About me and this blog

Andrea at the end of the 2011 Midnight Sun Run

Me at the end of the 2011 Midnight Sun Run

I’m Andrea and I’m working on becoming a better version of me. In my current work life I’m a graphic designer. Previous to that I studied to be a wildlife biologist and spent several years doing environmental education. Outside of work I’m a slow runner, dog musher, birder, and occasional photographer. I’m originally from New Jersey (South Jersey for those who know the difference), and I’ve lived in Fairbanks, Alaska since 1992.

Becoming an athlete

I’ve never been particularly athletic, hated running, and never made exercise a long-term priority until recently. My youngest sister has been a runner for many years now. When she started running, I laughed and said, “Have a good time!” I never imagined I’d be running too some day. In 2008 I joined Team in Training here in Fairbanks and began my journey to become a runner (more on that to come). I’ve since completed four marathons (three of which were the Equinox Marathon, one of the hardest in the U.S.), six half marathons, one leg of a marathon relay, and several 5K, 10K, and miscellaneous mileage races. I’m a solid back-of-the-packer who aspires to be closer to the middle of the pack. Most winters I’ve switched from running me to running my dogs. I’m trying to change that this winter and bought a treadmill to help with that goal. Last winter I began learning to skate ski and hopefully will resume my lessons once the temperatures rise and daylight increases.

Working on my diet

I’m a terribly picky eater, although I’ve gotten a tiny bit more adventurous as I’ve gotten older. I really want to eat healthy, and have improved on that in recent years, but my pickiness often gets in the way. I try to eat as much real food as I can, but sometimes convenience, taste, or availability get in the way of that goal. I also hate my kitchen (too small, not enough storage or counter space) so it’s hard to get motivated to cook. I’m overweight and hope that cleaning up my eating habits and exercising more diligently will change that.

Naming my blog

The hardest part of starting a blog so far? Choosing a name! I originally was going to go with “Running from my genes,” but that was already taken. Instead I opted for “Golden Heart Runner” because:

  1. Fairbanks, Alaska is known as the Golden Heart city and I do most of my running here.
  2. Heart disease runs in my family. So far my heart is fine and I’m working to keep it “golden.”
  3. I’ve been told I’m an inspiration to others. I think that suggests I have a golden heart. Or at least I try to…

Other stuff in my life

Me racing sled dogs

Me & my dogs racing in the 4-dog class of the 2005 Gene's Chrysler Limited North American Championships. Photo © Sled Dog Studio/Dave Partee

I’m married to a wonderful guy who supports my crazy hobbies 110%. We currently have seven non-human kids: four dogs and three cats. We’re both computer geeks to some extent (him more than me) and kind of homebodies. As I mentioned above, I’m a dog musher. Not distance mushing like the Iditarod, Yukon Quest, or what they show in Disney movies like Snow Dogs. I do limited-class sprint mushing: we go short, fast, and sleep in our own beds at night. I have a couple of my own sled dogs, but not enough for a full team (anymore). I’ve been training partners with two other great sprint mushers for several years; one of which owns the majority of the dogs we run and cares for the main trails we train on. I usually race (for fun, not super-competitively) in either the 4-dog or 6-dog class with dogs that didn’t make my training partner’s race team. My two non-retired sled dogs are getting old and will hopefully race in the Alaska Dog Mushers Association‘s AARP division this winter.

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