I used to hate running. When I was growing up I played softball and soccer, but only pursued softball in college because less running was involved. Running was always a punishment to me and I only did it when I had to. Last year, I was about to turn 30 and I had felt like I had completely lost myself. I work in a college athletic department and I am married to a personal trainer, yet I was in the worst shape of my life after having two kids. I decided that I needed to do something about it. I thought the perfect opportunity would be to workout the first 30 days after I turned 30 as a kick start to figuring out how to better my health. I got about three weeks into my goal and decided that I wanted to see how far I could run. I ran across our campus and back (we live in a house on a college campus) and then immediately got in my car to see how far it was. I almost cried… I had ran a mile without stopping. One of my student-athletes asked me to do the Bronx Zoo 5k with her at the end of April, so I began training for that. After that I signed up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon in September and I am now training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in June and ready to register for Steamtown (Scranton, PA) in October!
WM: What got you started running?
MA: In July 2009, my family lost my beautiful 21 year old cousin Kelly to Leukemia. My family has become very involved with Team In Training and last summer my aunt sent out a challenge to my family to run the Philly
RnR 1/2 and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by joining with TNT. I have made countless friends through my connections with TNT and my friend and fellow Ambassador, Amy, became the initial push for me to train for a full marathon. Side by side, she and I will take on our very first marathon and I’m so excited to continue my marathon journey with her after that!
WM: What are your running goals?
MA: I started running to get fit. I continued my running to raise awareness and fund-raise for LLS. Running is now a way of life for me, so my running goals is to just do the best I can. I know that I will probably never be “fast,” but I do know that I can run far. My long term goals is to simply keep running, and never give up.
WM: What is your fondest running moment?
MA: I haven’t had my fondest full marathon moment yet, but my fondest moment thus far was when I crossed the finish line at my very first half marathon. I threw my arms up to my sides and felt like I was flying over the finish line. Immediately after that, my hands covered my mouth as I gasped for breath, not because I was so tired, but because I was so incredibly proud of myself and realized that all of my hard work paid off, that every time I had to
will myself out the door to run during the week was worth it. The only other time I have felt that way was right after I had given birth to each of my girls, while a totally different feeling of falling in love, it was the same as in that in the moment that when it was all over I was able to look at what I just did with a sense of awe.
MA: I have a very short past when you look at my running history, but my hope is that I have a very long running future. Working in college athletics full time, and being the mom to two little girls (4&2) creates a hectic life, but running has become a passion for me. It is my chance to do something for myself, and to focus on whatever it is that I choose to focus on when I am out for a run. This past year I have learned more about myself than maybe ever before. I am beginning to see a drive and a desire in myself to find new ways to incorporate this new passion into the other areas of my life.
Meet the Ambassador: Mandy is running her second season with Team In Training and about to sign up for her third. “As much as running is an individual sport, I’ve learned that it’s groups of people that rally around each other that really make it worth it.”