Runner Moms Podcast | Episode 004

Andrea Dell on becoming your own health advocate and achieving big dreams.

Runner and Coach Andrea Dell has battled health struggles for the majority of her life. From severe asthma that started at a young age to widespread endometriosis, her health struggles left the cards stacked against Andrea leading an active life, let alone becoming a marathon runner. In fact, she was told repeatedly starting at a young age that running a mere mile would be too difficult and not worth the risks. Yet, time after time, Andrea pushed those voices aside and became her own health advocate. Her persistence finally led to Andrea getting her asthma under control and becoming an endurance runner. She joins the Runner Moms podcast to share her story and encourage other moms to stand up for their health needs as well as the health needs of their children. If you need a motivational kick in the pants to re-commit to your running goals, this is it!

Episode Highlights:

  • Runner and Coach Andrea Dell has battled health struggles for the majority of her life. From severe asthma that started at a young age to widespread endometriosis, her health struggles left the cards stacked against Andrea leading an active life, let alone becoming a marathon runner.
  • She was told repeatedly starting at a young age that running a mere mile would be too difficult and not worth the risks. In her 20s, Andrea finally became fed up with her asthma limiting what she could do in life, so she decided to take charge and become her own health advocate. Her persistence led her to a team of specialists who helped her get her asthma under control. 
  • Andrea then began pursuing a dream of becoming a runner, starting with a three mile race. Her running goals quickly progressed to Andrea running a half marathon and then a full marathon. 
  • Andrea also shares the story of her history with disordered eating, which started when she was just nine years old. 
  • After living in continual pain for several years, Andrea’s commitment to being her own health advocate finally led her to a specialist who was able to accurately diagnose her endometriosis and help her begin the healing process. 
  • While becoming an endurance runner has brought struggle after struggle for Andrea, she said that she remains committed to her goals because she worked immensely hard to get to this point and running isn’t something she’s willing to give up. 
  • She shares her story of struggling with health issues and becoming her own health advocate to resolve them. She also encourages other moms to stand up for their health needs as well as the health needs of their children. 
  • Andrea is now a running coach, helping other runners push through limiting mental beliefs to achieve big goals. She discusses her approach to coaching and what it means to her to help others push through challenges. 
  • If you need a motivational kick in the pants to re-commit to your running goals, this is it! 

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Episode Transcript

Introduction:

Welcome to the Runner Moms Podcast where we help women embrace their inner strength, take time for themselves and lead healthier lives. So, settle in and soak up some inspiration. Then rise, lace up those running shoes and embrace your inner strength because, momma, you run this world. 

Shayla:

Welcome, welcome Runner Moms! Shayla Ebsen here, I’m the founder of the Runner Moms community and I’m so happy that you’re tuning in to today’s show. Before I introduce our guest, I just want to mention how much I appreciate your support of the Runner Moms podcast. If you have a moment, please leave a review of the show through your podcast player. It will help other mom runners connect with our content. 

In addition to the inspiring stories and actionable tips that we share through the podcast, we also have a ton of great, free content over at Runner Moms dot com. If you haven’t yet, be sure to head over there and check it out. 

Now, on to today’s show. Joining me today is Andrea Dell. She’s a marathon runner and a coach with an incredibly inspirational story that I’m so excited to share with you. Her coaching motto is that any body can run and, as you’ll hear in a bit, she’s overcome immense struggles to become a runner and is a true example of that motto. 

If you need an inspirational kick in the pants to commit to your running goals, this is it. So, let’s get to Andrea’s story. 

Andrea, welcome to the Runner Moms podcast!

Andrea:

Hi! How are you?

Shayla:

Doing great! How are you?

Andrea:

Very good!

Shayla:

I’m so excited to have you on the show today. As I said before, yeah, you have just such a great inspirational story that I know is going to resonate with a lot of listeners. So, to start, can you just share a bit about you and your family? Kind of where you live, how many kids you have, all those important details to help us get acquainted with you?

Andrea:

Sure! My name is Andrea Dell. I am from Huntersville, North Carolina. I live here with my daughter who just turned nine, Evie, and my husband Bobby. We have five critters. So I kind of live in a circus! We’ve got two cats and three dogs. One of the dogs I actually adopted when I ran the Kauai marathon. I decided that she needed a home and that she needed to come back to North Carolina with me. So, I ran a marathon and then I adopted a dog and brought her home! 

