Duane Evans: Running with Persistence

By Beau Seegmiller

Running has been a big part of Duane Evan’s life from childhood to retirement. It has contributed to his health, well-being, and most significant relationships. Out of all these benefits, running has taught Duane the value of persistence.

“I remember as a kid running because walking was too slow.” Growing up in The Dalles, Oregon, cherry orchards lay on the mile long path between Duane and his friend’s home. He started walking and realized it was taking forever. “So, I ran.”

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Duane running the 2018 Boston Marathon.

There were not a lot of organized sports for kids living outside of town.  That left running and hiking in the hills. “Running was something that we just ended up doing…Mom would ring the cowbell and we had to be home by the second bell.” Climbing around up in the hills behind the house meant that when the bell rang “we had to run!”

Duane runs now more for well-being and the relationships he creates in running. “I feel a lot better when I run than when I don’t.” He misses a couple of days of running and knows he needs to get out there to feel right again. Running also makes relationships more significant. “You can’t run with someone very long without getting to know them. All pretense is gone…you end up being who you are.”

While running in high school cross country Duane encountered a major hurdle to running: injuries. During his senior year he developed micro tears in the meniscus of his knee. This injury stopped his running and he was not able to compete in college. He was not sure he would ever be able to run.

Eventually, symptoms cleared and he started running socially and considered competing his senior year of college. He kept running. “I ran into my late thirties and that is when I set all of my PRs (personal records).” Then those micro tears emerged again in his forties and stopped him. He did not run from 1999-2012.

Then Duane ran into an old training partner and got inspired to run again. Now he was a bit older and overweight. On this journey back into running Duane developed injury after injury. Instead of just stopping he discovered the key to overcoming injuries: “Persistence, persistence, persistence…keeping after it. Everyday I am going to do something…I am going to ride a bike, walk, do what I can do. I gradually came back.”

Of the process Duane says, “It was so hard…Now I am 45 pounds lighter and feel a ton better than I did about six years ago.” Persistence was and is the key.

Duane has also learned to appreciate being able to run. He reflects on running and thinks, “I better enjoy this because it can get taken away from you pretty quickly.” He celebrated this ability by running in the Boston Marathon last April. To say the weather conditions were not ideal would be an understatement: cold rain and a fierce headwind tested Duane’s enjoyment. He missed his goal time by just ten minutes but was able to qualify for next year’s marathon, which he will be running.

Duane has pursued running with persistence and the key has been “learning patience with injury and how to really keep after it and persevere to figure out what you can do” to get back to running. “I can’t run the way I want to run. I can’t run where or how I want to run. But maybe I can cycle a day or two” or run on a treadmill or elliptical. Like Duane’s former running partner, he certainly inspires Boise Area Runners to keep after it and persist!

See you out on a run!

Jessica Savre: Running is a Life-Changer

By Beau Seegmiller

Jessica Savre started running only a year and a half ago at the age of 43, yet it has changed her life in so many ways. In her own words, “It has opened up a new part of my life.” Through running Jessica has discovered new levels of physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

It all started in August of 2016 while vacationing in Minnesota. She was visiting her mother-in-law who was training for a half marathon. After walking with her during that time Jessica felt inspired to add walking to her lunch routine at work. “After a couple of months it became boring and I wanted to go further so that meant go faster. I had admired runners and how easy they made it look, so I wanted to try.” She added little run segments into the walks. “Over time it became easier, and I liked how much better it made me feel emotionally and physically.” She remembers well the first day that she ran an entire mile without stopping. She can easily run five miles on that same lunch hour now.

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Jessica with Bob – a fellow Boise Area Runner.

Two months after she started running that Fall, she looked for others to run with and found the Boise Area Runners (the BAR). “My first BAR run was a Whole Foods evening run of three and half miles. I ran with Vickie Stieha, and I felt so unqualified to run with her. I had lung burn, an awful side ache, but Vickie was so welcoming and patient.” Jessica kept coming each week and then on her third BAR run she ran with Bob Mueller. “We ran ten miles and I was so proud, my longest distance yet! He was so kind and encouraging in helping me with my side ache issue by using the run seven minute/walk one minute method.”

