Some people are surrounded by a positive energy that rubs off on everyone they meet. Amy Friese is one of those people. Within a few minutes of meeting her, you’re left with the feeling that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to – whether it’s making better food choices, running more consistently or even signing up for your first race.
Amy is a master at channeling her positive energy into running – and swimming and cycling (she’s a 2013 Ironman Wisconsin finisher!). Below she shares with us a few of her favorites, what it was like to cross the finish line at last year’s Ironman race and how starting her own business, Fearless Nutrition, has helped her own eating.
Age: 42 years young 🙂
Years running: 5 years
Favorite workout: Interval run workout on a cool summer evening with friends
Favorite distance to race: Half marathon
Favorite song to get pumped up pre-race: Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) … oh yeah!
Favorite post-race treat: Gluten-free pancakes with lots of REAL butter and maple syrup + spinach & feta omelet
Must-have gear: Brooks Defyance shoes + lululemon tights + IMWI visor + sunglasses + sunscreen
How did you get started with running and what’s kept you running all these years?
My friend Stacy Nash invited me to attend TNT (Tuesday Night Track/Torture). After watching Biggest Loser and deciding to do a marathon myself; “If they can do it, so can I!!” Feeling energized, motivated, strong and having SO MUCH freaking fun with my running buds continues to keep me running.
Do you have a quote or philosophy that inspires your running?
Embrace the ‘suck’ and know when to rest.
Congrats on completing an Ironman last year! Can you tell us a bit about your training leading up to the race?
Ha – thank you! Oh my goodness, where do I begin? Training started November 2012 with indoor treadmill, spinner and pool workouts. Everything amped up slowly – single WO’s and eventually ‘bricks’ – for a gradual burst outdoors. Training for IMWI involved a lot of compromise with my family, friends and career. Time, energy and effort had to be carefully balanced and negotiated regularly. It was completely awesome!!! There’s a saying in business that in order to grow your business, you must first grow you. That was definitely the case while training for IMWI.
What was it like to race an Ironman and how did you push through the tough moments during the race?
In the water, “Just keep swimming” from Finding Nemo kept me going. That and letting the waves rock and roll me, side to side. Once I relaxed and found a rhythm, it was rather relaxing. Honest! During the bike, it was the mental ‘pain’ that hurt most. “Will I finish in time?” crept in about halfway. At that point, I made peace with myself that whatever happened, and however the day turned out, I’d be happy. I’d spent almost a year preparing for this one day event. Knowing I’d come this far was a-okay with me… but I REALLY wanted to finish, so I pushed hard those last 20 miles simply to get off that bike! Ha! On the run, I was so flipping happy because I knew I’d be an Ironman by the end of the day. Those last three miles made my feet, hamstrings, quads and hip flexors cry with fatigue. When my husband kept popping up in the crowd, I decided to finish for him. That finisher’s hug and the proud smile on his face kept me strong. It still chokes me up and makes me smile today.
What thoughts were going through your mind as you were approaching the finish line?
At mile 24, I started thinking about what my finisher’s pic would be… arms up? Hand clenched? Do I jump? It was pretty funny actually because I was talking to myself out loud and trying different poses as I ran. I’m sure it looked completely ridiculous, but I really didn’t care. I wanted to look GOOD for that pic. 🙂 So many of my IM friends told me to make sure no one was directly in front of me as I ran down the chute, so I passed a few runners and offered words of encouragement. It was very emotional … I was so happy for me AND them. We had accomplished an amazing feat that day.
Can you tell us about Fearless Nutrition – Who are you hoping to work with and what services do you offer?
Fearless Nutrition was created out of my own journey and search for fearlessness. For so many of us, food is the one thing we can’t seem to get right on a consistent basis. I’m no different. With my psychology, speaking, fitness, yoga, running and triathlon background, I decide to create FN to help fellow athletes and busy professionals eat smart, move strong and live fearless by redefining what healthy eating looks like for them. I love working with people who are ready to acknowledge their dreams and work fearless to achieve them… in and out of their running shoes.
What sparked your interest in nutrition?
I love eating, preparing, buying and organizing food!
How has your work in nutrition helped your own fueling pre- during- and post-race?
Oh my goodness, there’s been so much trial and error it makes me laugh… and that’s a terrific thing! I no longer bonk, hold on to excess weight or get moody. I love food more and respect it for all the joy it brings. As I learn and teach more about nutrition, I feel happier and perform more efficiently during all stages of training.
What are your favorite Milwaukee races and what do you like about them?
I love the Sausage 5k. My husband and I run it together and have a ball! Last year I ran the Tyranena 13.1 and loved it, too. A definite do-over because it’s well organized, offers beautiful scenery, and there’s amazing brew at the end!
In general, what makes Milwaukee a great place for runners?
The runners themselves for sure!!! My besties are runners and they wouldn’t have been had it not been for running. 🙂
Thanks for chatting with us, Amy! To get to know Amy better, here’s how to connect with her:
If you’re a runner in MKE, we’d love to chat with you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be featured or know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Let’s Get to Know . . . post.
Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!