13 2 PHM FinishIntroduction: My name is Tina and I live in Florida. I live super close to Disney, which is fantastic because Jim and I go all the time. I work for a company called Helena Chemical and provide product support for all of our products throughout the U.S. Because I do get to travel with work, one of my goals (in addition to running 1,000 miles) is to run at least a 5k in every state (not actual races, just training runs). I enjoy simple things like running, photography, music, helping people, going to Disney with my hubby, catching up with friends and seeing new places.

When did you first start running? What was your motivation?
I started running about 7 years ago (2006), mainly to lose weight. I was overweight, but I also started running because my hubby’s cholesterol was high and he wanted to reduce his cholesterol without taking medication. So we ran. I really owe my husband, Jim, for getting me into running. He had run quite a bit before we were married. He was the one that ran with me when I didn’t want to.

When I very first started running I hated it. The very first time I went out to run, I could barely run 1/4 mile. It was hard, my lungs hurt, my legs felt like lead, I got dizzy and it was HOT!  A quarter mile turned into 1 mile and I eventually got up to 4 miles! Jim and I would go to Downtown Disney for our ‘long runs’ which consisted of a 4 mile loop. There were days when I just didn’t want to do it. I’d run for a few months, then stop for a couple weeks. I really didn’t like it. I never had any desire to run farther than 4 miles, let alone run a race! I did end up doing my very first 5k in 2008 in Hawaii. I didn’t set any records, but that didn’t matter. It was Hawaii!

The farthest I had ever run from 2006 through 2012 was 4 miles. Fast forward to 2012. I had stopped running at the end of December 2011 (those holidays will get you!) and by April, I did start back up again because I just felt horrible and my jeans wouldn’t fit anymore. I started to feel like I wanted to do more, run farther, see how far I could go. I actually started to like running!!

Memorial Day weekend we were at the beach and for some reason I told Jim I wanted to run 10 miles. He said “Wow, do you know how buff you’d be if you ran 10 miles?” That was it. I was going to do it! I started looking for a 10 mile race and saw the Tower of Terror 10 Miler at Disney. Unfortunately, it was already sold out, so I needed to find another race. I ended up signing up for the Princess Half Marathon at Disney which was in February, so I had plenty of time to train. I know it wasn’t 10 miles, but I figured if I was doing 10, what’s another 3.1?

I can remember the very first time I ran 6 miles. By the end I thought to myself “Holy crap that was hard. How am I ever gonna make it 13.1 if I can barely finish 6?” I kept at it. I ran through the heat of the summer, into fall, and had a training runs up north in the cold. I had to do a 10 miler in 25 degree weather. I was true to my training plan (I used Galloway) and in February I completed the Princess Half!13 5 WV TR

Needless to say, I caught running fever. I heard about needing to send in proof of time to Disney so I wouldn’t get placed in the last corral, so I ended up doing a 15k and a 10k to get a time to submit. I was signed up for my second half (Iron Girl in Clearwater) before I had even run my first half marathon. Yup, I had it bad!

Running is a joy to me now. I absolutely love it. There are times when I get into slumps, but I can say that I have run nearly every week (had a week or 2 off in there due to injury) for the past year, since May of 2012. I never thought I would, but I even signed up for my very first marathon. I am doing the Walt Disney World marathon 2014 and I am totally freaked out!!

Who inspires you to run?  Jim inspires me. He’s much faster than me, but when he gets home after running 3 miles in 24 minutes, that inspires me to try to go faster, to be a better runner. He has always been encouraging and understanding, especially in the beginning. He got me into running but it has come full circle for him. He stopped running for a time, but recently got back into it becuase he saw my accomplishments with the half marathons I have run. He’s now signed up to run his first half at Space Coast in December and he’s also running the Walt Disney World full marathon with me in January. It’s great that we can be an inspration to each other. I would like to dedicate this year of running to him, for making our lives better through running and being fit and healthy.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I have been given: It’s OK to walk. The best advice I’ve given to someone else: It’s OK to walk.  Knowing I could stop to take walk breaks helped me get through the summer training months in Florida. I always thought I had to run the whole way. I am working up to that point, but knowing I can walk makes a world of difference and helps to keep me motivated.

What obstacles or challenges have you faced with running and keeping an active lifestyle?
While trying to be active and run, I’ve gotten injured. Being injured is a really tough thing for a runner because once you find that you love running, it is hard to live without it, even when you need to heal.

I’ve come to understand that there’s more to running than running. You’ve got to look at the whole picture. I have never in my life paid so much attention to food labels and what foods I eat. I’m so concerned with eating foods that will maximize my ability to run. I also think it is important to cross train, which I have not been doing enough of lately. A strong core is important for running. You’ll have fewer injuries if your overall body is strong.

I have never run this much in my life. I do not know if I’m just not used to it, but it does take a toll and there are days when I am just plain tired. Most of the time I will run through it, but occasionally I will take a day off. I get tired physically and mentally.

Running takes a toll, mentally. I fight with myself internally (sometimes externally, but I promise I am not crazy) all the time when I run. It has been a struggle to get the phrase “I can’t” out of my own head. Sometimes I just want to stop when I am out there, but I’ve run 13.1 miles so I know it’s just my mind telling me to stop. You are your own worst enemy out there and it’s really hard not to listen sometimes.

What does this year of running and going to the moon mean to you? This is a year of firsts. My first half marathon, the first time I have run 1,000 miles in a year, signing up for my first marathon! It’s all very exciting.  I want to go to the moon because I want to stay active. I want to keep loving the run. I want to encourage and inspire people to run.

Meeting my goal will mean that I have accomplished something I have never done and never imagined I would or could ever do. I’ve never run more than 350 miles in a year. I am already over that, but I need to reach 1,000. I can’t wait for that feeling of accomplishment! I will be a little sad that the journey has come to an end… unless Angie and Ashley decide to run to Mars.spotlights

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