Our positive running story this time is about Lynne Day, a trail runner from Colorado Springs who managed to bag a late place at our Spring 2017 trail running camp in Estes Park, Colorado. Lynne has an incredibly positive outlook on running and life, took a ton of pictures during the camp, and has a number of brightly colorful running skirts . We found out during the camp that Lynne had a pretty major stomach surgery in 2015 that has changed her life. After camp Lynne agreed to allow me to interview her, and here is the result.
Can you give us an idea of your running background that has led you to here?
I was in the USAF for almost 8 years and actually hated running. I only did it because they made me. There was no enjoyment out of it. When my sister-in-law’s mother passed away from breast cancer, I started running the Race for a Cure 5Ks. I didn’t get hooked on longer distances until a coworker signed up for and ran the Ascent in August 2007. That next month, I signed up for and ran the American Discovery Trail Half Marathon without any training. It took me almost three and half hours! While I don’t recommend this, it got me running again.
As of today, I’ve ran over 30 half marathons, 13 full marathons and one 50K. Most of my long distance races are on roads, but my ultra was ALL TRAIL in Moab. I train more these days on trails with my friends. They are a huge help!
You had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy in August 2015, that took out 80% of your stomach. Can you share what process you went through to make this decision, and how this his impacted your running since then?
Picture being an overweight long distance runner suffering from chronic migraines and high blood pressure, trying to lose weight doing something you love (running) and it just caused more health issues. Not a pretty picture? It was a vicious cycle that I wanted to get out of. I just woke up one morning and said enough. I looked online, found a doctor, had a consult, followed all the steps and had the surgery. Process took about four months.
The impact is my heart came back into my running. Instead of running for weight loss, I run because I love it! I love seeing what my body can do when I push it and I found a mental strength I didn’t know I had. Something I had been working on ever since I started running. That runner’s high is amazing! Also I finally broke the 5 hour mark on the marathon with a 4:42 at Little Rock in March 2017.
You mentioned that you went through various psych evaluations before they would sign off on your surgery. What was this like, and how has this helped you pre and post surgery?
The doctors want to make sure you’ve got head right before the surgery. Having it is not some magic thing that just takes away all the bad stuff in your life; you have to work at it. It’s a tool and if not used properly, you’ll go back into old habits and well can gain it all back.
Since the surgery, I have lost 100 pounds! Dropped from a size 20-22 pant to a size 4. Went from four blood pressure medicines to one. Never took my antidepressant again! Migraines are almost gone. I’m more outgoing now and my friends say I smile more.
You mentioned that you take lots of pictures, more than you ever did before. What made this change, and what other impacts has this had on your life?
My dad was a professional photographer so I learned how to be behind the lens. Recording life’s events for others to enjoy was always something I did. I never liked myself in photos and would critique everything about myself. Now, I love who I am and how I look. Also, I feel like I missed out on a lot of memories by not being in the pictures. I want to be a part of the action instead of a bystander!
You recently attended one of our trail running camps in Estes Park, CO. Even getting to the camp was a challenge with four feet of Spring snow that landed the day the camp started. What did you enjoy most about the camp?
I was a little disappointed initially because of the weather; then I got out there and wow it was so beautiful! It was only my second time in Estes so I didn’t know what to expect. Mother Nature delivered! I loved the hikes and runs with the new friends I made. You and your wife were so welcoming and understanding. I was surprised too at my abilities at that altitude!
You have said “I’m a completer, not a competer” – can you share more about what this phrase means to you?
I’ve had that saying for years. People get so wrapped up in times and pace, and forget to have fun. That’s all it means to me. Have fun and finish! The only competition you have is you and you alone. Run your race, not someone else’s.
You said that you used to be mad with everyone at work, and that now you manage your anger much better, and have become more mindful. What has made this change?
Not just at work; it was just life in general. I directed at others because I was trying to put the blame on someone else for my life. My unhappiness, at that time, was my choice. I knew I had to take charge of my own life and my own emotions. By being angry at others, I learned through mindfulness that it was allowing them to control my life. Not happening anymore.
You are a big trail runner, often running the trail up to the Barr Camp in Colorado Springs. What is it you like best about trail running, and what would you say to anyone thinking about checking out trail running?
Road running is all about pace, cadence and finish times. Trail running is more about being outdoors, enjoying nature, finding yourself and, for me, being with my friends. I’ve covered more trails with friends making memories than I have on any of my road races.
For newbies, the best advice I can give is to leave the watch and iPod at home, and get out there. Listen to your breathing and feet crunch on the ground. Take a friend and discuss anything and everything. You’ll find a part of yourself you didn’t know you had.
What are your running and personal goals for 2017?
Well I finished my first 50K so check one goal off. Next goal is the Pikes Peak Ascent. I worked the finish line last year and can’t wait to top that mountain for the best beer ever! Also on my schedule is the Leadville Heavy Half, both Trail and Road Ragnar races, Imogene Pass, the Marine Corps Marathon and my first 50 miler at Dead Horse in Moab!
Personal goal is to be a better person. I try to listen to people more and make them feel important. Make people smile and love life.
We wish Lynne every success with her goals and dreams for many years to come. If you ever get to meet Lynne by chance on a run or a race, you will be one lucky person!
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