Tagged: Living Title IX

Get on The Bus

Faith Nelson gets up before 5am to drive a school bus for special needs high school students. She’s also the single mom of three kids of her own. “I’m a deeply curious person,” she says, “attempting to live my life in a way that leaves no room for regret.”

That sort of courage didn’t always apply to physical feats. “I was as far from athletic as you could get as a kid. I had asthma and it made me nervous about running around too much.” It wasn’t until she was twenty-one and pregnant with her second child that Faith started learning the value of exercise. She’d decided on a natural childbirth, and all the books she read stressed the importance of being fit and flexible. Out came the yoga videos, and long, fast-paced walks.

“Childbirth this time was so different. I felt incredibly strong when it was over. Something inside of me clicked and I realized that I was physically capable of so much more than I’d thought.” She took up running.

Fast-forward a dozen years to last October, when Faith ran her first half marathon. Although a foot injury has her sidelined, she plans to start training for a full marathon soon. Her usual regimen is to run three times a week (two to five miles), plus two or three days of yoga, and two of strength training. That’s a lot for many of us, but how does she pull it off?

“It can be very hard,” Faith says. “Taking advantage of lunch breaks can be a great way to get in a workout. But sometimes it’s just a matter of running out the door before I have a chance to think about it too much.” She also makes exercise a family affair: “A lot of the time I can drag one or two of them down to the beach. They’ll roller-skate or ride their scooter while I run.” Walking is always a plus: “Moving is so important and there are opportunities all throughout the day to do that.”

None of which would work without the right attitude. “I used to think I was supposed to have a strict schedule, but one thing I’ve learned as a single mother is that real life just doesn’t work that way. When it matters, you find a way. And on the flip side, when life gets ahead of you and you miss a week, you shrug it off and start over again.”

And the result? “I’ve learned to appreciate the journey as opposed to ‘results.’ Running has changed me in such fundamental ways. It has taught me the beauty of the process.” Still, some results are undeniable. “It feels good to think about how I went from a kid who couldn’t even run a mile to a thirty-three-year-old, single, working mother of three who has run thirteen. I’m the strongest and healthiest I’ve ever been, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”



Home: Long Beach, CA
Occupation: School Bus Driver
Education: Some college, Psychology Major
Partner: Single
Children: Three, ages 16, 12, and 8
Age: 33
Height: 5’2’’
Weight: 115
Sports, past and present: Running, swimming.
Athletic accomplishments: Half marathon.
Little known fact about you: I can stand on my hands and do backbends pretty well.
Environmentally incorrect preference: I take too long in the shower.
Guilty pleasure: Coffee overload on the weekends.
Most embarrassing moment: Never.
Greatest triumph: Every day that I can be true to myself and love the people in my life with everything I’ve got is a triumph.
Favorite thing to do when not working or working out: Relaxing with my family and friends.

Moment of Inspiration: Warming up at the starting line with thousands of people at my first half marathon. I felt so connected to them. I saw our diversity, and I realized we’re all on our own personal journey. It was beautiful.

Favorite Quote: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” —Anais Nin


Before my injury: Two or three, three-mile runs during the week, and a longer five-mile run on the weekend. Two or three days of yoga. Two days of strength training. Whenever I could fit it in.





The Right Excuses

“You get what you give,” is Kelly Newell’s life philosophy. “I strive to put out positive energy to my work, my family, my friends, and strangers. I hope that folks will feel better about themselves having interacted with me.”

As Director of Conference Management at Washington State University, Kelly interacts with a lot of fortunate folks. She’s also working on her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration…and referees volleyball for USAV and Pac-10 competitions. But her top priority is spending time with her twin four year olds and husband.

“For most people in my situation, working out would be the last thing on their list.” But Kelly knows that fitness makes the rest possible. “You have to make excuses why you CAN fit in a workout, not why you CAN’T. For instance saying ‘Well, I have 45 minutes between my meeting and my class tonight—I’ll run over to the stadium and do stairs for 30 minutes and still have time to change’ instead of  ‘Well, I only have 45 minutes. That’s hardly enough time to break a sweat, so I’ll just hang out and surf Facebook.’ It’s all about the message you give yourself.”

