This week on That Girl, we are celebrating Tessa Waldrep, a North Carolina runner, yogi and Crossfit athlete who believes we are way more capable than we think we are. Case in point, Tessa couldn’t even run one mile when she first started working out. Now she makes running–and other sports–a regular part of her routine. We love that she also has a group of workout buddies who hold her accountable. Find out what they do if she doesn’t get out of bed in the morning!
Meet Tessa Waldrep:
I am 40 years old and was born and raised in Shelby, NC. Shelby is known for it’s barbecue and it was the set location for District 12 in the movie, Hunger Games. I have been teaching since 1993. I teach Algebra to incredibly bright 7th and 8th graders. My primary sport is running, but I also love yoga and CrossFit. I am always up for an opportunity to try new things!
Fitness/health accomplishment you are most proud of:
I feel most accomplished by the fact that my son, Ben (14 years old) wants to be fit and healthy. His dad and I have tried to be good examples for him. He has been a year-round swimmer since the age of six. Witnessing him making daily decisions that are healthy makes me prouder than running any marathon.
What inspires you to get fit every day?
The two glasses of wine and Breyers ice cream I have in the evening always inspires me the next morning to work out! Seriously though, heart issues run in my family, so I work out because I want to live a LONG time! Plus, I have the coolest running and workout buddies who are so much fun!
What do you do when you don’t feel like working out?
Since I teach, I have a few weeks off in the summer. During this time, I love doing morning workouts so I can chill the rest of the day. Scheduling a rest day or two each week usually curbs my desire to skip a workout. Rest days are the best when time slips by and I realize that it’s lunchtime and I am still in my PJs! Unfortunately, there are still those mornings when I just don’t feel like getting up to work out. To avoid this, my girlfriends have been instructed to send me “guilt” texts whenever I say that I am not going to make it. Nothing like a little guilt to get my feet on the floor in the mornings! And finally, if guilt doesn’t work, then I just stay home and write about running on my blog!
Favorite energizing meal:
Since I believe we made it to the top of the food chain for a reason, I enjoy a big fat steak every now and then. However, I am not so sure the energy from it is immediate! I know the protein helps build my body. Of course, I still do the pasta supper before a big race. My ritual is 1/2 bagel, 1/2 banana, along with coffee the morning of the race seems to always get things moving right along (if you know what I mean!).
What’s your favorite way to chill post-workout?
There are great pubs and coffee shops in my town. My running buddies and I usually start our runs at a pub or a coffee shop so afterwards we can indulge in a tasty beverage and spend quality time with each other. The post-workout beverage is necessary to complete the full workout experience! I believe the more fun I make the working out experience, the more likely I will continue doing it!
What is your top kick-ass workout?
I recently did a benchmark workout at CrossFit. The workout is actually called, “Barbara”.
5 rounds for time with 3 minutes rest between each round:
20 pull-ups (modified with bands)
40 sit ups
This type of workout makes me physically AND mentally strong. Workouts like this help me when I am running that particular mile that seems impossible to endure.
Where is your favorite/most unique place you’ve ever exercised?
My favorite place to run is in the cemetary behind my old Junior High School. The locals have named the 1.4 mile loop the “Fat Lady Hill” or the “Betty Hill”. This cemetary is filled with hundreds of very old trees that make the course shady and so beautiful. It is full of hills and flats. Traffic is never a problem. And Betty’s tombstone is located at the very top of the grandest hill! Her tombstone reads, “She Came To Shelby As The Simple Fat Lady From The Fair. She Left This Earth As Our Friend.” No joke, it really says that. I did a little research on her and wrote an article in 2010 for our local paper. I also wrote about it on my blog. Here is the link if you want to read more about Betty, http://thefirstmilesucks.com/2012/04/13/meet-betty-the-fat-lady/
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned through sports?
People are capable of WAY more than they realize. I remember not being able to run a mile when I started. Therefore, I can completely relate to people who are just starting out on their fitness journey. I love the feeling I get when I help people reach a goal. That is priceless to me.
Photo: courtesy of Tessa Waldrep