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Follow This Mother!

Tina flanked by her sons, El Capitan, and Half Dome in Yosemite, post-hike

Tina Riggins-Mickelson, 32, of Chico, California, is keeping her eyes on the prize (a sub-4:00 marathon) once she gets out of the clutches of her physical therapist for a laundry list of lower-body issues (tendintis, inflamed ligaments, IT band issues, you name it).

Best recent run? Ohhh, I haven’t run in so long. But the first 20 miles of the California International Marathon, where I was on pace to bring in a sub-4:00, was amazing. I felt like I was floating for most of it...until I had to stop at mile 20 to pee. I just never got my mojo back. Physical therapy has taken most of my athletic energy lately but I did have a few great hikes and bike rides in Yosemite Valley a couple of weeks ago with my husband and kids. Those rivaled my best runs ever.

How I got my nickname: My nickname Mighty Mite, or MM, is from my friend Ed. He is such an inspiration to me on the trail and in life. I took up kettlebells pretty seriously before CIM 2009 to strengthen my core. For the first time ever I could see muscles in my arms, legs, back, and toosh. As I was throwing around weights, I was also speeding up during group workouts and Mighty Mite came to be.

I knew I was a runner when: I ran varsity track as a freshman in high school, but after my family moved to a new school district, I gave up on cross country and track and field. Then when I was 29, I was diagnosed with osteopenia. To offset already low bone mass, I needed to do something. I signed up for my first half marathon program through our local Fleet Feet. My second-chance journey into running led me to an amazing group of friends and somewhere between the 10K group that first summer and marathon group runs that fall, I became one of them, someone who looks in the mirror and sees a runner.

Being injured sucks worse than: bronchitis at Disneyland. I know, I’ve been there. But the bronchitis resolved itself a lot more quickly than what the doctors and a PT are trying to fix now. Lesson to be learned: Don’t ignore the pain or your coach’s advise. As Alan, Fleet Feet Coach extraordinaire, would say, “You need to get the little niggles sorted out.”

Photography is: my creative outlet and the job I love to go to. Seeing people do things that come naturally to them makes me happy. I love senior portraits and weddings. I may be directing people to do things, but the best pictures come from people being themselves. Getting paid to do it once in a while is icing on the cake.

Top three things on my life bucket list: Backpack the John Muir Trail; run that first sub-4 hour marathon for a worthy cause (like Jack’s Fund for Melanoma Research because I was diagnosed with Stage II Malignant Melanoma in high school); and most of all see my sons, then grandkids, graduate high school and collage, get married, and have kids of their own.

From 1 to 10, level of disappointment at not meeting SBS and Dim at Nike Women’s? (ha, ha): I’d have to say about an 8 to match that awful race where I puked at miles 6 and 7 and came in 10+ minutes slower than my first half marathon.

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2 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. I love these story’s of following a mother. Please keep doing them and how do you pick these women to follow? Hopefully Tina gets better quickly I have been there with injuries and it took three doctors, xrays, mri and finally one brilliant Physical Therapist to make me all better. It seems like forever when you can’t run. Get better soon!

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