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'In the Spotlight' with Andrea Vaughn

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'In the Spotlight' with Andrea Vaughn

In this edition of 'In the Spotlight,' let's talk with Andrea Vaughn. I've had the pleasure of working with Andrea for several years now and it has been super enjoyable as she continues to work hard to improve her running and achieve other health & wellness goals.


One thing that makes Andrea fun to work with is her willingness to stay committed and make adjustments when life gets hectic. Whether it's a new job, relocation across state, or injury, things don't always go as planned. But, by remaining positive, planning for success, and sticking with it, good things will happen in time. Those are big factors which have led to Andrea's success today. And also constantly looking at dog pictures/videos on instagram... : )


Without further ado, let's shine the spotlight on...


Andrea Vaughn




Q: Where are you from?

A: “Originally from the Nashville/Franklin area, but moved for work last year to Knoxville, TN.”


Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be? Why?

A: “I really love being a Tennessee native, but if I were to move, it would be somewhere with cleaner water for recreational sports like fishing or kayaking. Ever since I was a kid I’ve thought it would be quite the experience to temporarily live overseas one day.”


Q: When you aren’t working, what are some of your favorite hobbies?

A: “I love any outdoor activity like hiking, time spent with family and friends, exploring Knoxville events, and watching classic movies with my cousins. A special talent of mine is eventually getting around to reading a book that I’m many months behind on finishing. I love volunteering and hoping to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital, after I adopt (in a couple months) a German Shorthair Pointer named Molly. Garrett may say sending him Golden Retriever videos, ha!”


Q: What are the top reasons you enjoy running & strength training?

A: "Running is a big stress reliever and my alone time to get outside and out of my head. I have gastrointestinal disorders that NEED physical activity. Running and strength training have helped so many times in managing flare ups. Strength training helps me in everyday life, from squatting to pick something up, playing on the floor with my nephews, reaching to grab things overhead, or simply carrying heavy boxes when moving. It helps me to not only mentally feel better, but physically feel better."


Q: When you first started working with Garrett, what were the goals you wanted to achieve?

A: “My goals were to run more miles without walking and increase speed. I was all about the stamina and speed.”


Q: What motivated you to work with a coach and what are some of the improvements you've seen so far?

A: “At the time when I started working with Garrett I had a personal trainer. I had a big goal to look a certain way and smaller goals to achieve certain physical fitness abilities. My coach at the time trained maybe one elite runner, very few recreational runners, and was not a runner himself.


I eventually realized that I needed running help when trying to achieve goals on my own wasn’t working. I quickly realized through Garrett’s reflection that I was trying to bake multiple flavors in one pie that were fighting against each other, instead of being complimentary flavor profiles. Garrett helped me to see that less is sometimes best. I also learned a valuable lesson in what I really wanted out of being active and that was to have a plan that not only benefited me as a runner, but was sustainable and would give me the tools to stay an active adult well into aging. If you simply, refine, and add consistency your abilities will shine.


Through Garett I am learning more consistency in my day to day, better stress management, improvement with core/single leg stability, improved running form and learning strategies to prioritize my health. Most importantly learned overall improved perception of how a run went, and more confidence in myself, especially as a runner. Belief in no matter what obstacles lie ahead, if you have the tools you can still achieve your goals. I’m a pretty flexible person, but Garett taught me that when life happens, there ways to still achieve your goals, like having to tweak how and when you get there.”


Q: You just completed a 10k. How was the race?

A: “The race was consistent and I performed overall better than previous 10K race. I felt better during and post race than I ever had before! With that being said this race was very challenging at times, between the East TN hills and the heat. I was very proud of myself when I finished.


Not sure if I’ll do another 10K race or not. I run for the pure enjoyment of it, I don’t have to race to enjoy it. In fact, I enjoy very few races. I could see myself running a 10k on a regular basis no race needed, just to challenge myself and keep in good spot with an aging body.”


Q: Do you have a favorite race whether that be due to location or past performance?

A: “Franklin Classic in Franklin, TN! A large amount of the community comes out on Labor Day for it. You start the race in downtown Franklin’s square, run through parts of Franklin, ending the race running through the historic district, and then crossing the finish line in the square. During all of the races a few people will stand in their yards or on the sidewalk, some have water hoses or sprinklers going, and others hold funny signs like “You may be dying, but at least you’re not at work.” The best part is the cheering section on both sides of the square as you run to the finish line.”


Q: What is that one thing you dislike the most but continue to work on because you know it will help?

A: “LUNGES!! I have always hated lunges, even back as far as when I participated in sports growing up. I find lunges to be not only challenging for me, but very boring.”


Q: One of your priorities is to improve single leg stabilization to improve performance but also protect the knees and hips. What exercises do you feel are the most challenging AND the most helpful?

A: “I struggle with staying balanced while on one leg, not being knock knee and keeping my hips lifted, without dropping. Any single leg exercise like deadlift, hip bridge with marching, or calf raises. All are challenging and stress my body, but in different ways.”


Q: Consistency of training is one of the biggest keys to success. What have you done to improve in this area?

A: “Consistency for me is looking at the week ahead to make adjustments as needed. Completing training regardless of the weather and consistent eating habits that help fuel my active lifestyle and keep my gut happier. I’ve been intentional on incorporating deep breathing each week to complete at my desk during the day. Trying to implement more daily goals to improve consistency of hydration and sleep.”


Q: Are there certain strategies you employ outside of running to maintain a strong mindset and reduce stress?

A: “I try to leave at work whatever stress was caused during the day. Deep breathing during the day has really helped. Working on my mindset towards myself has been important. Learning to say NO to people, NO to taking on more than I should, and YES to myself has been HUGE.”


Q: Looking ahead, do you have any new goals/races you are working towards?

A: “Biggest goal is to fine tune my week and stay consistent with training, as miles ramp up and I start incorporating things like trail running (Garrett finally broke me down) to stress my body in different ways. Working towards my first 13.1 miles! I currently don’t have any goal races, contemplating doing the flying fur with Molly and the Flying Pig 5K."

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