This week we interview FASTZach CEO/CBB and Master’s runner Amanda Brooks, a mom wearing many hats, Oiselle voilee runner, and creator of an awesome running app called FASTZach! Amanda and I (Megan) met while on a run at Carrie Tollefson’s summer running camp and when I found out she had created a running app, I was instantly excited to check it out. In this interview, you’ll discover more about lessons learned through Amanda’s many years of running and being a mother that extend far beyond the running routes you’ll find in her free downloadable running routes app, FASTZach (which if you haven’t already, go download it now!).
1. Please introduce yourself! Name, town, career, running events/distance:
Amanda Brooks, Minneapolis, MN
Job that pays the bills: Comptroller at Brooks Cameron & Huebsch; Property Management at J3, LLC
2. How did you start running?
I grew up diving but started running in Middle School/High School – in cross country and track. I continued to run during college and grad school, as a “training” v
ehicle for diving. As an adult, I ran to stay in shape and to meet people – to make connections..
3. What is your favorite part about running?
The people, the team, the tribe, the support, the freedom to move, the exhaustion & the joy. The release and balance it provides. The friendships and connection.
4. What is your life like outside of running? Career, hobbies, home life?
Husband, 3 kids – My day job at the law firm and in building management; my passion job in developing FASTZach and putting it out in front of the running/travel communities. I run and workout a lot, cook, travel & read. I spend a lot of time shuttling kids – shifting from Role A to B to C. I cover a lot of territory in the different jobs I hold. It’s a crazy juggling act but I am super lucky to be able to try out so many hats.
5. What’s been the biggest challenge or obstacle you’ve faced in your running journey? How did you overcome it?
Finding the balance between wanting to run and training and making that fit with kids, family, “adult-ing” work. Probably the comparison struggle and the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” instead of defining my own running journey. They fear of missing out – spending more time watching what other’s were doing and failing to enjoy what I could do and wanted to do. Overcoming that has a lot to do with figuring out what buckets matter most and what balance you need to find as a household. Being okay saying no – defining boundaries that make me comfortable. It has taken me a long time to be okay with defining my journey.
6. What has being a mom taught you about running? And likewise, what has running taught you about being a mom?
Being honest and stating your needs. It is probably intertwined, but if you don’t carve out time for yourself and fuel your own mental health no one around you is going to be balanced. Running is that balance for me. That decompression and reset button. You spend a lot of time as a mom/wife/business person feeling like you are cheating someone or yourself. There is a lot of guilt and you have to find a way to work around it – to say no when you need to say no. And to explain why you are saying no. To be very honest with where you are in the world and how you are feeling about things. To find your team – your support network and to trust them. To be open and trust and know that despite outward appearances everyone is going through something – and trusting people with your baggage often means that they will trust you. You can’t do it alone – so find people who are different but similar. Lean in, Lean On, Offer a Hand and a Smile.
7. What does being a strong runner chick mean to you? How do you embody “strength” in your own life?
Being a Strong Runner Chick is knowing your limits – and knowing when to push. Asking for help and guidance and being vulnerable. Saying this hurts, this sucks – and this is the most amazing thing in the world. Being able to laugh, cry, pound it out – being transparent and honest. Not being afraid to put yourself out there. Amazing things happen – some people push you to the side, but wow….others surprise the hell out of you and pull you right up. It is those unexpected ones that get you….you are thankful for those relationships.
8. What advice would you give to your younger (18-20 year old) self?
Oh my gosh, take it all in – SLOW DOWN! You will get to do it all and there is really no other time where you can just focus on you, on your team. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Value your strengths and weakness. Congratulate others on success, be proud but also kind and humble. Be the person who lends a hand. Pay it forward….always pay it forward.
9. Any other words of wisdom?
“Run the mile you are in”….heard that on a Lindsey Hein “I’ll Have Another” Podcast
. I think it applies to life and running and the day to day with kids and family. We all spend so much time planning ahead that we miss the moments we have right in front of us. Pay attention to where you are right now – don’t let the moments, the joy and pain slip you by. Sometimes you have to sit in the good and the bad to fully appreciate what you have right in front of you – all of life offers a “teachable moment.”
10. How can we connect with you? Blog, social media, etc:
More on FASTZach:
- IOS is live and FREE
- Android is in testing – also free
- International Maps are launching
- App works best when you actively edit your route – if the request is under 5 miles
- Users can –
- Plan routes ahead of travels (i.e. – I am in MPLS but traveling to San Fran, I can plan my route, save it cross check with with other maps, crime stats, people I know in the area)
- Save routes they have created
- Share routes – via text with themselves, with friends, with training groups (email, text, screen shots, etc)
- GPX files are available – we are processing how to let users access them (i.e. I can load the GPX to my Garmin watch and use the route in that manner)
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