Bob and Jessica have been training together ever since and Bob inspired her to race the Famous Potato Half Marathon and then the City of Trees Marathon within only twelve months of starting running. She has since run several half marathons, including Race to Robie Creek, and is training for the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon in June. “Since running and joining the BAR, I have learned no distance is impossible. I now love long distance running and the feeling of accomplishment it gives me.”

When Jessica first started running and joined the BAR she was dealing with a lot of stress, depression, and anxiety. “I was looking for ways to alleviate that in my life and running was the answer.” She has found BAR members to be so encouraging and the social get togethers after the runs enjoyable. “My favorite runs are the Saturday morning long runs when I can get together with BAR friends and put in the miles.”

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All smiles at the end of successful run.

Jessica has learned to cope with stress through running. She can have stress at work and feel like she should work through lunch to solve it. Instead, she goes for a run and comes back and sees her way through the problem. “If I have a bad day now, I go for a run.” When her father passed away unexpectedly in March of 2017, she discovered that “time out running helped me work through my grief and anger.” She wishes that she had found this tool much earlier in her life.

In her own words: “Running with the BAR has been a life changer for me, in some ways a life saver actually. I feel like a different person since I joined. It has helped me be a happier person, deal with my social anxiety by getting out and meeting new people, doing new things like track and hills. I now realize that I love distance running.”

For Jessica the key factor is running with friends. “It makes all the difference, as we mentally hold each other up as the miles get tougher.”

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Running with friends can make a long run feel surprisingly short.

See you out on a run!

 

Justin Carter: Running and Friends

By Beau Seegmiller

Justin has run for many years and, like many runners, has found a great deal of enjoyment from it. As we visited it became clear to me that, from his first run through today, many of his most memorable and peak runs have involved friends.

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Justin running the Shamrock Shuffle in 2015

Justin started running his senior year in high school. He had a friend on the cross country team who kept saying, “You should come out and run!”

“Finally, my senior year he got to me, and I decided to do it.” Justin was so excited when he ran his first whole mile without stopping that he told his friend, “Dude! I ran a mile!” His friend’s response: “Okay, now do two more.” And Justin did just that. He was fast enough to be on the varsity team and saw big improvement that year. “It seemed like in every race I would go a minute faster.” That pestering friend introduced Justin to the joy of tasting the fruits of consistent training.

Once in college, Justin fell off of running and didn’t start again until he graduated and went into graduate school. Running on his own in Michigan winters he didn’t have or know about technical clothing. “I was that guy out there wearing sweatpants and a hoodie.” He was running enough to be in shape to run an “accidental” half-marathon though. “I took an ATV trail and ran to the end and back.” When he looked at the map later he realized he had basically run to the next town and had run around 14 miles without water or gels. “It was a mistake…It was a good run. I look back on that run very fondly.” He eventually fell off running until he moved to Boise to take a job after earning his graduate degree.

New to the area, Justin realized he needed to meet some people and make some friends. A friend recommended meetup.com and that is where he discovered the Boise Area Runners and thought, “I always wanted to get back into running.” He went to his first run and met John Stieha. They ran together about a mile and a half out and back. “I was dying the whole time,” Justin recalls. “John stuck with me and I was hooked.” That was back in 2013 and Justin has been running with the BAR ever since as well as volunteering as the group’s treasurer.

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Justin celebrating after the Run 4 Luv with his pacer and fellow Boise Area Runner – Samantha Allen.

It was here in Boise that Justin got back into racing for the first time since high school. One of his most memorable races was the Run4Luv half marathon a couple of years ago. “I ran that race with Samantha Allen. I hadn’t planned on getting a PR (personal record) that day. I was just out to do it.” Sam had been running a larger training run and included the half marathon as part of her training. She had already run seven miles. “She paced me for that race. I was so dead, but she had so much good encouragement throughout the whole thing…I just remember crossing that finish line and being like, ‘I did it!’” Justin enjoyed setting that personal record and rediscovering the power a positive friend can have on running performance.