Shayla:

Oh, that’s amazing for a long flight home from Hawaii! That’s amazing!

Andrea:

Her name is Mavis and she looks like a bat!

Shayla:

You’ll have to share a photo so that we can include it with the episode!

Andrea:

Certainly will! Her before and after is very impressive! My husband literally is like, no more! Like, get off Instagram and stop looking at things on the internet!

So, yeah! I run a lot in the community here. The cool thing about the North Charlotte area of North Carolina is that there’s a lot of little cities. We have so much opportunity and so many places that you can run. A lot of the neighborhoods where I live, it’s called Huntersville, we connect to each other. So, we can run from one neighborhood to the other. So, in COVID, we could run a lot in the middle of streets and be really active still and not feel like we were completely locked down because we could be safe and we could get out. I think that was like a life saver for me. 

Shayla:

Oh, that’s amazing. Yeah absolutely. So, kind of getting into your story a bit. Can you tell us when your journey as a runner began?

Andrea:

Sure! When I was growing up, I have asthma that was severe enough that doctors wouldn’t let me run the presidential mile that we would have to do for that test in school. They would always tell me that it wasn’t worth it to go run because I’d have to go home and I’d have to have my inhaler or I’d have an asthma attack and it would be just a bad deal. 

So, I started running in my late 20s because my husband and a lot of our friends are very talented runners and they’re fast and they were just so inspirational to watch. So, I just watched them, and they were so encouraging to me and they gave me a strategy that I’ll probably refer to a lot during this podcast. We started using interval strategies for me, being able to catch my breath and my lack of endurance, just from not being an endurance athlete my entire life. It was really nice to have like, you’re going to run for a minute and then you’re going to walk for a minute. They all taught me that it was OK. That doesn’t make you less of an athlete. You’re starting and anybody can do anything for a minute. 

So, I started doing that. For my first five-mile race, I think I ran for two minutes and then walked for a minute. After that five-mile race, I sat at the finish line and waited for all of these friends and my husband Bobby to finish and I saw people of all walks of life cross that finish line. It was so inspiring to me and it just shook me to my core. One man, I asked him and he’s like, “I’m 72 years old!” I was like, oh my goodness! I was just blown away, I just had no idea that you didn’t have to be a certain way to go and run 13.1 miles. You didn’t have to look a certain way. We don’t all look like Shalane Flanagan. You know, we’re of all ages and all races and all people and it just, it blew my mind. 

After that race, I’m like, I’m hooked. So, I’ve been running with that interval strategy ever since. 

Shayla:

Oh, that’s amazing! So, let’s go back to when you were a kid with severe asthma. It sounds like you may have grown up with people in your life telling you to not push yourself and that it was even dangerous to do so. How do you think those voices shaped your mental scripts? Because, we all have mental scripts about what we are and aren’t capable of and it really kind of guides what we do in life. So, is there any insight there?

Andrea:

Oh, completely. And I still hear that sometimes in my head and I hear it in other athletes that I’m working with too. That, I can’t or what if strategy, it’s just, it’s always in your brain at the very back of your head. I was a competitive water skier, so I really started having to run from one end of the beach to the other and I would have an asthma attack just running down the beach which would be 100 yards, you know, like a football field. It was so frustrating that I went to my doctor and I’m like, “We have to do something. I am 16 years old and I can not run the length of a football field.” They just kind of put their hands up and they’re like, “Well, this is what you’re dealing with. This is kind of how it will be.” And, I just went with it. 

Luckily, when I came to North Carolina and I just wanted to get healthier, and I wanted to be able to be outside. Here in North Carolina, we have allergens 24/7. So, allergies and asthma together could just level me for a month at a time. And, I’m like, I can’t live like this anymore. I’m 24 years old and I can’t walk around my block. I can’t go up my steps. And, so, it was really with the help of the doctors that I found here in asthma and allergy specialists that they helped me really turn everything around. They helped me build strategies with my medications and with allergy shots and things like that. That helped me move forward. They had the faith in me that I could do it. So, they slowly started changing those voices in my head. And I didn’t have to worry about being hauled off a course when I was running because I knew how to manage it so much better.

