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August 30, 2010

Terri Wojtalewicz - September's Runner of the Month!

Written by Dena Evans
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Terri Wojtalewicz

Terri is married to an Army Colonel who has been stationed at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas for the past three years.  While he is on the road many times, taking various units through pre-deployment exercises, Terri takes care of things at home, including their three children, 18 (beginning college this fall), 10, and 8.   Terri grew up as the daughter of an Air Force officer, so is no stranger to the itinerant lifestyle of military families, living in England, Germany, Virginia, California, Alabama, and Nebraska along the way.  With all that moving as a young person, she got used to meeting new people, but is glad that with new technology, these moves no longer necessarily mean losing touch.

Terri is training for her first Army Ten-Miler, which will be the longest race she has ever attempted.


Coach: How did you start running?

TW: Many of my friends have been running.  I had always wanted to run, but never pursued it because I thought it was too hard, couldn’t run that distance, couldn’t keep up, etc.  My New Year’s resolution was to get back in shape, but figured, I’m 42 years old and need to do something that I can do even when I was 60 or 70 (which left out kickboxing and things like that).

I began with stationary bike and walking, and once I started doing that, I decided in March to try running on a treadmill.  Everybody said, “Go get fitted for a good pair of shoes,” but I didn’t listen,  and got shin splints and had all sorts of problems.  Finally, I went and got new shoes and that was the end of all the pain.

I decided to sign up for Army Ten-Miler.  I figured could do it one mile at a time, water station to water station.  You know, just go as fast as you can, doing my personal best each time.  If I cross the finish line under my own power, then I accomplished my own goal.  A lot of army spouses are running it, and we’re all meeting up in DC to run the Ten-Miler.  They have all gone to different (stations) since then, so it is nice to be meeting up with them.  I’ve run two 5ks and my first 10k [August 28].  Ft. Leavenworth is very hilly, right by the Missouri river.  There were a lot of really big hills in there.  I ran a pace of 13:11, and it was really fun.  My children were there at the end, and ran the last 100m with me.  I was like there was no way I can do this, but I saw them and next thing I knew I was jogging across the finish line.



Coach: Who is your running role model?

TW:  A few close friends of mine who are regular women, Army spouses who also have decided to pick up running and have seen that it is possible to just go out and do it, have fun, and not take it too seriously.

Also, one of those days where is was going to be 103-105 degrees, I was making excuses about going out to run that morning, and then came a woman running up the street in a full leg prosthesis, and I was like, I have no right to make any excuses at all!


Coach: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

TW: the 10k I just did, the fact that I was absolutely terrified to run it, that I was doubling my distance.  I know because I did that that I can do the Ten-Miler. It was kind of the roadblock that has been shattered.


Coach: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

TW: The schedule, and the blogs - being able to go in and see what other people are doing. For instance, there was something about taking a day of rest. Just taking that rest day seriously…I was like it can’t just be that simple!  I like how the system has the flexibility to work around your schedule. I’m going to keep it up after the Ten-Miler!


Coach: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

TW:  I can’t think of anything other than saying a prayer about reaching the finish line.  Ok, well, I know I don’t wear cotton shirts.  I make sure that I am wearing my orange or my pink tech shirt.


Coach: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

TW:  Outside, around the golf course, in the shade of the trees.  I love running here on post.  There are all these trees, all this historical stuff. It keeps my mind off the running - looking around at all the beautiful scenery.  I don’t like going into the gym, it’s boring!


Coach: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

TW:  The biggest goal would be to increase my pace and just be able to run a 10k or a half marathon, run it the whole way without walking at any point during the race.  I’m not ashamed to stop and walk, though.  I sing that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer kids’ song about putting one foot in front of the other!  So my goal is just to complete it running.

Last modified on October 18, 2010
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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