Meet Our October Athlete of the Month- Racine Guarini

IMG_5826Racine Guarini and was born and raised on a large dairy farm in rural South Dakota.  She was the baby of five children so you now understand why she had to learn how to run at a very young age (from her siblings that is)! Racine graduated from high school and moved to Fargo, ND for her undergraduate degree in Exercise Science (GO BISON)! This is the time that she truly fell in love with running. She ran her first 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon all within a single calendar year, one could say she was hooked! Now running avidly for about 10 years, she cannot imagine not having it in her life. From Fargo, she then moved to Connecticut where she obtained her Doctorate of Physical Therapy and met her loving husband, Anthony Guarini. Racine and Anthony moved to Pensacola a little over two years ago and they have since fallen in love with the community and their jobs, which led them to settling down and buying a house here in town. Both, Racine and her husband are physical therapists within the Sacred Heart Healthcare Community. Being a therapist and caring for others who are injured and/or ill reminds her on a daily basis the importance of how taking care of herself now will help prevent future injuries and/or medical complications; therefore, she has made it a priority to put her health first. Busy days at work and being on her feet all day often leaves her tired and exhausted by the end of the work day; therefore, she has learned to truly enjoy her mornings! Racine and her good friend Kelley wake up around 4:30 AM and meet each other shortly after to run before they head to work. Starting her day off with a good chit-chat with a friend, getting those endorphins flowing, and a fresh cup of coffee is an ideal morning in her eyes.

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Read all about Racine’s passion for running…

 

Why did you start running?

“I really began running when I was a senior in high school going into my freshman year of college, almost 10 years ago. I started running to find some peace and quiet in the day to just “think” without distractions. It was my time to not worry about studying or work and just simply be alone with myself. This quickly became one of my favorite parts of the day. Running Wild has opened up a totally new avenue for me, group runs! I can honestly say I would now much rather go on a run with a friend or a group rather than solo. It truly is amazing how we change as we age. My purpose for running is no longer to seek that alone time, but rather engage with others and build new friendships with those who share a similar interest.”

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What is your favorite thing about training with Running Wild?

“My favorite thing about Running Wild is the constant support they provide and their involvement within the community. Cherie and Paul have given back so much to the community by opening their doors (even at the wee hours of the morning) and helping people of all different ages and fitness levels reach their goals through sharing their vast running knowledge”

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What is your greatest (most favorite) athletic/running accomplishment to date and why?

“Running the Boston Marathon in 2015 is definitely on the top of my list of running accomplishments. However, I’d have to say one of my favorite memories/accomplishments would be crossing the finish line of my first marathon. I remember that day like it was yesterday! What I was wearing, the kind of shoes I was running in, and my braided hair. I learned so much about myself while training for this marathon and met some incredible people along the way, one of which was Jane Faber Wolff. Jane and I frequently ran into each other at the NDSU Wellness Center while training. Jane had run numerous races when we met and we instantly bonded as she shared some of her running wisdom with me. She knew I was preparing for my first marathon that Spring, the Fargo Marathon. Her kind soul had a sweet surprise for me as I turned one of the corners on the course to find out her house was along the course and seeing a huge sign saying, “Let’s Go Racine!”  Her innate kindness and how she made me feel so special on that day are two things I will cherish and never forget!”

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TOP 5 Products from Running Wild to help you achieve success?

“Only FIVE? Okay, in NO particular order…”
1) Obviously, the running shoes! It doesn’t matter what you are looking for or how picky you are, I promise you the staff is patient and educated and will most certainly make sure you leave in the proper shoe.
2) My nutrition products, both Nuun (fruit punch) and Clif Shot Bloks energy chews (tropical punch). I really didn’t realize how important my nutrition was while training for a marathon until last summer during the marathon training program, proper nutrition has been a game changer
3) Endurolytes yes, yes, yes! We live in Florida, that’s all.
4) The sports bras! My favorites are definitely Brooks and Handful. Super comfortable, easy to care for, and supportive!
5) The socks! Injinji and Feetures! I struggled a TON with blisters this summer. I quickly learned the importance of running in the correct socks to help prevent moisture build-up and friction. Changing from my normal everyday socks to these two changed my life and helped me get rid of my painful heel blisters.

