|"I didn't choose running...running chose me"|
I run to feel strong and to feel at home in my body. I love pushing my limits and redefining them. Not to mention I’m a huge grouch when I don’t run.
How long have you been running? How did you get started? Why did you choose running over other activities?
I started running five years ago as a coping mechanism when I was first dealing with a chronic illness, but I’ve been running to supplement other sports since I was very young. I didn’t choose running.. running chose me. It was the only thing that brought me out of my funk and made me feel alive. And now I’m just hooked.
How do you motivate yourself to run regularly? What about on the days the weather is bad or your are feeling particularly lazy?
On a normal day, I don’t need much motivation to get out there. I love to run and you’d have a harder time convincing me not to get out there than to get me to do a few extra miles.
Lazy days and bad weather days are two entirely different beasts to me.
On bad weather days (I see plenty of them in my current part of the globe), I just imagine how badass I’ll feel powering through the rain, wind, snow or what-have-you, and how proud of myself I will be having finished the run. Those are emotions worth chasing and are more than enough to get me out the door.
On lazy days, the cure is to just look in the mirror. One of the great things about running is that you can see its benefits in your own body. When I look in the mirror and see a person who is physically strong through her sport, I am pumped to get out there and get even stronger. Laziness be damned, I have some ass to kick.
|Maximarathon in Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland|
I don’t use a coach and I’ll just flip through whatever books I stumble upon at the library, but I’m a fiend for running articles on the internet. I’ll read almost anything running related and find that the twitter community is really helpful in finding quality articles.
How do you fit running in with your daily schedule?
It is just a huge priority to me. Running is always on my mind and I can’t focus on the day unless my run is either finished, or I definitely have a pre-thought out time of day that I will be able to run.
Do your friends and family support your running or think you are crazy?
Both! My friends and family accept my running addiction and support my racing, but the whole “Sarah is crazy” thing isn’t new to anyone. 5am 20 milers have only given this belief more backbone.
What is your favorite running terrain (road, trail, treadmill)?
I love to run everywhere and anywhere. As long as I’m moving, I’m happy. I find myself on the road more often than anywhere else, probably due to convenience. But, above all, I am an absolute sucker for riverside running. The best summer of my life I spent living in Cambridge, Mass starting every morning with a run along the Charles. It was freaking blissful.
But, you can see my favorite place that I have ever run in the picture below.. Inis Mor, an island off the west coast of Ireland. The most beautiful parts of the island are only reachable by foot and it is just a breathtaking place.
What is the hardest race you’ve run to date?
The Long Branch Half Marathon of this year. It’s a super pleasant, easy and flat course, but it was my first race back after falling very ill again. I spent the last four miles shivering and vomiting every few feet.
The thing about bad races, though, is that they can be huge motivators. I ended up having a pretty great racing season after that disaster and PRed with each of the four half marathons that I ran in the next few months.
What is the most enjoyable race you’ve run to date?
Seven Bridges Road Half Marathon, also of this year. I just had good vibes going on and had a great run. I woke up on race day, naturally and before my alarm, to a light breeze on the bay outside of my uncle’s condo. Now go ahead and try to tell me that’s not an indicator to a great day. The race itself was small and quiet- hardly any crowd support, but I found that to be really peaceful. I was able to zone in on my run, and I paced and fueled really well. Throughout the whole race I was as close to the front of the pack as I ever have been, and I had plenty of umph left at the end to push for the last three miles. A great finish to what started off the be a lousy season!
Have you ever been injured due to running? What were the ramifications?
Yes. I tore my hip flexor a few months ago and am just getting back into serious running now. The ramifications were a lost autumn racing season, withdrawal from the Dublin Marathon, more temper tantrums than appropriate for a 21 year-old, and many hours in the swimming pool. However, I am now more grateful to be able to run than ever before and a little bit wiser about avoiding injury. I also have a much nicer butt after all of those rehabilitation exercises.
Do you use any music or run tracking devices when you run, or are you a naked runner?
I only listen to music when I am running on the treadmill. I do most of my running on the road in a city and do not feel safe listening to music outside. I do use a Garmin. I love my FR210 and appreciate its role in improving my running, but I am not addicted to it. I am more than a number and will never judge myself solely on what my Garmin has to say about my running.
How do you get yourself through the difficult parts of your runs? Do you have a personal mantra or do you just give up?
My brain comes up with a different mantra every time it needs one, but a recurring one has been, “run tall, run strong, run proud.” When I am really suffering, I think of a person from my personal life who I view as particularly strong for one reason or another, and I imagine them running next to me. It is overwhelming thinking of someone who is incredible to you, and you really can’t help but pick up the pace and make it to the finish when you imagine them beside you.
|Sweaty, rainy happiness after PRing at the half marathon mark of a 15 mile race|
I’ve never been in a situation where I couldn’t make it to an appropriate place to deal with the big run issue (but yes, I do consider underneath a bridge on a remote country road to be an appropriate place). My big problem is vomiting on the run. Once something is ready to come up, you can’t really hold it down. I just do my best to keep it out of the public eye if this happens on a training run. I’m a pretty stealthy public puker. As for a case of the mid-race voms, I’ll just pull to the side of the road and let it go, then keep on running. Because, really, what other options are there? And spectators, I love you all and I’m sorry, but if you can’t handle seeing a runner puke, you probably shouldn’t have chosen the latter miles of a long distance race to park up at.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking up running?
Don’t give up until you’ve reached your first runner’s high. Believe me when I say you won’t want to give up after that. Also.. “real” running shoes are worth it. Go to a specialty store and take the plunge- it’s the only expense you’ll have in your new path to being healthier and happier.. until you start getting hooked on racing.
What is your next big race?
The next big one will be either the Blackpool Marathon in England, or the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia, both in early-mid March. I currently live in Ireland, but my family lives in the US. I just have to decide which direction I want to travel in for my next 26.2. I’m preparing for a PR for that one. After that, I have two bucket list marathons that I intend on running in the spring: Connemarathon in April and Mont Blanc Marathon in June.
What is your immediate running goal?
To throw myself into this new-to-me training style for the next 18 weeks. My schedule now values quality over quantity (but still revs up the quantity decently) and measures some runs by time rather than distance. I’m liking it so far.
Overall right now, my goals are to train hard but smart, avoid injury, and prepare for a 3:25 marathon in March.
What is your ultimate running goal?
I just want to keep chasing my bliss. I want to keep finding new challenges and I want to let running take me to places, out in the world and in my own psyche, that I would never see otherwise.
Do you have a way we can keep track of your progress (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc)
Twitter! I love connecting with other runners and this is my #1 platform for doing so! I keep a runblog, too.