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Meet #teamsparkle – @pastrychef_dani runs through a heart attack

We think THE best part about Sparkle Athletic is the AHH-MAZING people that make up #teamsparkle. We are so incredibly lucky to “meet” (IRL and virtually) so many team members, but we thought it’s about time we introduced the people that make up this inspiring & motivating community.

With that being said, it’s time to meet a member of #teamsparkle. Up next is Dani or @pastrychef_dani, as she is known on social media.

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Tell us about your past race/running experience:

Dani: I first started running in January 2013. I was a pack a day smoker. I was in my office one day and mentioned that I wanted to run the Disney Marathon just because I wanted the medal. I was told, “nope, you won’t be able to do it”. Thank you to my coworker that fueled that fire. I quit smoking and the next day I laced up for what may have been the hardest mile since high school. I’ve been thru a lot with running. I was on my way training for the Chicago Marathon in 2014 when everything kind of just went wrong. At the end of May 2014, I wound up in the hospital. I just came home from a run and I wasn’t feeling well. I ignored what I thought was just hunger pain and gas. I carried out my evening and went to dinner with a friend. While I was at dinner I started losing feeling and I couldn’t sit comfortably. I decided I wanted to go home and lay down. Instead, I walked out of the restaurant and announced I wanted to go to the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital I was having full blown chest pains and didn’t know what hurt more. They admitted me right away, hooked me up to the EKG machine and determined I was having a heart attack. My cardiologist came in, looked at me and said while you’re not my youngest case, you are an athlete and you should be taking better care of your body. I had no idea what that meant. Being a newer runner still, I had no idea about nutrition. He reviewed my blood work and found that I had/have a magnesium deficiency. Since that day, I researched on how to keep my magnesium up and just to be a healthier person. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my treats. I have had some people call me inspirational, but honestly, I just love running. There’s not a race that goes by that I do not toe the line thinking about what happened to me but with 4 marathons and 23 half marathons and counting, I don’t have any plans on stopping!

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We are so glad you are a part of #teamsparkle. When did you first join and what color was your first skirt?

D: I purchased the yellow sparkle skirt for my first marathon which was the Disney World Marathon in 2014. I wore a Snow White inspired costume!

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What/Who inspires you to continue running?

D: My friends and family inspire me. My dad suffered a pretty massive heart attack a few years ago. While he was in recovery he started going to the rehab gym and decided there he was going to change his lifestyle completely. He signed up to do a Spartan race. I figured if dad can make changes in his life so can I. My dad and I share this special bond when it comes to running and fitness. I think this is due to the fact that we both suffer from heart issues. He helped me with my marathon planning and was basically my first cheerleader, and don’t tell him I told you, but we share tears at the end of pretty much all of his, and my, races.

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We all know how much #teamsparkle loves their treats as much as they love running… What’s your favorite indulgence?

D: I’m a Pastry Chef. Naturally, anyone would think that I love to eat what I make. Believe it or not, I don’t! When I bake something, I make something really small just so I can try it out and see if it is something that the everyone will like. Then I give out samples to make sure it’s a hit. My favorite indulgence is Salt n Vinegar chips. Especially post race!

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Which Sparkle Athletic product is your favorite “go to”?

D: My favorite “go to” is the black sparkle skirt. Like anything in fashion, black goes with everything!

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What is one of your favorite parts of racing in a Sparkle Athletic skirt?

D: When I race in my hometown, typically you won’t see too many sparkle skirts around. I love the feedback I get from other runners or from spectators. Plus, I love when I can pass a guy and tell him he just got passed by a girl in a skirt. 🙂

Thank YOU so very much for “joining the team.” Individually each & everyone of you is amazing but as a “team” we ROCK.

Everyone has a story, and we want to hear YOURS! The #teamsparkle community is such a loving and inclusive group, but often times we are tackling our runs solo. Knowing your teammates can help you to feel more a part of the running community.

If you would like to share your story, whether it is about how you got started running, what motivates your running, why you love running, or how running has changed your life, please let us know! We would love to feature you on an upcoming “Meet The Team“ post – so email us at meettheteam@sparkleathletic.com!

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