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April 2022-Ann Fisher

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. (Where you’re from, what you’re doing now…etc)

A: I grew up on a farm East River, near a small town called Monroe, and went to school in Marion, where I played 4 sports.  I attended Northwest Missouri State freshman year, and then transferred to Black Hills State (graduated 2004).  I received my Master’s in Student Personnel (Higher Education) from SDSU in 2007.  I moved to Colorado, and got married in 2008 to Chris (aka Fish) and we lived in Lone Tree for several years, where I worked for the University of Denver in Financial Aid.  We moved back to Rapid City in 2010.  I’ve worked at the School of Mines (Admissions) now for 11 years.  We have 2 children, a girl and boy-Lucy (6) and Jorah (JoJo 4), as well as 2 cats (Sunabe and Eva) and a goldfish (Snowball).  I love to garden so when I’m not training or wrangling my crazy kids, I’m attempting to grow giant pumpkins.  In 2019 I had 2 pumpkins over 200 pounds (216 and 205 lbs).            

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

A: My first running experience was at kindergarten rally day.  That is when it was obvious I was going to be a runner.  My mom recorded my 400M dash, and I was way ahead from the start.  It was a gravel track, and there was a section of the track that led back to the road.  I took that section and went straight, instead of taking the curve.  They had to call me back to the track, and I still won the race by 50 meters.  

I ran cross country and track (sprints) throughout junior high and high school.  I was a State Track Meet Class B MVP twice, Howard Wood 200M dash Special Event winner, and won 6 individual events and 2 relay events, as well as placing in many others.  I got 2nd in the 200M dash as a 7th grader.  I went on to run college track at Northwest Missouri State University and then Black Hills State, where I held an individual 200M dash indoor record, and still hold an 800M indoor relay record.  I went to nationals for the indoor 200M dash and outdoor 400M relay.    

I took a running break for a few years, and in 2006 ran the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (because of course it makes sense to jump from the 200M dash to 26.2 miles).  We moved back to Rapid City in 2010 and I completed the Deadwood Mickelson Half Marathon in 2014.  I joined the BHRC and started doing the group runs in 2017 (thanks Coach Kyle and Gary Miller for the company!).   

I did ALL of the running shenanigans last summer and completed all of the trail series and road series, as well as the Deadwood Mickelson Marathon, Black Hills 30K, Lean Horse 30 Miler, 2 50Ks, Rapid City Half Marathon, and the Crazy Horse Half Marathon.  FOMO is real so I did a LOT!     

Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone?

A: It depends on my mood.  I enjoy doing the trail and road series with friends, because then it’s more of an adventure together, but I also enjoy doing speed work on my own where I can pick the pace.    

Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?  

A: Surprisingly I find I enjoy trails more, although for convenience I do more treadmill and road running.  I wasn’t a fan of hiking, but in 2019 the BHRC held a 10K trail race as an option, the race at Hisega, so I tried it.  I was glad to see a lot of the other runners walking uphill as well!  

Road races feel more like it’s a contest of speed, where trail racing feels more like I’m a kid exploring outside.  Plus trail races usually have more snacks and beverages!        

Q: What is your favorite distance or race?

A: If I’m completely honest, it’s 200M on a track!  However, I find I enjoy the longer trail races – more to explore, more adventures to be had!    

Q: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

A: I will try to pick a new course or place to run to change it up.  I will do intervals, speed work, just something else to get moving.  

If I’m running by myself, I listen to movies on my ipod, for example: Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2 (awesome soundtracks!), Dr. Strange, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (classic from my childhood), Pirates of the Caribbean, Red, and Frozen 2.. I also watch a LOT of TV shows when I’m on the treadmill.

Q: If I didn’t run I’d ………..

A: Be bored.  I lean toward being introverted, but find that the running community gives me that sense of team and camaraderie that I used to have in high school and college.  I played in volleyball leagues until we had Lucy, so running gives me a social network to interact with outside of home and work.      

Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?

A: I’m still competitive at heart with myself, so improving my times from previous races is always rewarding, as well as pushing myself to try new courses or distances.  I like trail running because every run is different-new scenery, new experiences, new snacks at the aid stations (shots of pickle juice was a new one!).  

Last summer we started using the phrase – shenanigans – for our running adventures, and that has stuck with me.  I was doing the Big Hill race last summer and ended up walking uphill with Rhiannon Suchor (pictured with me), and that started our friendship and running adventures.  We did the Virtual Marine Corp 50K around Hart Ranch in October, and we used my car as an aid station.  I think the guys playing the disc golf tournament there thought we were crazy when we opened the car trunk and it was full of snacks and beverages!     

Q: What is your favorite running memory?

A: This would actually probably have to be my last state track meet.  I had won the 100M dash (4th year in a row) and the 200M dash, and we had won the 4x100M and 4X200M relays at state.  I had run fast enough to win the Gold Medals (fastest of the 3 classes) for both the 100M and 200M.  I was on the podium for the last time, and the announcer was talking about me and how over my career I had won over 20 medals at the state track meet, and he had the crowd give me a standing ovation.  It was very humbling and rewarding, and a very emotional ending to my high school running career.  

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?

A: 2 dry waffles (I usually eat them in the car, if my kids don’t try to steal them first), coffee, and a sugar free redbull for the drive to the race.  I will listen to a CD I made with some songs from high school and college.  I typically have an espresso gel prior to the race starting.  Plus hit up the bathroom a million times.  

Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned from running?

A: I’ve had both spectrums – winning and DFL (Did Finish Last) – and I’m finding that in both cases it’s just about finding the joy in running!  Be willing to try new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone.  It’s not always about winning.  You may have lots of fun along the way, even when you’re suffering on a steep climb, you can still laugh about it.   

Q: What are your running goals for the future?

A:  Bucket Lists: Finish a half marathon in under 2 hours, participate in a Ragnar (I get to do that this summer in Washington-Northwest Passage), Kauai Half Marathon (I was scheduled to run it-canceled in 2020), run a trail race in Utah (it looks so pretty!), and maybe eventually run a 50 miler.  

Q: Who inspires you most?

A: I really enjoy learning about races and especially runners and their stories.  During COVID I really got into ordering/reading running books.  I have a huge stack that I’m reading – Scott Jurek, Dean Karnazes, Catra Corbett, Cory Reese, plus dozens others.  I love watching videos and reading about all of the different races and runners, but I especially enjoy watching videos of Courtney Dauwalter, an ultra runner from Colorado.  She comes across as very genuine and just loves running, and she seems like she’s having FUN.  Why do something if you aren’t enjoying it?!  There is something to be said for going into that pain cave and pushing yourself through it.    

Q: What advice do you have for new runners?

A:  Be willing to put yourself out there and try new races or courses.  Don’t judge yourself against other runners, because every runner has different strengths and stories.  Start building your story, and you may surprise yourself!