Running to Honor The Boston Marathon Victims

For the past year, after the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon, Jill Punches, the director of auxiliary services at UWS, has run a race each week in honor of the victims. We caught up with her for a Q&A about the past year.

After the Boston Marathon bombings you made a decision to run a race every week for a year. What about this event prompted you to do this?
On a whim, I decided to run the Earth Day 5 Miler, which was honoring Boston bombing victims and survivors, the night before the race. My husband was running the 5k with some friends who were from Boston. I hadn’t trained but was encouraged at how well I did in my age group. I had felt discouraged about slowing down with age, but figured most folks my age felt the same way. Showing up at an event works for me because I am social and enjoy heading to a new location every week.  I thought if I ran every week, I would get better – and I have!

Were there ever weeks when you wanted to give up? If so, what made you push on?
I recently read that it takes nine weeks for a  new habit to set and it’s definitely become a habit. I don’t know that I ever wanted to give up, but there were many moments when I woke up way too early to drive somewhere and run in all kinds of weather, including a half marathon in 28-degree weather and a 10-miler during the tail end of a typhoon. One half marathon was so hilly and the race so disorganized, that when I found no water at a much-needed water stop, I had a small tantrum, then hitched a ride from another runner’s family, only to get back out there after a mile to finish.

How many miles did you run over that year?
860 miles, but note that 405 of those  miles are for the last four months when I committed to the Oregon Road Runner’s Club 1200 Mile Challenge for 2014.

What did you learn about yourself over that year?
From a running perspective, I have learned that I run trails and hills much slower than others, but have good stamina. I am more open to running difficult courses. I surprise myself at how well I run at times and it’s fun to encourage other runners. For me, mindfulness and running go hand in hand.

How did it feel for that year to be over?
I had envisioned running the Whidbey Island Half, but didn’t sign up in time to mark the end of the year. So, my 52nd running event was marked by high fiving my husband in the kitchen. For 2014, I will continue to run/walk 100 miles a month, run a half marathon every month, finish the ORRC 10k Challenge, and I am looking for a marathon to train for.