Tales From Another Mother Runner Thursday: Terzah Becker

Terzah bulletin board
In "If You Don't Run, You Can't Win,"  Terzah Becker writes about her three-year-long quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

 In less than 2 months, our third book, Tales From Another Mother Runner will be released...and the seams on our capris are popping, we're so dang excited. The book is a truly celebration of this amazing, badass community: not only does it contain 22 essays from a range of talented writers and mother runners, it has miles of insight, advice, stories, and humor from hundreds of you. As we prepare to launch, we're going to profile an essayist on Thursdays.

First up is Terzah Becker, a Boulder-based runner and mother of 8-year-old boy/girl twins. 

Running history: I've been a runner on and off since I was 12 years old, starting then because I didn’t like the adolescent chub I suddenly put on. In my pre-kids life, I completed three marathons and enough shorter races that I lost count of those. I wasn’t allowed to run during my pregnancy, so when I re-started about three months after the twins' birth in 2006, it was like I had never run before in my life. I didn't have time to get "serious" about running again until the fall of 2010, when my attempt to finish a half-marathon in under two hours failed. My disappointment was such that I knew this really meant something to me. I needed a lofty goal, a training overhaul and some discipline. Therein lies the source of my Boston Marathon quest. I completed my ninth marathon at the Indianapolis Monumental in November.

And writing history: After college, I worked for eight years as a newspaper reporter and editor, with most of that time at the Wall Street Journal. The grind of daily newspaper work and its incompatibility with being around enough for the family I wanted to have led me to seek another career as a librarian. I’ve now worked as a reference librarian for nine years, all the while keeping a foot in the writing world through personal writing projects, occasional freelance editing work—and opportunities like my essay in TFAMR.

If You Don’t Run, You Can’t Win”—my essay— in one sentence: It’s the distillation of three years of mistakes, recoveries, good and bad choices—and ultimately success—on the road to achieving what for me was (and still is!) the very tough goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon without a lot of natural talent.

More difficult: qualifying for Boston or writing about qualifying for Boston? Qualifying for Boston. I had to re-qualify in November 2014 (after TFAMR went to print) because the qualifier I wrote about in my essay fell short of the cut-off for Boston 2015 by 8 seconds. (Due to demand, not all people who qualify get in any more.) It remains to be seen whether my new qualifying time from Indianapolis will be good enough for Boston 2016. It was a better squeaker, but still a squeaker.

Recent memorable run: I’m obsessed with golf course running…the springy turf, the rolling hills, the artfully-placed trees….but for most of the year I can’t run on golf courses because the pesky golfers are using them—and some of those golfers get up as early as we morning runners.

But in winter, it’s a different story. A few days before Christmas, before the snow hit, I woke up early and ran from my house to the nearby golf course. It was cold, empty. I climbed over the fence and did two blissful laps, a light frost on the grass crunching under my shoes. During my time out there, the sun rose, coloring the sky and the mountains to the west pink and orange. It’s the title of a novel that has nothing to do with running, but the phrase “At Play in the Fields of the Lord” kept replaying itself in my high-on-fresh-air head.

Recent horrible run: The Saturday before Christmas I went out with my group for a tempo-interval run. Due to poor sleep and (especially) poor eating the week before—too many cookies!—I could not keep up with the runners I usually go with. The whole thing, from warm-up to cool-down, was one big bonk. It reminded me of the importance of eating well, something I easily and frequently let slide.

Next up on my running calendar: The Rock the Parkway Half-Marathon in Kansas City, MO, on April 11, 2015, but I’m hoping to add some shorter races before that. I also do the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day every year.

7 responses to “Tales From Another Mother Runner Thursday: Terzah Becker

  1. Your quote about learning to hurt really resonated with me. I think that’s been the theme of my entire running career — I’ve never had the guts to push myself not only up to, but also beyond what my brain perceives to be my limits. Thank you for that inspiration — this is the year for it!!

    Can’t wait to ready your essay!

  2. Love the visual of you jumping over a fence to run on the golf course. Sounds lovely but at the same time a little badass!

  3. Erin, I so feel your cousin’s pain (even if he is WAY faster than I am). Tell him it’s worth it to get back on the horse–he’s done it once and he can do it again, and I bet he can do it faster.

  4. I cannot wait for this book! I’ve already pre-ordered my copy and now I’m making a mental list of all the copies I’ll need to gift! I’m really looking forward to Terzah’s essay to share with my (male) cousin who qualified this year with a sub 3:05, but didn’t make it in to Boston. He needs the motivation to try again and endure the pain of running that fast for that long. SBS, Dimity and the tribe will not disappoint! 😀

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