Meet our Half Marathon Superstars – Part 2

Happy Monday to you! First a quick reminder: our Summer 5K and 10K courses start next week. We can’t wait to meet our new runners – hope you’ve had fun shoe shopping. If you’d like to join the Summer gang there’s still time to secure your spot!

Now back to our Superstars… cue snazzy logo…

Up & Running SuperstarsLast week we met the first six Running Superstars featured in our Half Marathon Course. Today we bring you a sneak peak at our interviews with six more amazing ladies!

Sara running with her husband Ale
Sara running with her husband Ale

Sara Lando

Bassano del Grappa, Italy
Blog Sara Lando & Peeping Gnome Running Team | Twitter @bruko

Sara was in the very first Up & Running 5K Course back in Spring 2011 and recently completed her first half marathon!

What has been your most memorable running moment(s) thus far?
I pretty much think nothing will ever beat the feeling of completing my first 5k. I was so scared and anxious I was actually on the verge of tears while driving to the start line. My plan was to run-walk it, as the longest I had run without stopping up to that moment was 3 km, I think, but Coach Julia told me I could do it and the amazing thing is that I did and I loved it. That’s the first time I got to understand how training suddenly comes together and I must say each time I raced a new distance it has been such a joyful experience, for me.

The last km of my first half were really emotional too: we were running in the middle of nowhere (it was the Red Rock Canyon Half Marathon) and right before the end a woman was holding a sign saying “this is your moment” and I got so overwhelmed, because that’s when I realise that not only I was actually going to finish my first half, but I would finish strong and happy.

What does running mean to you?
Running has made me realise that I am way stronger than I thought I was. I learnt I am not a quitter, and I was really surprised about that. Through running I started caring a whole lot more about other stuff, like the quality of the food I eat. I no longer care about calories, but I make sure I know what I’m eating and since I switched to organic, mostly unprocessed food I noticed a significant change in my energy levels. Also, running has made me a huge change in how I see my body: I used to have a really horrible relationship with it, but now we are a good team, most of the time.

Nancy Toby
Nancy Toby

Nancy Toby

Washington, USA
Blog Nancy Toby: Run Big! | Twitter @nancytoby

How did you discover running
My adult return to running happened in 2000, when I decided the new millennium was a good reason to start a healthier lifestyle. Since then I’ve completed 12 marathons and about 45 half marathons (I’ve actually lost count!), usually at the back of the pack.

What’s your favourite fuel for running?
I have to watch my calories so in regular training I try not to let running turn into a justification for extra snacking. During longer runs or races I usually use a combination of moderate amounts of sports drink and/or sports gels or chews to keep my blood sugar up and stave off bonking. But after the race I like to use the rule, “You can eat anything you want for as many hours as the race is long”, that is, eat your favorite indulgences for 13 hours after a half marathon.

Jess Allen
Jess Allen

Jess Allen

Washington, USA
Blog Blonde Ponytail | Twitter @blondeponytail

What is your strategy for a half marathon race?
Negative split! Start out conservative so you have enough in the tank for a strong finish. Practice what you will eat, wear, and hydrate with BEFORE the race.

What does running mean to you?
I want to run forever, not just today. Accordingly, running means freedom, health and strength to me. It’s something that can be done almost anywhere. While I have always lived and active lifestyle, finding running and the surrounding community has educated me beyond what I could imagine!

Janet Oberholtzer
Janet Oberholtzer

Janet Oberholtzer

Pennsylvania, USA
Blog Because I Can | Twitter @janetober | Book Because I Can

Tell us about your running history…
… in 2004, at age 38, all hell broke loose when I was severely injured in an accident. I woke up in a hospital to discover that I had almost lost my leg and my life in an accident 12 days earlier. I found out that my doctors didn’t know if I would ever walk again, because my pelvis was shattered and my left leg was so injured that during the first week they had almost amputated it.

Thankfully I walked 3 months later. Every doctor said running was definitely a thing of my past and at the time I was okay with that, because I was so happy to be walking again. But living with pain, limitations and a deformed leg was harder than I ever imagined it would be. I spent about two years on the couch angry at the world and depressed.

