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The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Running toward a new mindset

Hansen takes on new hobby for health benefits

We often think of reaching our prime health during our teen years while being active with sports and school activities. That is not always the case, though. For the past eight months, English teacher Alyssa Hansen has been training for half marathons and found she enjoys running more now than she did in high school.

English teacher Alyssa Hansen poses before running at the Good Life Halfsy in November of 2023. Hansen has also signed up to run a half-marathon in the spring. (Courtesy Photo)

 “I wasn’t really motivated or talented in high school. I was there for a good time,” said Hansen. “I just had no interest in getting faster or stronger, and now it’s much more of a mindset that I have. It’s been a good shift. I’m a lot more competitive now than I was when I was in high school.”

Hansen didn’t start training for fun, though. While pregnant with her second child, Hansen found health concerns that led to her focus on staying in shape. 

“I did it really for more weight control. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had gestational diabetes and so that increased my risk of getting type two diabetes,” said Hansen. “I wanted to get in shape and lose some weight for that. I then started to really enjoy it.”

While this was a main reason for her decision, her husband was a big influence. 

“My husband would always tell me that I could do something and I would always tell myself I couldn’t. The more he said it, I was like maybe I should try it,” said Hansen. “That kind of influenced me to start, but it was more of doing something that I didn’t think that I could accomplish, and that was really influential.”

With the two main influences, Hansen decided to begin her training last June. 

“I go really early in the morning. In the spring and the fall, I’ll run before school. I’ll get up at 5 a.m. and go run a couple miles,” Hansen said. “Saturdays and Sundays are my long runs, so my husband stays with my kids and I’ll go out at 6:30 or 7. By the time I’m done, they’re just waking up. It does take a lot of discipline to be willing to get up earlier and to go to bed earlier.” 

Although she was involved in cross country and track in high school, Hansen has found that she is much more committed to the activity than in the past. 

Hansen takes a seflie with her mom and kids after running her half-marathon. Hansen’s family has supported her throughout her training. (Courtesy Photo)

“I’m a lot more dedicated to running. I feel weird if I don’t run at least three to four times a week,” said Hansen. “That’s kind of different from the past because it used to be such a chore, and now it’s part of my day that I look forward to.”

With consistent training and dedication, Hansen has put her hard work into running half marathons. 

“I ran in the Good Life Halfsy in November, and I’ll run in the Lincoln Half Marathon in the spring,” said Hansen. “You can sign up for a lottery system for the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon. I’m thinking about putting in my name for either of those and seeing if my number gets drawn.” 

While Hansen has been training for months now, she has noticed many health benefits. 

“I lost weight, which was awesome,” said Hansen. “I noticed I sleep better. I can also eat more and not gain weight.”

Although she has experienced many physical health benefits, the biggest one has been a change in mindset. 

“For the first time in my life, I don’t hate running. Even when I was in high school, I didn’t enjoy running, but I’m in good enough shape that I forget that that’s what I’m doing,” Hansen said. “That has been the coolest feeling to be able to run 13 miles and forget that I’m running.”

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About the Contributor
Mckenna Jones
Mckenna Jones, Junior writer
Mckenna Jones is a junior and in her third year of journalism. She enjoys writing entertainment reviews, sports stories and taking photos. Outside journalism, Mckenna is involved in volleyball, track, NHS and FCA.
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