Rieger balances life, family and trainingPublished 10:49am Friday, May 17, 2013
Roberta Rieger is a name that probably isn’t familiar to a lot of folks in the “Lakes Country” of Minnesota, but for a big chunk of the year, she’s a well-recognized face at the Fergus Falls Area Family YMCA.
She makes a daily commute from her family farm in Walcott, ND, which is just west of Wahpeton, to a nursing school at M-State in Fergus Falls. Before, between, and after classes, the 36-year-old mother of three finds time to train at the YMCA for this weekend’s Fargo Marathon.
She’s operated at a dizzying pace the past few months, finding time for her family, school work and, hopefully to get herself in physical shape to compete in one of the most demanding events in athletics.
“Seriously, I’ve felt overwhelmed,” Rieger admits. “It seems like I have a hard time keeping my house clean and doing a lot of the normal everyday things I have to do.’’
Rieger’s children range in age from 10 months to three and a half, they can be a challenge and combined with all her other daily chores on the farm, getting a 36 year-old’s frame of mind back into a student’s line of thinking can be harrowing.
She says she often only thinks of things she ‘’has to do.”
Rieger previously had been pursuing a career in Natural Resources at NDSU in Fargo, but that was an option she felt would be especially trying, considering the obligation she faces with young children.
‘’I’ve always liked science-related things and how that works, so nursing would fit me pretty well,” added Rieger. “I’ve always been fascinated with the human body, its functions, and the way it works. It’s just amazing what you can make the human body do.’’
Rieger says she has competed in a half-marathon before, which encompasses 13.1 miles, and thinks she can handle a full marathon, which is 26 miles. Her training has involved 12-mile runs 3 days a week, some Saturday morning jaunts with a group of 40 friends and acquaintances, and work on the treadmills at the Fergus Falls YMCA.
She’s no stranger to athletics, competing in track and some basketball before graduating from Moorhead High School. Her specialty in high school was the dashes, not necessarily distance events.
“I’ll just have to work my body into it,” Rieger says of the marathon, “it takes time.”
That’s time away from the farm, her kids and the 20-minute dance parties at home which her family enjoys immensely.
But the idea of introducing her young children to some healthy exercise seems even more appealing to her.
She says her husband, Chris, thinks she’s crazy at times but has remained supportive in all her ventures. Days for both of them often become long and tedious. In fact, she calls a lot of her days “organized chaos”, admitting that she often doesn’t function well unless there’s a lot on her plate.
‘’But I’ll be ready this weekend,’’ she adds with a smile. “They might think I’m nuts, but they’ve all been very encouraging.’’