Positive running story – Liv Turner

Our positive running story this time is on Liv Turner, a runner from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Liv recently attended one of our intermediate women’s running camps, and everyone warmed to her wonderful sense of humor, her fun loving infectious attitude that she brought to every day, and her ability to just enjoy every moment of every run! After camp had completed I asked if I could interview her for our positive running story series. Here is the result of our interview:

Can you share a little about your running history to date?
At 13 years of age I was introduced to running. I lived with my daddy who trained for marathons after work at Green Lake in Seattle. The lake was a 3-mile loop. After working all day at the flour mill, my daddy would try to log in as many loops as he could before dark while I ran around it as he lapped me and coached my form and praised me. I loved him and I wanted to make him proud of me. Later in life, I married an ultramarathoner whom I loved very much. I ran to make him proud of me. I’ve been running off an on for 43 years.

What are the things that you enjoy most about running, and why?
At 56 years old, I run now to feel my pride, strength, power, and freedom.  I also run to learn the boundaries of my physical and psychological limitations and try to push myself farther and/or faster than I knew I could run. My beautiful sons are proud of me and this is ok with me. What I enjoy the most about running is thinking about what I’m feeling, and feeling about what I’m thinking.

Liv is second from the right in the front row.

You recently attended one of our women’s running camps. What was it that attracted you to the camp, and what three things did you enjoy most about your camp experience?
I recently attended my second all women’s running camp experience. My first experience was about 20 years ago in Estes Park. It was conducted by two very seasoned women runners, Maureen and Diane. There were athletes were from all over the world. This experience enhanced my running abilities and knowledge and I wanted to try it again. I did an internet search and found Active Altitude.

My recent experience with Active Altitude was more rewarding because I had matured as a woman and a runner. For the first time since my daddy coached me around Green Lake, I had new coaches, Terry and Jacqueline Chiplin. I am grateful for their hospitality and delicious nourishment. They nourished our bodies by leading us on beautiful Estes Park trail runs. They fed our souls and grew us eight women as athletes in a loving kind way with education, skills clinics, and the science and psychology of running for a sustainable running lifestyle. The seven women runners, became my friends; I look forward to sharing running with them for the rest of our lives.

You were concerned about running at altitude before you came to camp. I shared with you some ideas on how to change your perspective on altitude. What difference did this make to you, and what would you say to anyone thinking about coming to run at altitude?
After I enrolled in the Active Altitude Women’s Running Intermediate Ccamp, I began to have self-doubts about my running abilities with altitude, despite living at 7,200 elevations in Santa Fe. Self-doubt is a close friend. For all the years I’ve been running, my MO is to sign up for a race, train, and then not go to toe the line because of self-doubt, lack of self-efficacy, and just plain ol’ fashioned fear. Any time I’ve ever dared to race, I’ve done very well, usually in the top ~25%. I’m not fast, but I’m persistent and determined. At the Chiplin’s camp, I gained self-confidence when I realized I can run towards the front of the pack with fast women. I can run in the middle of the pack. I can also be the caboose and relax while socializing.

As a result of my new found confidence, I signed up for the very strenuous Santa Fe Endurance 13.1 which includes Tarahumara runners, running from ~10k ele up to ~12k ele. I’ve read so much about these amazing runners. I’m so excited and privileged to run the same course with them. I also signed up to run Zion 50k with my new running friends. I had set previous goals of running an additional half-marathon, Sante Fe Thunder, and to finish my race season with the Duke City marathon. After camp I no longer feel the trepidations. I feel capable and confident. More importantly, I feel my love and my nature to run. It doesn’t matter whether I’m fast or even finish. It’s the excitement of sharing a trail with the Tarahumaras, my new running girlfriends, Keri, Erica, Meg, Coop, Kristen, Jenn (running wife), and Michelle, and my coaches, Terry and Jacqueline. This transformation was possible because of some sage advice from coach when I expressed my insecurities of being able to keep up at 8,200 ele and higher altitude. Coach said to me to “think of altitude as breathtaking”. These words were a game changer for me and the other women. We women decided at camp that hills are love, altitude is breathtaking, and we are joy.

You have mentioned that you greatly admire Coach Vigil’s philosophy on attitude. What is it about his philosophy that has taught you the most, and how has this changed your own attitude?
I admire Coach Vigil because he discovered by observing the best ultra runners in the world that a positive attitude grows a happy runner. I believe Coach Vigil would high five my Coach Terry for his advice to turn scary altitude into a breathtaking experience in our minds-embrace and love altitude running. I run with a smile because of Coaches Vigil and Terry.

What wisdoms would you share with a younger version of yourself about being a woman runner, especially about being a Black woman runner?
I wish the younger me could have run more consistently and happy to enjoy injury and stress-free running. But being a woman, not necessarily a Black woman, had its competing challenges with trying to raise children while going to U.C. Berkeley, then law school, holding down a career while performing volunteer services.

As a Black woman, I wish for my sisters that they too could find the joy of trail running in the numbers the rest of the populations are experiencing. We Black women are making progress with groups like the national Black Girls Run I used to belong to, and other Black women movement groups across the nation. We Black women tend to have issues with high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases due to poor diets and sedentary lifestyles. We Black women need to run for our lives. We need to run, walk in nature to for a higher quality of experiential living: hearing the birds, the babbling creeks, the wind through the trees and grass, and to experience wild animals in nature. We need to feel our Selves alone on the trail. But when I’m on the trail with other humans, they could purple with yellow polka dots for all I care. I just love sharing the trail with runners, joggers, and walkers. A lot of us Black women have had some track and field experience from high school. Some of us are quite skilled. I’d like to see more of my sisters get back to the track and feel the vibe of the trails.

If we could share one message on your behalf to the World, what you wish us to say?
Whether you have real or psychological limitations or barriers to running, just put one foot in front of the other, even if it’s walking. When I make the intention to walk, before I know it, I’m doing a little jog and all those endorphins begin doing the boogie-woogie.

Can you share one thing that is unique about Liv that no one would know to look at you?
I am slow, but you can see I’m happy.

What are your goals for the rest of 2019, and beyond?

Liv, thank you for taking the time to share your story with us, and we look forward to many more years of running for you! May you keep running and stay healthy for many more years to come.

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