The ABCs of me, from flower picking on the soccer field to rugby, to marathon training, and everything in between.

Rachel Flanagan Uncategorized

Hello, new friends!

So after years of talking wistfully about becoming a personal trainer, I finally got off my rear and got certified. It wasn’t easy, but wow, I am EXCITED about it.

Since this is my first post, I’ll share a little bit about me. I’m a mom of two young kids (James is 8 and Paige is 5) and married to one of the most laid back—for the most part—guys around. PJ is the yin to my yang, as I take after my dad as someone who typically can’t sit still for too long.

Despite a slow start to my athletic life—my parents always talk about how I used to pick flowers on the soccer field when I was supposed to be playing—I got into gymnastics, and then a few other sports in high school. I gravitated toward individual sports for a long time (competing against myself or the clock is something I oddly enjoy), including running with my dad on the weekends starting when I was in high school. We ran together for years, including running a few half marathons together, until he got his hip replaced last year. It was a great way for us to connect, and something I really miss.

I’ve been a runner for a long time, and have always used it as a means to stay in shape but also as a time to work things out in my head. I’ve drafted emails, letters, arguments, and weekly menus while I’ve been out on the road. Running has always been cathartic for me. More often than not, when I come back from a run I feel like a layer of stress has been left out on the road. It’s certainly cheaper than therapy.

I also played rugby for a long time, starting in college at the University of New Hampshire and after college with New York Rugby Club. Rugby did so much for me–introduced me to the power of camaraderie in team sports, taught me that I actually have the ability to tackle someone to the ground (at five foot nothing, I never thought that was possible, especially when I was facing down a six foot Amazon woman coming my way) and taught me how to be a leader during my time as co-captain back in college.

The friends I’ve made playing rugby are some of my favorite people ever. I even married a rugby guy, and between the two of us, we do not have one joint on our bodies that has not been injured somewhere along the way. I had three knee surgeries back in the late 90’s and he is so beaten up from playing that he has to walk down stairs almost sideways. I kid you not. But our wedding was one of the best rugby parties I’ve ever been to, complete with singing and general buffoonery, despite our nice attire.

Doing a ton of rehab after each surgery turned me into a strength training evangelist. I can appreciate how good it feels to have strong muscles to compensate for my bad joints. I never could have gotten through my marathon training without my time in the gym. Someone told me once that marathon PRs are not won on the road but rather in the gym. Truly, the stronger you are, the more efficient your running will be, and it will keep you out on the road instead of in the doctor’s office.

Now I’m in the midst of setting up an outdoor fitness class in my neighborhood a couple of times a week. I absolutely can’t wait to get started–I just know it’s going to be a blast. I have a ton of ideas (80’s week, anyone?) and am really looking forward to getting it under way. If you’re in the area and are interested in joining me (either for a class or for a personal training session) let me know!

Still here? Good. So let’s get to know each other a bit. What’s your favorite thing about working out? 


NY marathon 2014. Amazing bucket list experience.


Circa 1981 or so, warming up for the annual one miler for kids. Don’t judge me for my fashion sense — I swear we all jacked up our shorts back then.


Me and my dad after the Tar Heel 10 miler a few years ago. Go Heels!


Taken during a UNH rugby game. I know, mouthguards are crazy sexy.


Taken at Lake Temagami up in Canada, north of . . . everything. It took forever to get there from NC but it was worth it. I loved to kayak up there, and was out almost every day.
10 workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home--even in your kids' playroom!
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