Run It Fast Club Member Profile – Amber Goetz-Bouchard #15

Amber Goetz-Bouchard RIF #15

This week’s RIF Club Member profile is Amber Goetz-Bouchard #15 and I’m not sure you’ll find a more enthusiastic and happy runner in Run It Fast – The Club. Every time I see a post from Amber on the RIF Club group page on Facebook, it makes me smile because she’s always smiling in her pictures and sharing the things that make her a happy runner – like her favorite trail or new bling or a picture of the course for her first trail race or just a really great run. Her enthusiasm is infectious and makes you want to go out and run!

Check out Amber’s story:

INFO

Name: Amber K. Goetz-Bouchard
RIF #: 15
Blog: Just Keep On Running
Twitter: @am3erkgb
Facebook: amber.goetzbouchard

STATS

Years running: 1994 – present
Favorite race distance: 13.1 (only b/c it’s the longest race distance I’ve done to date ;)
Favorite PR: Winter Flight 8K (44:46) on 04Feb12
Favorite race: Rock n’ Roll San Diego (1/2 Mary)
Favorite bling: Cincinnati Flying Pig (1/2 Mary)

Next race: Springmaid Splash “XSTREAM” 10K (trail race) 18Aug12
What makes you FEEL fast?: When I’m in the zone, the knees are high and the back is aligned – I feel like I’m floating and I am completely pain-free.  Ironically those moments of Zen make me feel light as a feather and untouchable ;)

FUN RUNNING QUESTIONS

Who inspires your running and why?
My friends inspire me, those who run faster than me and those who cannot run anymore.  Each and every one of them has taught me something about running in general, my running, and all the little analogies running has on life.  When someone takes and makes an invested interest in me and my [dis]abilities, it gives me that spark of encouragement to try harder.  It’s my way of showing them my appreciation for their invested time in me.

What is the strangest/funniest thing you’ve ever seen while running?
Well… there was this one trail run where I happened to look to my left into the woods because I noticed something large in my peripheral vision… it turned out to be two people ‘going at it’ in the woods!  That is more along the lines of ‘I so totally did not want to see that!’

What’s the most beautiful place that you’ve run?
Oh goodness, every run is beautiful – but the top two on my 2012 list are (1) crossing the river during the Flying Pig Cincinnati Half-Marathon in May as the sun was coming up along the river and (2) my sunrise runs at a local park (Guilford Mackintosh Lake and Marina Park – GMMP for short).  I’m a sucker for beautiful sunrises.

 Which of your running routes makes you the happiest and why?
I would call my 12.5 mile loop around the back roads of Burlington my happy route – it takes me into the agricultural community so I’m running alongside fields of corn, tobacco, cows and or horses, sharing the road with tractors, and getting the friendly hello from every farm dog along the north side of town ;)

Have you ever worn a costume during a race? What was it and for what race? If not, would you?
I haven’t worn a costume before and I’m not sure I would – I get easily annoyed with my ponytail some days, so I wonder if I would handle wearing a costume…

What is your favorite go-to pre race meal?
My nutritionist is wicked awesome!  I have a stellar pre-race meal: 2 Kashi 7-Grain waffles with 30 mL syrup and 3 slices of pork bacon.  YUM!

What is the thing you splurge on after a race?
I used to go bananas (literally) after a race with all the goodies – nanas, orange slices, apples – all the fruits.  However, now I bring my post-race meal with me (in a cooler, which my endearing gear-boy husband carries for me): liquid whites with Whey ptn., and after that I start sucking down additional electrolytes with my Smartwater®.  (I sweat a lot and finish most races with a layer of salt on me…)

Why do you race?
I race because it offers the opportunity to mingle with ‘your own kind’, a community that ‘gets you’ and everyone is just happy.  I have yet to go to a race where there are grumpy people and I love being in a positive energy environment.  Not to mention the fact it is extremely motivating to see all walks of life running the same route at the same time as you – people that have it worse than you, people that are racing for the first time, and the lovable grandpas and grandmas that are out there.  I only hope I’m still doing this at their age.

Big races or small races? And why?
Big races are cool, lots of hype, big vendors (I like to buy gear, it is addictive for me), and you can witness a lot of elite runners and observe their pre-race routines.  However, with smaller races, there seems to be more conversation and I see more of a variety of runners and learn a lot more from the stories people share about their journeys.

What is the one piece of running gear you can’t leave the house without?
My sunglasses, I think if the watch failed (and it has), the iPod died (and it has), the hair elastic broke, or my compression socks were torn – I’d be okay.  However, as an office-dweller by day, running in the sunlight for me is like asking a vampire out on a lunch date.

