Tracy Harris finishes marathons of all kinds

What is your role at Cricket Design Works?

Senior Graphic Designer, photographer... so many other things? Sometimes I art direct, sometimes I write proposals, sometimes I create videos, sometimes I draw letters and make signs, sometimes I write a little something, sometimes I dive deep into thinking about user experience, sometimes I am the print production nerd. Actually, just kidding, I’m always the print production nerd.

What is your favorite part of what you do?

I love that our team is small enough and our projects are diverse enough that I get to do a little of everything. I recently introduced myself to someone new and when I told them that, they said, "I love that you say you 'get' to, and not 'have' to."

What would constitute a “perfect” Saturday for you?

I’d start a summer Saturday at the Dane County Farmers Market on the square with my husband, as early as I can get there to avoid the stupid crowded time. Even if I don't need anything, I still like to go just to look at everything and get breakfast. But we usually need eggs, and often spontaneously buy something produce-related because it's pretty, or weird, or particularly inspiring. Then I’d sit on my screened-in front porch for a little bit with my cats to finish my coffee and enjoy the morning, reading whatever book I’m in the middle of. At some point I’d try to sit by a pool or get out on the lake and soak up a little sun – though if I could modify geography and make this the Pacific Ocean – my happy place – I totally would. Later, I’d head to the best place in town to watch the sunset, the Memorial Union Terrace, with a friend or two to drink some beers and play cribbage or euchre. After that I might grab something to eat at one of my favorite restaurants or food carts, of which there are many to choose from... Finally, I'd cap my evening off with an Outcrop at Rockhound Brewing Co, the brewpub my husband and I own. Beer clearly figures prominently in my perfect day!

Walk, run, or bike?

Run! I've been a runner since college, and for a long time I just ran 3-4 miles at a time, but in 2010 my husband and I decided to try longer distances, and worked our way up to half marathons and eventually marathons. My first marathon was in Madison, and it was unfortunately kind of boring. There's a big stretch where not a ton of people come out to spectate, and it gets to be a slog. My second marathon, however, was Chicago, and it was a really amazing experience. The entire 26.2 mile course is packed with people cheering, and the vibe is so great. It was really hard, not only because marathons are hard, but because on one of my early-ish training runs I fell and screwed up my knee, and had to take a few weeks off from an already shortened training period, and I didn't know if I was going to get back up to speed in time. I ended up being a little short on training, but I ran the race anyway, only a little slower than my first marathon time, and only thought I was going to die a few times. I felt so supported throughout the race, it was fun to see the city that way, and I felt such a sense of accomplishment. (Going out to eat and drink in Chicago after a hard workout was also a particularly nice reward.) Showing myself that I could do something so difficult reminds me that I can do almost anything.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

To confidently speak or perform in front of a group of people. I may come off as a confident extrovert, but I still get crazy nervous.

What's your most memorable journey so far in life?

Two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37, and found myself on the path of treatment. I sort of hate to call it a journey, as that trope totally annoys me, but it really was, and it changed me a lot. Physically, obviously, as I had surgery and chemotherapy, after which my hair grew back curly and brown, rather than my original straight blonde, which has taken a long time for me to accept — I still haven't 100%. It's sort of like when Neo gets pulled out of the Matrix and his self image in the Matrix looks different than his actual physical image, it's hard to sync up. But it also changed me emotionally, of course. I'm still trying to figure out what my priorities are, and how I want to design the next phase of my life. Travel has always been important to me, but even moreso now that I've been rudely reminded how short life is, therefore I'm trying my best to make journeying to faraway lands a higher priority. I was able to drag my husband to Paris and Brussels last spring for our anniversary, which was predictably delightful.

Is social media a blessing or a curse?

I browse Instagram a lot...?

What's one of your favorite accounts to follow?

This is a deep, dark secret, but...I actually love this hedgehog. Also, I follow a *bunch* of cats.