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What is your next athletic goal and how do you plan to reach it?

“My husband and I got married last summer and didn’t have the opportunity to go on a honeymoon, so we decided to take a trip to central Florida this Fall and form it into a little honeymoon centered around a race and of course Disney World! I am currently preparing for the Great Floridian Triathlon where I will be completing two-thirds of a full Ironman (92.6 miles) and my husband will be completing the full Ironman distance. I plan to reach this goal by taking this training one day and staying positive, even on days when it is hard. I frequently remind myself that the mind will give up a thousand times before the body will!”

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This Speedy Cheetah is always using her tail to balance her busy schedule and we admire her for that! Remember, you can’t spell Racine without r-a-c-e!

“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” – Jesse Owens –

 

 

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Meet our July Athlete of the Month- Hunter Stewart

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Hunter Stewart is a recent graduate from Pensacola Christian Academy High School. He has been living in Pensacola with his loving family for all 18 years of his life and he has been running for 6 years. Between school and running, Hunter doesn’t have too much free time. When he does have down time, he enjoys reading and like most teenagers, watching Netflix and playing games. Last summer, he got serious about his running since it would be his final year to compete in high school sports. Hunter ran all summer and then would run 6@6 at RW in the mornings before school, shower, and make it into his first period class just before the bell. Now he’s squeezing in runs after church or running 6@6 before he goes into work at PCC Publishing helping make textbooks for the Academy.

Hunter runs because it makes him, feel better physically and emotionally. He loves pushing his body to its limits and seeing himself improve over time. Running also keeps me him shape so his diet can include many cookies and ice-cream :)

Read all about Hunter’s passion for running..

 

hunters5Why did you start running?

“My dad told me to try cross country in 7th grade and though I didn’t have much interest, I soon took a liking to the sport. I continued to run cross country and track throughout high school and those meets and practices have been some of the best memories regardless of winning.”

 

How has Running Wild helped you reach your goals?

Running Wild helped me become serious with my training this past year by helping me reach my goal of 500 miles before cross-country season. I wanted to medal at state which I did and I broke my school record with a PR of 16:01. I know I couldn’t have done it without all the help of harder training and longer runs at Running Wild.”

 

What was your favorite thing about training with Running Wild?

“At Running Wild, I was running much longer distances and with people who were much faster than me– things I was not used to but that were very beneficial. My favorite thing about training with Running Wild however would be the friendliness and genuine care of everyone there for my success as a runner and as a person. I came into the store just to log a run on a course that wasn’t my neighborhood, but I was immediately greeted by friendly faces and engaged in conversation. A year later, and these people are some of my closest friends. There’s also something special about running with someone and getting to know them more which is really nice and an experience you can’t get elsewhere.”

 

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What is your greatest (most favorite) athletic/running accomplishment to date and why?

My favorite running accomplishment was at the T.R. Miller XC Challenge this past cross-country season. It’s called Challenge and not invitational for a reason: this is the hilliest 5k course I have ever run! I pushed myself to beat my competitors and to set a new course record and (then) PR of 16:18 which I was very happy with on that course.

 

TOP 5 Products from Running Wild to help you achieve success?

1) Injinji Toe Socks: Multiple variegated pairs of Injinji toe socks!!!! These socks are very stylish and feel amazing. If you don’t have these, you need to go get some right now!
2) A good pair of trainers for the daily runs: I personally like the Brooks Ghost since they have so much padding and last a long time. I have well over 1,000 miles on mine
3) Garmin Watch: GPS watch- Garmin forerunner 620 to track your pace and mileage is very nice
4) Tasc RW Shirt: Running Wild shirt- Support the store and feel comfortable too
5) Short shorts: The distinguishable mark of every runner (bonus points if they’re a bright color) .

 

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What is your next athletic goal and how do you plan to reach it?

As I was training for cross country, the Long Runs at Running Wild definitely strengthened my endurance and gave me the extra boost I needed to succeed. I have realized I enjoy the longer distances now having run some unofficial half marathons on Saturdays with the group and am now training to run my first marathon before April and qualify for Boston next year.

 

Running Wild is thrilled to watch this young man grow into a strong athlete (cheetah)! Keep on pushing Hunter, we are right behind you every step of the way!

