runner.”  I still didn’t consider myself a runner at this point even though I had been running for 2.5 years.  I never trained and would run maybe once a week if that, taking several weeks off at a time.  I struggled at my 5k’s and 8k’s.  I always walked within that first mile (or within a couple miles).  I ran alone and didn’t know anything about running or know anyone else that ran. 

My co-worker and I ran that half marathon together in August, 2006 (the Chicago Distance Classic, now called the Rock N’ Roll Half).  I really struggled after mile 6 and we just tried to have as much fun as possible.  I walked a lot.  I took pictures around mile 9.  And I started to cry when I crossed the finish line.  It was the hardest thing both physically and mentally I ever had to do.  I was exhausted and sore and swore up and down I would NEVER be ABLE to run a full marathon (nor did I want to).

It wasn’t until I started losing weight (and lost about 50-60 lbs) that my running improved.  This was in 2009.  Since 2003, I had been running races between 215-250 lbs.  I never gave up but I never got better.  In 2009, I was now less than 200 lbs.  I remember one day I went running, I picked a route that would be 3 miles out and 3 miles back (6 total).  I ran the whole thing.  From start to finish.  I wanted to cry.  I had never run that distance without stopping before.  I didn’t even realize I did it until I got home and thought about what I had just done.  That is the moment that I finally realized I was a runner.  This is not to say you are not a runner if you walk, or if you run 13 min miles, or whatever.  But for me, not knowing anyone in the running community, I never considered myself a runner until that moment. 

What is your favorite distance to race? 
I don’t have an answer to this.  I’ve read other people’s answers to this question and I think about it often.  I think I like the 10k to 15k distance the best.  Long enough to be a good challenge, but not too long.

What is your favorite race?
I’ve done the Shamrock Shuffle 8k every year except one since I started running (so since 2004).  At the time, it was the first major run of the year and everyone always has a good time there.  The energy of the runners is amazing and there are typically some great costumes.  Times have changed however and it’s not the first major run of the year and it’s hugely overcrowded but I still love it as one of my favorites.

Name 5 random facts about yourself 
1.       I used to bite my fingernails until I was in my mid-20’s
2.       I’ve been skydiving twice and love it!  I actually love a lot of extreme things which shock people because I’m a pretty shy and quiet person generally.
3.       I played the piano when I was younger and am a genius at Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…and I know the theme song from Cheers.
4.       I wanted to be an eye doctor when I was in high school.
5.       I can drive a stick shift car thanks to my mom teaching us to drive on hers (sort of stole this from Mag Mile Runner but it’s still true).

What is your favorite running temperature/weather condition? 
If you are a facebook friend of mine or a run friend (or lucky enough to be both), you probably know I HATE running in the cold weather.  But my ideal temp is 75, partly sunny with a slight lake breeze!  Ahhhhh!!!!

What is your most favorite piece of race swag? (Medal, shirt, belt buckle) 
I never used to run for the swag.  I don’t even know where my first 2 half marathon medals are!  So I’m not a huge swag person. I do like getting medals now though.

What is your biggest running accomplishment?
That’s easy, running the 2011 Chicago Marathon.  As I said before, I never thought I COULD run a full marathon.  I didn’t think I was physically able to do it.  Now I have 3 full marathons under my belt.  Never say never…

What is your next goal in running?
PR my darn 5k time!  I don’t consider myself a fast runner and I’m sitting on a PR of 27:55 from November 2010!  Time to change that.

What is something you want people to take away from this post?
Always believe in yourself and never give up.  It may be cliché but it’s true.  Nothing is impossible in the sport of running.  They say running is 90% mental, and I firmly believe that.  I ran a half marathon at about 230 lbs. I hear people say they can’t run until they lose weight.  That’s crap and I’m proof!   It’s ok to walk.  You don’t have to run straight through.  Just getting out there is an accomplishment.  


  1. Thanks for the chance to be on your blog Kelly! :-)

  2. Thanks for contributing!! I don't have time to blog right now so it is nice to know I have friends (IRL and online) that will help keep things moving while I am unavailable. :)

  3. You are a runner! Great job! Everything is about progression and I think it takes all of us a long time to recognize that we are all worthy of the "runner" title. No special pace or distance required to earn the title. If you run, you are a runner.

    Proud of you!

  4. I agree with that now Amanda! I didn't know better before! Thanks!!

  5. Great post Amanda!!! You will KILL that 5K PR before you know it!!

  6. Woot Woot! THat's my plan! Working on losing a little weight and doing some speedwork. Never trained for that 5k so with a little work...I should be able to get it.