I’ve ran the full marathon four times, and the ultra twice. I’ve never run the relay.
When do you start training for this race? How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training? How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?
For my first marathon, back in 2002, I did zero, I mean zero training. I was on my way home from work and I happened to hear that it was the last night to sign up for the 40th annual Equinox Marathon. I didn’t even know what a marathon was, but I always knew it was a big event here in the community and I thought I’m just going to do it. And I saw a patch, and wanted a patch. Somewhere along the line, I heard you had to do it in 7 1/2 hours to get the patch.** My goal was to get a patch! I put on my hiking boots, my jeans, and my backpack – probably could have survived for about a week out there. I did it in 7 hours, 29 minutes, 50-something seconds. I was so excited I got this patch, though I don’t recommend this at all! I didn’t walk for almost a week afterwards.
Four years later in 2006, I’ve been riding my bicycle once a week with the LOL, Ladies of Leisure, and I figure I’m in shape, and tried to convince them to come and run the Equinox with me. I had no takers except for Sheryl Reily. We ended up doing it in 6 1/2 hours. Still didn’t walk too well for a week because there was no training, but it’s kinda like childbirth – you forget how painful it was; you remember the goodness of it all.
In 2007, Bonni Brooks came up to Fairbanks and introduced Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Susan Butcher has just passed away in 2006, and there was a team for her. I had family members that died of leukemia and lymphoma, and money raised was also used for other cancers such as colon cancer; my mom had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. So I told myself, I don’t care if I crawl myself across the line, I’m going to do this. I wrote down that I would walk and maybe jog a little bit, but I ended up actually running most of it and did it in just under 5 1/2 hours. So the training really does help. I’ve trained with Team in Training ever since.
**Later, Peggy found out that the cutoff time to receive a patch is 10 hours.
What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?
The long runs that we do. We do that once a week as a whole team, and that really helps a lot. If I’m not able to do it, I try to do it on my own or I do cross-training, such as bike riding.
What’s your favorite thing about this race?
I like the challenge of it all, and I really like the excitement of it and how the whole community gets involved with it.
What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?
My most favorite are the views from the top, and Alder Trail.
My least favorite: that sections along Ballaine Road. And that one section along Goldhill Road – that to me is one of the longest roads ever.
Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.
The best was in 2007, my first year with Team in Training and crossing the finish line with Dena Doublex and Bonni Brooks. We ended up being on the front page (of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner). We also did it in just under 5 1/2 hours, 5:29:54, which was amazing. Very much an accomplishment.
Worst moment was the same marathon in 2007. At mile 8, I tore my left hamstring. It was very painful but I was bound and determined to finish it. At the time, one of my cousins, Michael who passed away two months later, was struggling really hard with cancer, so I did it for him. I was able to give him a Team in Training shirt and hat before he died.
Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?
No, I don’t consider myself a competitive runner. In fact, I never considered myself a runner. I love to bike ride, and I’m not a competitive bike rider either, but I ride bikes more than I run. I just compete against myself, not against other people. My whole goal was to just finish, and hopefully finish upright.
What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?
Have a training plan. Team in Training provides us with one. We run once a week as a team, but during the week, it gives us workouts. If you follow that or get in good cross-training, you’re going to do okay.
Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?
Yes. If you eat or drink too close to the beginning of the race, combined with the stress — you’re going to be running in and out of the woods, and thank goodness we have woods here! Just learning when to eat. Also, don’t change anything that you haven’t trained with. Don’t bring anything new into it. No new clothing, or foods and drinks. Run with what you’re trained with.
Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? This race has been described as one of the most grueling marathons in the country! What keeps you motivated to participate in this event?
I’m definitely going to do the full marathon again. I have done the ultra twice, and I had planned on doing this year, but they changed it to 40 miles. I can do the 50K, but 14 extra miles is a lot of miles to think about, so I’ll probably only do the full marathon this year.
My motivation besides Team in Training is because it’s right here in our back yard! Why waste it? It’s here, be a part of it. I may end up being on a relay team some year, but I’ll always be a part of it.