ACC employees run in pursuit of health, happiness
March 7, 2012
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -- For three Army Contracting Command -- Rock Island employees, the pursuit of competition is the equivalent to the pursuit of happiness.
Contract specialists Jennifer Paul and Stephanie Migawa, along with procurement analyst Amy Knutson, are active runners, regularly participating in road races and training between races.
All three have been active in sports the majority of their lives.
Knutson played softball and basketball in high school and turned to running in college. Migawa played volleyball, basketball and ran track in high school, then continued to run track through college. Paul began running as a high school freshman.
On any given workday the women can be seen running, chatting, smiling, and pushing each other to go farther, providing invaluable motivation.
"There are days that I'm tired and don't feel like going, but then I feel guilty if I miss a workout with them," said Knutson. "You actually do feel better and more awake in the afternoon after you go work out."
The hard work and training pays off for each of the women in different ways. All of them consistently run the smaller races around town and in the Illinois/Iowa area, but they have larger accomplishments under their belts.
Migawa has run the Arizona Half Marathon four times. Paul says finishing the 2011 Quad City Times Bix seven-miler in 41:52, 14th in the women's female division has been her biggest running accomplishment. Knutson has completed the Quad Cities Marathon in less than four hours.
"It was really hard, but it was such a great accomplishment, so I was glad I did it," said Knutson. "I finished in just under four hours, which was my goal. Toward the end of the race, I saw my time approaching four hours, and somehow I got the speed to finish better than I wanted."
They don't typically run alongside each other on race day. Migawa and Knutson can hold their own and finish very well, but Paul consistently places at the head of the pack. "After we finish the race we're watching for each other," said Migawa. "Jen finishes so far ahead that she's usually doing her cool down, or sometimes she'll see me and then runs the last 100 meters again with me trying to motivate me to finish."
In addition to work, racing and constant training, all three have an even more important reason for keeping healthy. All three are mothers to young children and feel it is crucial to set a good example for their kids.
"I do it for myself, for sure, but I want to make sure that my kids grow up knowing that there isn't an alternative," said Migawa. "You need to be healthy and active. I don't expect my kids to be runners by any means, but there's no reason we can't go out for family walks or out for bike rides."
An overarching spirit of challenging oneself is common to all three women.
"Through the years I have continued to run because I enjoy setting goals and working hard to achieve them," said Paul.