What was your biggest “don’t” of a race?
Do not bust out the gate like an enraged lion or giddy gazelle!  Too many times have I burnt my stores of energy only to find myself halfway into the race and forced to conserve… please please please, use your paces wisely.

What’s your pre race routine?
Get up about 3-3.5 hours in advance, gulp down the morning supplements and start the physical therapy/stretchies, take a break for breakfast (and 1C black coffee if I feel the need, along with 0.5L H20) and then continue the trigger point therapy, rolling, etc. all the while running through the gear check in my head and obsessively re-checking what time it is to make sure I’m leaving with enough time to get to the starting line.  Once all geared-up and at the race (usually well in advance b/c I’m the nervous OCD type), I then have time to chat with other runners and this has a calming effect for me – which is what I need before I start obsessively checking the Garmin, the tightness of the shoelaces, the ponytail, the bib… etc.!

What running moment are you most proud of?
If by proud you mean emotional – ironically it would not be during a race, it was not with a fellow runner, it was something that happened just between me and me.  This would be the longest distance run I’ve had the opportunity to run to date, which was 20.2 miles.  I had attempted that local route once before and had to stop and walk off and on over the last 3-5 miles – it was heart-wrenching to stop, I desperately did not want to stop, but I did not bring enough nutrition with me and the legs just couldn’t handle it.  So, the second time I attempted that route, as I passed that spot I was forced to begin walking on the first attempt, I felt a tug in my chest, I was proud that I made it further that time!  Not only further, but I completed the route I had set out to do!  I didn’t stop running once!  When I arrived at my finish line (my car, in the gym’s parking lot), I was afraid to stop, I didn’t know how I was going to handle myself when I stopped.  Would everything seize up?  Would I collapse?  I don’t think I wanted this accomplishment to end and if I stopped running, it would officially be over…  I wasn’t really sure how I was still running at that point.  But I slowed to a jog and then a walk, and then I crouched, and my hands touched the asphalt… and I cried.  I finally understood why all those athletes cry after their big races.  Sure, I’m no elite athlete, but I beat my own expectations and that made me feel proud.

If you can’t run, you’re ________?
One pissy kitty.  (People can tell when I haven’t run – they pretty much send me away and say I can come back once I’ve had my run ;)

Is there anything else you would like the rest of the club to know that we didn’t cover in the questions?
Well, I guess in terms of accomplishments, one is the ability to keep on running despite my degenerative disk disease (DDD, right between the L5-S1) in my back.  The doctor, upon diagnosis, said I should stop running.  Should.  The doctor also said I had the option of fusion surgery or pain management via physical therapy.  I am going the pain management route and so far, so good.  There are set backs here and there, but oddly enough my strength conditioning and running are the best tools for managing the back pain.

The other more recent accomplishment would be the 35+ pounds I have gotten rid of since Christmas day of 2011.  There’s a long story and history behind the weight issues, running injuries, etc.  However, with the help of my outstanding nutritionist (Dennis Cejas), my self-disciplined strength and circuit training, and now Coach J’s running program (Justin Gillette!! (RIF #153)) – the past 2 months have seen a massive transformation for me and I now believe I will be running better, longer, [more] injury-free, and happier :)

Amber’s Motivation Board and Wall

***

I didn’t realize until I read Amber’s responses that she was dealing with DDD. From all the positiveness she puts out there on Facebook, I never would have guessed that things weren’t always rosy for her. I think sometimes we only see the surface of what other runners are dealing with or how they are training. We see someone running, maybe passing us in a race, and we think “they have it so easy” or “why are they faster or stronger than me”. But we don’t really know if they do have it “easy”. What I like best about Amber’s story is that she is writing her own story. She might not have it easy but she’s using the tools available to her to become better and stronger. Whether it’s motivating herself with her board and wall (very cool idea, don’t you think?) or hiring a nutritionist and coach to guide her, she is a fulfilling her goals to “be running better, longer, [more] injury-free, and happier”. So be like Amber and write your own story. Do whatever it takes to make your goals happen, despite what life throws at you.

Thank you for sharing your running life with us Amber! Good luck with your first trail race. You’re going to have a blast and Run It Fast!

If you’d like to join Run It Fast – The Club or would like more information about it, please click this link:

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[All photos submitted by Amber Goetz-Bouchard]

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This post was written by:

- who has written 717 posts on Run It Fast®.

Lisa (RIF Club Member #5) has completed 27 half marathons, 13 marathons, 5 50Ks, 2 12 Hour races, and 1 100K. Her favorite races to date are the Disneyland Half Marathon, the Leading Ladies Marathon, the Bataan Memorial Death March, and the Jackson Jackass 50K. You can follow her on Twitter @runlikeacoyote

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