In this week’s NOT SO AMATEUR post I am featuring someone who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for quite some time now. I am very excited to be writing about a high school friend of mine named Anna Williams.
Anna and I went to high school together, and are from the same ‘Good old town’ of Cobalt. If you aren’t sure where that is, you aren’t alone. (I’ll refrain from singing the Cobalt song to you…. ‘if you don’t live there it’s your fault…’) It’s a little mining town in Northern Ontario where we both had the pleasure of growing up.
Anna and I often had the same gym classes and were both involved in fitness throughout our high school careers. As we all know, high school can be hard to fit into sometimes and like most teenagers we had a lot of different things going on, making fitness sometimes not our main focus.
After a brief hiatus, Anna returned to fitness having been inspired by a good friend who also ran. When she started to run again, she realized that she actually enjoyed herself. Before she had thought of physical activity and running like a chore, something that helped keep her weight in check, but never something that she particularly enjoyed. This was no longer the case – fitness was fun!
Why Anna Inspires me: Over the past two years Anna has completed numerous fitness feats, including 5 and 10 km races, a half marathon, a triathlon and she even participated in Met Con Blue with her Northern Diva team! (They won loudest team at this race, and quite frankly that makes me beam with pride too!! Way to go ladies!!)
Anna never gives up and when she isn’t good at something she looks at it like a challenge, embraces it, and then does everything in her power to conquer it. One of her favourite quotes (that you’ll see below in 7 Questions with Anna Williams) tells it all – there are no bad workouts, because no matter what, they all count.
There is no fitness stone (so to speak) that will be left unturned by this lady, folks. I’m excited by how much she has accomplished in such a short time, and I am excited to hear about many more of her adventures to come. Hopefully I will have the privilege of being part of one of her crazy running teams one day. (They need loud people, right?! ;))
What we can learn from Anna: Anna may have originally looked at fitness like a means to an end, but now she looks at it like an adventure and enjoys every minute of it.
Sometimes when we least expect it, our minds can shift. We realize, like Anna did, that something that once seemed or felt like a chore, can be something that we really truly enjoy. We can use these types of fitness and activities to relieve stress, to feel better about ourselves, and to feel that great surge of adrenaline after a workout that is like no other.
Being fit is an awesome feeling – you walk taller, you surround yourself with great people who support you (Anna’s husband Paul can be credited for a lot of this amazing support along the way), you have fun and you enjoy life with a pep in your step! This is something that radiates from Anna, and this is something that we should all remember. A lot of fitness and success is based on attitude and a positive attitude will take you a long way!
What have been your favourite things about running so far? I’d have to say that my favourite things about running are that it makes me feel alive and that I am truly doing it for myself.
You have accomplished your goal of running a half marathon, now what is your next big goal that you’d love to accomplish fitness-wise? This past October I completed a half a marathon with a time of 2:47. I completed it under 3 hours, which I was aiming for. I was very happy!! My goal is to do another half and have my time below 2:30. I am always up for a challenge in respect to my fitness goals and right now I am in a strength training program to help improve my running for the spring.
Who would you say is your ‘fitness hero’ is and why? I don’t have a fitness hero per say, but I do have people in my life that have inspired me to continue running and be active. Of course my husband Paul is very supportive and encourages me every step of the way. I also have a great group of fun and supportive running buddies, that are always up for the crazy ideas that I come up with! In my opinion, we always have to keep challenging ourselves!
I also have to say that if it wasn’t for the Running Link and Get Active in Timiskaming, I am not sure if I would have continued running. Get Active in Timiskaming puts on local running events that help people not give up on running! There is something about getting ready for a race… and attempting to beat your time that is so breath-taking and that words really can’t describe. All the runners out there will understand what I mean.
If you could tell yourself one piece of advice when you first began running, what would it be? I have started and stopped so many times when it comes to running and other activities, because I was always doing it for the wrong reason. I now do it to live a healthy lifestyle and because I want to. Running makes me feel great and alive. The piece of advice that I always tell myself, is to not give up. “I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done”
Do you have a secret mantra or thing you focus on when you want to give up/quit? When I feel like giving up or quitting, I find another crazy event to train for so I can put my focus on that and it gets me PUMPED! I also feed off of others, so when I am part of a training group it makes me work twice as hard.
What is your favourite piece of running gear and why? My favourite pieces of running gear are the tons of running shoes that I own for all the different runs I do, and my music…I have got to have my music!!
Favourite Fitness quote: “Even a Bad Run Is better than no run at all!” Also – “If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” – John Bingham.