My name is Pete Weldy and I am an RRCA Certified Running Coach. I am married to my wonderful wife Carrie who is an extremely talented runner and is currently training to qualify for the 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials. I have been running for 25 years and love the benefits of the sport. . Whether you’re a recreational or an elite runner, there is so much that running can teach you about life in addition to the health benefits.
I got involved with running shortly after high school (many running shoes ago) and started out by simply running around a dirt track in my hometown of Sierra Vista, Arizona and loved every moment of it. When I was attending the University of Arizona I would find myself running several miles around the mall of the campus even on the evenings when the student body was out partying. I loved running and it gave me freedom from the stresses of the day. I was always an active child and a competitive one at that. I later got involved with the sport by entering local races in Tucson, Arizona. I recall the days of throwing on a pair of Nike shoes and those short shorts (as were the styles back then) and a plain old cotton t-shirt and toeing the line. Racing was not my strong suit but I loved the camaraderie of fellow runners and simply getting out there and feeling good after a hard fought race.
Several years later after getting in a fair amount of 5K and 10K races under my belt, I completed my first Full Marathon! I completed the Tucson Marathon in 1995 in 4 hrs. 29 mins. and 18 secs. not a blistering time but a completed Marathon nonetheless. That race taught me a lot about running in particular… training! I continued running and racing for several more years. In the fall of 1998 I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse and found it harder to run with shortness of breath and up to 40% backflow of blood with each heartbeat. I realized that running was a huge part of me and something I did not want to diminish for the rest of my life. After consulting with a cardiologist and surgeon, I had open heart surgery to repair the Mitral Valve on January 4, 1999. Shortly after my successful surgery I was so determined to get back into running that I signed up for the Sabino Canyon Sunset Run which is a 7.4 mile race up and down the paved roads of the mountain. It’s a grueling race but a beautiful run with plenty of desert landscape to match the setting desert sun in Tucson. Just 3 months after open heart surgery, I completed the 7.4 mile Sabino Canyon Sunset run in 1:14:30 (10:04 pace).. I knew I was back in the game!
My love of running grew even stronger as I prepared to get myself into racing form once again. My next big race would be tackling the Tucson Marathon for a second time on December 3, 2000. At this time I was working as a Health Fitness Professional onsite at Honeywell in their wonderful gym and had access to all of the latest training equipment at my disposal. After 5 months of hard training, I ran my quickest Marathon in 3:39:11! This was a HUGE moment for me and reassurance that my body was more than capable of the rigorous demands of training for a Marathon. It was one of the happiest moments of my life and it proved that with determination and self discipline, I could overcome any obstacle in life.
To this day, I have completed 6 Marathons and 7 Half Marathons as well as dozens of shorter distance races. I also enjoy Road Cycling and have completed 4 El Tour de Tucson rides of 66-111 miles.