Shayla:

Well, that’s amazing that you did find specialists who were willing to work with you and encourage you and help you reshape those mental scripts. 

So, let’s go back to kind of the start of your running journey. How did you progress over time to become a marathon runner? I mean, it’s just incredible. So, can you kind of give us an overview of that journey?

Andrea:

Yes! Ok, so I started running a five-mile run and that was in the middle of October. After I left that night, I was fortunate enough to go to a party with two endurance athletes that were there with us. And we were all just chatting, my husband Bobby and I and these two athletes. And they were talking about the races they had run and the bike races they had done, and my husband said, “Yeah, we went to a half marathon this morning.” They looked at me and they said, “You ran a half marathon, that’s fantastic!” And I said, “Oh, no no, I only ran the five-mile race.” And they just looked at me and they’re like, “Well, you could run a half marathon.”

Of course, in the back of my head, I’m like, there’s no chance I could run a half marathon! Like, you guys are nuts! And, by the end of the night, we were talking about it, and I’m like, I really want to run a half marathon! Like, all of these people sitting around me were telling me that I could do this. I just kind of bit the bullet and I went onto the Run Disney website because we’re total Disney addicts and I found that they had a half marathon coming up in January. 

So, that gave me about three months to train. Then, they didn’t have any openings because they always sell out their half marathon races. Well, they sell out all of their races. So, I went forward and I signed up with a charity, Autism Speaks, because I have a cousin and he is non-verbal and he’s autistic and he’s so special to me. I was like, “I’m going to run for a charity and I’m going to run for Andrew.” So, I signed up for this charity and I raised the money and I trained in those three months. I just went for it. I had to train myself, which was a little odd. I pulled plan online and, luckily, I didn’t encounter any injuries, or anything along the way that would pull me away from that plan. But, I was lucky and so I made it through, pig-headedness and determination I think. 

That’s how I made it to my first half marathon and after I made it to my first half in Disney in January, I proceeded to run a distance race over 10 miles every month until I couldn’t find one over the summer. Here in North Carolina, they’re hard to find. I just continued that way. It was kind of the same thing when I signed up for the marathon. I just decided one day that I wanted to run 26 miles and, so, I created a plan for myself and I just kind of went for it. It wasn’t easy. I actually hired a personal trainer who is now a very good friend and a partner in some of the races that we work on here in Huntersville. He trained me because I knew I wasn’t strong enough to run 26 miles. So, I knew I needed run-specific training to get me through those 26 miles and that was a big game changer for me too. 

Shayla:

So, did you have any setbacks along the journey?

Andrea:

I had, between my first half and my first marathon, I was trucking along pretty well and I didn’t struggle. I found that the hardest part was being sore all of the time. I didn’t have the network yet or the knowledge, even though I was constantly listening to podcasts or reading or watching things online with videos from other coaches online, I was trying to get and absorb all of this information about what do you need to do to make it through marathon training in a healthy way. So, I found that I didn’t have the recovery techniques that I really needed. Once I got those, I struggled a lot less. 

I’m made for distance. I just love being out there. The long low heartrate runs are like, my jam. I just tune out and go. My friend Laura always says like there’s something weird that happens to Andrea after 16 miles. She just hits another gear and she just keeps going. So, once I found the marathon it was like, this is my deal. 

Shayla:

Well, it’s amazing that you’ve gotten there. What advice do you have for others who may have been previously told by a professional that they can’t run, kind of similar to you, or can’t pursue another personal goal, but still have that spark in their heart?

Andrea:

I’ve found, especially if it’s in regards to a medical issue, if you don’t hear the answer you want in regards to moving forward with a goal that you have, whether it’s figuring out to manage asthma like I had, I needed to find a specialist that was willing to try and that was hard. It wasn’t necessarily easy. Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, we didn’t have specialists. We didn’t have the resources available that my allergy and asthma specialists here had. So, I just kept looking for someone that was willing to try and willing to help because I just knew it was something that I really wanted to do. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I think that’s something that has really changed my outlook on so many things. When you have to really work for it, you don’t forget that. You never forget how hard it was to run that first 10 miler or even to run that first three miles. You keep that in your head. So, you just have to find someone that’s willing to help you. That might take a long time but it’s always worth it. 

