by. Tracy Demerath
Dubuque, IA

A runner for over 20 years, Tracy finds herself running 5ks when she can't make her way to the track for an 800 or mile. She is currently training for the Bellin 10k in June and has a goal to run sub-39 minutes. Her pre-race routine includes oatmeal and a solid round of dynamic stretching.

I married my best friend, Running, at the age of 11, wanted a divorce at 16 and fell in love all over again at 22. Now that I am 31, our relationship couldn't be stronger. At age 11, I had no clue I would get more of a thrill out of a long run than a day spent shopping. What I did know was I found something I was good at, that made me feel whole; it gave me a solace during those awkward middle school years. My relationship with running grew fast and I knew I wanted to run fast, break records and go to state. I was running great until, at 16, Running and I had a major fight. I wanted to end our relationship. Lucky for me, my coach had the foresight to spice up our relationship; she placed me in the 100 meter dash. I thought she was crazy, but it turned out to be the best thing she could have done. It renewed my passion and brought back the excitement of running. 


Just like my high school coach knew to change things up, I have learned to do the same. If I were to keep running the same routes and workouts, my passion would quickly fizzle. When things start getting dull, I sprinkle in a little romance.


There are a number of ways I keep the love alive. Planning and sharing a new long run route is probably one of my favorite things. Sometimes, I leave the watch at home. This allows me to run "free;" I don't have to worry about pace or distance. I just take in the scenery. Of course, racing is always a great way to keep the love strong. Last year, I reignited my passion for the oval by running unattached at a college invite. But, my favorite way to spice up my relationship with Running is getting on the track with my athletes for a workout.  See, I have the amazing pleasure of being a track coach. Being surrounded by teenagers who are developing their passion, in turn builds mine. There is nothing spicier than pushing though a tough workout with my top athletes.

I also spice things up by doing things off the track. I have found yoga keeps me strong, flexible and injury free. And, despite the fact I don't do it as often as I should, a good lifting session always makes me feel stronger during my next run.


I love changing it up and am so happy to have learned from my coaches just how to do so. As my high school coach once said, "For the love of running, let's spice it up!" 

Atsuko Tamara