I’m excited to meet and cheer my heart out for Oiselle teammate Andrea Duke in Boston. Like you, I follow the fast, leggy Texan on social media. What I know of her from the little screen is that her #flystyle game is on point, she’s a racing machine with an OTQ in the marathon, a mama of two and a WWE fan. But who is Andrea, realllly? She made time for an email interview despite her busy schedule (training, two jobs AND two kids).
Hi Andrea! You’re headed to Boston this weekend, is this your A marathon for spring? I mean you race quite a bit, is this the big goal?
Yes, this is my Spring "A" race ... but my total focus is the Trials in February 2016. I skipped the chance to run LA a few weeks ago so I could run Boston, as this has been and always will be a special unicorn race to me.
This is your second Boston...when was your first?
My first Boston qualifying race was in 2008 four months after having my son, so I ran my first Boston in 2009. My chubby little 9 month old was at the finish, with my dad, and it was incredible. I ran with my husband, who was there on a charity slot, and we ran to have fun ... so I high-fived all the kids and frat boys, relished every spectator. I think we finished a little over 4 hours.
What are you looking forward to most about this time around?
By far, it will be the experience of being an elite runner. I've watched the Boston Marathon for years as a fan, cheering on the men and women at the front ... and now I am a part of that. It's still very surreal to me, as this journey is so new for me, and I plan to soak up the entire elite experience.
Fellow teammate Jen Bigham walked me through your career and I was blown away. Remind me, what was your first marathon and finishing time?
After 9/11, I decided to take running back up after some time off, and trained with my dad for the Inaugural Washington DC Marathon in 2002. MY longest training run was 10 miles .... so YES, the wall and I became best friends around mile 15. But we finished in 4:32. I told my dad I never wanted to run another marathon again ... ha!
So you didn’t immediately know you wanted to qualify for the Olympic Trials?
Oh no way!! When I won RnRNOLA, I had a good friend say to me, "So you are going to go for the standard, right?" And my answer was, "What standard?" I didn't even know about the standards ... and then when a local reporter asked me the same question, I answered, "Yes ... No ... Maybe???" It took me a while, and many conversations with my husband, to say "YES I WILL TRY." Luckily, my family, friends and coach supported my decision.
When did you start setting goals, how did you start chipping away at them?
I took a HUGE risk at Chicago, given that I was hoping/planning to run 2:50, as my previous marathon time before was 2:57. For me, I need little races and goals along the way as testers and confidence builders in order to go for the big one. So, it's with training and confidence that I start to chip away.
I saw on Facebook that this is your first time decorating elite bottles. We gotta know, what are you using?
HA! Knowing me, my kids will get the job of decorating. So it will be lots of pipe cleaners and "Frozen"/Avengers stickers.
Also what’s in the bottles?
NUUN! Maybe some caffeine for the last drop to get my body moving.
I thought the last one would be champagne!
AWWWW YEA! Don't give me any ideas ... but I'm saving that for after!
Who coaches you?
The incredibly awesome Ben Bruce. We met at RnRNOLA and then again at RnRSD, and then I took the jump and emailed him to be my coach ... so glad he said yes. Been with him since July 2014, and he has taken me out of my comfort zone more times than I would like, but it's paid off big time.
It looks like you fly solo most of the time, is that true?
Yes ... I've always been a loner in training. To me, racing is an individual sport and we may be out there racing alone, with our thoughts, and so I would always replicate that in training. Plus, with two jobs and two kids, I like that alone time ... it's my therapy. But lately, I've tagged along with some local runners to help with workouts and pacing, and it's been very fun, very helpful. I owe a lot of my recent progress, both mentally and physically, to them and their encouragement.
Does it ever get boring? How do you entertain yourself?
Yes, it gets boring, but that's what racing can sometimes be like. But the "ME TIME" is always needed. For entertainment, I use music ... or I try to solve life's problems ...
So you’re not against running plugged in?
NOPE ... and sometimes you may even see me dance-running!
How many days do you lift?
I lift twice a week with my strength coach. He used to live in town and we would work together - now, he sends me the workouts and I lift alone. His philosophy of functional strength training has really taken me to the next level.
Okay and speaking of getting the pump, I gotta know why the love for WWE?
One of my past students in my Sport Media class did a presentation on WWE for his final paper, and I was completely enthralled ... the drama, the physicality, the stereotypes, the business ... it was my entertainment/sport education wrapped into one entity. I started to watch because of him and GOT HOOKED! My fandom levels are off the charts, and I am totally comfortable with that! Keep an eye out for my John Cena wristband in Boston, which I wear for my son ...
Who’s your favorite wrestler?
Oh, that's a tough one ... I go through phases based on the story lines, but now, I'm loving Brock Lesner and have been channeling his BEAST mentality for this cycle in training. I even have his entrance music for my ringtone! His motto "Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat" is my motto for Boston.
Let’s go to the LIGHTNING ROUND!
Burpees or yoga? Burpees
Workout or easy long run? Workout
Salty or sweet? Yes
Twitter or Instagram? Instagram ... love me some timer pics ;)
Pre-race meal? Salad and Ice Cream
Pump up jam? "Lose Yourself" by Eminem
Mantra for when it gets tough? "Let It Go"
Who would you wish was cheering for your at mile 20? My kids
What should they say? FASTER MOMMY FASTER!!
Goal pace per mile? A: 5:55, B: 6:05, C: Finish
Goal finish? A: PR, B: OQT, C: Controlled race
Are you taking a day off after this? Ben is forcing me to take time off ... I'm not good at that ...
What will you be wearing on race day? The beautiful kit top and black stride shorts
And a bonus, we gotta know who gave you the nickname Dr. Dre? One of my students ... Mix my PhD with always using music to teach ... Dr. Dre was born.