Shayla:

So, also, as moms, since we’re speaking to a community of moms here, as moms we obviously want the best for our children, but we also tend to worry a lot about them. So, for any moms listening who have children with health problems kind of similar to what you experienced as a kid, do you have any advice for them to, of course, face the reality of those health problems, but to also not contribute to building limiting mental scripts for their kids?

Andrea:

It’s hard because there are so many different diagnoses with asthma, but, I truly believe when you can find a specialist that can walk hand in hand with you and that’s willing to try, we can teach our kids that they can do anything. I think that there’s so much out there and there are so many different strategies that we should hope that we can find something that works for them. 

Shayla:

So, let’s pivot a bit and talk a bit about the other personal battles that you’ve fought. In our prep for the interview, you talked about a battle with a binge eating disorder. Would you mind talking about that for a little bit? Maybe, kind of starting with how long you’ve struggled with it?

Andrea:

Yes – I started struggling with food when I was nine years old and I remember the specific day because I was on a water ski team and we water skied competitively. We were the type of water ski team that would climb human pyramids. We would have to be picked up and thrown around for these acts. I remember somebody saying that I wasn’t light enough to be on one of the pyramids. I was just too heavy. So, as a nine-year-old, that hit me in a certain way and it kind of changed me. That idea of lightness and weight kind of stayed with me throughout the rest of my water-skiing career and then going into high school with cheerleading and stunting. I was 5’8” so I’m not a small person but I was 120 pounds and I just was never light enough to always be in the acts or do the things that I wanted to do with the routines that we were doing. 

So, that led to me really restricting calories. I grew up in a time where crash diets, I think they’re still around, but I think growing up in the 80s and 90s, crash diets were like, the thing. You would see that cycle of, oh, I’m going to try this, and I’m gonna do this for three weeks and I’m gonna lose 20 pounds, or whatever it would be. So, I kept seeing that, and I’d restrict for an extended period of time and then some switch flips and then I find myself, I was really good at eating in secret. I wouldn’t eat around people. Even going on dates, I would eat before I’d go on a date so I wouldn’t have to eat in front of people. I always felt like the amount of food that I consumed was too much. 

So, it just, it was a problem until my late 20s until I found a counselor that actually listened. She talked to me about what was actually happening with me. I’d gotten to a point right after our wedding that I had gained about 40 pounds. That was just because I’d quit restricting at all and I was just eating, just binge eating continually. At 5’8”, I was walking around at a weight that was unhealthy for me. So, I slowly started to lose weight by walking and eating on a regular schedule and working with a counselor and knowing that it was OK to eat six times a day. I’d just eat smaller amounts. 

We just found a lot of different strategies that worked for me personally and I’ve been able to maintain a healthy weight now for about 8 years now because my daughter is 9. So, right after I had her, I also went into a bit of a, I got really light, because I was using breastfeeding as a crutch. I knew that it burned a lot of calories so then I would restrict my calories a lot and so I was slowly losing more and more weight. Actually, the day of her one-year-old pictures, I was about 30 pounds lighter than I am right now. I just thought that was like so great. Then I realized, now when you look back on all of these things, it’s, hindsight it 20/20. But, it has really affected my life for quite a long time and it’s really nice to sit here and very awkwardly talk about it. 

It’s just a situation that I think is so much more common and I just wish that I could speak on it more eloquently because I wish that I could explain it better to people. It’s just out there and it’s so common that we look at ourselves 30 pounds lighter and I still thought I needed to lose more weight because then I would be at race weight or at an ideal weight. That’s one really cool thing that endurance running has taught me is that I can run just as well at one weight as I can 15 pounds heavier because I have more muscle mass and I can recover better and I’m not breaking down all of the time. Running has taught me amazing things. 

