Rock Bottom to Running, Modeling & Competing – Elizabeth Tkachuck
Running was my life saver. It’s was my stress relief, my alone time, and it helped me set positive goals that I could accomplish. I never knew it would send me down a path to the lifestyle I’ve begun to live now. I started running during a very stressful time in my life. I needed something I could control, something positive. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and brought me through physical hurtles which I swear helped me conquer struggles in other aspects of my life.
Active Adolescent to Hitting the Bottom
As an adolescent I dabbled in lots of activities and sports. I never really found something I loved enough to stick with for a long period of time. I played soccer, softball and volleyball. I was on the swim team in middle school and participated in competition dance line a few years through a private studio. I really started getting obsessed with being in shape around the age of 13. By the age of 17, I was working out 6 days a week including 3 miles of cardio daily.
Unfortunately, this didn’t continue on through early adulthood. I can’t tell you for the life of me why I quit working so hard to be fit, all I can say is I did. Fitness and health were far from my top priority through most of my 20’s. It was during my early 30’s, and a very trying time in my life, that I realized something severe needed to change. My health was deteriorating. I was tired all the time and literally slept 18 hours a day. I started having dizzy spells and my appetite fluctuated with no energy to do anything much. I started to develop a rash on my face that would come and go and I had two little ones to take care of. I went back to my nutritionist who ultimately discovered my kidneys and liver were having difficulty filtering toxins from my system and I was suffering from adrenal fatigue. I had no choice, but to change as much about my lifestyle as I could.
I started biking as a stress reliever, 5-6 days a week and lost 30lbs like it was just waiting to go. Shortly after things had calmed down I started going back to the gym, this time, inspired by my brother and sister-in-law, to take up running. It wasn’t something I really did. Running was never my favorite activity, but for some reason I was drawn to it. It was when I expressed to my brother how I’d love to run a race with them where I did something I’d never thought I’d do. My brother has always had this way of challenging me and usually, I accepted the challenges before I realized what I’d gotten myself into.I had agreed to run a half marathon with them.
My first half marathon was May 2013, I started training in early February of that year with no idea what I was getting myself into. I realized how important it was to eat right and it took me several weeks to perfect an eating schedule and what foods to eat so that I fueled my body properly. It was also difficult figuring out how to get my training runs in on the days I had my kids. Needless to say I utilized my gym’s child care and my amazing mother so I could still get in proper training time.
It wasn’t even a year later that I started getting the itch to run a full marathon. By Christmas of 2013 I was determined to run in the 2014 Chicago Marathon with the ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston. I started training right away knowing it would be challenging. That February I injured my knee skiing down a black diamond hill. There was absolutely no way I was backing out of this marathon and decided my best option for recovery and future injury prevention was hiring a trainer. He is hands down the reason I completed that marathon last October. Not only was I physically in better shape, but he pushed me past physical and mental limits I never would’ve done for myself. He was also the reason I decided after I finished my marathon I was going to take my fitness to another level and compete in a body building competition and get into fitness modeling.
On to Bodybuilding Competitions
I met Bethany Nelson, aka Team Peanut through our very own Heather Owen and have expanded my fitness ventures into a lifestyle with Bethany’s coaching and guidance. For my future, I hope to compete next spring in the Gopher State Classic here, in Minneapolis, MN and have started building my portfolio.
I’ve expanded into educating others in nutrition and fitness and also would like to become certified in both. It’s no longer difficult eating healthy daily because it’s my norm now. My kids are learning healthy eating and not only help with meal ideas, but they are also involved in my strength training where I use their body weight for resistance when I can’t make it to the gym. They giggle still while sitting on my back as I do pushups or bear hug me while I do squats. My daughter has asked to run in a race with me, however we’ll start with a kids fun run. As busy as my life is, I realize how important it is to stay fit. Even if I’m not training for a race or a competition I will continue to lead this lifestyle. I don’t wait until I have the time to workout, I make the time, to me it’s no different than doing the dishes or the laundry.
I had planned to run in the Tough Mudder-Twin Cities this year, however after a severe storm they canceled the event I was registered for. I plan on attending one out of state or for sure next years Twin Cities event. In September this will be my 3rd year completing the 10 mile Women Run the Cities race. I’d also like to pick up a few more races before I start solely focusing on my competition next May.