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RunningLane Athlete Highlight: Andrea Kruszka

Andrea Kruszka We love to brag on our RunningLane athletes and Andrea Kruszka is one that is easy to boast about. Beyond being a stellar athlete (Andrea ran a 1:23:04 half marathon this year in brutally cold temps!), she is a true inspiration. Last year Andrea was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and her attitude and positivity is incredible. Her attitude is something we can all admire. Get to know a little more about Andrea and her running journey. 

How long have you been running and how did you get started?

I started running in 7 th grade. My parents signed me up for summer running

because they wanted me to do a sport in middle school and meet friends. My first

day of summer running I ran 2 miles and was so proud of myself.


When/where/what was your first race?

My first race was a 5K road race at the end of summer before I started 7 th grade.

My dad was so inspired that he picked up running at the same time (not due to

the result of my race but that the winner was 50 years old!).

 

What are you currently training for?

Nothing in particular right now. I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself to

train for a race and more like to look at running as a way to go out and do something

I love and push myself the best I can. That being said, I love to race and I will most

likely do some races this fall, nothing too crazy though.

 

What are some goals you have for 2019?

I have had a lot of setbacks over the last year, so a big accomplishment right now

would be to string together an entire training cycle to be able to race at some point

this fall. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last summer, so I take each day as it

is handed to me. Some days are better than others, but if I’m out there doing what I

love I consider it a good day. A very ambitious goal of mine would be to PR in both

the half and full marathon post-diagnosis. Right now, that seems more of a goal for

2020.

 

Tell us about some of your races so far in 2019.

I haven’t had the chance to race as much as I would have liked this year. I was able

to string together enough long runs and workouts to feel good enough to run a half

marathon in my hometown in April. I completely surprised myself and ran only 4

seconds slower than my PR. Then about a month later I raced the soldier field 10-

miler that started and finished on solider field where the Chicago bears play. It was a

well fought raced because it came down to the very end where I passed the leader

and secured a win.

 

What is your favorite race?

The Bix 7 in Davenport, Iowa. It is a good test of how tough you are. Usually really

hot and humid and a very hilly 7 miles. But at the end is a huge party where you

celebrate with all your friends and drink as much beer as you can until it runs out.

So, the faster you run the faster you can drink beer.

 

Where is your favorite place to run?

I’m pretty spoiled where I live because we have a lot of running trails and paths. In

the summer there is nothing better than a hot, sweaty run on the river trail; in the fall

running through some of the forest preserves when the leaves are changing; and in

the winter running downtown with all the Christmas lights.

 

What is your favorite running memory?

I wouldn’t say it is my favorite memory, but it is probably the most memorable. This

past winter Chicago broke (or came really close) to the coldest day ever and I

decided to go out and run in it. It was -24 air temperature and -50 with the wind chill.

Everything on me was frozen. I ran in ski goggles to protect my eyes and even those

were frozen. It will go down as probably the coldest run I’ll ever have in my lifetime.

 

Why do you run?

I run because I truly do love it. It is the best way to start my day. It has taught me a

lot about myself and most importantly taught me how powerful the mind can be. I

take a lot of what I’ve learned from running to my personal and professional life.

Running has also brought me so many friends. My way of hanging out with some of

my friends is meeting them for runs either during the week or on the weekend. I

don’t think I would be the person I am today without running.

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Holli

My coach, Brandon, has really motivated me to get into shape.  He gave me a simple walking plan and eventually I was jogging!  I was able to work into my busy schedule....and with two kids and working full-time, that is a hard thing to do.  Over time I’ve been able to go longer distances and I am looking forward to doing my first 5K this spring.  Thank You RunningLane!!!!