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Chelsea Gondek

You get this huge feeling of accomplishment after finishing a race, especially when you've trained so hard."

HS: How did you get into marathons?

CG: I started running in college after a back injury put an end to my cheerleading career. I enjoy the challenge of competing with myself every day to get better. You get this huge feeling of accomplishment after finishing a race, especially when you’ve trained so hard.

HS: Why not run by yourself?

CG: For one, the atmosphere on race day is indescribable! But beyond that, races are a great way to keep yourself accountable. I’m training for the 70.3, and I’m seeing that Chattanooga’s tri community is so supportive and uplifting. So many people have been willing to help me train and answer my questions. It’s been an amazing way to establish relationships.

HS: Do you have favorite places to train?

CG: I really love the North Shore area for hill work, Enterprise South Nature Park for trail running, and the downtown Riverwalk for regular running. Cycling is great anywhere here, but my favorite is the Chickamauga Battlefield – it’s so beautiful!

HS: What are your goals for the future?

CG: Right now, my main goals center around health and wellness. My little sister, who lives with me, is a personal trainer and is currently in school to become a dietician. Meanwhile, I’m studying to become a nurse practitioner. I think we both dream of partnering on a total-body wellness center someday. We want to encourage others to fuel their bodies with good nutrition and value feeling healthy over looking “skinny.”

HS: What are the most challenging parts of training?

CG: For me, the biggest challenge is almost always mental. I know that I’m physically able to do it, but I have to train for my state of mind. Also, my nutrition was a big adjustment. At first I wasn’t eating enough and I had to learn how to choose the best fuel for my body. I eat a ton now! I’m a huge proponent of using nutrition to enhance your performance.

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