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.

Eric Palmer and Relationships Built through Running

By Beau Seegmiller

Eric Palmer’s first time running, some friends got him to run a 10k in the Famous Potato race. He had not prepared and experienced a special sort of agony during and after that race. Years later, Eric not only values running but all of the relationships that he has found through running.

In the beginning, Eric pursued weightlifting. “I was lifting weights and injured my shoulder. I needed something to do. I didn’t want to just sit around.” Because the shoulder injury stopped his primary form of exercise, he went to meetup.com to see about other options. The Boise Area Runners (The BAR) was one of the first groups he found. Once he started joining group runs he was hooked.

Eric has a competitive personality that fits nicely with running, but the people and community he found in the BAR is what he really values. “It’s positive. It’s camaraderie. People think of running as not being a team thing…but, it actually is because we run in groups and talk.”

When I asked Eric what the high point of his running career has been he replied that it would have to be the time he proposed to his wife, Sarah, at the end of the FitOne 10k in 2016. His proposal was fitting since he met Sarah at a BAR event.

It was at Sun Ray’s Cafe after a Thursday evening run. Sarah was there with her friend, Michelle. With some prodding from Michelle, Sarah came to run at BAR events. In Eric’s words, “I ran with her a few times, and the rest is history.”

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Fast forward to the FitOne 10k and Eric is ready to propose. “I tricked Sarah into running the 10k.” It was her first 10k race. “We hadn’t even talked about marriage.” But, they started the race and Eric had the ring in his pocket. “I am obviously nervous.” As they neared the finish, Eric told Sarah that he was going to run ahead to get some photos. Eric ran down the hill and as he got to the finish he learned he had not got as far ahead of Sarah as he would have liked. Sarah had been feeling so good she decided to kick it in for a fast finish.

With little time, Eric crossed the finish line, got the ring out, got down on his knee, and turned back to meet Sarah. She missed him and ran past him. When she turned and saw him on his knee, she thought he was injured. Then she saw the ring. Running has been a big part of their life since then.

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Most recently Eric has opened R Studio. “I have always done kettlebells and functional training.” Eric has noticed that a lot of runners lack flexibility and upper body strength, both necessary components to healthy, long term running. “In the back of my mind, I always wanted to open a studio.” When he discovered non-motorized Woodway Treadmills, Eric recognized an opportunity to incorporate running and functional training. He went forward with the plan to create a space where people can develop strength and flexibility to be successful runners: R Studio. Check out the running and functional training opportunities at R Studio here: https://rstudioboise.com/

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Running will forever be a part of Eric’s life as will the lasting relationships he builds through running.

 

See you out on a run!