Shayla:

Through these interviews that I’ve been completing for the Runner Moms podcast, disordered eating is definitely emerging as a theme among many of the interviewees. I’ve personally dealt with it, struggled with it, and I know a lot of women do. Just kind of looking at the next generation coming up, for you personally, is there anything that you’re doing as far as teaching your daughter to have a healthier relationship with food and with body image than maybe our generation had growing up?

Andrea:

Certainly. And, I think with me personally, and being able to have a 9-year-old daughter, we can do things together. We can ride bikes together. We can run together. We are active together. Which, my family was active at home too. I mean, I was in multiple sports and we did things together. We were out and about, but, we talk about food. And we talk about organic food and we talk about why we eat certain things that we eat. I think that it’s really important that we don’t talk about, I don’t talk about being fat or talk about being overweight or when I put on my clothes, do I feel confident in my clothes. We talk about positivity. We may not love every part of our body but it’s accepting that these are our bodies and our bodies can do amazing things. 

Shayla:

As far as our household dialogue, my daughter will be 7 soon and I can see and hear that she’s already being influenced by others as far as body image. So, we’re already starting to work on it at home. It broke my heart the first time I heard her talk negatively about her body. I mean, it just crushed me. So, we work a lot on talking about, you know, you look strong, you’re strong, just using that word over and over. Yeah, not talking about skinny, not talking about all of those things. Right or wrong, I don’t know, but, one other thing that we’re trying to do, I grew up in a household where you were, in a culture if you will, where you’re told to finish all of the food on your plate. I’m trying to let my kids recognize when they’re full. Whether that will help with body image, I don’t know, but just kind of recognizing their own body’s cues. 

Andrea:

That’s a great strategy. Knowing our hunger cues is one of the things my counselor always told me about. When are you full? When do you feel full? You don’t need to go out to a restaurant and eat everything on your plate because you paid for it. You know, you can take it home. It was silly things like that, that, like you said, you need to clear your plate. Well, if you’re full, then you don’t need to clear your plate. We will set it aside and, in a couple of hours, we eat dinner really early, so, if you’re hungry and you need a snack later, the rest of your dinner can be there. But, if you’re full right now, we recognize that. That’s something we do all of the time. 

Shayla:

Well, thank you for sharing your history there. I do appreciate it. I’ve mentioned this in other episodes. I just think the more we talk about these things, the more we can help the next generation coming up to avoid some of these struggles. That’s kind of my hope. 

Turning back to your story, are there any current struggles with running that you’re facing?

Andrea:

I am. I am dealing with some aftereffects of endometriosis. I was diagnosed with that in January and I had a partial hysterectomy at 37 years old because I had endometriosis basically throughout my abdomen. I was unaware of it until about October of 2019 and so that inflammation throughout my body made me do really strange things while I was running because I had problems in my hips. One of my ovaries was actually attached to my pelvic wall. So, I had just a ton of inflammation in my right hip joint. So, I had a lot of scar tissue also. They’ve had to rebuild my belly button three times. 

So, I have a lot of inflammation and a lot of scar tissue that, the form problems that I had from running, dealing with that previously, now is causing a lot of problems with some of those scar tissue areas. I love to kind of swing my arms back and forth and rotate my abdomen. So, I kind of, I can’t really explain it, but I love to twist my abdomen when I run and that really pulls at my abs and makes my belly button really angry. So, I’m dealing with that. I don’t swing my arms traditionally. I like move my upper body instead. So, that’s something I’ve been doing for a long time but now it has become problematic for me. 

What else am I dealing with? I don’t know. Right now I’m just dealing with the weather!

Shayla:

And COVID!

Andrea:

I’m dealing with the weather! I’m dealing with the humidity and the heat down here. We had a week down here last week that was under 70 in the morning and it felt like, it was glorious. Now, this week, it’s 70s to 90s again and I’m like, OK. Ready for fall!

Shayla:

So, obviously, you’ve overcome a lot as just a human being and also to become a runner. It seems that, just as you got over the hill with one struggle, another has come along. What keeps you motivated to keep pursuing your goals? 

Andrea:

I literally am so frustrated with trying to get better with one thing and then moving on to the next. I would think that I was like, I’ve managed asthma, OK, I’m good now. I can do what I need to do. Then, all of the sudden, something else would pop up. And I just feel like, hopefully, I can use all of these things that I’ve learned to help other people because, otherwise, I’ve just gone through it for no reason. 

