I wanted to do another installment of interviewing my SIL! If you didn’t catch the first one, you can see it here! I talk alot about her in this blog (its because she is pretty much amazing!) and now SIL is going to be running her first marathon this April! And not just any marathon, but BOSTON! I’m so proud! It’s been a long time since I’ve been a new marathoner and over the course of these past few months, I’ve loved hearing her side of marathon training. I know alot of you are new marathoners and I think you can really appreciate this!
I decided for this post, I would mix it up a little bit this time and do some Q & A’s, interview style! Here are her answers below!
We are now Eight Mondays (starting March 2!) from Marathon Monday…How are you feeling about everything?
I’m feeling good most days. I feel strong. I finally feel like I can do this. I’m not going to lie I am tired. I overthink a lot of things and my wheels are always turning but overall I feel good. I feel the strongest I have ever felt just 2 months shy of 40 and I that makes me smile.
One of the things distance runners typically get excited about is hitting new distances for the very first time in their training..what is your most memorable “new distance” that you’ve hit thus far?
My most memorable new distance has been 17 miles training on the marathon route with my DFMC team members. It was a balmy 18 degrees that day. I wore way too many layers and felt like I was carrying so much extra weight. I kept thinking (praying) for some beautiful days ahead where I would be wearing tank tops and shorts and feeling so free. This is how all this winter training will pay off in the spring. If it ever comes to visit us here in New Enland.
(Pre race selfie!)
Tell us about some of the speed bumps you’ve hit along the way in your training.
Ugh. Speed bumps. I think being a mom, a wife, a teacher, a photographer and taking on a marathon is nearly impossible. If I didn’t truly believe in my heart that NOTHING is impossible I might think it was impossible. People ask me how I do it? Or how I am doing it? I’m not really sure. My go to answer is “You can do anything!” That’s because I am a pretty positive person most days. I think you need to have a really strong, supportive village. You also need to have a really strong mindset. You need to have time management and you need to be able to fit it all into every day and be at peace at the end of the day with all of it. Even the stuff that didn’t work out. Even the stuff that didn’t fit in. The stuff that didn’t get done. You need to be able to let it go. That is the hardest part of all of this. I have a hard time with that still. And I am pretty hard on myself. The amount of effort that goes into one day sometimes is overwhelming. All the things that need to get done from sun up to bedtime. But then I stop and I think about the WHY. The reasons I am doing this is because people have cancer. People fight cancer every day. People die from cancer every day. My people. My sweet, kind, loving, fearless people. And that is just not okay in my heart, in my mind, deep down in my soul. We need a cure. We need to be closer to a cure. This needs to end. So while I fight my own minor battles to get through the day and get all of this done. My battles are nothing compared to what my people are fighting.
What are some of the things that have come to you naturally, or, more easily than you would have expected before you began training for Boston?
I think running in the freezing cold has been easier than I thought it was. I hate to be cold. Absolutely hate it. I am a “heat on 72” kind of girl. I am a “WHY do we LIVE HERE” every day kind of girl. I am always cold. My bones are cold. I seriously don’t think I have any blood. And when someone told me what training for Boston in the winters would be like, I wanted to cry. But we’ve had some pretty tough runs, some pretty long runs, some pretty freezing runs this winter and I have survived. And it was not as horrifying as I thought when I first started this journey. I can do this. Even in winter. Even in single digits.
How has marathon training changed you? Strengthened you?
I think training for Boston has strengthened me in so many ways. My body and my mind. While I have always considered myself an athlete. I swam competitively my whole life. I feel like I am a much stronger swimmer now because of my running. I was always a sprinter so anything over a 100 yards and I was done. I no longer feel that way. I feel stronger in that sense.
This is silly but I feel taller. This is a funny only because so many people have said to me… “Did you grow?” I am 39 years old. I have been this tall since 6th grade. Which was awful, btw. To be 5’8 pushing 5’9 in 67th grade when everyone was tiny. But no, I have not grown. Maybe I stretched a little. But it’s hysterical because standing next to my smaller friends it does seem like they’ve shrunk. So bizzare.
I feel like I am stronger in my mind than when I started. When I started this journey, I had run a ½ marathon but it wasn’t really until recently that I have felt like “I can do this.” I know I can do it. I am doing it. There’s not turning back . But now I feel like I really can do it. Mind over matter has never really been my thing. It’s slowly becoming my thing. I also feel like I am stronger at being at peace with things. There is a calmness in me. And I am not a calm person. I am a 100% Type A, overthinker, overplanner, worrier. But when I breathe, like really breathe, which is not something I was ever used to doing. I feel at peace with all of this.
What are some of the weird “marathoner-in-training side effects” that you’ve experienced
Welp. I love that word: Welp. It’s not even a real word but I love saying it…
I didn’t realize that you could lose a toenail or 2. Nor did I realize that if they fall off it’s not like there’s nothing underneath. It’s almost like there’s another one just waiting for you. It’s crazy. And it’s not painful. It just happens. And it’s okay.
People don’t get that. And that’s okay too.
I feel like this journey has been much like a pregnancy.
So many changes with your body. I am hungry more. I eat every 2 hours. But I am trying to be really good about what I eat because I know it will only help me on this journey. But I am only human. Let’s not get crazy now. While I am not thirsty all the time, I am constantly drinking water just because I am afraid of becoming dehydrated. I haven’t yet (knock on wood) but I feel like I need to stay on top of it logging all these miles. Some days I walk funny (usually after those long run days. I had to finally take my engagement ring off the other night (much like my pregnancy) hahaha but for the opposite reasons. I took my glove off and my ring flew off. So that’s locked up for awhile until my hands become sweaty and warm again because right now they are just cold bones. My wedding band is apparently smaller than my engagement ring and stuck on for life.
And just tired. Oh so tired. Not like an unhealthy exhausted. Just beat. I am not a ton of fun to be around on weeknights as I am asleep around the same time as the kids. Poor Bri. The weekends I really try to step up my game so life isn’t completely passing me by. There are things to do! Fun things!
Everybody loves inspiration! Tell me three things that drive you to keep going when you want to quit!
Why do you run?
So my top 3 things that drive me are…
I run in honor of my beautiful godmother Shirley Cyr. When I think I am done. When I think I can’t run another step I picture her face. I hear her laugh. She was robbed of years with her family. For her I would run to the ends of the earth.
I run for my mom and my aunt who have both battled cancer, My mom battled breast cancer and today is cancer free and my aunt has battled thyroid cancer since 1993 and is still fighting. 3 sisters. 3 different cancers. How is this possible?
We need a cure. We need a goddamn cure.
I can’t even limit my response to 3 inspirations.
I run for Matty.
I run for Shelbie.
I run for my 2 best friends who both lost their beautiful Moms.
I run for family and friends that we have lost to this horrible disease.
My DFMC team inspires me so much. I run with some pretty amazing people who have some really hard stories of why they are running. Every team run is just an incredible experience.
(Tara in her new DMFC singlet!)
I feel like I can find inspiration in so many things every day but fighting this battle for Dana Farber is my one mission right now. And I am honored to be a part of it.
For more on Tara’s journey, you can follow along at Cancer Needs A Cure. I hope you enjoyed reading this! Leave her a note of encouragement below!