A Peek Into the Life of a Modern Marathoner
Lindsey Wilbur is an unstoppable marathoner, mother to two young boys and an Australian shepherd with an insane amount of energy, and has a demanding full-time job on her island home of Maui. Yet she still manages to find the time to do things like practice yoga, eat avocado toast, and answer our many questions. Here, she shares a few stories and insights into what life is like for a modern day running athlete.
Runnerclick: Hi Lindsey, thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to interview with us today! What do you find to be most rewarding as a runner?
Lindsey Wilbur: Running provides so many rewards, but I think, as I get older (almost 40, whoa!), there are a few things I would highlight. First, having a wellness goal where you go through the process of training for something and seeing it through to completion is a really important part of my life. On race day, when you’ve prepared properly, you really get the opportunity to see how close to your goal you’ve come.
Additionally, the reward for me is really the ability to get outside and be in the moment doing this activity that I love. I love being outside and becoming a better, fitter version of myself, both mentally and physically. The act of running is one of the key things that makes my life great. And, it is the thread that “runs” through my whole life.
As a child in the summertime, I literally ran everywhere. I ran through the summer grass with my shoes off. As a young woman, I ran on cross country and track teams where I met my tribe of women that has only grown over time. Running in college led me to meet my husband. As an adult, running is what keeps me sane and even through pregnancy, it was the thing I loved to do on a near-daily basis. Today, I live the life of so many women… I have a very full time and sometimes stressful job. My husband and I are raising two boys (5, 9) and taking them to countless activities. Basically, I am trying to juggle so many things, it can be overwhelming. But if I can get my run in, it seems to give me the mental space to get everything else done.
RC: What type of running is your specialty, and when and where is your next race?
LW: As a young runner I focused on the middle distances, but as an adult I have run races across the distance spectrum from 5k to marathon. I got bit by the marathon bug a few years back though, and I just can’t seem to give up the distance. The prep work and the magnitude of race day are really alluring to me. I find that when I train and travel to a marathon in some cool place in the world, I am filled with gratitude. I just completed the New York City Marathon, and it was really special. It was the perfect fall day, and with all of the other craziness in my life, and in this world, the race just filled me with hope. Racing those big marathons seems to provide that feeling over and over again, whether it be in Boston, Chicago, Vancouver, or California. In terms of future races, I’d really like to race all the marathon majors (I still have Tokyo, London, Berlin) and I’d like to run a few more internationally. I’m not sure if there are any more marathon PR’s in these legs but I hope to keep running marathons (and 5ks and every distance in between) as long as I can. I also hope to compete in local road races and be part of my local road running community in beautiful Maui, Hawai’i. Some of my favorite local races are the Maui ½ Marathon, and of course the Hana Relay.
RC: In terms of beautiful scenery, which race/track is your favorite?
LW: I have had the opportunity to run in a lot of beautiful places in the world. I’ve been to over 50 countries and have gone on some amazing runs in most of these places. I recently ran a ½ marathon in stunning Zion National Park with my college buddies. It was fantastic. Other beautiful races I’ve run are a marathon in the Marin Headlands in San Fran and the Vancouver Marathon. Also, living on Maui… every day I am running in a postcard. My favorite Maui run has to be Makawao forest – it is magic. Some of the epic global runs that come to mind are an amazing run through tea plantations in Sri Lanka and an impossibly beautiful run in Santorini, Greece. But in my opinion, the all-time greatest running on the planet is in Boulder, Colorado. The quality and quantity of the trails there is just really amazing. And it’s perfectly normal to see multitudes of amazing runners out on the trails, which is so inspiring.
RC: Can you share the top three little things you do to prevent injuries?
LW: I could probably do more injury prevention but I think sleep, hydration, and yoga are three big ways to stay healthy. Also, in my younger years, I lifted a lot of weights, and I think this has served me well in the long term as a way to prevent injuries.
RC: Do you incorporate any type of cross-training into your fitness regime?
LW: I walk a lot with my dog and I also think yoga is a fantastic cross training activity. It strengthens and stretches.
RC: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?
LW: As a busy working mom, my motivation to run stems from it being the thing that keeps me sane. If I don’t get to run, I don’t get that time just to focus on myself, and my health, and my next big race. Running is truly my stress reliever and my opportunity to spend some time with only myself and my thoughts.
Another huge motivator is my insane Aussie shepherd Obiwan Dog-nobi. She is just exiting puppy-hood, and she has limitless energy, making daily running jaunts with her an absolute necessity. I’ve never seen a life-form smile as wide as Obi, when I ask her if she wants to head out for a couple of miles.
RC: What’s your favorite food before and after a run?
LW: I generally don’t eat too much before I run, but an absolute must for me is coffee. I usually run in the mornings, so coffee is literally the thing that gets me out of bed. After a long run, I am usually interested in something with a lot of protein. Avocado toast has been my recent go-to.
RC: Can you tell us about your biggest running related challenge, and how you overcame/are overcoming it?
LW: I think down deep I have always viewed myself as a pretty mediocre athlete. In high school I was a quality member of both the Track and Cross Country programs but never the #1 girl on the team, and in college I walked on to a top program, so on a daily basis I was confronted with runners who truly were competing at a different level. I also have a pretty muscular build, and contending what the female runner body should look like always left me feeling inadequate. So my biggest running related challenges have been those mental barriers I have built for myself.
But then after college and into adulthood, I stopped comparing myself to others, and I stopped convincing myself I wasn’t good enough and things just started to fall in to place. I PR’d (set personal records) in distances from 5k to marathon, and more importantly, I really started to enjoy training and racing. I moved to a much smaller community not fueled by high performance endurance athletes, and I realized I could have some success in the local road races. At some point, I just started running for me, to run my best race based on the realistic outputs of my training. It has taken a lifetime to learn the lesson that I think all coaches I’ve encountered have stated – “Just run your own race.” In the end, this is easier said than done as I think most people look across the start line and get caught up in other people’s stories and whether they are more/better prepared, or more talented. But as I’ve grown into an adult with a lot of commitments including work, family, and personal activities, I realized that the preparing and the racing are really the gifts.