Monday, November 24, 2014

Motivational Mondays: Dani of Weight Of My Shoulders

I'm really LOVING this Motivational Mondays series (and hope you are too). This is week 5 and we have yet another AMAZING lady on tap (don't worry fellas, I've got a gentleman coming up next week). In case you aren't caught up - I'd suggest you get on it! [Week 1: RunEMZ, Week 2: Kat of Katrina Elle, Week 3: Krissy of Shiawase Life, and Week 4: Christina, The Athletatrian]

I don't know if you remember, but while I was in Lake Powell this summer I had Dani do a guest post for me - Running For Fun vs. Running For Time (Can it be BOTH?!). I have been stalking following Dani for quite some time now - first finding her through runDisney of course! If you don't read her blog, follow her on Instagram, tweet (no, I did not say twerk) with her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, then YOU, MY FRIEND, are definitely missing out! She is one inspiring woman... She has shed over 80 pounds (with the help of Weight Watchers, healthy eating habits, and an active lifestyle) and has gone from a self proclaimed couch potato to marathoner and beyond. She is proof that you can do anything you set your mind to, and I am stoked to be along with her for the journey (even if it is virtually). But I'm getting ahead of myself, I want HER to tell the story!

When did the running bug first bite you? What is your running story?

The running bug avoided me at all costs for most of my life! I tried to play sports that had limited running - catcher in softball, volleyball, swimming, etc. In January 2005, I finally gave running a shot because the people I saw running looked in shape and I wanted to lose weight. Well with my dad by my side I trained, raced and completed my first marathon in September 2006. I then stopped running for four years. I was done, injured and over running. That is until I was told I couldn't run again. I had back surgery for a herniated disc in January 2011 right around the same time my wife picked up running. Please enter my competitive side. Once I was cleared to do activity (June 2011) I was back to running and have kept running since then to the tune of 22 half marathons and 5 full marathons since 2011.

How do you balance it all (especially since most of us have other 9-5 jobs, families, friends, commitments, etc)? 

Early morning ... late at night ... outside ... treadmill ... it doesn't matter as long as it gets done. Planning is the key to success when it comes to training. I will try to do weekend workouts early in the morning so I can try to be done before my wife wakes up. This isn't always the case, but I try my hardest. Now training for a Spring marathon makes things easier as there aren't as many vacations, trips, parties, etc happening in the cold winter months in Boston. ;0) 

I'm also lucky to have family and friends that will work out with me. They will join me on a run or in a Spin class - it benefits both of us AND we get a workout in. Additionally my dad and wife will bike with me while I do a long run. It is great accountability for both of us and a good chance to catch-up.

What does your training/ routine look like?

Training for me is constantly changing. I like to give all types of races a chance - road races, trail running, obstacle course runs, triathlons, etc - so I am always trying to find new ways to cross train. I normally try to run 3-4 times a week, bike or Spin 1-2, swim 1-2 and rest. As you can see I am lacking in the weight lifting department and keep promising myself I will work on that... and I intend to at some point. :P 

If you could impart one piece of advice/ wisdom for someone starting their running journey, what would it be?

Take the pressure off the pace and focus on the fun! Running and races are supposed to be fun, but sometimes when we are caught up in the pace we lose the experience. There have been a few times where I lost an entire race to looking at my Garmin. I missed the spectators, the cheers, the high-fives and the awesome vibe that all races have!

What is one of your recent accomplishments you are most proud of?

Like today? This week? This hour? :P If we are going most recent then it would be completing my first Half Ironman on September 7! It was 9 days before my 32nd birthday and an item on my bucket list. I was wicked nervous before the race and even thought about skipping it, but I am so proud of myself for pushing through the fear and trusting my training!

What are some of your favorites (i.e. foods, workouts, fuels, gear, etc)? Anything you can't live without (other than running and oxygen of course ;))? 

Ohhh my three must-have are: Sparkly Soul headbands, Sparkle Athletic skirts and my knee socks! :) Fuel/food would be ENERGYBits, KIND bars, mini LUNA bars and low-fat Chocolate Milk. Oh and beer. Duh! ;)

If you could do it all over again, is there anything you would change?

I would've started running earlier. I am jealous of young runners I see today and think of all the BLING I am missing out on. Haha. :)

And don't forget your Social Media links - how can we follow you?

Uber inspiring, right?! And just a word of warning... NEVER tell Dani she can't do something ;) She will make you eat your words and have the BLING and tons of selfies to prove you wrong!

What do you think? Are you as excited about these Monday posts as I am? Did I leave out any questions you would have asked? 

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