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!

 

Scott Stevens and Changes in Running

By Beau Seegmiller

Scott Stevens started running of his own free will and choice in 1998. For better or worse his first experience with running was of the “forced” variety in the military. In his own words, “It was not really out of enjoyment.” In 1998, however, he began running two to three miles at a time to get in shape. Since those early solo miles Scott has witnessed and experienced many changes in running.

In that first year of running he got talked into joining a team in the Sawtooth Relay. “That was back when it was a twelve man team, Stanley to Boise.” Still very new to running, Scott did not do anything different in his training, like hills, to prepare for the distance and elevation. Needless to say, he discovered a few things about running in that race, one of which are the dangers of cotton underwear. The chafing is still quite memorable today as he recalls needing to just push through the pain for two miles in his second leg until things went numb. In spite of all this, Scott fell in love with running.

While he has had times since then when he has not been particularly inspired to run, he has discovered that if he puts a race out there, he will keep pretty motivated. Scott has completed three marathons and a lot of half marathons and 10ks. He is even considering getting into the ultra distance race scene with a 50k this year. Half marathons are his favorite. “You don’t get too beat up on the half.” In addition to racing and conditioning, Scott has also come to value “that quiet time to yourself to think about things” when on a run.

Running across the years since 1998, Scott has seen some changes. “Running has gotten a lot more popular.” The size of the running community here in the Boise area has grown quite a bit. “Back in 1998, you literally had maybe a handful of races all year long. There just were not that many to choose from. Now there are races every month of the year.”

For Scott personally he has grown to include more trail running and to run socially. He found that the scenic atmosphere running on a trail is very enjoyable. “I used to do all of my running alone. Then I joined the BAR in 2012.” Even then, it wasn’t until Monica Runningwolf took over the leadership of the BAR that the increased events and activities drew him into the social aspects of running.

“Most of my running years, I have been just a lone runner.” So, whenever he raced, there was never anybody really there at the end, specifically cheering him on. “Well, once I was a member of the BAR, you have this group of people. And they are waiting for you.” He recalls one time, in particular, when he was coming around a corner in Anne Morrison Park approaching the finish. “And totally unexpected, there was this huge group of people, ‘Scott!!’ Now I couldn’t do anything but smile and run faster.” Scott says that experiences similar to that one have happened a number of times due to the friendships and community he has found in the BAR.

I am sure there are more changes to come in running in the future, but Scott has been part of some pretty wonderful ones here in the Boise area!

Running’s Many Things

My first attempt at running was extremely short lived. I was a freshman in college at the time, and unfortunately, far more taken with the idea of being a runner than actually running.  

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Amy with one of her daughters after the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon.

My second attempt was a little more successful. By that time, I’d had my first baby and was wanting to shed the last of my extra pregnancy weight. I needed something I could do with my little one in tow. So, I got a jogger stroller and started doing laps around the country roads out where we lived at that time. And it worked! And then I gave it up. Until I had my second baby. And then I ran that extra weight off, too. At that point, it was a means to an end for me and nothing more. When I was done shedding pounds, I was also done with running.

My third attempt, years later, I turned to running as a way of relieving the stress of transitioning from ‘stay-at-home-mom’ to working full time. It definitely helped turn my anxiety dial from ‘overwhelming’ to ‘more manageable.’ Also about that time, I made a new friend who happened to belong to a running group. She kept inviting me to join them on a group run, but as someone who had only ever run alone, I was super intimidated by the idea. It took a while, but once I finally built up the nerve to show up I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly and welcoming everyone was.

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Amy with the Boise Area Runners during the Spring 2017 Running Retreat.

Not to mention, helpful! And this is true, not only of that first group I started attending (almost 10 years ago!), but of every other running group I’ve since had the pleasure of being involved with. As runners, it’s so nice to have a place to ask questions and to get the tips and advice we needed to help us improve and meet our goals. We ‘get’ each other. And the sense of appreciation we have for one another, for the effort we put into our training, and for the sport itself, runs deep.

It’s true running’s many things to many people. But perhaps an even more beautiful aspect of that truth is how it can also be many things to the same person. At least that’s been the case for me in my life.

Amy P.

Julie Ford Keeps Running Vibrant

Julie Ford ran for twelve hours last March as a competitor in the Pulse Endurance Runs around Eagle Island State Park. In that time she completed 53 miles and placed fifth overall despite some brutal, wet conditions. Those of us who know Julie were not surprised by her stellar performance. What may surprise many is that Julie took up running relatively recently. More importantly, in that time, she has made running a vibrant, natural part of her life.

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Julie in the middle of a marathon. Smiling and having fun!

In her own words: “I used to do a lot of biking…I rode across the country on my bike back in 1996. I mean I strictly, only did rode biking.” Not a run mixed in there until she moved from Ohio to Boise in 2007. While Ohio had miles of farmland roads that were ideal for bicycling, Julie found Boise’s set up more difficult: “Here it is just harder to get out and get miles.” Plus, with cell phones and texting she didn’t feel safe on a bicycle on the road anymore. Many cyclist friends of Julie were having accidents caused by inattentive drivers. Add in the many other outdoor activities, like the hiking and skiing available in Boise, and “biking kind of fell away.” Julie felt like she needed something. Enter running, but not right away.

Julie’s first race was in May of 2008 when she completed the Race for the Cure 5k. Her words: “I hated it.” It wasn’t until spring of 2010 that at some level she knew she needed that outlet lost from bicycling. Michael, her husband, started getting into running and had signed up for a race. Julie thought she could take on the 10k, then she eyed the half marathon, and then, next thing she knew, she signed up for her first full marathon: the Columbus Marathon. Facing her first big race, Julie put her training plan on a calendar and discovered that as the mileage built up and she checked off training run after training run, she could see very clearly her progress and growth as a runner. She felt a great sense of satisfaction in training for and finishing that first marathon.

Since then Julie has not let up. To date she has completed 17 full marathons, 2 ultra marathons, and 14 half marathons. She is in pursuit of completing the 50 state challenge to run a marathon in all 50 states. “It is just a neat way to see different places. It is typically only the day of a marathon where a major city is going to shut down. Where you can run through a major downtown.” She explains the joy of visiting a place she would normally not think a desirable place to visit only to discover a great city with great food, like a recent marathon trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She loved it!

The high points of her running have centered around the varied and diverse running goals she has set for herself. The twelve hour race on Eagle Island was such an experience. “It challenged me. It got me to do more than I thought I could do.” A year ago, she set out and became a Marathon Maniac by running three full marathons within 90 days. Next year, there will be something else. She is not sure what, but maybe she will complete two back to back marathons in two days. Julie believes that running should be a routine but also diverse. “I think that is when people burn out, when they are always doing that same route. Over and over again.”

Julie also strives for a healthy balance in her running social life. Running provides that needed alone time. “I love running with the BAR (Boise Area Runners), but on my long runs, I got to do it by myself. I need that time to completely zone out.” Yet, the BAR and social media have also been very important in keeping running vibrant “because, if it wasn’t for BAR, then no, I don’t think I would be doing this.” She has met so many people that provide inspiration and “everyone in the BAR is so supportive of one another.” Social media also adds to this motivation because she is aware of what others are up to and wishes them well. When someone is competing in a race, she can track them and look up their results. Running is a living part of her community.

Julie’s advice to others: “Anyone can run. Everyone doesn’t have to run a marathon. Everyone doesn’t have to run a half marathon. It’s just about enjoying it.” Words that she lives by as running has become a part of her daily life.

 

See you out on a run!