Every Day is Leg Day With Tara Vanselow
By Isaac Escovedo, Reporter
I heard Tara Vanselow was a hardcore runner, so before we worked out, I bought a coffin and finalized my will. This was a good idea, as Vanselow and I ran so fast my soul left my body.
At 5:00 am, I pulled my car over next to a trailhead and jumped as Vanselow melted out of the darkness next to me. I am not sure that woman owns a vehicle, she might just run everywhere.
Running the trails of Island Center Forest in the early morning is cold, dark, and spooky, but also kind of fun. Vanselow calls these workouts ‘ninja runs’ because you constantly have to jump over roots and mud puddles.
“When I was young, my dad was the one that was really active and got me into running,” Vanselow told me. We were barely five minutes into our run at that point and I was already hurting.
For nearly an hour, Vanselow effortlessly maintained a steady conversation and a grueling seven-minute mile pace. Cartwheels are the closest I get to cardio, so I was dying from mile one, but Vanselow kept up a constant stream of dialogue. She talked faster than she ran, and she ran as fast as a person with lactose intolerance runs to the bathroom after a tub of ice cream.
“The furthest I’ve done is a 50 miler,” she said, as I struggled up a cold muddy hill. “I’m not an elite athlete, but I usually get top ten if it’s a smaller race, sometimes top three in my age group.”
When Vanselow told me, “I’ve been running consistently my whole life,” I was surprised and impressed more than anything else. Finding something you love doing and then sticking with it no matter what is always admirable, and Vanselow has never stopped running, barely slowing down when her kids were born.
“It really started when my kids were little. I’ve always been a morning person but once the kids are up, the day flies by, so I had to get up early to go for runs,” she said.
Vanselow’s refusal to compromise between time with her family and time on the trails really hit me. Her husband Rick and her two children came up frequently during our run, and it was clear that there is nothing in this world she loves more than her family. From her fitness to her job, Vanselow has built a life she is perfectly happy with, and it shows. The only thing she talked about as much as her family was her job.
“At my old school, people were out of class a lot, so people just flowed in and out of my office, and I loved that. Everybody at Vashon is doing what they’re supposed to be doing, which is good, but people don’t just come hang out during class. I just want kids to know that talking to them is my favorite thing in the world,” Vanselow told me.
Talking with her is certainly easy because she is so friendly. Therapy may be expensive, but talking with Tara is free.
Tara Vanselow is living proof that consistency is key. Her life is busy but her commitment and organizational skills keep her from feeling overwhelmed. Whether she’s running 50 miles or talking with a student, she is completely focused. One of Aesop’s famous proverbs reads “slow and steady wins the race,” but Tara is winning and anything but slow.