But it is so frustrating. Like, I would get healthy from one thing and then I would kind of go downhill again and I would have to deal with another issue. Finding a diagnosis for endometriosis was very difficult. The symptoms started three years ago when I had an umbilical hernia repair but they just thought that was scar tissue and, you know, whatever it could be. Then, it just continued to snowball and get worse. So, I had to fight again, just like with asthma to find doctors that would listen and that would look at my symptoms. I was in the ER, crying in the ER, and the doctor was like, I wish I could help you. Like, I don’t know how to help you. The painkillers, it was just all stuff that I wasn’t willing to do. I wasn’t willing to take a prescription pain med. I needed other answers. That was not going to sustain me for the rest of my life. So, it just got to the point where I got to like, I need to figure this out. 

Shayla:

So, what were some of the, I guess, cues, that showed you that something was wrong? For those who are out there that may have endometriosis that’s undiagnosed. They may know that something’s wrong, but they haven’t been able to figure it out. What kind of clued you in that things weren’t as they should be?

Andrea:

So, my endometriosis was not traditional. I did not have any issues with infertility. I had irregular periods and periods that were incredibly intense but most of the symptoms that come with endometriosis, I did not have. I had problems with digestion because I had endometriosis on my bowels and on my large intestine. I had endometriosis on my ribs and my diaphragm and my liver, which is also not as common. So, to find a diagnosis for it, myself, honestly, just racking the internet for hours on end. I kept googling ‘right upper quadrant pain’ and finally one that came up was endometriosis but it was very very rare. 

Usually it takes someone 6 to 7 years to get diagnosed with endometriosis. I had chronic ovarian cysts, which is something that people with endometriosis tend to experience, but mine was different. So, I actually went to my sports doctor and I was like, Dr. Bennett, I have this really bad pain on, just right under my ribs, it felt like the worst side stitch you’ve ever had. When you can’t stretch your arm across and stretch that out when you’re running. I said, “I think I’ve pulled something.” He said, “No, that’s your liver. I want you to go to your GP and get an ultrasound because that’s right on your liver, your gallbladder.”

So, he knew it was on my liver right away, which I thought was pretty incredible. But, it took a full year to get to a specialist that could actually tell me, like, she could put her hands on me, and say, “Everything you’re saying is endometriosis.” But, when I went to a doctor in May and I had a laparoscopy, exploratory surgery, because I basically demanded that someone open me up and figure out what is going on inside my body. I was scared it was something worse and it wasn’t going to get diagnosed. And, she had written that everything was normal except for the cysts on my ovaries. 

When we went in in January, 7 months later, and the doctor, the specialist at CMC, Carolina’s Medical Center, it’s an atrium hospital here in Charlotte, North Carolina, when she went in and she told me that there was endometriosis everywhere, I couldn’t believe it. It kind of shocked me to a point where I was in disbelief because it didn’t make any sense how one doctor in May could see nothing except for the one spot on my diaphragm and connecting my liver and then this other doctor, a specialist, could go in and excise this endometriosis basically from every surface of my abdomen. I was just so mindblown by that. 

So, that was again, an example of me fighting to get a diagnosis and fighting to get somebody to treat me. And I feel like this is the continual battle of my life. Just finding answers. And I think that battle is probably why I continue to run. You know, you gotta fight to be an endurance athlete. It doesn’t come easy to most people. I know some people can just go out and run for hours and it’s easy for them. For me, it has always been a fight and it was one fight that I wasn’t willing to give up, even with endometriosis. 

Shayla:

How would you say that your personal experiences as a runner, kind of what you just described, have shaped your approach as a coach?

Andrea:

I think that’s the best part of being a coach. Is that I’ve had a lot of personal struggles that I’ve had to manage, and I remember that. You know, they come back to me so quickly when I see somebody working really hard and I know that you have an 8 miler on the books, but you can only get out three miles. I know what that feels like. I know it’s disappointing to yourself but I also know that I can help that person so they don’t just say, “You know what? I just can’t anymore. I’m not hitting my goals. I’m not hitting my mileage. I’m gonna give up.” 