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Why You SHOULD Set New Year’s Resolution(s)…

res·o·lu·tion:

noun | a firm decision to do or not to do something.
Synonyms: intention, resolve, plan, intent… etc.

New Year’s Resolutions get a bad rap. Why? Do they seem like a lost cause? Considering only 8% of people’s “NYR’s” are deemed “successful”, it makes sense that the tradition is ho-hum.
So, why only 8%? Is it a lack of willpower? Are our goals unreasonable? Not inspiring or exciting enough? Or do our original goals change in time? Maybe it’s all of the above.

Why make NYR’s anyways? Who needs to think about silly little plans or changes in order to achieve, right? If it’s important enough, we’ll do it without needing a plan.
But what about going on a vacation, buying a new car or crossing the finish line of your first 5k like our Athlete of the Month, Suzy?
suzy_dad_coachrachel Those achievements typically don’t happen without a plan. The accomplishment of those goals provide joyful experiences, strengthened confidence and bring life to you AND your loved ones. Making plans brings life! Not to say that life doesn’t happen without a plan but some planning is required for experiences that can be life-changing.

We’re pretty familiar with the benefits of purposefully setting goals and implementing a plan to get you there. That whole “marathon thing” requires resolutions left and right. From the initial decision to run, to what your time goal is, when you will be able to get your daily runs in, equipping yourself with the right shoes and running gear to keep your body healthy, etc. You might be able to finish 26.2 miles without a training plan but race day will be ugly. A structured plan will ensure a MUCH better outcome. You will become stronger, mentally and physically every week, your race day will be more successful and GRATIFYING. Most importantly, you never know who you are inspiring by your works.
Don’t just take our word for it, read about these first time marathoner’s experience at the Pensacola Marathon and their thoughts on “the training plan”.

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So why not put in the little extra effort? Be purposeful in all you set out to do and don’t shy away from aiming high.

Start here:

We invite you to plan big (and starting small) in 2017.

  • Set two small goals that can be attained by the end of January (ex: “I will exercise for a minimum of two days a week” or “I will call/reconnect with one person every week that I haven’t talked to in awhile”) this will help keep the goal setting attainable and keep you encouraged. Reset for February with two goals to maintain through the month. Etc.
  • Then one mega goal for 2017 that you work on for the year (Maybe your first half-marathon? Start small with a 5k! We have training programs for that!!! ). Daisy Weckerly, Derek Olford and Barbara White can all attest to small goals leading to BIG change! Along the way, maybe the big goal changes and that’s OK! The main goal is to keep setting goals, as small as necessary, to stay motivated to truck along in becoming the best YOU that you can be.
  • The Key to Your Success: GET YOUR TEAM! Gather your trusted crew (or maybe just one accountability partner) and ask them to support you in your goals. Check in at least once a week and share your progress AND the obstacles you may have faced. Encourage others to join you in setting goals and be their support crew, too. It’s a big circle of love. Spread it!
  • Reminder: life is not black-and-white. It is a kaleidoscope of ever-changing craziness. I mean, where did 2016 even go?! SO if the original goal gets knocked off track or it becomes lack-luster, don’t fret! Simply readjust what that next small step needs to be. A “step (or five) backwards” (and we WILL have them) this doesn’t mean that the next step won’t be forward.
    Planning for setbacks is just as big a part of the puzzle as the ultimate achievement.  

    Here’s some of our staff’s 2017 resolutions:

    Cherie
    Small goals:
    1) To exercise joyfully 6 days a week for a minimum of 20 minutes…at least. Exercise can include but not limited to air squats, push-ups and planks. A yoga class, swim class, run or bike ride would be the icing on the cake!
    2) To reach out to an old friend to make a “new friend” OR a family member once a week. My brain also needs to be challenged to remember names. I’m really bad about that.
    My BIG goal for 2017: To get a few triathlons in and secretly to beat Mike Overton in just ONE of them so that I can have bragging rights in the back office…until the next race. (There’s been big time rivalry/love going on between these two for some time now…. we expect 2017 to get a little dicey).
    Mike
    Small goals:
    1) To take a continuing education course in fitness/nutrition. I have my masters in Business, a Bachelors in Exercise Science and am now craving knowledge to improve my personal training.
    2) To strength train 2-days a week. I run and/or ride almost every day but have started to feel fatigue in my muscles.
    My BIG goal for 2017: I’d like to do at least one 70.3 (Half-Ironman triathlon). This will require lots of small goals to prep for. (Watch out, Cherie!)
    Camila
    Small goals:
    1) Educating myself on proper nutrition. It is so important to properly fuel yourself, especially when exercising. I’d like to be informed on what my body needs, for example, more carbs before exercise and protein afterwards.
    2) To begin a meal prepping routine. First by getting a menu together for the week, then creating a grocery list. I’m thinking shopping on Saturdays and cooking on Sundays!
    My BIG goal for 2017: To be eating all nutritious, home-cooked meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner that I have prepped for myself. You get one body, gotta take care of it!

