Member Spotlight: Sandy Dittell

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How long have you been running and why did you start running? I started running in 10th grade because someone asked me to join the track team at our high school. I just fell in love with the sport immediately. It became something for me that I could see myself getting better at. I loved how I alone was responsible for my performance and performances are very objective.

How long have you been part of TRL, and what drew you to the club in the first place? I have been a part of TRL since the end of September 2022. There are several things that drew me to this club. One, I had already done several Sunday long runs with the group since 2019 but hadn’t officially joined. Two, I love how well organized and structured the group is. There doesn’t seem to be any clear issues with organization. I could see how well coached the team is and the workouts online. Third, I already knew Valerie Weilert from when I previously lived in the Tacoma/Seattle area as we were previously teammates on Club Northwest up there. Fourth, I loved how diverse and accepting this group is of all people. Everyone seems to be friendly, gets along well, and anyone is welcome to come. Finally, there are people who are at the same fitness level I am that I can actually train with and not do workouts alone.

What do you do when you’re not running (job, family, school…whatever it is you’d use to introduce yourself outside of running)? One of my other hobbies outside of running is playing Pokemon Trading Card Game. I play this at my local card shops and online. In fact, our store Glimpses of Wonder was part of a Team Challenge Tournament for Season 3 with lots of stores around the world. In Season 3, I was part of the team that took top 32 in the world for this online TCG competition.

What’s your favorite distance/type of run (5K, half-marathon, marathon, ultras, relays, track, trail, etc.)? I enjoy 5ks and 10ks mostly, but I ran my first half marathon back in December at the Holiday Half. It was an enjoyable race. I do not have enough data from just one time, though, to know if I love it more than the other two distances yet. I will soon do more half marathons to see how far I can do.

Where is your favorite place to run in the greater Portland area? While I haven’t gone there for a couple months, I really love Forest Park. I like how I can get on a softer surface there, get some hills in, and still do a long run all at the same time.

What’s your most memorable running experience (or experiences)? I have so many of these. But for recency, I would say running my first half marathon in December. I had no expectations of anything. I just went out there with the pack and pleasantly surprised myself. I went out way faster than we had initially done in training but was able to sustain the pace on race day. It goes to show you just gotta give yourself a chance on race day. You might be better than you thought you were.

What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Prioritize staying healthy. This means making sure you do the little things to stay healthy such as don’t do too much too fast, listening to your body, knowing when it’s okay to do more and when you need to hold back, making sure to get plenty of sleep, proper nutrition, staying hydrated, doing drills, doing strengthening exercises daily at home, foam rolling daily at home, icing when needed, etc. The combination of all these things is prioritizing staying healthy. There is more growth and better performances alone from just staying healthy and not getting injured.

Tell us one fun fact, hidden talent, or something we don’t know about you, but should? I really LOVE food. I constantly think about food all day long. I constantly watch cooking videos all day long. I love exploring new restaurants. I love cooking new dishes I have never tried before. There is something really enjoyable about food for me.

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