Keri Mandell is a woman that isn’t afraid of taking on big challenges head-on!
Her laundry list of accomplishments includes running all the World Marathon Majors, the World Marathon Challenge, Ironman events, CrossFit, and yoga.
Clearly Keri Mandell is always busy, but I’m glad she made the time to join us for a few easy miles today.
Lifetime Of Accomplishments In A Short Period
Keri Mandell has done more athletically in a few years than most people accomplish in a lifetime.
She admittedly was not into fitness while growing up.
Keri only began running seven short years ago.
In an effort to get into shape, Keri joined a local gym while living in New Jersey.
It didn’t take long for Keri to notice the same woman running on a treadmill day after day.
A fast friendship between Keri and this woman would be how Keri discovered the sport she would end up loving.
Keri thrives on challenges and running presented a challenge unlike any she tried previously.
Consistency, gradually building miles, and joining a local run club was all Keri needed to sign up for her first marathon.
Yoga Saved Her Life
Before Keri became a runner, she was into yoga.
Yoga entered her life at a critical juncture.
About 10 years ago, Keri had just gotten married and had planned to start trying for a family shortly after.
Her life plans were derailed when she found out that she had cancerous cells in her cervix which would ultimately prevent her from having kids.
Keri was devastated and considers this moment her turning point with fitness.
A friend introduced her to yoga and Keri was immediately hooked.
Keri found that her attitude shifted and doors opened allowing her to be present.
She was able to begin to see what her body was really capable of.
All Or Nothing
When Keri first began running she started with 15 to 16-minute miles.
Through persistence and hard work, she was eventually able to whittle down her times.
After crossing the finish line of her first marathon in 2014, Keri had officially gotten the running bug.
Keri is the type of person that when she gets an idea she will do anything to make it happen.
Shortly after completing her first full, she heard about the World Marathon Majors.
Keri successfully completed all the majors and then set her sights on triathlons for a new challenge.
Aside from running, Keri was not experienced in either biking or swimming.
She wasn’t deterred and with hard work, she completed her first full IronMan in 2018.
Keri quickly realized that she preferred long distances and was built to go forever.
Some of her favorite race experiences have been when she performs at her limits and has to dig deep into her well.
It should come as no surprise that Keri was on the search for yet more challenges.
The World Marathon Challenge includes 7 marathons, on 7 continents, in 7 days.
Keri, being the Yogi that she is, believes that the universe guides you to where you need to be.
The challenge, aside from being a physical feat, is also not cheap.
With persistence, Keri was able to partner with the American Cancer Society to sponsor her for the challenge.
Fundraising proved to be a full-time job, but Keri was able to raise $60,000 for ACS.
The World Marathon Challenge offers some unique challenges when it comes to training.
To adequately prepare for the challenges she would face during the week of marathons, Keri had to get creative with her training.
In order to prepare to run in multiple time zones on little sleep, Keri varied her runs to include all times of the day and night.
Her peak mileage was about 80 miles per week with back to back long runs thrown in.
Along with the intense schedule, she also had to be mindful of keeping a balance and avoiding injury.
The best advice Keri got heading into the challenge was to let go of all control.
Seven marathons on seven continents in seven days would inevitably lead to variables that were out of her control and she would have to adapt.
Best And Worst Week Of Her Life
The World Marathon Challenge is hard enough even when everything goes according to schedule.
More often than not, there is not much of a schedule and it’s a race against the clock.
Antarctica typically has the most weather variation of all the locations.
Keri quickly went into survival mode when at the first marathon on the trip she encountered -40 degree Fahrenheit accompanied by high winds.
Running in deep snow with blizzard conditions left Keri with frostbite on a few toes and fingers along with a sore knee.
The most challenging part of the challenge in Keri’s opinion was trying to keep up with her nutrition needs.
Each of the seven locations had unique challenges that Keri had to adapt to.
Keri was thankful for her yoga background both during the challenge and afterward.
Yoga was helpful in keeping her muscles loose between races and ready to go again.
Since the challenge has ended, recovery has been ongoing for Keri.
Though the event itself was only one week in duration, her recovery has spanned several months.
Initially, Keri didn’t account for how much recovery she would need from the travel itself.
Keri takes it day by day and listens to her body.
She has only recently begun running and training again.
Once she is fully recovered, Keri has her sights set on the Arizona Ultra Man in 2021.
It seems Keri is always training for her next big event, but one thing that is always constant is yoga.
Keri is passionate about yoga and encouraging more people to try it.
Yoga encompasses many different styles and types and it’s important to find the practice that works for you.
Keri practices fluid yoga that is similar to moving meditation.
The challenges one encounters on a yoga mat can be translated to other sports and life in general.
Finding the time to practice yoga is the most common excuse that Keri hears.
Much like anything in life, set time aside and make it a priority.
The more someone does it, the more benefits they will experience both in the mind and body.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- American Cancer Society
- Keri Mandell’s DetermiNation Fundraiser
- Arthur A. Roedel Jr. Golf Classic
- Empower Yoga
- Ironman Lake Placid
- Philadelphia Marathon
- Run Around Princeton
- World Marathon Challenge
- World Marathon Majors
- Ultraman Arizona
Keri Mandell is not your typical yoga studio owner. She is drawn to challenges that test her both mentally and physically. Venturing outside her comfort zone is the only way she knows how to live. Click To Tweet
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