Runners are passionate and dedicated creatures who have a lot to share about running, training, and well, life in general. Going the Distance is a blog series that highlights runners of all backgrounds and levels to inspire, motivate, and help you reach your running goals. Learn more about the blog series here.
I met Sandy about two years ago through a mutual running friend. We teamed up to provide crew support for our friend who was taking on Mountain Lakes 100. It became incredibly clear to me that Sandy was Superwoman: She navigated her way to our remote mountain cabin (aka race headquarters) in total darkness, with little-to-no signage arriving at about 1 am—hands steady and ready to jump into action a few hours later to start crewing.
As I was conceptualizing an idea for my blog that would eventually become Going the Distance, I knew that I wanted to interview Sandy—and to my delight, she said yes. It’s clear that this girl has spunk, raw determination, and is full of energy and life, and her responses make me want to go run—now.
Where do you live and train?
How long have you been running?
About four years. I never considered myself a natural athlete—I was always the girl who was picked last for the sports team in school. I made an attempt at running in pharmacy school. I propped my biochem book up on the treadmill, turned it up to 5 or so and got my multitask on. Briefly a waist appeared…however, it was short-lived; I didn’t make a genuine return to having a waist until several years after finishing pharmacy school.
How did you get interested in running?
I was in a miserable relationship. It was very similar to that biochem class that drove me to the dreadmill the first time around. My motivation for running was clear and it was threefold—first, I needed an outlet for this frenetic energy building…I was restless. Second, I wanted to show that guy I was more than he thought I was. Third, I wanted to show myself that I AM more than I thought I was—that I’m BAD. Michael Jackson BAD.
What about running do you love?
Everything! I love that all I have to do is grab a pair of sneakers and I can find a place of Zen, utter love. I love that running makes me strong and healthy, body and mind. Because I run, I intuitively dismiss limits and I do what I want—I love that. I love the amazing people I have met along the way, the bonds we’ve built with sweat; the lifetime connections I’ve made with genuine friends. Finally, I love that because I do this thing—this thing I never thought I could, other people look at me and think they can do it too. That’s rad.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to running? How do you overcome it?
My brain! That girl is still in there—the one that says, “You were picked last in school! You’re in terrible shape. Hey, how about you start comparing yourself to others? How about you slow down and walk? She’s trouble, that one.” However, I’ve learned that the only way out is through—this is how I overcome it. I mindfully notice her contributions. I keep running while the thoughts run their course. Like a cramp, or a wave of nausea on a hard run, these thoughts pass, too. And each time I finish. Each time I run that distance I never thought I could, that girl gets a little quieter. Faith through experience. That’s swagger.
Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever run?
Smith Rock. No, Redwood National Forest. No, Poipu Bay, Hawaii. No, Vancouver, BC. NO, Portland, Oregon. DUH.
How do you get out the door for a run when you’re not motivated?
One foot in front of the other. Just do the next right thing, even if it’s just lacing up the sneaks. One step at a time, sometimes one breath at a time.
Best advice for beginner runners?
Be gentle with yourself. Your only goal is to enjoy. So go slow, don’t compare yourself to others, and remember, just getting out the door is a WIN.
What are your running goals this year?
I signed up for my first ultramarathon—40 miles in mid-April. AAAAGGGGHHH! I will also run Ragnar NW Passage in June (again), a relay race with my ultra team, Spiritual Giants DBA Murder Inc. I will find my edge, and nudge it. I’m fired up to see what’s next.
What’s your favorite post-run snack or beverage?
Ice water with lots of ice (emphasis on LOTS OF ICE), followed by an avocado veganaise sandwich.
What’s your best running moment and why?
This is difficult to answer. Amazing things can happen on any given run. To see wildlife in the middle of the city—from bald eagles to deer, bats and coyotes is one. The countless spiritual experiences where I find clarity and intuition when I’m going through tough times. And then there is that running experience when I finish a distance or a time, I never thought possible. If I had to nail it down to one best running moment, it would have to be crossing the finish line of my first marathon to find my daughter there with the medal to put around my neck. Truly a gift I will NEVER forget.
What’s your day job?
I’m a health-system pharmacist, specializing in pediatric critical care.
If you could invent one energy gel flavor, what would it be?
Green tea mochi. Boom! Make that happen.
What is your superpower?
If you would like to be featured in Going the Distance or know someone who should, please drop me a note.