For Lisa McClellan, 44, running for a specific purpose is as important to her as are the physical and mental benefits she receives from our beloved sport. And boy does she ever run—she completed a 50K earlier this summer! She’s signed on for the Malibu International Marathon Nov. 11 in southern California. Follow this BAMR at her blog RunWiki and on Twitter here.
Best recent run: I recently moved to Simi Valley, California from Northern Virginia and we are currently in temporary housing. I am focused on finding a place to live for my family and have been doing just the bare minimum when it comes to my training. [Recently] I went out on a 10-mile tempo run thinking it was going to be a stretch to hit my goal pace. Much to my surprise, I hit it with manageable effort. It shows me that I can give myself a reasonable break and still not lose my speed.
Giving back through the run: Giving back is extremely important to me. There are so many reasons to give back; personally, it is the essence of my life. I have so much to be grateful for: three healthy children, a supportive family and husband, and an abundance of incredible friends. I feel it is an essential part of being alive to give to those who don't have those same things. If someone is struggling, it is up to others who care to surround them and lend them a hand up, not just with money (although that is what many need) but through love, compassion, and support. I choose organizations that are close to my heart. I have a good friend whose child is currently battling cancer. I can't just sit by and do nothing; it's not enough to just say, “I'm so sorry your child is sick.” She needs help and, if it were me, I would have a hard time asking. It's up to us to take action. It's so much like running—it seems daunting to help with everything else going on in life, but once you take that first step you will never regret helping someone. The organization that I am working with gives 100 percent of the profits directly to families in need. They are amazing: the Talbert Family Foundation-Kyle's Krusade.
Going long: The 50K race was difficult, but so amazing. My good friend Alison Gittelman talked me into doing this and being naïve I said yes. I did little or no training for this race. When the gun went off, I told myself I was going out for a very long run. I had done lengthy trail runs before so I had some idea of what I was getting myself into. The difficult part of this race was that it rained very heavy the night before, so about 24 of the 31.49 miles were ankle deep mud. I was not prepared for that. My goal was to finish under 6 hours, I managed to finish with a time of 6:06, which, under the circumstances, I was very proud of. It was euphoria to cross the finish line. I love the 50K. It is certainly one of my favorite distances, but I also love the half-marathon distance.
Favorite piece of running gear: This is tough because I love so many items. But I would have to say my Brooks Pure Flow (street) and Cascadia (trails).
Modeling the healthy life: My kids are still very young, but my older son who is 7 understands that I qualified for Boston and that there is something special about that. He thinks that I need to “work harder” if I'm going to win that race. He is also disappointed that I have never won a race and thinks I need to improve! As far as how they view exercise? They are all very active, both my husband and I are the outdoor types. I expose my kids to as many different activities as I can to see what they as individuals like. When I see that they enjoy something, I put them in an environment where they can be exposed to that. Some are more sports oriented than others. I don’t force anything other than I encourage them to find their own personal passion. Then it's up to me to support whatever that is.
26.2 and…50-miler? I chose Malibu International Marathon 26.2 because it is within driving distance of the area that we now live in. The starting line is minutes away—you can’t beat that! The fact that I only have to pay for the entry fee is great (I try to be frugal). Also, the temperatures are generally cool in November, it is a relatively flat and beautiful course, it's a smaller race, and it gives me plenty of time to train properly. My goal with this, as with any race, is to improve my time. In the past, the 26.2 distance has presented some challenges for me—it is a tricky distance, anything can happen—however I am confident that I can PR this November. In April I look forward to running Boston and after that I would like to switch my focus to trail running and the 50K. And maybe try a 50-miler.