This week’s Rockstar Runner has been to HELL and back – on purpose! Meet Lisa Seger, whose craziest half marathon was through the mountains of Mexico. Now that is true dedication…
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a 49 year old retired police officer, wife to a very supportive wonderful man, and mom of five adult children, and nana to four grandkids. I retired from law enforcement early when I started suffering from dizzy spells and blackouts and no cause could be determined. After a couple years of self-pity, I discovered the art of stained glass, and became obsessed with it. 5 1/2 years ago I opened up my own glass studio and storefront where I am blessed to be able to play with glass, create custom windows for my customers, and teach the art to students of all ages. Although my kids are all grown and living on their own, my husband and I have custody of our 4 year old grandson, so we are rediscovering parenthood!
How/why did you start running?
As a police officer, I had to stay in fighting shape, and participated in the departmental physical fitness program in order to earn extra vacation days. The program required me to pass two fitness tests each year, and part of the test was a 1.5 mile run that I had to do in less than 16 minutes. I HATED that part of the test, and after retiring swore I would NEVER run again! I have always kept in reasonable shape with weight training and a variety of cardio exercise, but running just never was enjoyable to me.
In February 2014, hubby and I were on our annual trip to Mexico, and met these fabulous Canadians who were getting ready to do their annual HELLRUN… an unofficial half marathon between the town where we were all staying, Sayulita, and Punta de Mita, the next beach town down the road and on the other side of the mountain. We agreed to meet them at the end of their run for lunch and drinks, and during that lunch, something about what they had just done resonated with me. I suddenly got the urge to do something so courageous! Later that night, I told my husband I wanted to train and come back next year and run the HELLRUN with them. We had already agreed to return the following year but he thought I was nuts because I had sworn I would never run again.
When we returned from vacation, I got on the treadmill and just started logging miles, building my endurance and speed using the C25K program and running local 5k races. As the weather warmed up, I hit the road and started getting used to running outside, and suddenly found I didn’t HATE running anymore….I felt so amazingly strong and successful.
That feeling at the end of a run…no matter how slow the pace was, how crappy the weather was, when I finish my run, I feel so accomplished! I know that no matter what else I do that day, I have RUN! And that makes everything else just fine!
How do you get yourself out the door on days when you’re just not ‘feeling it’?
I very rarely have a morning when I am NOT feeling like running. On the rare occasion that I don’t get my run in first thing, due to conflicts in schedule or because I have an evening race, my day drags, and I have less motivation and energy. Evening runs are tough for me, so I usually have to “adjust my attitude” before the race starts by reminding myself that I am CAPABLE of completing this race! And what often helps me to stay motivated is to read posts and blogs by other runners who face much greater adversities than I do. One of my favorite Facebook friends is fellow runner Rhonda Lee Foulds, who runs half marathons nearly every weekend, in spite of her Parkinson’s Disease and multiple brain surgeries. Another inspirational runner friend is Michael Scott, founder of Run Nerds Rock. When I started following him on Facebook, he was approaching day 1000 of his run streak. I was so inspired by him and his journey that I began my own run streak. I will reach my one year mark July 5th!
Do you have an inspirational and/or funny running story (or stories!) to share with us?
I think what inspires me personally is seeing how my perseverance has affected people in my life. Several of my friends have started running and/or exercising again after seeing me stick with my plan. I have had a 4 or 5 women tell me that they are so inspired by my efforts and refusal to quit.
How has running changed your life?
Running has given me an outlet…a way to relieve stress, to improve my health, to spend time with myself and/or a running friend. Because of my obsession with running, my own daughter, a recovering addict who was serving prison time, began walking and even running during her incarceration. After 7 awful years of watching her kill herself with heroin, I had begun to give up hope that she would ever come back to me. But in the two months since she was released she has been running a couple times a week, walking every day, and has even competed in several 5k races with me. Her very first race, she placed 2nd in her age group and received her FIRST EVER medal! Seeing her face light up at that moment was worth every pulled muscle, every shin splint, every blister I have earned. On days when I question why I keep running, I remember that my running has inspired my daughter to lead a healthier life, so I know I can’t give up!
