Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chevron Houston Marathon 2017 Training Week 10

Hey friends! Today, for Once Upon a Run, I want to introduce you to my friend Sarah Carr. She has been a joy to know. Sarah is the friend you want to be with you in any kind of weather because she will always uplift you. Here are my questions and her answers.

1. Why do you run?
This is a good question...I think I run because I can. By that, I mean that I'm fortunate to have 2 legs that help me run, and a heart that beats effectively and a body that allows me to physically reach my goals. There are so many who don't even have the health to run, but I do. I run because I like the quiet time with my Savior to pray, to think,to be thankful for all that I have received, to reflect and hear the sounds of nature, to witness the beautiful creation and watch the sun rise or set. I run to share my life with my running friends, and to be there when they need me - to hear them laugh or to hear them bear their soul (or vice versa), or say that they are struggling and I can try to offer words of encouragement. I run because it's my time to be me...it's one of the things in my life that belongs to me (selfishly) that provides me the confidence and the determination that translates into so many areas of my life. Running builds my faith in God, but also causes me to rely on Him more and draws me closer. It helps me to be a better Mom and wife...I like to think I run because it helps to foster a better version of "Sarah". ​

2. What are your favorite Houston Marathon miles and why? ​
M​ile 10 - after we split from the Half Marathon course. From mile 1 - 9 the crowd support is truly amazing, but there's something about the realness at mile 10 when the crowd on the side of the road thins out. There are not near as many runners fighting for your spot on the route and a silence falls over the course after you run through the "Marathon" part of the course. Suddenly, I feel like a real runner (whatever that means)...but I've earned my place on the course, and a little smile creeps up inside of me, alongside the reality that there's still 16+ miles to go​ Game on!  ​

Mile 22 - This can be one of the toughest miles to get to; but once I'm here I'm convinced I'll make it to the end. For the last 3 marathons, I've had family and friends between mile 21 and 22. The whole way through the back side of the course I'm thinking about seeing them and the support and encouragement that will flood my soul and legs when we meet. It's a magical moment to be looking on the side of the course and see your friends with their signs, cameras, and all of the goodies you requested awaiting you. True friends wait for hours on a course and then put your hair in a pony tail, take your sweaty discarded clothes have your special requests pre-bagged and then scream your name as they bid you farewell--all within a matter of 30 seconds or so. This makes mile 22 my fav!!

Mile 26 - There's something about going from an open course, to entering the "gated" area of the course - where the spectators have to ​ ​stand on the other side of the fence. It becomes official - I'm literally almost there. In my mind, the them song from "Rocky" starts to resonate as I tell myself - I am a rockstar running through the shoots to the finish line.
Sarah and I!
3. What are your top 3 strategies to keep running, no matter what season in life you're in​. 
(1) Trust the process. It may seem like common sense, but if you follow the training and believe in yourself - you will cross the finish line in victory. When I feel slow and heavy, or discouraged that I may not be seeing the same results from years past, I remind myself to trust the process. Commit to following the training plan. I will get there...it might be a little harder, or I might be a little slower or faster or more tired, but if I put in the work, I'll cross the finish line. The weekday runs are not the glamorous workouts, but they will lead you to a strong finish!
(2) Find what motivates you - not what motivates everyone else, or everything you read about that should be motivating - what drives you. It's different for everyone. I know why I show up every Saturday for my long runs, even when the world feels like it's crashing down on me.
(3) Be confident in your race and your pace! It's great to have accountability partners and people to share the miles with. After all, it took me 4 marathons before I realized that I didn't have to have someone next to me for the entire 26.2 miles. Maybe it was a confidence thing, but there's something liberating about running your race...just the way you want. If you trust the process and find what motivates you, it actually all falls into place on the course.

4. Why do you love the Houston Marathon? 

I love the spectators and the crowd support. ​I always make eye contact with the spectators and run the outside of the course. Just by smiling at spectators they will give you a shout out and offer encouragement - it's my secret weapon for motivation. Plus, sometimes I'll see the same spectator on the course multiple times...it's almost like they are my own personal support, too. I also love the weather in January in Texas--it can be unpredictable, but the odds are it will be in a runners favor. And, I love Houston because I get to see so many familiar faces throughout the course from my amazing FBF family. HooYah! ​ ​ ​

5. Anything you want to add?​ 
I absolutely love hearing the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of every race. Don't look my way, or you'll see me singing and crying all at the same time. I'm always emotional on race day - they are always tears of happiness and thankfulness that I've made it to the starting line one more time. No matter how many times I experience the start of a marathon - I always cry. They are all amazing and I stand in awe of the people who surround me as we begin our journey on the course together. It always holds me speechless. ​ ​I've run 6 marathons and ​30 half marathons. My first half marathon was in Austin in 2006. It was 26 degrees at the start and I blacked out in the hotel room that morning because I was so nervous. After ​crossing the finish line, I decided I wanted the swag - a marathon backpack​!! So I ran my first marathon in 2008. My first marathon was my slowest (5 hours 20 minutes) in Austin, TX. My PR for the marathon is 4 hours 27 minutes - my fourth marathon in Houston, TX.​ And to think it all started with my amazing friend, Marcy McElveen Reed who suggested the half marathon over Mexican food, and that crazy marathon backpack, that I just had to have. Yep, I still have it and I take it to almost every race. :)​



Previously in this Series:
• Week 1
• Week 2

• Week 3
• Week 4 - Barry Walter
• Week 5 - Christine Soliman
• Week 6 - Ron Booth
• Week 7
• Week 8
Week 9

Read the stories of my previous Marathons in Houston:
• Chevron Houston Marathon 2014
• Chevron Houston Marathon 2015
• Chevron Houston Marathon 2016 

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