Positive running story – Kim Thayer

Our positive running story this time is on Kim Thayer, a runner from Meridian, Idaho, who also took part in one of our women’s running camps in the summer of 2016. (Kim is second in on the right in the above picture from camp). Kim is a first grade teacher and she wowed us with her bright positive nature, and so we ended up wishing we had all had a teacher like her back in 1st grade! Kim went on to run in Boston after the camp – it has been a joy to watch her continue to soar and love her running! We recently shared some time online with Kim, and this interview is the result.

Can you share a brief background on your running career up to the present time?
I started signing up for races in 2009. My first official race was a Susan G. Komen 5k, then a 10k, then a half-marathon. With each completed run I gained more confidence and set a goal of completing a full marathon. I knew accomplishing this wouldn’t be achievable without knowledge from other coaches and runners, so I joined the Boise Run Walk group the Spring of 2011.
Those Saturday runs along the Boise River pushed me further and taught me the fundamentals of running and provided me the support and training I was looking for. I wouldn’t have been able to get myself properly ready without their guidance and wisdom, and in October 2011, I completed the Portland Marathon. There’s something unique to the satisfaction of completing a marathon, and after I crossed that finish line for the first time, I was hooked! Since then, I have completed several marathons and still train to complete at least one each year.

What has been the most satisfying race for you on every level, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and why?
The most satisfying race physically was the Freakin Fast Marathon 2015 in Boise, because it was the one that qualified me for the Boston Marathon after four years of trying. Many variables can make or break a 26.2 mile race, and with that one, the stars aligned; my body and mental state held strong, I stayed focused, and I fueled correctly and maintained energy throughout. It was a thrilling race from the start, and I was able to sprint at the finish.

Mentally, emotionally and spiritually the Boston Marathon 2017 left the biggest impact on me. There is nothing like that race. The roar of the crowd, the history, the love from Boston, the energy, the festivities of the whole weekend… the emotion of finally being there after so much hard work (and disappointment) is chilling. It still brings me to tears. It was the culmination of years of training and was pure elation at accomplishing a long-time goal. It reminded me that anything is possible with devotion and consistency. Dream Big! I hope to get back there again someday.

You recently said that when you run with others, the joy isn’t so much in the act of running, but in the company around you and the inspiration you get from your companions. How important has the social aspect of running been to your life?
Running with buddies who share the same enthusiasm is always enjoyable. Carrying on conversations makes the activity feel less challenging, more laid back and fun. It’s safer to explore new routes in a group, and it pushes me to run other paces. Running is an individual sport, and we all have different goals and love for certain distances, but when running with others, those things don’t matter: It’s about the mutual respect and love of running.

You are a 1st grade teacher. How important do you think it is to make sure we encourage all children to be active at the earliest possible stage of the education process? Is there anything that you have personally seen that is effective for this?
I think it is very important. P.E. teachers in our schools teach the value of staying active and fit, along with good nutrition. We had a teacher work with our PTA to put in a walking path on our school grounds before he retired. Our Principal is often walking laps during lunch recess, which encourages our students to walk beside him. I love that! Our P.E. teacher worked with our PTA to get a climbing wall installed in the gym. I often share my love of running with my students. If I have an upcoming race, I tell them. I feel it’s important to not only be a role model in the classroom but outside as well.

You attended one of our women’s running camps in the summer of 2016. What was the biggest take away for you from that camp, and what was the best surprise you received?
There are so many things I took away from this camp.
My main goal going in was to fix my poor running form. I knew I had awful form, but I didn’t know the reason behind it. Watching video was eye opening (and somewhat embarrassing). After viewing my obvious heel strike, it only took a week of instruction and practice to fix.
I learned so much that week of camp: The proper way to do speed drills on the track, how to run tempo runs, hill sprints, and proper strengthening exercises (my favorite activity was running in water). I learned about goal setting and doing positive imagery exercises before runs. All of these lessons made me a stronger runner physically and mentally.
But the biggest surprise for me that week was a newfound excitement and energy for running. For many years I was tied to a training schedule, and the only thing I focused on was completing my weekly mileage. Although I love building up mileage and seeing my fitness improve, I was tired of that routine and knew I needed to change my methods.
Your camp, your knowledge and positive attitude was just what I needed to invigorate my body and soul. I left camp feeling refreshed, inspired, empowered and energized. Terry, your outlook on life, the love you have for the sport, the knowledge you shared, and the positive way you encouraged all of us, was transforming.  Learning from you in breathtaking Estes Park and getting to know the other six amazingly strong women that week exceeded my expectations.

What would you say to a woman thinking about returning to running and is questioning whether this is a good idea?
I would eagerly tell her to do so. The benefits are endless. I would advise her to have patience and take it slow at first. It is a gradual process, but the more you keep at it, the more enjoyable it becomes, and the longer you will be able to go.
I would also advise to set small, attainable goals. Run with a buddy at a similar fitness level, or sign up with a running group.

Can you share one thing that is unique about Kim that no one else would know by looking at you?
I might be slightly obsessed with the Avett Brothers. Their music is so emotional to me. I tend to gravitate to deep, thoughtful lyrics, and they write such beautiful stuff. Equally important to me is who they are as people and their gratitude and humility. Listening to them in interviews and attending their concerts makes me want to be a better person. Hearing them play at Red Rocks in CO is a bucket list item.

At the women’s running camp you attended we talked a lot about mental attitude and positive thinking as a runner. How important has your mental state been to your experiences as a runner?
Since camp, I have been trying really hard to keep the negative self-talk away, because nothing good comes from that. I believe that if your mind is in a good place, your body will follow. It’s so easy to focus on the bad…how tired you are, what’s hurting, how far you’re behind pace, etc. But is in those moments when fatigue sets in a positive mindset is most beneficial. That’s what I loved about your positive imagery exercises at camp. They got the mind focused on the moment, quieted the nerves or doubt, and cleared  my head to run with positive energy. If you can do that in a run and keep it going, chances are your experience will be more successful.
Running is as much a mental sport as a physical one. The body can endure a lot when your mind is in a positive place. This is something I continue to work on.

What are your goals, both for running and in personal life, for 2018?
I will start training for the Big Cottonwood Marathon in May. The race is in early September. I hope to qualify for Boston again. I know this is a hefty goal, but I will commit to the training and go for it.
Professionally, I will take some educational classes over the summer to improve my teaching skills. My son graduates from high school in June and will be heading off to college in the fall. I will be running a lot to help me cope with the fact that my son is grown up and on to the next phase of his life. Thank goodness for the trails and roads around me!

We wish Kim every success with her goals for both running and her professional career!

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