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Running The River Bank: Amelia Rhodes

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Amelia Rhodes

Amelia Rhodes

When some 20,000 runners and walkers depart from Grand Rapids as part of the Fifth Third River Bank Run on Saturday, May 8 the weather is always a source of wonder and concern. Some years it is hot (for Michigan) in the mid 70s. Other years it has been pouring rain and cold, which was the case for 2009.

Regardless of the weather, runners will need to keep hydrated on the course and River Bank Run is ready with 2,922 gallons of water and 540 gallons of Gatorade to fight dehydration. Some 172,000 paper cups will hold both water and Gatorade for participants and for people in the 25k there will be 562.5 lbs of GU Energy Gel (in packets, of course) to help them reach the finish line.

Amelia Rhodes lives near Lowell and is a stay at home mom with two pre-schoolers.

Which race are you running and why?
I'm running the 25k, for the challenge. I run for health reasons and I find signing up for a race is a great way to stay disciplined with training. The farthest I've run so far is a 1/2 marathon, so I thought the 25k would be a good next step.


Are you a repeat racer, or is this your first River Bank Run? How did you decide to run it?

This is my first River Bank Run. I just moved back to Michigan from Florida last year. When I lived in Grand Rapids 7 years ago, I always remember hearing about the River Bank Run, but I wasn't a runner at the time. It's a great community race, and my husband, a friend and I signed up to do the 25k together.
Describe your training program.
I started running with my partner back in January, through the snow and ice, on dirt roads in the country. I've been running four days a week with three  shorter runs (3-6 miles) during the week and doing longer runs on the weekends. My longest run so far has been 14 miles, two weeks ago. I've been doing a modified version of the beginner's training schedule posted on the River Bank Run website.
What animal do you run like?
I polled my family and the consensus was that I run like a mule. After I stopped laughing, I had to agree with them. I'm stubborn and consistent, refuse to give up, and run a very average 9:30-10:00 minute per mile pace. 
Music or not? 
No music. I run with a friend, and we find that conversation is a better distraction and motivator than music for us. Running is very social for me!
What is appealing to you about running?
When I turned 30, my body started to revolt. For a health reasons, the doctor suggested I get more active. Since we were in the process of moving at the time, I knew that running was something I could do anywhere, even when I didn't have access to a gym. It helped that my husband is also a runner. We ran together as I got started to help me build my endurance. Now that I'm in my second racing season, I love not only how strong and energized I feel while training, but also am so proud that a year ago I couldn't run five miles, and now I'm ready for 15. I love the sense of accomplishment, and how supportive and friendly the running community is.
What is your biggest fear. if any, about running the River Bank Run?
Besides the fear of getting trampled at the starting line, I fear having my leg muscles cramp up the last few miles. That happened to me last fall during a half marathon in Lansing, and I definitely don't want to experience that again.

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