I think as a coach, the greatest thing that I can do is cheer for people and hopefully guide people and inspire them to know they are capable of things beyond their wildest dreams as an athlete. So, I think that’s one thing that really has helped me. Again, I wish I could speak more eloquently to how I want to help people and why I wanted to become a coach because, I know how hard it was for me and I just feel like coaches make it easier for people if you find the right coach. There are a million of us out there and it’s just finding one that clicks with you and one that really can listen to your situation and has the means to motivate you. Some coaches out there are going to be more drill sergeant like and then there’s going to be more, you know, I really like to speak to the emotional side of the runner. I really like to speak to the connected side of the runner. I tend to be a little more emotional with my people and I want to dig into their brain and into what they’re thinking when they’re running and how they’re feeling. I think that’s one of my strengths. 

Shayla:

And, really, that’s kind of the biggest hurdle that people face in many ways. You know, anyone, in theory, should be able to work with a coach and follow a subscribed training program to achieve their goals but we know that reality doesn’t often play out that easily. It’s usually the limiting mental beliefs that get in our way. So, yeah, I would definitely say that you have a strong approach there in my opinion. 

Andrea:

Yeah, my hero is Jeff Galloway. He brought running to the masses by bringing run walk run to the forefront of American running. He enabled generations and runners of all abilities to be able to go out and do distance training and I just think that, if we can inspire all different types of athletes, then I’m doing the best job that I can. 

Shayla:

Looking to the future, where do you want to take your journey as a runner?

Andrea:

I think, my goal as a runner is to experience different places through races. I was able to go to Hawaii to the Kauai marathon two years ago in September 2018 and seeing that island on foot was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The beauty that you can see while running somewhere just is mind blowing and there’s something so cool when you connect such a difficult physical race to seeing the scenery and just bringing it all in. The videos and the pictures I took don’t even do it justice. So, I think, my goal as a runner is to experience more of that in more places and more difficult races because Hawaii was incredibly hard. 

I also as a runner want to pace more races. That’s my goal because I think you get to see a grit and determination of athletes during a race that you don’t get to normally see just out on the road running. I think when you get to pace races and you get to cheer people on and you get to really push them and watch that grit really come out, it’s like one of the coolest moments ever. 

Shayla:

Yeah, I love that. Is there any, I guess, one takeaway from today that you’d like the Runner Moms who are listening to hear?

Andrea:

The one thing I always say as a mom is that we have to make sure that our training plans and our goals get to be priority in our lives. I think the hardest part about being a mom is that we’re constantly multi-tasking between careers and parenting and the house and all of my circus of pets. My training plan is usually the first one that gets thrown away. I will avoid my run because I have too much to do. I think that creating consistency for us is like the number one thing that you can do for yourself. Not only for your sanity and for your social time because running is obviously my social hour but just being consistent, that’s how we’re gonna be able to accomplish our goals so much faster. If we stop putting our workouts aside and we really take that time to focus on ourselves. 

Shayla:

Absolutely. Yeah, my run is always the first one to go when things are piling up around the house. And it’s no pressure from anyone else. It’s pressure I put on myself. Like, oh well, I’ll just put mine aside. It’s something that I need to stop doing and I totally agree. 

Andrea:

Consistency is my hardest thing. I can write a plan and I can have it all laid out and I can write it on my planner. It is really, it’s making that commitment, putting on my shoes and just being like, you know what, it can wait, I’ll be back. 

Shayla:

Yep! Well, thank you for sharing your background, your struggles, everything. If anyone wants to connect with you, Andrea, where should they go?

Andrea:

My website is AndreaDellCoaching.com and I am on Instagram @marathoning_mom. 

Shayla: 

Thank you again for sharing your story, Andrea. As I said at the beginning of the episode, it’s just the kick in the pants that I needed to recommit to my running goals and I know that it will be for others who are listening. 

I hope you are as inspired by Andrea’s story as I am. As moms, we often don’t give ourselves credit for our immense strength and for how much we can handle and accomplish. So, get out there and crush those running goals. 

That’s all for today’s show. If you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe to the Runner Moms podcast to get first word when new episodes are released. Until next time, happy running and happy momming.  

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