Monday, September 25, 2006


I think I have mentioned this before. I'm a runner. I have been running for over twenty years. I really haven't written much about running. Here is some parts of my running story that I wrote for the MKE online back in November of 2005. I was on the cover for that issue! That was fun.

How it all started: "What is cross country?" I asked back in 5th grade at sport sign up day. "You run" someone replied back. Sounds ok I thought and I signed my name on the line. That was back in September of 1983, I barely made it a mile but have been the runner since then. Fast forward 23 years later and I'm still considered the runner.

Brag time: I have run competitively since grade school. I knew I was going to be running for awhile after I won the Lutheran grade school cross country invitational back in 8th grade crushing the mile and a half course record. I continued my running career at Wisconsin Lutheran High School earning All-Conference all 4 years and All-State with a 2nd place finish at the WISAA state meet back in 1989. I signed my scholarship offer to the UnivWisconsin Wisconisn-Parkside in January of 1991. While at UW Parkside I earned All-American status 4 times and was a National Champion in the 5000 meters in 1995. My PR for the 5000 indoors was 17:40, and I believe 17:20 outdoors.

Injuries: I've had my share and probably some of the most unusual. Of course like every runner I've had the shin splints, stress frtendonitisd tendonitis. But back in March of 1990 I was "diagnosed" with OSTEOCHONDRITIS DISSECANS. What is that? My doctor explained it as a hole in the talus bone. Surgery one was in1990 and surgery two in 1991. "There is no way you can run at the collegiate level" is what the doctors told me. Ok, so I red-shirt my freshman year and ran the next 4 years. But it wasn't over yet. There is a new way to do this surgery, we are going to take bone out of your knee and graft it in your talus bone. "But Tracey, this is just so you can walk without pain," my doctor told me in January of 2000. After the successful surgery I was able to run a mile here and there 8 months later. My doctors last words to me were, "now, no marathons!" He really enjoyed receiving my picture at the finish line of the 2002 Chicago Marathon where I ran it in 3:27 and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

I have experienced so many wonderful places to wear out my Nike shoes. Out of the state and out of the country. But my favorite place to run currently is downtown in Milwaukee along the lakefront. I especially enjoy it on a Saturday morning. The streets are empty and as I make my way down Prospect Avenue to Lincoln Memorial Drive the sidewalks have reminiscences of what happened just hours before. The Lake is usually very calm and the sun is just rising. I make my way along the path on Lincoln Memorial Drive usually passing many runners. During the summer the Badgerland Striders are out and about training for the upcoming marathon. Runners have their own language and there is a certain respect we have for each other. As I pass each one I observe their t-shirt to see what runs they have accomplished or what college they might have attended. Usually grunts, waves or "morning" are exchanged. I make my way past Bradford Beach and run into the volleyball players setting up their nets. The hill up to Lake Drive is a long one but the reward is admiring the beautiful houses and hopefully some sprinklers to cool me off. I make my turnaround at Capital drive or on my longer days, Silver Spring. While I may look alone, I feel like I'm part of a team as I continue to run the past the dedicated runners.

Sometimes during my runs I daydream back to my college days at UW Parkside. These were some of the best running days of my life. Coach Mike De Witt worked us hard and made us believe in ourselves. While there were many, my best running experience was February 25th, 1995. I qualified for the National meet in the 5000 meters and went in with the second best time. I was never so nervous before in my life. I cried and coach had to give me my race plan 2 times. The gun went off and I jumped out the lead only to have it taken away from me at lap 4. I trailed by 50 meters most of the race after that and even got passed for 3rd place at 2 miles. At that point I refocused and picked up the pace. I honestly did not think I could get back to first but I wanted to be able to finish the race knowing I tried my best. Without knowing, I was catching the first place runner. The indoor track in Nebraska was so loud and I could not hear my coach. At gun lap I looked up and realized first place was in front of me. I took off and won the race by 6 seconds after being down by 8 seconds with 400 meters left in the race.

Lakefront Marathon:
I seriously considered training for the marathon but due to some lingering injuries I thought it would be best to sit this one out. Just recently I have been given the opportunity to partake in a relay team at the Lakefront Marathon. There will be four of us girls and we will each run a "leg" to complete the 26.2 miles. I am very excited to be part of this great running event in Milwaukee. Here is some great press coverage from JSOnline this morning.

Do They Have It?


Elizabeth said...

You are my hero. I am in awe of your times. And a BQ? Awesome! Good luck on Sunday. Have a blast! I can't wait to hear all about it.

Erin said...

Wow! How sexy do you look on the front of that MKE?! How cool!!!

I wish I could have running in my blood like that. It must be awesome to feel such a passion for it. Besides a few runs in my life where I really felt amazing, I mostly think running is just plain hard!

Best of luck on Sunday - I will hopefully be down there cheering the peeps on - I'll scream if I see you!! :)