SO, get out a pen and paper and write out your 2017 Goals.
We’ll have your shoe, apparel, and fitness gadgets covered! As well as group runs and training programs, too!


Happy New Year’s, wild friends.

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The 2016 Boston Marathon- Told by Cheetahs…

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In-de-scrib-a-ble; adjective, A-K-A- The 120th Boston Marathon experience.

 

Similar to race recovery, writing this blog has required some time.So, here it is! Monumental memories, my running must-haves and pictures of my first Boston Marathon.

PLUS recaps from three of our Cheetahs who also crossed the finish line this year!

 
 
 
 
 

    • January 2016 | Cherie gives me my training schedule; “Run some this month, run more in February, run a lot in March and taper for two-weeks in April. #Boom”
    • April 15th | Paul gives me my entire pre and post-race plan. Google maps was all over the computer screens. “You won’t remember any of this, but I enjoy it. Makes me feel like I’m there…” That 30-minute prep is unforgettable.
    • April 17th | Riding the escalator to packet pick-up on Sunday, it hit me that this was something that many of these runners had worked for years to be able to do. I was overcome with joy for them.
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      April 18th | RACE DAY!

    • 6:30 am | Loaded onto the busses and sat next to another Alexandra who is also from Colorado…. Shut.Up. She was nothing but excited which helped with any nerves I had. A total Phat Girl. Side note: I looked her up after the race and she had a killer run! Yay!
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    • 7:30 am | Walk into Athletes Village and went to find Pensacola peeps. We all wanted to meet up but it never quite worked out… I did find Jack Bruni (a very familiar face from our Saturday morning long runs) and then went on the hunt for my friend Meghan Connor and her teammate Jackie.
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    • 10:00 am | First wave. I think of the Pensacola team; Eric, Brent and Daniel who have just started!
    • 10:45 am | A few rows back from the start line, chatting with those around me. Everyone is smiling. I have goosebumps and just realized what I was about to do. Feeling God’s overwhelming grace I began praying, well more accurately, praising.
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    • 10:50 am | The start gun fires and we’re off!

The Run:

  • Miles 1-4 | were country-esque (is that a word?), and full of energetic spectators. It is almost impossible to run a rational pace. Adrenaline is through the roof and you want to run much faster than you should be so early on. You run through about eight towns throughout the marathon which was so cool!
  • Mile 5 | a lady ran to the side of the road with a bathroom emergency. She did not have the fortune of a tree or coverage…. #RunnerProbz.
    ***All of our Pensacola/ Fairhope team is running now. WOO HOO!
  • Miles 6-8 | Framingham. I think of Meghan as this is her favorite section and I can see why. This place loves the Boston Marathon and the runners in it.
  • Miles 10-15 | I ran beside a girl named Lindsey who was running for the Boston Children’s Hospital. She didn’t tell me this but I heard people yelling it out every few minutes. They were reading her singlet. This was her 7th Boston Marathon and loved it more every time. I could sense her positive and loving energy.
  • Mile 13 | Wellesley College. A few minutes before I was able to see the wall of girls, I heard them. The faint roar became louder and then deafening once by them. I stopped twice to exchange kisses on the cheek with birthday girls because #1 it was their birthday! and #2, Cherie told me it’s a must-do.
  • Mile 16-21 | The Newton Hills. I intentionally did not study the course before the race. I told myself to expect to “embrace the suck” between 15 and 22 and that I did, humbly. The hills were no joke. Not just one or two but the entire 15 miles or rolling hills that you didn’t really notice beforehand. I had no clue where I was in all of the mountain climbing until I saw a sign that a spectator was nice enough to make that said, “Top of Heart Break Hill”. I felt like I had reached the summit of a Fourteener. The crowd support was outstanding.
  • Mile 22-24 | Boston University students are AMPED. They are looking you dead in the eye, pointing and yelling positive affirmations. Even with physical fatigue, motivation is far from running out.
  • Mile 25 | The Citgo Sign that Paul told me to look for. I’m almost there!
  • Mile 26 | Right on Hereford… I see my family cheering for me. Left on Boylston. ROARS of cheering and applause.
  • Mile 26.2 | Glory.
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    The 30+ high-fives that I had from ecstatic kids, seeing multiple handicapped athletes and the guides that were supporting them and the love that you could sense from each and every cheering spectator is what made this run so spectacular. I shared a lot of thoughts with God throughout my run, too. Thanks, praise and healing prayers for those in any kind of pain. Blissful thoughts. After the mile of refreshments and aluminum foil blankets I met my family in the Boston Commons. It was the perfect cap to the 26.2 miles of challenging splendor.

