Hi, I’m Andrea. I am a wife, a mother, a crossfitter, a runner, self-diagnosed introvert, and now a blogger. Every good blog needs an origin story, and before I share why I have decided to broadcast my story on a public platform (which feels weird an introvert like me), I figured I would share a little bit of my history. Like a lot successful women, I would categorize myself as a type-A over-achiever, with a propensity towards anxious over-thinking. We all have our flaws, right? Early in my college career, I realized that exercising on a regular basis really helped curb some of that nervous energy, and made me feel better on a day to day basis. So I joined a gym, and spent about an hour 5-6 days a week roaming around the machines. I didn’t have any real clue what I was doing, but it made me feel good.
A few years into my “fitness” career, I decided to run a half-marathon after my mother conned me into running a 10k. That’s another story for another time. To prepare, I printed out a generic training plan I found online, and trained for 3 months, mostly on a treadmill. I didn’t have a GPS watch, and I had no clue how to track mileage on the road, so I spent an obscene number of hours on the treadmill at the gym. In November, 2009, I ran my first half-marathon race in San Antonio. It took me over 2.5 hours, my old mom beat me, and I was a sweaty, blistery, sun-burnt mess. Despite the blisters and DAYS of hobbling around that followed, I was completely hooked. I also knew that I NEEDED to run a race and beat my mom. So, I kept running, talked her into registering for me for every race that she registered for herself, and a couple of months later, I was avenged. She has never beat me on a single course since that first half-marathon, so my ego remains mostly unscathed.
A couple of years later, I decided to dive into the deep end of insanity, and I registered for my first full marathon in Austin. Again, I found an internet training plan, diligently ran every prescribed run, and similar to my first foray into the world of half-marathons, I fully crashed and burned. I made all the mistakes and I felt horrible for hours. But again, despite all of it, I was so proud of myself for finishing, because I truly wanted to sit on a curb and call someone to pick me up after about 15 miles. I knew I had more in me, but I also knew I needed to get stronger. So, I did what any broke, college student would do. I bought a Groupon for a week of CrossFit. The workouts were harder than anything I had ever tried, and I just loved learning that despite the fact that I was running 5 days a week, I was one of the weakest people at the box (I speak fluent sarcasm; my ego took a major bruising). My competitive nature got the best of me, and once the free week was up, I signed on the dotted line and began my CrossFit journey.
When I met my husband in 2011, I was deeply immersed in both worlds, endurance running and CrossFitting. Both activities made me feel great and more confident than I ever had in my life, and I really liked being around others who prioritized strength and health. I peer pressured my now husband into running a half-marathon with me that same year. This time he was a hot, sweaty, blistery mess. Two years later, we welcomed our son into the mix and for a while, I really struggled with “finding” time to prioritize myself, as most new moms do. My anxiety returned, and life with a new born was so much harder than I ‘d ever imagined. As soon as I was medically cleared, I went right back to running, but now pushing my kiddo in my most-used baby shower gift, my BOB jogging stroller.
I have no clue how many miles the two of us logged in that thing, but we certainly got our money’s worth. I loved pushing my tiny human around our neighborhood and Townlake trail. While my mileage decreased for a few years, I can undoubtedly say that some of my happiest memories of early motherhood involve that jogging stroller. My husband and I played the tetris game of new parenthood, figuring out when and where we could fit in runs and workouts, and eventually I returned to CrossFitting and running half-marathons for fun. It took some time to get our routines in a good place, but when my son was 3 years old, I returned to the world of full-marathon distances.
My journey has had many ups and downs, a couple of injuries, disappointing race times, and many a lost toe nail. But my journey has also included running in the snow (something we don’t get a lot of in south Texas), running while pregnant and then with my son, races with my husband, and more training runs with friends than I could ever count. Running and CrossFitting have kept me healthy physically, but more importantly mentally. I have enjoyed the process of training and running races so much that last year I went extra-crazy and ran my first 50k. At this point, I have run 6 full marathons, 1 ultra-marathon, 1 Spartan race, and more half-marathons than I remember. I have run races in a few different states, all over Texas, on the road and trail, and through every season. Most of the time, I have been CrossFitting all along the way.
So many people ask what motivates me to keep running. It’s great seeing my times slowly getting better, the dream of Boston qualifying still tugs at me, and the excuse to travel doesn’t suck. But mostly, I genuinely love just exploring the edges of what’s possible. What’s the furthest I can run? The fastest? What’s the heaviest amount of weight I can get off the ground? Will I ever learn how to do a freaking muscle up? Both of these sports have shown me that my body can learn to do way more than I could ever fathom, and have given me a community that even an introvert like me needs (preferably in small groups). Most importantly, doing both of these continues to force me to acknowledge that despite all of the roles I play (wife, mother, boss), I also need to prioritize taking care of myself if I want to be able to keep showing up to take care of all the other things that are important in life.
And now, I want to share that message with women everywhere. I want to show women that taking time out of your day to do something just for you isn’t something that is a luxury or even negotiable, it is something that is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. And I want to encourage more people to look squarely at something that terrifies them, and then to put their head down and lean into it. Sharing my story feels wildly uncomfortable, which is a good indication that I need to do it. Because life on the other side of doubt, it feels freaking amazing.