Fit To Be Spotlight March 14, 2014 18:19

We love hearing the stories of athletes who are working towards specific goals. Runners, cyclists, triathletes, CrossFit fanatics...the people who are working hard and training diligently for something special. Every month, we are featuring someone who inspires us and motivates us to be strong. To be fit. To be fast. To be better. Welcome to our "Fit To Be" series! 

Meet Sandra Laflamme. 

Sandra began her athletic journey as a rower until she discovered her love for running when she moved to New Hampshire. There, she found a unique group of people dedicated to running for the purpose of meeting personal goals, achieving the endorphin rush, and for the camaraderie of feeling like a part of a group. From daily jogs to hardcore marathons, Sandra makes running an everyday routine. She says "running is my peace, my sanity, my energy." Sandra is currently training for her second Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014!

Our Q&A with Sandra:

How long have you been running?

That’s a trick question! I actually started my athletic career as a competitive rower in high school, then at Colby College and then in lightweight development club programs.  I began running as a part of my training for rowing. I officially developed a passion for rowing in 2004 when I trained for my first official marathon the Nike Women’s Marathon as a part of Team in Training for the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. From that point my passion for running grew into a love of trail running and running long distances in beautiful New Hampshire and Vermont.

What other marathons have you run in the past?

The 2013 Boston Marathon was my first Boston Marathon that I was very proud to have qualified for. In addition to running the Boston Marathon I have also run in the Nike Women’s Marathon, The Vermont City Marathon (2 times), The Marine Corps Marathon, and the Marathon Around the Lake, which is where I finally qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Tell us about the Boston Marathon.  What inspired you to register?

Once I became an avid runner and ran my first marathon I was hooked and set my sights on qualifying for Boston. I hoped to qualify in my first couple of marathons but narrowly missed qualifying and then had a hiatus from marathons for about three years during the time that my children were born. After my son was born I decided I wanted to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon again. It took two tries (and I had to work even harder as they had lowered qualification standards) in the spring of 2012 and a lot of dedicated miles. Finally qualifying was my running dream come true. Being able to run the Boston Marathon makes me proud because I am able to join many dedicated and inspired athletes in racing a race that is the pinnacle of our sport and a dream for many runners.  For me being able to stand at the starting line felt like personal success

What aspect(s) of the Boston Marathon experience are you most looking forward to?

Last year I was able to finish the Boston Marathon and almost matched my marathon P.R. The race itself was amazing however the aftermath is one of the most difficult experiences of my life finishing not long before the first explosion. The Boston Marathon is an event that has forever changed me. I am extremely proud to be able to go back and race the Boston Marathon again this year and to be able to stand “Boston Strong” with my fellow runners. I need to go back to run this race again to prove that I am strong again both physically and mentally and it will also be a race that will be healing for many. I am looking forward to the energy of Americans standing together as one as we run 26.2 miles together. I am looking forward to the cheering and the support of the other runners and the spectators.

It’s been a cold, snowy winter in Monroe, NH. Has that impacted your training? Do you have any training tips to share with others?

This winter has been unbearably cold. The main impact on my training has been that I have needed to dress crazy amounts of layers to stay warm on my runs and have even needed to use foot warmers in my shoes to keep my feet from feeling like blocks of ice. Some of the long training runs have felt uncomfortably cold but thankfully I have an amazing running partner who has struggled through the runs with me too! We still go out even if it is -5 below zero!

Training for a spring marathon when you live in a colder climate is no joke! If you have to train for a race during this kind of crazy cold I would definitely recommend taking inventory of your cold weather gear and make sure it includes–a wind-bloc jacket, a warm fleece that wicks away moisture, fleece lined running tights, a great pair of wool socks, a base-layers, a moisture wicking hat, a neck gaiter, and sunglasses (to block the cold air from your eyes).  After you run you should immediately change into dry clothes (I know it’s crazy but you can still sweat a lot in this weather!) so as not to get chilled.  After a cold winter run I also spend plenty of time rehydrating, stretching, and rolling with my enso roller.

As you’ve prepared for Boston, have there been any injuries along the way? How have you coped/dealt with any setbacks?

Thankfully I am not injured (crossing my fingers) going into the race however I have suffered from peroneal Tendonitis and some Plantar Fasciitis this year. I also have had some issues with tightness in my calves.  Last year after the Boston Marathon I had to spend some time wearing a walking boot and then slowly graduated back into running. I also spent time at the Physical Therapist having Ultra Sound and Muscle Stimulation. In addition to that I try to see the Chiropractor on a somewhat regular basis as well as to get a massage on occasion. I also use my ensō roller almost every night before bed to roll out my calves, hamstrings and more as well as a Foot Rubz ball to help with Plantar Fasciitis.

Is there any running gear you can’t live with out?  (include links if they have websites)

Here is the running gear that I can’t live without:

Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra running skirt 

Skirt Sports Eclipse Tank 

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 

Bani Bands Headbands 

Crazy Compression Over the Calf Socks 

Skida Hats and Headbands 

Enso Roller 

Do you have a favorite motivational/inspirational quote or mantra that keeps you going?

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." - Ferdinand Foch

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great!” –Steve Prefontaine

Running is obviously your core specialty. What other sports/outdoor activities do you participate in?

In addition to running I still like to go rowing in my single shell, I also love to cross country ski, downhill ski, Stand Up Paddle Board, do yoga, go road biking, participate in strength training, swim, and I hope to take up Mountain Biking this summer!

What’s next after Boston? Is there another race/marathon on your bucket list (or race calendar)?

Hopefully Boston will be a positive race experience and I will be injury free after the race so that I can fill up my race calendar.  I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself.  This summer I hope to race my first 50K at the Catamount 50K in Stowe, VT, as well as to race in the Mt. Washington Road Race (A 6 mile hill climb), and I would also love to race in my first triathlon!

Any words of wisdom or parting advice for those embarking on their first marathon?

Train with a friend, set some little goals along with your big goal of finishing the marathon and the biggest thing is to have fun!

Life Beyond Running- Flash Round:

Beer or wine? It depends on the day!

Coffee or Tea? Neither. I am not a caffeine lover. I prefer water.

Summer or Winter? I can’t choose because I like to “play” outside at both times of year!

Salt or Sugar? Salt

Poached or Scrambled? Poached (although really any kind of eggs are the best since I am married to an Organic Egg Farmer!)

Twitter or Instagram? Instagram because who doesn’t like pictures.

Cat or Dog? Dogs (I’m allergic to cats)

Beach of Mountain? Mountain

Sunset or Sunrise? Sunset

Sandra is a mom of 2 children ages 5 and 3. She works for her family business Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs as the social media manager.

Follow Sandra on her Blog, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube