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Rogers dietician uses extreme distance running to send message

06/06/17 05:15:am
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Annie Weiss is a registered dietician at Rogers-Oconomowoc and has been training her body to handle extreme distances. Her goal was to run the 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail in 19 days. 

Her journey was recently featured in a Journal Sentinel article. Since then her situation changed a bit, but her message is still loud and clear. Annie shared her thoughts recently with Rogers Insight.

How does your running relate to your work at Rogers, and how do you use it as a teaching moment for others?

I work with eating disorder patients on a regular basis and many of them struggle day to day with the over-exercising behaviors and urges. Knowing what I know about athletics and just how kind a person needs to be to their body in order to complete something like this, I really am able to connect with patients about exercise. I know what it feels like to be “a caged animal” or have to be sedentary because of an injury or just simply a rest day. It’s amazing what I have learned about recovery and rest as it relates to the ability of the body to complete strenuous tasks. I am able to help my patients understand that even though exercise can feel really good, the body also needs rest and a break from activity – the whole package.

In addition, I also use my knowledge of running and sports nutrition to explain to patients just how much energy the body needs to get through a workout. I fueled primarily on Oatmeal Crème Pies and Twinkies while running and my breakfast consisted of pizza and pop tarts – all simple carbohydrates which are easy for the body to digest and use as immediate fuel. I love telling patients about what fuels a body best!

How has the media attention affected you and your running?

Being a sponsored athlete I am very much used to media attention as it relates to blogging, photo shoots, and social media posts around the globe featuring pictures and race updates. This was however my first experience in an “event” where a videographer asked to make a documentary about this attempt. It was really a cool thing, but did create some nervousness and pressure. News stations from around the state were in contact for interviews which again created a little more pressure than what I’m used to. In the end, I continued to remind myself that I am only in control of what I can control – my running, sleep, eating, and hydration. That seemed to help relieve some pressure off my shoulders to perform at my best 24/7. I will admit it was very hard for me to stop when I needed to stop because of this component. I didn’t want the world to know I had to withdraw, but in the end it was the right decision (I stopped on day 10 due to a bacterial infection in my legs from swamp waters). I am attempting again in fall with even more drive and determination.  

What is your biggest challenge with running and in your work?

My biggest challenge honestly is when I can’t get through to a patient who is struggling to support their own running goals. I have recently had more collegiate runner patients and they are so resistant to resting for even a day.  The damage that can be done (fractures, strains, etc.) by over doing it can be permanent. I had to learn that too in my early days of my running career so it’s really hard for me when I can’t get through to a patient about just how important it is to let your body heal, rest, and fuel properly. I always remind patients if you are good to your body, your body will be good right back.

You can follow Annie in her next race as she attempts the Ice Age Trail in the fall.

Weiss, Annemarie

Instagram: @ani_weiss

Twitter: @aniweiss

Facebook: Ani Weiss (athlete page, not my personal page)

Blog: www.aniweiss.wordpress.com

Blog: www.brianfrain.wordpress.com (he blogged each day of my attempt)

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