Finally, with counseling, time and allowing myself to go through a time of renewal, I begin crawling out of that black hole of depression. We only get one life and I decided I didn’t want to waste it… I wanted to live it well.

So I started walking more and over the next 2 years, I had 4 surgeries to increase range of motion and decrease pain in my left leg. Each surgery helped and 4 years post-accident (in 2008) I was able to go off pain meds and one doctor gave me the okay to try running again.

Slowly, but surely I restarted running. Again, I didn’t have any specific goals because I had no idea what my beat-up body would be able to handle. I simply did what I could, with what I had each day. Thankfully my body didn’t fall apart, but instead it became stronger and in 2009 I did my first post-accident 5k. Since then I’ve increased my training and gone back to my favorite distance, the half-marathon. I’ve done 5 so far, with the fifth being the Princess Half at Disney in Orlando in February.

How do you feel during a run?
Running to me now means that our bodies are amazing and can recover from more than we think they can if we give them the proper care and if we follow the familiar cliche’ of taking one step at a time. Running changed and saved my life twice… first when I was struggling with post-partum depression and second after the accident. It has given me a lot more confidence in myself because I now realize that while there’s some things in life I can’t do (like sing, dance or keep a clean house) there’s many things I can do if I take life one step at a time and never give up.

Alesa West
Alesa West

Alesa West

California, USA
Twitter @Djakwest

How do you make time for running?
It’s not always easy to do so with the busy schedule I now have as a result of a new direction in my career. I either get up super early to get in a few miles, or I hold off and do it after work, depending on the season (summer/winter) My body tends to adapt to the changes, and rolls with need for sleep, exercise, and time of day I perform. But weekends, are always MY TIME, and I do as much as physically possible to get in all I can. It’s my most favorite time!

Can you tell us about your goal to complete an IronMan?
I’ve always been one to want a challenge. For me it’s a challenge personally to push myself and reach for higher goals. I have been a personal trainer for many years, so each place I have been blessed to be a part of , have offered me multiple challenges not only work wise, but also athletically. To me, pushing your limits, on so many levels, is natural. Besides the fact I started water skiing at the age of 6, I love to swim and bike. So, why not add in a new love for running! I just want to hear the vibration of those famous words, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

Kristi
Kristi

Kristi

Texas, USA
Blog Half Virgin

How did you “discover” running?
In the fall of 2010 my husband’s family started a weight loss contest with $400 prize money on the line. I won, losing about 20 pounds in 6 or 8 weeks. I worked with a trainer once a month who designed a program for me to do on my own the entire month, then we’d meet again and change things up for the next month. He was big into heart rate based cardio, so my cardio was meant to be in the lower zones for fat burning. The more in shape I got, the harder I had to work to get my heart rate in that zone. I went from walking to a slow jog (like 4.3mph on the treadmill). When my heart rate went above that zone, I was supposed to go back down to a walk. Before I knew it, I could do 5 miles without stopping. Because my pace was slow, I wasn’t out of breath and my legs weren’t killing me. I credit this for the reason why I liked running and now LOVE the long run. I think the biggest mistake new runners make is to run hard and fast. Well, that kinda sucks, so you quickly decide you aren’t a runner and quit.

How do you feel during a run?
I love the long run. The pace is comfortable and I almost always have at least one running partner, so we chat most of the time. If there is a group and I don’t have anything to say, I can listen to the others. On my shorter weekday runs, I usually don’t think about anything. That’s my zone out time. But there’s nothing better than blowing off some steam with a good strong run. The really long runs still tire me out for the day, but I recover quickly the next day.

Huge thanks to all our Half Marathon Superstars!

Want to have a Superstar Summer of running? Join us for our self-paced Half Marathon course or our 5K and 10K courses which start next week!. All course flavours contain kickass training plans, inspiring content and unlimited coaching support – find out all about them here.

Register now for Summer 5K and 10K - Courses start next week!

  1. Karena
    Very inspiring, just what I needed to read to get my motivation for the 5k course really flowing? I especially loved Sara's comment about running teaching her that she's not a quitter. I wNt at for myself :)
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