The Courage to Tri: Amy Hafner

“Endurance sports changed the way I treat my body.”

 

Amy was a dancer her entire life and competed seriously through college as a dance major. The environment was competitive – not only in terms of skill and ability but also in terms of dieting and body shape. Many of the women struggled with eating disorders and it almost was something that was admired.  “It almost showed that you were serious about things. I had a very good friend who was infected with the insidiousness of the message that you should always try to be thinner.”

Amy herself began to struggle with this message and dance gradually became more and more about diet and what she looked like. “I lost everything that I had come to love about it. The way it made me feel and how I was able to move through space. All of that was lost because it became only about the aesthetic. “

Post collegiately, Amy became more interested in running, even getting a job in the industry at Roadrunner Sports. She had grown up running some with her dad, and decided to sign up for her first half marathon.. “Doing that stuff made me feel really free. ” After the half, Amy continued running, but she said her mindset was all wrong. “I was just tired and not really eating anything.” She she when a co-worker asked about her fueling routine and she answered, they were shocked.

The habits she had developed while dancing – undereating and not fueling properly,  limited her performance. Her co-workers helped her see the link between running strong and proper nutrition, and gradually her habits began to change. Amy noticed the differences immediately—she was able to run longer, stronger, and faster. “Before the change, I wasn’t able to run beyond 5 or 6 miles in training. Afterwards the difference was immediate. I was able to complete a really hill half marathon with good nutrition.”

Since then, a number of changes, including adding protein and mid-workout fueling to her diet, and working on overall strength, Amy has seen her times steadily improve. “ You want to be able to compete, to throw your hat in the ring and do well. Also, I want to keep pushing myself and going after challenging goals!”

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