1. Did/do you always find running enjoyable? To be honest, I find running enjoyable most of the time. As a child I loved tag and any kind of running around during recess, and in high school and college I discovered that I was naturally talented at running and definitely found enjoyment being successful as an individual and as part of a team in those contexts. However, my relationship with running has always had some ups and downs. I wanted to quit after my first day of cross country practice in high school, thought about not running track my senior year of college (then went on to be All-American indoor and outdoor), and now still consider hanging up the racing shoes every now and then. But something always pulls me back to running, and I think it’s the feeling of being free from worries when I’m out doing a long run on dirt roads, or the thrill I have after grabbing a new PR. Running will always be a part of my core, but it won’t always define me.
2. What is your favorite distance? My favorite distance used to be the mile, but now I’m really enjoying the half marathon.
3. What do you struggle with most in running? The thing I’ve struggled with most is knowing how to coach myself. It’s hard to be objective all the time and know when I need to push harder and when to back off; I’m learning, though!
4. Do you remember your first 5k, half marathon and/or marathon time? I think so!
5K – Hoofin’ It 5K in Grinnell, IA. I was 15 and placed second for females (not counting the college women). I think I ran 21 minutes or so? I won a cow trophy and still have it!
Half – Grinnell Games Half Marathon. I ran it as a long run in college and have no idea what my time was…
Full – Rails to Trails Marathon 2014 in Norwalk, WI – 3:29:43. A tiny little marathon on a dirt trail with the first half all downhill, and then we turned around and ran back uphill for the second half. It was so cold when we started, but then it turned into a beautiful November day in northern Wisconsin. I definitely loved being able to stop and use the bathroom, the first time I ever had the option to do that during a race! My parents came to watch me and I cried a little bit when I saw them at mile 23- I wanted to stop but my mom told me no and got into the car to drive to the finish line! I’m so glad she did because in the end I loved it. To this day it’s still my favorite marathon, and I can’t wait to do it again.
5. What is your advice for someone looking to improve speed and/or endurance? Rest! Rest is just as important as any speedwork, long run, or number of miles you log. If you aren’t recovering appropriately, then you aren’t getting the most out of the work you put in. Listen to your body and be honest about when it’s time to push yourself and when it’s time to step back.
6. What is your can’t live without running gear, besides shoes? Chafing cream in the summer months! But not much else… I love not running with a watch and don’t mind if I have nothing else but my shoes.
7. Ok shoes, do you rotate? If yes, how many in rotation – explain. Nope! Well, ok, yes; I will wear an old pair of shoes for really muddy or wet trail runs, but other than that, I don’t. I wear my same Nike Frees no matter the workout, distance, or surface (It’s been working for 10 years). I probably wear my shoes for a little too long, but then they become my mud shoes- purely to keep my current shoes smelling somewhat bearable for as long as possible!
8. Do you have a mantra that you use when racing or training? Strong and steady. Relax. Smooth. Glide. I’m always trying to run as fast as I can, with the least amount of effort, for as long as I can- both mentally and physically!
9. Do you ever feel unmotivated to train? If so, how do you overcome? Oh ya! I think everyone does. Sometimes I choose to take some time off, other times I remind myself of my goals and my core reasons for why I love running.
10. What is the best thing running has given you? My best friends. Running has introduced me to some of the most amazing people in my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the people I’ve met through running.
Sarah is a smokin’ fast edition to Rogue Racers and we can’t wait to see what she does next. She is also a coach for Otterbein University’s Cross Country team, what a lucky group they are!