Introducing Olive!

napaHello Salty readers! I’m Olive, a Maryland native who’s been living in San Antonio, Texas for the past 10 years. I’m married with two girls and I’m a former elementary school teacher currently teaching group fitness classes and Lifetime Fitness when I’m not chasing after my kids.

For the majority of my life I was decidedly not a runner. A chubby, insecure kid with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, I was cut from various sports teams for being “too slow.” Eventually, I joined the swim team and swam through college, but only because there were no cuts from the team. Even though I ran two or three miles a few times a week to stay in shape, by the time I graduated college I had come to terms with the fact that I was not meant to be an athlete.

My oldest daughter and I, both completely bewildered after running 1:42.
My oldest daughter and I, both completely bewildered after running 1:42.

You’ve heard the running-after-becoming-a-mom story before, and, well, that’s me: after I had my first daughter in 2009, in a desperate attempt to get out of the house, I’d strap her into the jogging stroller I had gotten as a shower gift and walk around the neighborhood a few times a week. Notoriously impatient and weary of how long the walks took, the walking became running. By the time she was eight months old, I was up to five miles with the stroller on weekdays with an occasional seven miler on the weekends. When a friend mentioned that she’d signed up to run a half marathon in November, I agreed to join in, and was thrilled to finish in 2:07.

And then of course I was curious to see how much faster I could be if I trained well. I signed up for the Hills and Heels half marathon in Irving, Texas five months later and was completely shocked to knock 25 minutes off and take second in my age group with a time of 1:42. Was I actually good at this? I couldn’t believe it.

By 2013, I’d run six more half marathons and had one more daughter. I’d whittled my half marathon time down to 1:34 and was ready to take on the full. I ran the Baltimore Marathon in 3:35.44, missing my Boston qualifying goal by just 45 seconds.

I wish I could say the past two years of running have been nothing but success, but that’s not quite true. I hired a great coach, who has refined my training and led to some short distance PRs (the 5:31 mile is the one I’m most proud of!) but I’ve been plagued by almost constant soft tissue injury. I trained for four months for the Houston Marathon in January 2015 and had hoped to run 3:15, only to strain my hamstring the week before the race and drop out. I had a stress reaction in my foot and some SI joint dysfunction which caused me to miss weeks of training.

My favorite cheerleaders

Last year, I had a great training cycle to prepare for the Napa Valley Marathon in March. I was running Yasso 800s in 3:00, then ran a small local half marathon in training and finished in 1:31. But I arrived at my goal half marathon, the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio, completely burned out and exhausted… and dragged myself across the finish in 1:34. I finally qualified for Boston at the Napa Valley Marathon in March with a 3:25, but the time was a far cry from the 3:15 I thought I was capable of.

I’m planning to start heart rate training in July in hopes that it will help with my constant injuries and lead to the times I know in my heart that I can run. Come along for the journey!

I’m so thrilled to be writing alongside the ranks of these fine Salty ladies, and excited to dive into current running trends, beating the plateau and a little satire along the way!

I am a stay at home mom and group fitness instructor from South Texas. I love reading, wine, and travel. I write about trends, injury prevention and maintenance, and satire. I am training to break 1:30 in the half marathon sometime soon, and for the 2017 Boston Marathon.

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  1. While the last few years might not have all been “success”, in the traditional sense. It sounds like you have learned so much, and still had successes- injuries, burnout, plateaus happen but you’re working through it and that’s the best part if you ask me. I’d much rather read about someone who understands struggle and knows how to learn from it and work through it than someone who has never really had to deal with hurdles along the way. looking forward to learning more about you, and following along with the heart rate training (I’m considering trying this soon too actually!) and the comeback! Welcome to Salty!

  2. What am impressive story! I, too, never considered myself an “athlete”, and only started running because I had to pick a sport in school. Looking forward to watching your progress!

  3. Welcome, Olive! I can relate to being a non-runner most of my life. You seem to have found a sport you excel in though! Would love to hear about your mile race training-that is a blazing PR!

  4. Hi Olive,
    I love your running story! I am a bit of a newbie to the running world. I started running seriously about 9 months ago, when I did my first 5k in 29:50 (9:37 pace). Since then, I’ve improved significantly, lowering my 5k PR to 26:01 (8:24 pace). Ran my first half marathon ever this past May (sub 2:00 !!) and currently training for the Chicago Marathon in October! I’m super excited and have pretty big goals for that. I feel really strong and know that I have a whole lot more speed in me, but just need to train strategically to unleash it.
    Do you have any specific training nuggets for first time marathoners looking to run a sub 4:00 ?? Thank you so much in advance and I look forward to following your journey!

    1. Hi, thanks for reading!! For my first marathon I read the book “Advanced Marathoning” by Pete Pfitzinger and used the 18/55 plan outlined there. It’s a nice balance of long runs, mid week longish runs, and speed work. Any plan that incorporates all 3 of these would be great for you. Good luck in Chicago!!

      1. Thank you so much for your reply! I’ll get my hands on a copy of that book and I’ll be sure to report on my Chicago experience! 🙂

  5. I’m late to the party, but welcome Olive! 1) Your family is adorable and 2) Can’t wait to see your progression in the marathon!