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Celebrating at the finish line of the Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back event in 2014.

Relay races have also provided Justin with some incredible memories. The Wasatch Back Relay (in the Ragnar Series) stands out in particular. “Seeing everybody running. We had two teams and we were leapfrogging the other van and they were leapfrogging us. It was pretty fun…I think there is something special about being crammed in a van with five other people for a day and a half…Everybody just totally reeks at the end…and nobody cares.” Justin also enjoyed participating in the Ragnar Trail Series at Zions in Southern Utah. There runners stay at a base camp and run different trail routes. “Between your runs there is so much stuff you can do.” The Sawtooth relay is also a favorite. Anytime friends and running get together, Justin is eager to participate.

At the moment Justin is facing the bane of all runners: running injury. “It really takes a lot of wind out of your sails.” The challenge of this ankle injury keeps him from planning things out because he doesn’t know if he will be able to do it. In spite of this, he keeps active with climbing and stays connected with the BAR so he will be able to create more memories and set new PR’s running with friends.

See you out on a run!

Astrid Gilbert and Running Vitality

By Beau Seegmiller

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Astrid after the Chicago Marathon. In 2013, she was the top fund raiser for Team Special Olympics.

To say that running is a vital part of Astrid Gilbert’s life would not be an overstatement. When asked how running has changed for her over the years she simply says, “It’s not even an option anymore, it’s just what I do.” Throughout time, Astrid has drawn a vitality from running both physically and mentally that has nourished relationships, taught her life lessons, and, most importantly, helped her heal.

Astrid has been running since junior high, but it wasn’t until 2008 that she first signed up for a race: the Chicago Marathon. She will never forget coming through the finish line with bleachers on both sides full of spectators cheering for her as she finished with 44 seconds to spare on her goal time. She was hooked and has since run twenty marathons! She is currently training to run her first Boston Marathon in April. She had always assumed that she would never run a Boston qualifying time, and never even cared, until one of her friends qualified and lit the fire in her to go for it.

 

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Astrid running the Chicago Marathon in 2010. She has fond memories of spending time with her husband in Chinatown (the neighborhood pictured here).

“Some of the best friendships I have made have been through running.” Astrid’s friend Kimmi in particular would get her to sign up for races. While living in Florida she joined a running group and acquired running buddies to travel with and they went from coast to coast running the Disney marathons in Florida and California, the Florida Keys Ragnar, and even the Chicago marathon. “Traveling with running buddies is the best!” She has even journeyed with fellow family runners to race in places as far off as Dublin. Her husband at the time wondered if they could travel without having to race.

 

In 2009, Astrid married her high school sweetheart, Rick. Though not a runner, Rick recognized the value that running brought to Astrid’s life and gave her his full support. He was the one who encouraged her to find a running club when they moved to Florida and even rescued her mid run when caught in a downpour. Rick’s untimely death in 2015 devastated Astrid.

“I thought I would lose my passion for running. But over time, I was able to lace up my shoes again.” Having an outlet like running helped her healing process. Sometimes, during a run, a memory would come to mind and “I found myself crying while running.” Astrid continued to run and moved forward.

Astrid has also valued the mental benefits of running through the years. “I have always been the type that is constantly busy. Running is the only time 

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Astrid with her sister at her first Disney race.

that I am actually alone with my thoughts. I can solve a lot of life’s obstacles while pounding the pavement.” Running has helped her come to be in tune with her body and know when not to push it with injuries. Yet, she has also learned that persistence and dedication pay off. “I am capable of more than I thought.”

When Astrid first started running, she “used to run with a stopwatch (a little Timex)” and in baggy, cotton sweats. She remembers purchasing her first Garmin watch which was so big it was like “having a laptop on your wrist.” Now she can’t live without a GPS watch and wears quality running apparel. But through all the changes in technology and gear, running has been with her, in the ups and downs of life, adding an indispensable vibrancy to her life.