Colleen is going to be bringing up the rear of the 200-mile race, as she is Runner #12. It's kind of funny... when I asked Colleen to join our team, I knew absolutely nothing about her, except that I absolutely loved the photo she sent in for Motivational Monday:
That picture made me laugh out loud every time I looked at it. How can anyone NOT want to be a runner when looking at the joy on Colleen's face in that photo?! When I was going through emails to find potential team members, I sent John a text that pretty much said, "Based on her photo alone, I think we should ask her! She looks like she'd be tons of fun in a Ragnar!" And now, having gotten to know her online as we get ready for the race, I can see that I was correct. Colleen is very funny and witty, and my only regret is that she's not in Van #1 with me! ;)
Here, Colleen shares a little about herself and how she got started running...
Hello! My name is Colleen, and I am a lawyer in Denver, CO (originally from Omaha, NE). You may remember me from a Motivational Monday in May of 2013. I ran the Colfax Half Marathon in honor of my boss, who is living with brain cancer. He ran the full while in between chemo treatments. While he has been diagnosed with stage 4 since the race, he recently had an MRI that showed no new growth, which is great news!
I was a chubby kid, and started working out in the summer between 8th and 9th grade after I made Freshman Cheerleading. I was deathly afraid of being a "fat cheerleader," so I worked out a lot and lost a good amount of weight. Since then, I've maintained a 3-4 day a week gym schedule at minimum. Currently, I'm on a 6-7 days a week schedule. I find physical activity allows me to eat "normally" despite a metabolism that doesn't support a love of food. More importantly, physical activity keeps me off anti-depressants and off the therapist's couch. (That being said, I'm a strong advocate for both. Be happy. This is your life, you get one shot).
In September of 2005, I ran my first 5k. Despite my dedication to the elliptical and group fitness classes, running was hard. The feeling I got from crossing that finish line turned a light on in my brain. I kept running. I had also started my first year of law school, and despite my best efforts and hard work, I was doing average at best. Running was this amazing outlet that gave me the opportunity to see progress quickly and remember that even if I bombed a corporate tax final, I can still run more than I've ever been able to run. All I had to do was show up and put in the miles. In October of 2006, I ran the Chicago Marathon. Crossing that finish line is still the proudest moment of my life.
In May of 2008, I moved to Denver, and tried to continue running, but struggled with the altitude. I could never get control of my breath and really hated every second of every mile. I would run here and there, but it always felt like punishment. I discovered Turbo Kick, and became obsessed; I found body pump classes as well, so my fitness primarily included high-intensity cardio and strength training. Plus, I live in Colorado--so lots of hiking and skiing.
I got back into running into September of 2012. I had moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) and found I was just eating a lot and drinking more than was necessary. I started using the Lose It! App just to keep track. I'm obsessed with sweets and thought I was eating healthy more often then not, but the tracking showed differently. Lots of "oh I never have cookies!" cookies.
I also started getting bored with the elliptical, and broached the dreadmill. I hate running on treadmills, but found intervals made it manageable. I worked it and got better, and then took it to the streets. That same progress high that got me going in 2005 came back in 2012. When my office challenged us to run any length we desired for the 2013 Colfax Marathon, I signed up for the half-marathon and never looked back.
Non-running "things about me" include: I love a good intellectual conversation and will discuss feminism and public consumption of women's bodies until I'm blue in the face, but I'm also obsessed with celebrity gossip and will discuss the Kardashians or any other A,B,C,D,E list celebrity you can think of. I'm watching the Bachelor right now. I am married to a lawyer, which I never wanted; in the "preferred spouse career" category, lawyer would have been dead last. We met in a bar during the last Big 12 Championship Game Nebraska was in. I didn't know he was a lawyer when he asked me about the tater tots I was eating, but it works, and it works well. I like trendy restaurants with farm to table/organic/locally sourced menus, but I also like to make fun of the concept. I like to go out for fancy cocktails that feature gin. I'm a city mouse. I like to walk more than drive and Denver makes that an occasional challenge. I'm a dancer. Whether it's alone in my living room or at da club, I really enjoy to shake my shit. I really like to travel. We went to Peru for our honeymoon, and hiked the Inca Trail. After that we spent a few days on the beach. Every morning, I would get up and run to a pier and back, and spend the rest of the day doing nothing. It was the best.
I love running. Holy Shit, I love it. And I have bad runs. I have runs that involve me being very familiar with the clerk who works Sunday mornings at a 7-11 on my route. She is so nice to me even though I know she knows I just destroyed her bathroom. I have runs where I walk more than I should, where my body aches, where my knees make their presence known. I have runs where I come out of the gate too fast and hate myself at the end of the race because I could've done better. I have days where I dread pushing the quick start button on the treadmill, but it drives me. There is no greater joy than crossing that finish line, and so I continue to cross it, and come April, I'm crossing it with a whole bunch of strangers from the internet!