The other day, we were able to speak with an awesome young lady named Andrea Bonnette. She’s originally from Houma, LA, but currently resides in Baton Rouge. Without any hesitation, she will let you know that she loves to run and stay active. When she isn’t running, Andrea spends her day as an instructor at Yoglates II.
Claim Your Journey: Why do you run?
Andrea Bonnette: Why Do I Run? I run for many reasons, but I would have to say the most important would be to become more aware. Aware in the sense of how powerful my body really is at pushing limits. Running is more of a mental exercise & once you can get over the physical aches & pains that come with running, you have to come to grips with how far you are willing to push yourself. We can all hope to run a marathon or even just a mile, but you really have to set your mind to the task at hand.
CYJ: How long have you been running?
AB: I have only been running for 7 years, but in those 7 years I have gone from trying to make it to one mile to now using that first mile or two to warm up for the 15 or more on my training schedule for the day. There are days when everything is planned out, but I have a bad run. Then there are the days when I dont think I can get two miles in, but I end up logging in 6 great ones. I run to feel a sense of self. Running is so simple in the sense that you can lace up a pair of shoes and hit the terrain without having to pay a membership or wait in line.
CYJ: What else does running do for you? Some have said it’s like therapy. Would you agree?
AB: I also consider running as my therapy. There have been many days when I am at whits end, and the only thing I want to do is get some fresh air…get away from everyone and everything. More than anything else, I see running as a blessing. Not many people have the physical capabilities to walk much less the chance to run and that alone keeps me motivated. There is a reason I was blessed with my health and I try not to take advantage of that, no matter how bad of a day Im having. I grew up with a handicapped neighbor and knowing that all she ever wanted to do was walk, makes me more driven to not take any step or mile for granted.
CYJ: What would you say has been the best running experience thus far?
AB: My best running experience had to be my first marathon, The NIKE Women’s Marathon in San Francisco in October of 2010. I have always set goals & achieved them but this was a whole new experience. I had signed up for Team in Training, a nationwide running organization put together by the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. This great organization raises money to give back for patient treatments and research all while training for marathons. I met my financial goal and had a great training experience until I incurred a stress fracture a month before the marathon. Not knowing if I would be able to run a mile, much less 26.2 miles, was quite upsetting knowing how hard I had trained. Race day came and having only run 6 miles the week before after a month hiatus, I was very sore. My running partner was having knee issues as well, but once we started, we were in it for the long haul. The weather wasn’t too encouraging when it started to rain at mile 8 and the temp stayed around 55 degrees.
CYJ: Geez…what else could possibly go wrong?
AB: This was the least of our worries when at mile 18 I started to cramp up and my running partners IT band decided to give out around mile 20. After many pit stops to stretch, the obvious set in, that we would have to walk the last 4 miles with his IT band completely shot. Being the extremely competitive person that I am, I was determined to run the remainder. The bond my partner and I had built over the 4 months of training would outweigh that goal time that I was hoping for. After the many early morning training runs we spent together, I knew that he would never have left me and it was not an option for me either. So, from mile 22 on we walked and jogged to the finish knowing that we had given it our best, and that staying together as a team was more important that anything. As we hobbled to the finish line, a rush of tears filled my eyes and I was never more happy to be soaking wet and cold with the mere pride that we had just accomplished a marathon.
CYJ: Do you have a favorite place to run?
AB: My favorite place to run has to be New Orleans. As much as I love the LSU lakes, when I interned in New Orleans, Audubon park and Uptown was my terrain of choice. I look forward to running the Crescent City Classic along with the Rock N Roll Half Marathon because it brings me to a city filled with so much history and character. One of my 15 mile training runs was along St. Charles. Although I had maybe slept 2 hours and was having Achilles trouble, it didn’t even phase me. I was in such a great mental state to be back in the City.
CYJ: What race are you looking forward to this year and why?
AB: I will be doing another marathon with Team in Training in May in Vancouver, BC. I also plan on many more events with them in the future, but I’m mostly looking forward to doing an Iron Man. Along with running, I have come to love biking & swimming, so of course I’m ready to push myself to take on a half Iron man. I still haven’t decided whether it’ll be the one in New Orleans in April or if I want to wait and do the one in Austin, TX in October. Knowing me, I might do both? Slightly crazy? Yes! Loving every second? hell yes! Almost forgot, I’m definitely looking forward to running in the Happy’s 5000 this year too! #RunDrinkNBeHappy #RunnersUnite