BRFs and business partners Lisa Reichmann and Julie Sapper ran Boston this year—it was the sixth Boston Marathon for Julie, 40, and number 10 for Lisa, 38. Both women finished before the bombings—Julie ran the race in 3:28 while Lisa finished in 3:18. These Washington, D.C. friends and mothers—Lisa has three children, twins who are 7 and a daughter who is 5, and Julie is mom to a 9-year-old boy and 6-year-old daughter—shared with us their experience, as well as why they’re more determined than ever to keep running this race.
Best recent run
Lisa: A ¾-mile run around our block at the request of our 7-year old daughter, completely unprompted by me. She was so excited to go out and run, just the two of us, on a glorious spring day.
Julie: My first run after Boston, at the Pike's Peek 10K in Rockville. I ran with another mother runner who had worked tirelessly all season. I paced her to a new personal best along the 10K race course, encouraged her, and drank it all in--the cheering spectators, the Boston colors, the smiling runners, and our collective determination to not allow last week's tragedy break our stride. Helping a fellow runner achieve a new personal best is truly a phenomenal feeling and so much fun!
Lisa: I feel fortunate to have been able to run Boston this year, in spite of the sad ending. To me, the Boston Marathon has always been a unique experience defined by human connections, with other runners, the spectators, and Bostonians. What now looks to be two cowardly individuals tried to mar that institution, but the spirit of the Boston Marathon is so much stronger than that and will not be defeated by it. In the aftermath, acts of human kindness have vastly outnumbered one act of terrorism and the whole world has been able to see firsthand the strength and compassion of the Boston Marathon community as well as the wider running community in general.
Julie: Honestly, I still can't wrap my head around this. I think it will take months to fully process what happened. I am just devastated for the victims and their families, who were there to cheer on loved ones and friends on a day dedicated to celebrating. On a personal level, I am so grateful that my family, who came to spectate, and my fellow runners are safe, but my heart aches for those who weren't so lucky. Like so many other mother runners, running is my daily vacation, and I am determined to not allow these ass hats to take that entitlement away from me. I will continue to run with enthusiasm, to race with determination, and to stand at that Boston start line next year. The irony is not lost on me that at this year's Boston, I ran in honor of the 26 victims at Sandy Hook, and at next year's Boston in 2014, unfortunately, I will be dedicating my miles to the tragedy that awaited all of us at the finish line. Enough is enough, and I know I am not alone when I say as a mother, I am just so tired of trying to explain these unimaginable tragedies to my children. It's just incredibly tough.
Lisa: I doubt you’d find a single runner who is not more determined than ever to go back in the future. Without a doubt, I will continue to run this race for as many years as I am able. Even before the events of this year, I always said that I would come back to Boston as long as I could qualify. In fact, I’m hoping that my husband will qualify in the next few years so that we can go back as a family and our kids can see us run. My dream would be that one day my children run the Boston Marathon, hopefully with me (if I can keep up with them!)
Julie: I finished Boston, re-qualified, and with my quads still wrecked, I was already excited to return next year. This has not changed that at all, and if anything, it makes me more determined to shout from the rooftops that I'll be back next year.
Lisa: By far the most rewarding part of coaching is watching someone find a passion for running and all the rewards it brings: self-confidence, a sense of accomplishment, “me” time, improved fitness and health, etc. Like many of the runners we coach, I had no athletic background at all, so the sense of athletic accomplishment was something new to me and something I wish I had discovered earlier in life. Coaching has made me a smarter runner as I try to follow the advice we give our runners and it has also made me a more appreciative runner, never taking for granted the ability to get out there and run, no matter what the pace.
Julie: In some small way, Lisa and I feel like we are changing lives by introducing people to the joys of running. We may not be able to cure cancer or solve world peace, but we are both so grateful to have the opportunity to help people in our community reach new running and health goals that they never thought were attainable, which often translates to achieving new non-running goals, too. Our runners work incredibly hard and their determination to achieve new distances and speeds each season is just inspiring to us. I know I personally channel that inspiration when I am racing and encounter negative thoughts. I remind myself that we ask a lot of our runners, so how can we not hold the same standards for ourselves? That helps me regroup and keep going during a low moment during a race or a tough workout. We just received a message from one of runners who finished her race today that says the following, "Thanks for believing me when I wasn't sure if I could still believe in myself." THIS is what it's all about.
Running Advice Doled Out & Followed
Lisa: Running has always been the centering force in my life. I never listen to music when I run. Instead I use that time to sort through my thoughts, plan my day’s to-do list, or just clear my head. We encourage our runners to run without headphones—not only is it safer (and often not allowed at races, anyway), but it gives them a chance to focus on their breathing, footfalls, and surroundings. Another favorite piece of advice: low-fat chocolate milk! Post-run, it has an ideal ratio of carbs to protein, plus minerals that your body needs for recovery. Who can’t use a reason to ingest some chocolate?!
Julie: Running brings perspective and, with the help of those wonderful endorphins, happiness, into my life. I balance a lot, like all moms--family, work (I work part-time as a Department of Justice attorney), volunteer commitments, and our coaching--and running is a forced vacation for me each day that allows me to do something I love without guilt. In addition to stress relief and health, running provides me with a social outlet, as I've met some amazing friends through running, particularly Lisa. For beginner runners, our advice is to do a little more each day than you think you possibly can (also a quote on the back of our Run Farther & Faster shirts). If you follow that mantra, you will transform from a walker to a runner in relatively minimal time. For veteran runners, our advice is to appreciate the gift: No run is a bad run if you are able to run.
Looking Ahead …
Lisa: I am training for my first full Ironman race, Ironman Kentucky in August. A full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) has been on my “bucket list” ever since I started competing in triathlons five years ago. After several Half Iron distance races, I finally decided to take the plunge this year. It’s an intimidating goal but I have found that the most rewarding accomplishments have been those outside of my comfort zone!
Julie: I turned 40 this year, so I would love to quash the theory that you only get slower with age! I have some shorter distance races coming up that I would like to target once I recover from Boston, and a few half marathons and ten milers in the fall. Most importantly, I want to remain injury-free while training for these races.