I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston. I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals. Their journeys all lead to the same place. You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.
Stephanie is one of my training buddies and teammates for the KC Running Company race team. When I was getting back into running, Stephanie was one of my first and most consistent training partners. She isn’t kidding about being a mileage junkie. I would never have been able to develop my mileage base with out her. Thank you so much Steph!
Check out Stephanies Q&A
Name: Stepanie Michaelis
- Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”
My story: I am a time qualifier, preparing to run my second Boston. My best time so far came in Chicago 2015 (3:20:12). I ran 3 additional BQs in 2016, including a 3:25:40 in Boston last year. The experience was equal parts the most painful, exhausting, exhilarating, and thrilling experience of my running adventures to date. I have gone from a first marathon finish time of 4:24 in OKC in 2013 to that 3:20 in Chicago 2015. This will be marathon number 15 for me, and I never dreamt that I would ever run one, let alone 15, with 3 more to go this year.
2. What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
This race will always be my “Super Bowl”, and one that I will participate in as long as I am capable of qualifying. This means to me that I am among the best runners in the world that are capable of achieving set qualifying standards, and that I have earned the privilege of toeing the line in Hopkinton with thousands of others that have met those same stringent standards. I’m not gifted with super speed, will never go to the Olympics, will never win a decent sized marathon. I will, however, qualify for Boston, and that’s achievement enough for this girl!
3. What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?
One of the best parts of running Boston is the camaraderie that comes from having 30,000 people experience the most famous marathon out there. People who don’t run have heard of the Boston Marathon, and with that running comes a sort of prestige that you can’t get from other races. The race is everything from a PR course to a victory lap to a huge charity fundraiser, all rolled into one. The level of excitement that surrounds the city on race weekend is unbelievable.
4. How will you define success, on race day?
Success for me on race day has changed a bit in the last 2 weeks. I have tweaked my training, added speedwork (which I have never done previously), practiced running downhill to prevent the immense quad fatigue I dealt with last year. I also pushed my glute to the point of pain, and have been battling that for the last week and a half, trying not to panic. At 2.5 weeks out (as I type this), right now I’m hoping for a decent finish. That’s a drastic change from the goal I had my eye on, and it has me stressed out to the point of tears. I’m working with an ART doctor and a chiropractor of kinesiology to rehab and repair the damage I have inflicted. Ask me again closer to the race; I hope I can be more optimistic about my goals.
5. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?
My favorite piece of race clothing has to be my CW-X revolution tights. They are super lightweight, and provide support and compression to my muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. I have several pair of tights from CW-X, and consider them an amazing investment. I wear them after a race as well, to help with recovery.
6. How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?
My training has been much better this cycle than any other previous (discounting the current problem). I was pleasantly surprised by the ease that the speedwork came to me, and the longer training runs I was able to participate in really boosted my confidence. I have always been a “run all the miles” girl, with my weekly average between 65-75 for the last year. That I was able to maintain that level of mileage and add in the speed really helped out the confidence level.
7. What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?
The part of the race that is most challenging for me is usually between miles 16-20. Over half done, but not quite close enough to consider the rest of the race “my regular morning run”. Once I can tell myself “just a 10k left” means I’m finally on the downhill slide and the end is closer than I think. This is also where the ubiquitous “wall” comes into play. Avoiding the body revolt and crash is always an interesting challenge.
8. What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?
My favorite race to this point is a toss up between Chicago 2015 (I had the most complete, seamless race yet) and Boston last year, because, well…. Boston. I do love Chicago, with the course winding through the city and all of the amazing crowd support. I will be going back there for the 3rd year in a row this fall, it’s really one of my favorite courses to date.
9. Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?
I don’t really have much of a prerace ritual, although I am picky about what I eat. I prefer light and simple, like grilled chicken sandwiches and pasta with red sauce. I don’t try anything new leading up to the race; the last thing I need is to have a stomach issue while trying to concentrate on pace and putting one foot in front of the other.
10. What inspires you as a runner?
I have never been a standout in anything. I played soccer growing up, but I wasn’t even close to the kid that stood out. I didn’t play high school sports, I played co-ed soccer as an adult. Running somehow just clicked for me, and it has turned into something that I’m actually decent at. It makes my day when someone asks for my advice or opinion, or recognizes me (or my dachshund Norman) from the running community. I love the network of friends that I have made through this; they are truly a varied and amazing group. I will never regret the experiences that running has provided for me; I love being a normal person that happens to run pretty well and has had some pretty awesome experiences as a result.
Check back tomorrow for our next featured runners! You can wish Stephanie good luck and send some awesome words of wisdom in the comment section below.
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