#MKERUNFEST Photo Series Week #22: Three Bridges Park

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As our marathon runners continue along the Hank Aaron State Trail, they will enter Three Bridges Park at mile 21.  Once part of an abandoned rail yard, it has since been transformed into 24-acre park planted with native vegetation. The park is part of a $25 million “From the Ground Up” project that began in 2002 to reclaim land along the Menomonee River.  The Urban Ecology Center currently uses it as their outdoor science classroom to give kids hands-on experiences to explore waterways, native flora and fauna, and regional history.

Three Bridges Park features:

  • two miles of accessible biking and walking trails
  • river access for fishing and canoeing
  • three new bike/pedestrian bridges providing access to residents and workers to the new park and jobs in the Valley

Three Bridges Park officially opened to the public on July 20, 2013.

Runner Profile: Lori Tabarangao

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In July of 2013 something in me ignited and sparked what I now refer to as an unstoppable warrior! What I didn’t realize then was the difference between being alive and living. My health was anything but good and without even realizing it I was letting it define and control me. I’ve survived cancer three times, a massive bleed that left me in a coma after being resuscitated (three times), a diagnosis of Lupus, and more surgeries than I can count.

lori03When you have serious health problems the secondary side effects can be worse than the disease itself. A few of the side effects that I personally endured were massive weight gain (from the steroids and other medications), pain medication dependency for 4 years, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a huge amount of guilt for the stress, worry and hurt my family had to endure because of me!

In March of 2013, I underwent yet another major surgery in which my entire stomach was removed along with a large section of my intestines and part of my esophagus. It was at this point I realized there was a reason I was still here and things had to change. What changed you ask? The answer is simple: I changed because it hit me that I wanted to start living my life, not just stay alive! I knew my life wouldn’t be the same. I would need to find a new normal, learn how to eat for my new anatomy, lose the weight in a healthy way, and most importantly find a coping mechanism for my pain, depression and anxiety.

It was a very slow process but I started working out in the gym with my husband. After a few months I moved onto a personal trainer, and by June of 2014 I had started CrossFit. One thing I dreaded about CrossFit was the cardio part. Running 200m was daunting! I met a young woman who was a runner and I reached out to her in March of 2015 simply curious about the whole “running phenomenon!”

Well my life completely changed after that conversation. She convinced me that I could run my first half marathon in May, I love a challenge so we signed up for the Colfax Half Marathon. I couldn’t run 200m but I was determined to do it.

Not only did I do it, but I finished it in under the 3 hour mark I had given myself! I was hooked and on the drive home I had already signed up for my next one a month later.

In July I went in for a routine exam and 3 days later my Dr called to let me know my Thyroid cancer markers were positive and that I once again would be fighting this awful disease. The difference this time, I put on my running shoes and went for a run. No, running won’t cure me but either will sitting on the couch being depressed!

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I’ve chosen to share my story to help inspire others. No matter what you’re facing there is always light at the end of the “trail!” Don’t ever be afraid to step out of your comfort zone or to live your life to the absolute fullest! Always remember it’s how we choose to deal with our challenges and obstacles that define us!!

To think back to March when the thought of running made me cringe to what I have accomplished since May is beyond amazing. Here is what I have done thus far:

The Colfax Half Marathon, Spartan Obstacle Race, Color Me Rad 5k, The Dam Run & Ride 10k, The Warrior Dash, The Color Run 5k, The Esprit De She 10k, Prairie Dog Half Marathon, Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon, Slacker Half Marathon, Prairie Dog 10k and the Equinox Half Marathon (a new half PR of 2:28:58).

I am proof that anything is possible if you want it bad enough!

 

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story, Lori! Good luck to you when you add another half marathon to that list at the Milwaukee Running Festival!

You can read more of our Runner Profiles here. If you would like to have your story featured on the blog, please email tracey@milwaukeerunningfestival.com.

 

 

 

#MKERunFest Photo Series Week #21: Miller Park

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At mile 20 of the marathon, Miller Park will come into view as our runners enter the Hank Aaron State Trail. Home to the Milwaukee Brewers, the stadium was completed in 2001 and is one of the largest construction projects in Wisconsin history. Miller Park features North America’s only fan-shaped convertible roof, which can open and close in less than 10 minutes. The stadium has also hosted number of memorable concerts including Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and the Farm Aid 25th Anniversary.

Runner Profile: Andrea Merkel and Andrea Webb

 

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Known by many as the dynamic duo or simply “the Andreas,” Andrea Merkel and Andrea Webb are taking on the MRF full marathon! We’ve been best friends since third grade and running together for a number of years.  After AW had twins, AM supported her in running the Chicago half marathon. A few months ago, AM had her baby girl.  We decided to run the full marathon together through the city where we grew up. It will be AW’s fourth and AM’s first marathon.

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We’ll be in the back of the pack. There will be mischief and laughter to follow as there has always has been.

 

We hope you two have a blast at the marathon! You can read more of our Runner Profiles here.

If you would like to have your story featured on the blog, please email tracey@milwaukeerunningfestival.com.