Each month, find out what motivates the ORA Orthopedics’ team to practice and treat patients in the Quad Cities in our What Moves Me feature.
In honor of the Quad City Marathon meet the ORA’s girl power marathon relay team. Brittany Burgus, Melinda “Mindy” Bradley, Emily Moorhead, Cathy Kuehn, and Melissa Boston have dreams of crossing the finish line together – several of them, doing so in their first marathon event.
Running the QC Marathon Relay Together is What Moves Us
What made you decide to run as a relay team for the QC Marathon?
Mindy: Several of us wanted to participate but were unsure of what distances we would be able to do, so we decided to tackle the challenge as a team. It also holds each of us accountable, because we all have to hold up to training and doing our part in order for the team to complete the race.
Are you all new to running or race veterans?
Mindy: Most of us have some background with athletics, but not specifically with long distance running. I have been a runner since high school and I truly love to help inspire others to run and achieve successes and gain the benefits of running.
What do you like best about running as a sport?
Mindy: I loved running from the moment I began running track in high school. You don’t have to be fast, to be a runner. You don’t even have to be “a runner” to do a race. It’s about getting out there, being active, accomplishing goals (big or small) and being part of the community. Some people are out there just to finish and some are out there to win, but everyone is out there together. Recently, after having my second child I had to ease back into running and racing. Three of us here at ORA decided to do a 5K together. I was confident in my abilities in this distance and was very excited. In the last mile of the race, all of a sudden didn’t feel so good and ended up throwing up during the race! AAAhhhh! So the goal for the next race was to simply not throw up (which I was able to accomplish)! It is all about the individual victories. It is a sport that everyone can be a part of no matter what your abilities and I love that. The other really great thing about running is the positive environment that surrounds it. Along the sidelines of most races, there are people cheering and encouraging. It is not like other sporting events where spectators are yelling insults or heckling. It is a place that you will be encouraged, no matter what your speed or place.
And as a team?
Melissa: Running as a team allows you to focus on the bigger picture. It is the accomplishment of the entire team, rather than being individualized. Having a “team” leader (ours is Mindy) is also beneficial to running in a team. She helps develop running plans and ensures we are on track to meet our goals.
How long and far have has the team been training for the event?
Mindy: We have decided on each leg, based on each of our strengths or abilities. Some of us wanted a bigger challenge and therefore, took longer legs in the relay. Others want a bit more achievable goal and are doing the shorter legs. We have all been working together, running or playing softball together since the spring. Once the cold of winter cleared, we started a group that runs together at lunchtime. We continue to encourage each other and stay connected to achieve goals together. It really does pay off to be surrounded by others who can encourage and support you!
Does running together inspire and motivate you?
Melissa: YES! Having team members who help keep you on track and motivated is so important to meeting your goals! Running is so much more than just putting on some running shoes and running. It also involves a balanced diet, sufficient sleep and a good running form (and some good music). Having team members who are knowledgeable in these areas decrease negative attitudes and help you accomplish things you didn’t think you were capable of doing. I am less likely to stop or quit during a run when I am running with a team member than I would be when I am running alone.
Emily: Yes! I do run on my own for a good workout but don’t usually push myself for a certain distance or time. When a team is involved, it is that extra push that I need. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to start their leg of the run is just the drive that I need. I wasn’t even considering doing this race until I had the opportunity to be part of the relay. I jumped at the chance to be part of it, and it was just what I needed to get me running again.
Do you think more women should run?
Mindy: I think everyone should! I do understand that running is not for everyone, and there are a lot of health reasons that prevent people from being able run a lot, but those of us who are able, should take advantage of all the health benefits. After all, it is cheaper than a gym membership and you can run whenever and wherever you choose!
Have you noticed any changes since you started running?
Emily: Yes, it definitely has helped keep that number on the scale in check but it also helps my overall well-being. I feel more awake and alert throughout the day and have more energy. I have also become less dependent on my afternoon caffeine fix and can usually go without it completely. By running or exercising regularly, it makes it easier for me to make better decisions about what I eat and drink.
Are you going to raise your distance goal next year?
Brittany: My distance goal for next year is to complete the QC Half Marathon without walking. To run a half marathon has always been a goal of mine. I have never run over 5 miles consecutively in my life! Running the relay this year with my fellow co-workers, I will have added support to finish the 6.5 mile leg, and I plan to have a few of them running beside me next year for the half marathon.
What advice would you give to people thinking about running for the first time?
Brittany: The advice I would give first-time runners is to start small and work your way to longer distances. For me, I am a huge competitor and I had to learn that you are only competing against yourself. Once I overcame that mindset, then I was able to increase the mileage. Don’t ever get discouraged if you don’t increase your distance each run. You have to build endurance and once you overcome that hurdle, it’s all down hill from there!
Cathy: Start out with intervals that alternate running and walking. Don’t try to just go out and run long distances — start small and work your way up. You body will not like you if you try and do too much in the beginning and then you will get discouraged and not want to run at all. The Couch to 5k is one of several apps for new runners. It helps you start out slow and ease into actually running.
How has running changed your lives?
Emily: I probably sound like a broken record but running just helps my overall well being. I have more energy, my morale is better, and I am starting to really enjoy it. When I first started running, it was more of a chore. I wasn’t used to it and I was exhausted afterwards…pretty sure they just call that being out of shape! I just kept at it and slowly over time it started to get easier. I definitely have taken breaks from it but I always keep coming back.
Cathy: I love running and I always have. Growing up, my family would go to different races around the area and it’s just something that I continue to enjoy doing with my own family. I have changed over from a sprinter/hurdler in my school years, to a distance runner, so it’s definitely a different style of running for me. I now have time to myself to just get out and enjoy the outdoors on a nice long run. I enjoy the different people that I run with.
It’s a great way to go out and meet new people or just value the old friends I have who still want to get out and run together. Everyone in the running community is so positive and encouraging. Running has helped me set a lot of goals and it’s always a good feeling to be able to actually achieve them!
Good luck to the ORA Relay Team at the QC Marathon!