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Running Athlete of the Month

This month, September 2015, the first Athlete of the Month will be…ME! Your author, Rebecca Austerer-Blanton. I thought it might be nice to know something about the person handing out all of this information. So here it goes. Enjoy!

Running since 1987 has given me a lot of time to reflect on my life, my goals, and even my running. I don’t know about you but my mind wanders when I run; imagine bumper cars or a pinball game – it wanders like that. No path, only chaos and randomness – I tell people running is my form of active meditation because sitting still is painful for me. Trying to center my mind, as it turns out, is painful too! But I still try.

Anyhow, I ran for Liberty High School from 1990-1994 under the careful coaching of Bill Ruth. Confession – people thought he was a monster and made us run 90 miles a week but that’s not true. He was known for burning runners out, but since we had such a streak of winning I’m not sure how anyone ever came to that conclusion. Anyway, we ran about 35-40 most weeks. He was a kind and nurturing and supportive coach. (He retired, hence the past tense.) He has a good sense of humor. He has kind eyes.

Now, I live in Portland, ME. I am a physical therapist who graduated (PROUDLY) from Drexel University with a doctorate in 2005. I have a 10 year old daughter, a 1 year old son and a 9 year old step – daughter. My daughter runs too, which is cool. Running with her is how I got restarted after my son was born. I will tell you how I ramped up after having a child in another post. Anyway, my husband, Morgan, is super supportive of this return to running and runs with me frequently. My goal is to break 22 minutes for a 5k by next summer, and to also do another triathlon, my first in 15 years, next summer for my 40th birthday. I can’t believe I’m a master’s runner. My favorite runs are on trails and on the beaches, so I will feature a lot of those going forward. Portland is great for trail running and beach running.

My most memorable races are too many to name. There was the Jim Thorpe 10 Miler where I came in second and won an awesome lamp – an invitational in Wilkes’ – Barre where I came in second, Districts my junior year where I finished 9th, and the Wineglass Marathon I ran in 2004 with my buddy Marty Alfano. Those are some off the top of my head. I’ve run a 19 minute 5k, a sub four hour marathon and I’ve done a bunch of triathlons pretty successfully.

As we all know, and probably hate to admit, running can get boring. We end up running the same loops, running in the same shoes, running at the same time of day, and eventually are running on empty. My goal with this blog and through my physical therapy practice (Active Health Performance Therapy) is to encourage runners to branch out. I want to get you to love running through beaches, trails, odd races, fund raising, swimming, rock climbing, boot camps, traveling and so on. Here we will explore new running work-outs and cross training options. I want runners to continue running, but to be well rounded and healthy, and most importantly stay active.

I have had an unfair running advantage – I grew up near the original head quarters of Runner’s World Magazine and had the luck and privilege to meet and know Bart Yasso personally, and his best bud Dave Kresge. Through them I met some of running’s most inspirational characters, and I’m hoping some of those people will reconnect with me now so I can share their inspirational running stories, and other stories, with you.

So stay tuned. I hope this helps, especially in February. If you live in Florida, good for you, enjoy the beach. For those of us in New England, winter running can be akin to a root canal. Hopefully this blog will be a good numbing agent.