Hey everyone! My name is Annie, I’m 21 years old, and a fourth year dietetics student at South Dakota State University. I’m a foodie through and through, and I’ve found that to be the case with most runners. Luckily running and eating complement each other very well. I started this blog as a way to document both my running and my adventures in the kitchen. Along with that, I hope to incorporate healthful tips that I learn in my nutrition classes.
Upon the influence of my mom, I started running at a young age–doing roadraces and Hershey track when I was in elemetary school. In junior high and high school, I ran on the track and cross-country teams. Being from a small school, I had the priviledge of running varsity when I was in junior high. I competed at the state cross-country meet all six years–no amazing finishes to speak of, but still, I was there :). In track, I ran the 800 m, mile, 2 mile, mile relay, 2 mile relay, and medley relay. I competed at the state meet all four years of high school–mainly in relays, but one year in the 2 mile. My freshman year of track, I ran on the 2 mile relay, and at the state meet, we ended up breaking our long-standing school record and finishing second(just a hair away from first). Although nerve-wrecking, that track season was a lot of fun because I ran with my two sisters on two relays–one was the record-breaking 2 mile relay and the other was the mile relay(which we finished in fifth at state). Looking back, track and cross-country was such a great bonding experience! I became much closer with my sisters and other teammates became like sisters.
My freshman year of college, I trained with my older sister and ran multiple roadraces–including two half marathons. Training for races really kept me motivated to run. Also, I always looked forward to runs because my older sister, who was a senior, had much knowledge to share with me about college life. I soaked it in like a sponge!
My sophomore year of college, my running partner was my younger sister, who was a freshman. Oh, and yes, my two sisters and I all chose to go to the same college(just a coincidence 🙂 ). We ran another half marathon that fall, and then during the spring semester, my younger sister decided to join the track team. No more running partner for me :(. To keep me motivated, I decided to become a test subject for a study on the effects of iron on female athletes. The study required participants to run for 45 minutes, 5 days a week. This was perfect, and in addition to keeping me motivated to run, I got to do bodpod analyses, VO2 Max tests, a DEXA bone density test, blood tests, and weekly meetings with a dietitian. It was a great experience! I learned a lot about myself–what I’m capable of physically and what I needed to do differently nutritionally. The money I received upon completing the study was nice, too! 🙂
I’m currently a senior in college and am running on the SDSU track and cross-country team. I love being on the team, and I LOVE my teammates. We’re one big, happy family.
High School PR’s
- Mile 5:38
- 2 Mile 12:45
- 2 Mile Relay 9:51(ran a 2:25 split)
- 4K 15:25
Post High School PR’s
- 5K 20:23(cross-country 2009)
- 5K 19:48(Lacrosse Road Race 2010)
- 6K 24:53(cross-country 2009)
- 5 mile 33:10(St. Patty’s Race 2010)
- 10K 42:08(Oahe Days Race 2010)
- 10 mile 1:23(Mitchell National Guard 10-mile race 2008)
- 1/2 marathon 1:36:57(Brookings 1/2 Marathon 2010)
- Marathon 3:58:15(University of Okoboji 2010)
Growing up, eating healthful meals was always very important in my family. My mom taught my sisters and I how to read nutrition labels when we were young so it was not uncommon for us to base our cereal choice off of fiber and protein content. As my sisters and I got older, we put even more emphasis on nutrition because we knew that eating well may improve our running. We started taking our own lunches to school everyday to avoid the fatty, processed cafeteria food, and started utilizing MyPyramid Tracker to ensure that our meals were balanced.
During cross-country season of my senior year of high school, I found out I was severely anemic. This was a huge shocker because I thought I knew a lot about nutrition and that something like this would never happen to me. I knew something was wrong when running became way harder than it had ever been for me. Of course, it took a few horribly embarrassing races before I went in to have blood drawn. My hemoglobin was 7.0g/dL. I found out later that some hospitals do immediate blood transfusions when hemoglobin is that low. That was definitely a scare for me. So I immediately started taking iron pills and making changes to my diet. Before this, my diet consisted of very little red meat–I ate mainly chicken and turkey. After my anemia scare, it was burgers, steaks, braunschweiger(yuck!), and any other red meat my parents could think to feed me. Honestly, I think my dad was enjoying being able to grill burgers and steaks every night :). I also started drinking orange juice and eating a lot of green, leafy veggies(I did my research 🙂 ). Two weeks after my initial blood draw, I went back in to have my blood drawn again. It was amazing to see the difference my dietary changes had made. My hemoglobin was up to 9.0g/dL(although still low, it was great to see progress). It took a couple more weeks before my hemoglobin reached normal levels. Luckily, I was still able to compete in the state meet that season(my team qualified at regions, which allowed me to go). My performance wasn’t great, but it was nice to have energy back in my legs.
My iron deficiency anemia experience really got me thinking about pursuing the field of dietetics. I had always enjoyed learning about nutrition, but after my experience, I really realized the importance of it. So when it came time for applying for school, I put down dietetics as my major. Since then, I haven’t regretted my decision one bit. I’m still very excited and passionate about dietetics. I love my classes, and I know once I’m a registered dietitian, I’m going to love my job.