Start small and use whatever “free” time you have, Kelly advises. “I wasn’t always fit. I started by walking twenty minutes at lunch time.” She eventually realized. “I’m never busy at 5:30 am—so there are no excuses at that hour. And it starts a day of great habits: biking to work, walking to the store with the kids instead of driving, and so on.”

The positive effects began to snowball. “My drive and determination pushed me to do more. Those walks turned into short jogs, which led to longer runs.” She did some short, local races followed by a half marathon. Within a year, she was training for her first marathon. Then came duathlons, triathlons, four Ironman competitions, and a “zillion” other long-distance races.

“It was an evolution from walker to runner to triathlete to distance athlete and it took years of persistence and drive, and LOVE,” says Kelly. “I hope that folks will see that anything is possible if you put your mind to it—I NEVER thought I could complete an Ironman, and I did it by focusing on one day at a time! So can you!”


Home: Pullman, Washington

Occupation: Director of Conference Management

Education: Masters of Higher Education Administration, pursuing a Ph.D in Higher Education and Cultural Studies.

Partner: Most supportive husband/father in the world – Scott.

Children: Taylor and Reed—4 yr old twin boys.

Age: 38

Height: 5’3”

Weight: 129

Sports, past and present: Triathlon, Golf, Volleyball, Running, Biking, Bowling, Rollerblading

Athletic accomplishments: 4 Ironman Triathlons, 2 adventure races, 4 STP bike rides (one day)

Little known fact about you: I know the words to nearly every John Denver song ever recorded.

Environmentally incorrect preference: Long, hot shower after a long, hot run.

Guilty pleasure: Reality TV—Specifically dancing shows.

Most embarrassing moment: I embarrass myself a lot. All the time. A favorite was at my first Marathon when I was suffering from “race tummy” and needed a port a potty really badly but the lines for all of them were so long! I was wandering around looking for more when I turned a corner and saw a bank of port-o-lets with no line and someone was coming out at that moment so in I ran! What luck! A few minutes later I came out to see the tremendous line that I hadn’t seen (and cut in front of) just a little ways back from the doors of the potties. Whoops!

Greatest triumph: Every day I balance my boys, my husband, my school work, and my job… Every day I rejoice a little at the end of the day when I haven’t let any of them down.

Favorite thing to do when not working or working out: Eating out with friends.

Moment of Inspiration: Seeing Dick and Ricky Hoyt finish Ironman—gave me motivation to sign up! If he can do it, with his son no less, then I have no excuses!

Favorite Quote:“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard, is what makes it great!” Jimmy Dugan —A League of Their Own.


3+ days per week at the gym or running in the morning, 3+ days per week biking/hiking/rollerblading – whatever I can do to MOVE!


Raising the Bar

wiwo_0909_v2“Lose your head and gain control of your senses.”  That’s one thing that six years of competitive dragon boating has taught Michelle Rudd.  Another is “When the water gets rough, don’t pull your paddle out of the water.  Paddle through it.”

These lessons began innocently enough.  After a great, women-only weekend of kayaking in 2003, Michelle wanted to find a way to stay on the water.  So, she joined a dragon boat team.  By 2007, she was paddling with the Masters Women’s Crew of Team USA in Sydney Australia…and is currently training to do the same in Prague this year.

Mastering a new sport isn’t easy.  In Michelle’s case, she had to work it into the busy life of a land use lawyer in Portland Oregon’s largest law firm: office work, meetings, court appearances, the works.  She’s also a member of the Portland Planning Commission–working to make a “great city even greater for all segments of the community.”  Still, she pulls off 75-minute workouts on 6 mornings per week, and 3 evenings of paddling practice.  It’s not easy, but “it’s become such a habit that I just do it.”  Her sense of responsibility can’t hurt either: “knowing your teammates are counting on you and that races are won based on the commitment made well before the actual race.”

Or maybe it’s just the fact that she’s a “hopeless (hopeful?) optimist who, regardless of what the ‘facts’ suggest never quite buys the idea that something may be impossible.”

At first, the pay-off was the adrenaline rush at the starting line, the thrill of the race. These days, she says, “I love the sense of calm at the start line, knowing we were born to do this and if anyone beats us, it won’t be because we gave it away.  I feel more me in the boat than anywhere.  There’s a sense of power and purpose that’s amazing.”

Amazing indeed!


