Half Marathon Queen – Tracy Valdez

On October 15, 2016, I finished 17 Half Marathons in 17 months! Stacy Bernal has nicknamed me the Half Marathon Queen but those who are not runners and don’t understand the runners high say I am Half Crazy. I would agree with both at times!

My running journey started in 2013 when I was taking karate.  My goal was to become a black belt but in order to get my black belt I needed to run 3 miles.  At that time I really hated running.   As a blue belt, I knew it would take me months to get to 3 miles but I began to enjoy running.   For the next few years I did a bunch of 5k fun runs. In May of 2014 I had shoulder surgery which ultimately ended my karate pursuits. As I was healing from surgery I continued to do as much karate as I could but started to focus on running. In September of 2014 my life took a huge turn. I had to quit karate because my shoulder just couldn’t take the repetitive movements without pain. In the same month my boyfriend, who I was living with, woke up one morning and decided he didn’t want to pursue a relationship any more with me. My body and heart were broken so I decided to put all my efforts and energy into running. Diane Nelson, who I knew from karate, noticed I had been focusing my energy on running and took me under her wing and trained me.  She encouraged me to run a half marathon.  It had never before entered mind to run one, so I signed up for my first half marathon.

In May 2015 I ran the Ogden Marathon, my first half marathon! I caught the running bug! A few months before the Ogden Marathon, Diane and I found the Ogden Pub Runners who took me in with open arms and lots of training tips. Running this first half marathon was very therapeutic for me in healing my body and heart. I had met an amazing group of runners who have since turned into my support group and second family. Despite the facts that my first half marathon was in the rain, my music cut out at mile 4 and I lost Rachel Balboni somewhere on the route, it was the most amazing experience. I remember seeing Rachel at the finish line waiting for me and tears just poured from my face! She placed the medal on my neck and I knew I had found my next addiction. As I continued to walk through the chute I saw my parents waiting in the pouring rain to give me a hug and congratulations. The tears of pride in their eyes brought more tears to my eyes, I did it! I accomplished what I set out to accomplish.

Tracy Valdez - Featured Runner

There have been some fantastic runs and some runs were I wanted to quit! I have fibromyalgia and running with this chronic illness is not easy at times. Running as helped me manage this illness so I can function better in life. Before running there were times I couldn’t even get out of bed, now I can get out of bed with less pain.

Tracy Valdez - Featured Runner2

I am often asked which race has been my favorite and my answer has truly been all of them. I have been able to run some of the most gorgeous country I have ever seen. In these 17 months I also completed one Spartan and two Ragnar races.  These races have taught me about teamwork and about just having fun! I have run with some of the most supportive runners I know. I have had the best trainer who knows me well enough to know when to push me and when to back off. Mark Balboni has been a great trainer who has never told me I couldn’t do something or couldn’t reach a certain goal. He just keeps telling me to keep pushing forward and reminds me only that I can reach the goals I want to reach. I have cheerleaders at the end of races who cheer so loudly that those last steps seem so easy. There is nothing better than seeing Donna and Steve Hernandez at the end of race with their big rainbow colored umbrella.  Seeing the umbrella at the end of race is such a relief.  At the end of a race there is always an Ogden Pub Runner there to congratulate you on a great race even when you are beyond disappointment because you didn’t PR. I will admit running Mt. Charleston for my 44th birthday and seeing my sister with Teri Greenhall with a poster of Superman made me realize I have such a great family and friend. As I went through the chute my mom was blowing bubbles and my dad had balloons in his hand. This was the perfect way to spend my 44th birthday. It reminded me I am not old and I can do ANYTHING I set my mind on doing.

Tracy Valdez - Featured Runner3 - Copy

Running is my therapy, it’s my time for me, and it has helped me get through some really tough times in the past two years. I am thankful for my family and the support they give me. I often leave my daughter, Kenzie, with my parents so I can go on a Runcation and they never once have complained or said no. Kenzie reminds me to go for a run even when I don’t want to or she will go with me. The Ogden Pub Runners have been my second family; they have been there throughout my months of training and running races and in when I am just having a hard moment.

What is in the future for this Half Marathon Queen? Could it be a triathlon or maybe a full marathon? Time and training will only tell what is next for me.  As for now I will keep on running and enjoy my moments hitting the pavement in rain, snow or sunshine.

Tracy Valdez - Featured Runner4 - Copy

Tracy,
Congratulations on completing such an amazing feat.  Your dedication is so inspiring.  Even all of us runners, who understand the addiction, agree that you are definitely “half crazy!”  🙂 We can’t wait to see what is in store for you next.

We regularly feature our awesome members!   Do you have an Ogden Pub Runner Member that you think deserves to be a Featured Member?   Nominate them!   Email nominations to INFO@OGDENPUBRUNNERS.COM or use the Contact Form.
We look forward to hearing who inspires you.
Until next time,
OPR

 

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