Manuela = HEART and GUTS

2 Aug

Today I have decided to blog about my dear friend Manuela. Yes I also coach her and train with her and race with her but she is more than just one of the toughest athletes I know she is an amazing and kind soul!

Feb. 2012 is when I met Manuela, a past client of mine (Real Estate client) referred her and her husband Giulio to me in regards to buying a home. I remember getting her phone call this soft spoken, funny speaking woman calls and wants to talk about a home she wants to see. I struggled to understand her but was able to make out the main points. I met her a day later at this home and that was the beginning of who knew; such an amazing friendship and years of crazy stuff! (endurance sports crazy) They did not buy that first home I showed them but they did buy another beautiful home I found them and during that process the friendship began, the road of one crazy leading another crazy was formed. (so everyone on Team Gotta Have Heart and then some.. yes you can thank me for bringing Manuela into our lives! Making our lives better and showing us some serious guts and giving us a lot of inspiration and motivation)

It was one day at lunch during the home buying process that we talked running, she told me she ran 7k a few times each week and then maybe 15k on the weekend. She then said she had the dream of running a marathon but was scared to sign up for races and do it. I convinced her that she can do it! I told her you need to sign up for Twin cities marathon, I’ll coach you and you can train with my group. Somehow my persuasion skills were good and she did just that! But then she came to run with the group for the first time on a Saturday morning down at Lake Nokomis and by Melo Glaze donuts (I like to do donut runs now and again) the weather was ominous and it was lighting, wind, pouring rain pretty much all kind of crazy! And yet this group of insane (love them dearly) athletes I coach decided “the hard stuff” was not going to come down for awhile so run on.. it was like Caddyshack scene! We finished the miles, had a donut and she was in! During the next couple months as we prepared for Twin cities marathon you could see the determination, the passion, the excitement for running she had. She showed her toughness and her sweetness. Manuela bonded close to another athlete I coached Krisana and those two were the perfect training partners. Similar paces, and equally full of heart and guts!

In 2012 I was not at the finish line of TCM to see them run, because it was the same day that many of us from the group were in Chicago to run the Chicago marathon. But on that Oct. Sunday in 2012 Manuela and Krisana ran side by side, Manuela her first marathon and Krisana her 2nd marathon and they both qualified for Boston marathon together! When I got to the hotel in Chicago that day after my race and connected by phone with them to learn the news it was so exciting!  Since that day in 2012 Manuela has gone on to run several marathons including 3 Boston marathons with her first one being 2013.  The heart, and passion she shows for running is amazing! The way she races on her limits and with such guts! It was inspiring to me! And it was infectious amongst the group of athletes I coached. Manuela and Krisana continued to run many races side by side, Des Moines marathon, Goldy 10 mile, Boston marathon and so on.  I’ll never forget a few keys moments with Manuela.

  1. Boston 2013 being at the finish line coming out of medical tent and finding her, and giving her a hug after she finished her first Boston and had a very tough day on the course. Then walking back to hotel with her and hearing the bombs go off from that awful terrorist attack.
  2. New York City marathon 2014.  This was the day I stepped back from racing and ran side by side with Manuela for 26.2 miles supporting her the entire race; she was so fit that year and was ready for a break through marathon but the weather! 40+ mile hour winds and all kinds of crazy made for one wicked hard day on the course. But we ran and we had fun…. she might have given me the middle finger a few times but I loved it!
  3. Afton 25k Trail race  July 2015.   This is a wicked hard brutal trail course and I took it upon myself again to not race but yet pace and support Manuela. I had so much fun on those trails, I had so much fun watching the hunger in her eyes, the determination, the commitment to chasing her goal of a “Masters female” course record.  Guess what she got it! she was the Masters female winner and she set that course record.
  4. June 25th 2016   this is maybe my most exciting moment for us over the last several years. I guess because it has two parts.  This was USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships in Bend Oregon.  The year prior in 2015 Manuela won a National title, and that motivated me so much! It inspired me so much that the goal for 2016 was for both of us to win National titles together. I focused all my efforts on that race day nothing else matter except June 25th, 2016.  And guess what we both won National titles that day! We did it together and it was so special! The two of us trained a lot together for that day… along with our teammates at Gotta Have Heart Training (like Pete who also raced that day with success)  and for both of us to reach the top step of the podium at the awards that night means the world to me!

There is so many more highlights and amazing moments over the years with Manuela but those are four at the front of my mind. What she has taught me and those around her is that if you set goals, if you stay focused and committed, if you are willing to get out of your shell, push limits and never back down.  If you live life with no fear, no regrets and a passion for sport and what you love. Success happens!

I often call Manuela the female version of me. She is insane in such a beautiful way! She takes on amazing challenges and no matter what even when coach says back off its too hot etc… she will still push her limits and race with all her heart! Together we convince each other to do amazing things, crazy things some might call it? But we always survive and we always have smiles and are happy we did what most would think is impossible.

I believe Manuela and her amazing spirit has rubbed off on all the athletes of Team Gotta Have Heart… and I can write equally glowing posts about each of them and their courage and heart and no limits attitudes! But today is about the little one, the little German girl because she is taking a “sabbatical” I call it to live in Munich for a bit and so all of us her friends and especially her teammates she trains with are sad and missing her! And of course reminiscing of all the glorious moments we have shared with her. But I also think her story is an inspiring one, one that maybe will motivate you to get off the couch set some goals and chase them! Push your limits!

Manuela you will be missed so much, but you will always be in our hearts, in our minds and you will always inspire us. I can’t wait for you to return and pick up where we left off doing crazy dumb stuff and pushing those limits!  She will be racing for Team USA in Sept. at Long Course Duathlon World Championships in Zofigin Switzerland and believe me this race explains just how nuts she is! J  And when she accepted her slot I thought what the hell are you thinking?!

10k run, 95 miles on the bike, 18 mile run all basically in the Swiss alps or something like that with crazy hard elevations etc…  then 3 weeks after that she runs the Berlin marathon!

See she is a special kind of crazy!!  J

From everyone at Team Gotta Have Heart… we love you and will miss you!

Race with heart! Race on your limits! And race with guts! And no matter what you always make us proud!

Ciao Ciao

Coach MB



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