Today’s guest is a lady that I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a few times in the past.
We are making it official today and letting everyone listen in on our conversation.
I’m looking forward to going a few easy miles with Shelly Brazelle today.
On The Sidelines
Shelly Brazelle didn’t think much about running until she was almost done with college.
She went to The University of Minnesota in Duluth which conveniently happened to be the home of Grandma’s Marathon.
Shelly worked in and around a lot of runners which began to pique her curiosity about running.
Prior to ever attempting to run, Shelly was persuaded to spectate at Grandma’s marathon.
At that time, Shelly didn’t know much about distance running.
After watching enough races, she came to the conclusion that she could never do it.
Her view on that changed slightly when she made the decision to go the distance on wheels rather than feet.
A Unique Marathon
Shelly had always enjoyed in-line skating so when she came across an opportunity to cover a marathon distance on skates she committed to the challenge.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, training for a marathon on skates wasn’t that much different than training for one the traditional way.
She typically went out on the weekends to skate for a few hours and did shorter training during the week.
Shelly included some cross-training into her program which typically took the form of running.
Her training went smoothly and Shelly successfully completed 2 in-line skate marathons over the span of a couple of years.
The incorporation of running into her training is what would eventually propel her forward into more running.
In 2004, Shelly moved to Virginia and she quickly realized there weren’t nearly as many paved paths nearby to skate on.
Out of convenience, she began to run more and skate less.
For a few years, Shelly never ran more than 5 miles.
It took her until about 2008 to mentally and physically break past the 5-mile mark with running.
Her first real race was a turkey trot and following that race, her perception of running changed for the first time.
As someone that struggled with depression and anxiety, she found that running helped.
It was 2011 when she began training for her first half marathon.
The Best Kind Of Peer Pressure
Shelly had a great experience both training for and completing her first half marathon.
Shortly after that race, a co-worker convinced her to sign up for the Virginia Beach Marathon.
She was successfully sticking to her schedule for her marathon which was scheduled to take place in March.
Her then fiance/now husband had planned a trip to Myrtle Beach in February.
Prior to traveling, he mentioned to Shelly that there was a marathon taking place while they were there.
Shelly had run 16 miles for her long run at that point and decided to sign up and see how it went.
Not being fully trained made the race more challenging for Shelly, but it also showed her what she was capable of.
Shelly then went on to run her second marathon only one month later.
Testing Her Limits
Shelly got her first taste of the ultra world when she agreed to pace a friend for a portion of her 100k.
Being around ultra runners piqued her interest in what she herself might be capable of.
The year 2019 was a big year for pushing her limits in the running arena.
Shelly was already registered for a half marathon at Disney in January and a marathon in June.
When she came across a local 50k in late summer, she knew her training schedule would prepare her for the ultra.
The 50k fell on one of the hottest days in Maryland’s history.
In the midst of the race, she took a hard fall and ended up breaking her hand.
Shelly pushed through and not only finished the race but also earned first place in her age group.
Running Is A Powerful Tool
Following the year of pushing her limits, was the year that races came to a halt.
Shelly used 2020 to work on strengthening her weakness to come back as a stronger runner when races do resume.
For Shelly, running has always been about good stories and good times.
She has had her fair share of mistakes and bad races, but she chooses to learn something from each of them.
Shelly made the decision to start 2021 off in a good way and went all in on the inaugural Diz Runs Fat Ass New Years Day Race.
The premise was based on running one 5k distance per hour.
Participants could choose to run as few or as many as they preferred in the 24 hour period.
The end result for Shelly was ten 5ks over the day in which she learned a lot about a 24-hour challenge.
Shelly has no lack of goals for the future and will always take any running over no running.
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