Running stories to inspire you
Tamara and Steve Kalin have been married for almost seven years and have been training and racing together for most of them. Tamara, a former gymnast, took up running because, she says, “It was an efficient way to stay in shape.” Both are fairly competitive, which pushes them to try new races. Together they’ve run countless half marathons, two marathons, and a half Ironman. They often invite friends and family to race with them, each person running their own pace. Recently, they ran a Ragnar, a team race done over 24 hours. “It was special,” Steve says, “because we were all together for the whole race.”
The couple follows Hal Higdon’s online program, allowing nine months to prepare for a big race. They start with a base of 15 to 20 weekly miles before amping up their training. Both try to eat more healthfully during race preparation, but Tamara, who operates WhyNotWine, feels it’s okay to reward yourself at the end of the day.
Finding a support group is key according to Steve, and, he says with a laugh, “If you’re married to them, you’re held even more accountable.” Tamara’s best tip is to take care of your feet, which she does by rotating between pairs of sneakers. (A good fit makes a difference so go to a running specialty store such as Wilton’s Outdoor Sports Center or the Ridgefield Running Company.) On race day, Steve suggests putting your name on your shirt. “It’s a great morale booster to hear spectators call your name.”
Cory Lee has been running since she was 16 but didn’t start racing until her twenties. After her first 5K with her husband, she was hooked. For Lee, the building of mental stamina is just as important as the physical process. “I like to break things down into manageable steps,” says Lee, a tactic she’s used in other aspects of her busy life. She has gradually increased the distance of her races and now has over seven marathons to her credit. After each race, Lee advises, “Assess where you are. Can you aim higher or are your satisfied?”
Lee fuels her body based on the amount of time spent exercising; longer distances require different foods. “It really comes down to trial and error to figure out what works for you,” She cautions to not eat anything new on the night before or the day of a race.
Injuries come with the turf. Lee sustained a significant injury in 2012 while training for the Boston Marathon. Although initially disappointed, the experience helped her evolve as an athlete. She learned the importance of cross training—adding indoor spinning and swimming to her routine—which led to competing in triathlons. Lee returned to Boston, finished the marathon twice, and is hoping to log one more.
John Schiaroli starting running for a lifestyle change. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, he lost 70 pounds by changing his eating habits and exercising, eventually adding running and cycling to his workouts. When a friend suggested a triathlon, Schiaroli was skeptical. “But I’ve always liked a challenge,” says Schiaroli who’s first triathlon was the Mossman in Norwalk.
After that, Schiaroli did several endurance bike rides and triathlons raising money for the MS Society. He slowly built up his mileage. After his first half marathon, he thought, “I couldn’t imagine doing another 13 miles.” Yet he signed up to run the 2013 NYC Marathon and raised nearly $20,000 for MS. “People think they could never run a marathon, but if you put a plan together and work at it, you can,” says John. His best training tip is to schedule your workout as if “it was an appointment with a very important person—yourself.”
A few days before race day in 2013, his stepdaughter Anna was diagnosed with leukemia. Schiaroli promised Anna he would return to run in 2014, this time as part of Team in Training which raises money for Leukemia and Lymphoma.
Anna also challenged her stepfather to complete an Ironman Triathlon. So Schiaroli created #821forAnna and dedicated his races and training to her, in honor of the number of days of her cancer treatment. He fit his workouts out in the mornings, often rising at four am or running late at night so not to miss a meal or a doctor’s appointment with Anna. “To hear Anna cheering my on as I finished line the Ironman was an amazing experience,” he says.
Megan Searfoss, owner of the Ridgefield Running Company, offers her top ten tips for success when training for a marathon or triathlon.
›› Register / Commitment becomes real with the race confirmation email.
›› Recruit SUPPORT/ Your family and friends support will go a long way.
›› Train / Find a training program or a training group. It’s motivating.
›› Breath Control / Don’t outrun your breath. You should be able to talk (or sing!) as you run.
›› Cross Train / Add other exercises to your routine. Cross training is highly beneficial.
›› Rest / Recovery days and sleep are important to your success.
›› Eat to Run / Consume nutritionally dense, quality food, which will aid in your run and recovery.
›› Trust / Don’t overthink your plan and trust your training regimen.
›› Simulate / Practice your pace, nutrition, and apparel for your race.
›› Enjoy / Endurance race training can teach you about your capabilities both physical and mental. Enjoy the process!