What words of wisdom do you have for brand new runners?
Start slow with intervals of run/walk, listen to your body, and don’t worry about your pace! A Mile is A Mile is a MILE!!
What are your favorite inspirational blogs to follow?
I don’t follow particular blogs, other than closely following the RWC feeds on Facebook. Anytime a new member posts, I try to offer words of encouragement, and anytime someone appears to be struggling, emotionally or physically, I try to offer support and input based on my own experiences. One of the things I have enjoyed most from the running community is the feeling of camaraderie. Nearly every runner I have met has been encouraging, positive and upbeat! I do my best to pay that forward.
Have you ever been injured running, and how did you recover?
I’ve been very lucky to avoid serious injury from running. In my previous running “career”, I always seemed to have shin splints or planters fasciitis or a pulled hamstring. I wore cheap running shoes and never bothered to get properly fitted. But this time around, I found the right shoes and the right apparel and I followed a training plan. I feel like my run streak has trained my body how to recover quicker, and has actually helped prevent injury. I am currently nursing a tender knee, and have had to cut way back on my mileage to let it heal. But I still walk or do a short interval run every day to keep my run streak going.
What running gear do you think you can’t live without?
My HOKA One One running shoes. I have five pair, some for trails, some for the road, and they are amazing to run in. Of course, I also wear a Garmin Forerunner for pace, and use my MapMyRun to keep track of mileage.
What’s your favorite race distance?
I really enjoy all the race distances, for different reasons. A 5k race is nice because I can be done in about 30 minutes and that leaves the rest of the day for celebrating! A 10k is great because once I get past about mile 3, I start feeling pretty good. I can still complete the race in about an hour, and I feel amazing at the finish line. I’ve only run three half marathons, and each time, I felt worn out but completely amazed at myself!
What was your favorite race?
Well, it sure wasn’t the HELLRUN!! Seriously, I trained so hard for that “race”, and even registered for a virtual half to do at the same time so I would earn some bling for it! But the morning of the HELLRUN, I woke up with a stomach virus, and felt so nauseous I didn’t know if I could complete the run! But by then, my hubby had agreed to run it with me, and I had four crazy Canadians waiting for me, so off we went. I had to walk about half of it, (most of the hills/mountains!) but I finished it, and then sat and watched the rest of the group eat and drink and celebrate, while I just felt so miserable! I wanted to feel celebratory, or even just well enough to drink a margarita.
My next half marathon came two months after, and I ROCKED IT! I felt so good, strong and healthy! And when I finished, I ATE everything in sight! I was among friends who encouraged me along the way, and my mind set was just that, no matter how many times I had to walk, I would still beat my HELLRUN time. And I did, by about 40 minutes! So yeah, that half marathon is probably my favorite race. I PRed it, and even though I didn’t place in my age group, I was still a winner!
What are your top 3 songs to listen to when you run?
Uptown Funk, All about That Bass, 50 Ways to Say Goodbye.
Treadmill or outdoors?
Mostly outdoors, even in the cold or rain. But the treadmill serves a purpose…great for a tempo run or for speed work. I also tend to stick to my treadmill more when I am babying a slight injury, as the impact is less on the treadmill.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
I feel so grateful to ALL my runner friends, because they are ALWAYS there to offer a kind word, uplifting comments, moral support. Being a part of such a wonderful group of people, from all walks of life, makes me feel so lucky!
How can we find/follow you on social media?
I can almost always be found on Facebook under Lisa Kelchner Seger, or under Cloud Nine Creations, where I showcase some of my stained glass designs.
Thanks Lisa for sharing your story! I look at the stained glass runner girl you made for me every day and think of you:
Click HERE to read about more Rockstar Runners!