Home: Portland, Oregon

Occupation: Attorney

Education: J.D., Masters in City and Regional Planning, BS Civil Engineering

Partner: Kevin

Children: Kassia and Cameron

Age/Height/Weight: Only my coach and captains know for sure.

Sports, past and present: Dragon boating, bicycling

Athletic accomplishments: Paddled on Masters Women’s Crew of Team USA in Sydney Australia in 2007 and will do so again in Prague in 2009

Little known fact about you: When I was nine I wanted to be a police officer. I think I’ve always liked rules.

Environmentally incorrect preference: Trash cans

Guilty pleasure: Frozen yogurt

Most embarrassing moment: My first OC1 time trial was really long because I took the scenic route.  Trying to steer AND paddle hard is a challenge.

Favorite thing to do when not working or working out: Playing board games, watching old movies.

Any funny moments to share? I’m not sure it’s funny, but one of the fun things about international racing is the trading of jerseys that tends to happen at some point.  When my regular team, Wasabi, was paddling in Penang last year, someone started trading shirts with a Malaysian team.  It became a flurry of Wasabi green swapping for Malaysian orange shirts with huge grins all around.  As long as you bring a spare to race in, it’s a great tradition.

Moment of Inspiration: One of the great things about paddling is that there are so many moments of inspiration.  So much of what we learn in the boat is transferable to life outside the boat.  For example, keep the paddle in the water when things get rough.  The boat’s more stable if you’re paddling.  You can’t control the outcome, only the process. Trust the process.  And that voice in your head is yours.  You decide if it’s positive or negative.

Favorite Quote: “There are no excuses only priorities.”


• Monday through Saturday I do 75 minutes of cardio and weights in the mornings.
• Monday and Wednesday I’m at dragon boat practice for an hour and a half, and paddling a six-person outrigger canoe for an additional hour and a half.
• Saturday is a light paddling day of only an hour.
• Sunday is yoga.


Gutsy Artist

drawing_th Title Nine customer Jean Sanchirico doesn’t care much for down time, which is a good thing because she rarely gets any. Jean owns and operates a successful graphic design firm and is busy building a second career as a fine artist. She’s also a highly engaged mom to two active preteens and a hardcore athlete who almost never misses a workout.

Some gals are fit,and some gals are super fit. Jean is super duper fit. Weekdays, after she drops her kids off at school, Jean goes for a 40 to 60-minute trail run or a two to three-hour bike ride. After her morning workout, it’s off to work until it’s time to shuttle her kids to their various afterschool activities. Once or twice a week, she sneaks in a 30 to 45-minute afternoon swim. Weekends you’re likely to find Jean on the ski slopes with her family or out on a bike ride. One place you won’t find Jean is at the gym. “I hate working out inside,” she says. “I need to be outdoors.”

With two careers and a family to run, finding time to stay fit requires riding_thtremendous discipline, commitment, and enthusiasm, all of which Jean has in ample supply. When her graphic design business is busy, fitting in a workout often means working late nights in the studio after the kids go to bed. Jean would much rather skip a few zzz’s once in awhile than skip a workout.

Why does Jean prioritize staying fit? She loves feeling healthy and capable. She also loves the adrenaline rush and sense of accomplishment she gets from pushing herself and competing. Just how important are sports to Jean? Many years ago she broke her leg skiing. She couldn’t stand being idle, so she rode her bike in her cast. A good idea? Probably not.  But undeniably gutsy. You go girl!


Home: Berkeley, CA
Graphic designer and fine artist
Rhode Island School of Design
Husband: Dick McDougald
Child: Ryan (12) and Elle (9)
Age: 43
Height: 5′ 3″
Weight: 113 pounds
Sports, past and present: Alpine skiing, mountain
and road biking, running, surfing, boogie boarding,
tennis, backpacking, and triathlons
Athletic accomplishments: Markleeville Death Ride
(129 miles and five mountain passes), cycling the Sonora
Pass (high altitude and crazy steep), winning a triathlon
with friend Kathleen Flood as part of a two-person relay team
Little known fact: Played 18 holes of golf to induce
labor with first child
Environmentally incorrect preference: Long hot showers
Guilty pleasure: Dark chocolate


  • 40 to 60-minute run every other day
  • 2 to 3-hour bike ride on non-running days
  • 30 to 45-minute swim once or twice a week
    (three times a week when training for a triathlon)
  • Sit-ups and push-ups a few times a week