    13 runners from the Pensacola/Fairhope area ran that day. Hundreds of miles were ran on the same roads to make April 18th a reality. That thought is so moving. To be among that group is a privilege.

     

    Here’s what a few had to say…”

    Michele Williams, a real life cheetah

    Michele

    “I loved the high fives from the kids, the sign that said when your legs are tired run with your heart, the hit this signs for Mario Brothers power ups, the support from the locals-I had 3 orange slices, a piece of watermelon and a Popsicle along with a dry paper towel, a wet wipe, a bag of ice I later gave to another runner who stopped and was holding his knee…amazed to run with those in prosthetics, I was kissed by a Wellesley college girl, ran up heart break hill with a little person that smiled and gave the thumbs up…remarkable experience and seeing JR freezing cold waiting for me at the end -couldn’t of done it without him! He ran that morning with Meb a previous Boston Marathon Winner! I’m truly blessed and appreciative!”

    Brent Schneider, four-time Pensacola marathon winner

    Yes… he was on TV!
    “-The little boy with his hand stretched out for a high five.
    -The woman with a tray of sugar cubes.
    -The strength,power and will of the handicapped athletes
    -The elderly couple cheering from the same spot for many many years.
    – The hills that earned my respect.
    – The pain canceling roar of the finish line crowd.
    – The anticipation of seeing your loved ones at the finish line.
    – The honor to represent your home town alongside such amazing people
    Thank you Boston 2016!”

    Meghan Connor, Navy Marathon Team, marathon #17

    Meghan
    “The Boston Marathon is by far, my favorite marathon. Boston is the only city that can get people from eight towns and cities to line the streets for 26.2 miles. Everyone has a different reason, a different story of why they are there. For me, its the indescribable feeling I get when I turn the corner of Boylston street that has made me want to come back a 4th time this year. How the buildings surround the street and echo the crowds cheers. How the 26 mile marker catches your eye and you know that all the work that you have put into the course is about to pay off. Even though my legs are usually begging me to slow down after they have taken a beating from the Newton hills, I find a new energy on Boylston that keeps me going. Although this years marathon was warmer than usually, I still take pride and joy that I am still able to qualify, run and return to the Boston marathon each year.”

     

    TOP 6 Products from Running Wild to help you achieve marathon success:

    1.Trigger Point Therapy System rolling is non-negotiable. Before every run, do it.
    2.Skin Strong- 12+ miles, things begin to chafe, no bueno. Not with this stuff.
    3.Amphipod Stretch Belt This thing holds everything. Huma Gels, Endurolytes and has tabs for your bib!
    4.Injinji Toe Socks-Bye-bye blisters. Who wants their toes squished together? Gross.
    5.The One by Altra- My favorite shoe. Lightweight, and a forgiving toe box for my Flinstone feet
    6.Moving Comfort Bra-They make you feel like you don’t have boobs. Great support and so comfy!

    If you have aspirations to run this race; whether you have not yet trained to qualify or have attempted multiple times and have not quite made it, don’t stop. Make it happen. TRY AGAIN.
    Every mile of training, every minute and dollar of traveling, EVERY EFFORT it takes to cross that finish line, it is worth it.

 

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