Hays Y Member Competes in New York Marathon

What drives a person to run a marathon? While I’ve always admired the determination and discipline in people who take on the challenge, I’m curious what motivates them to do it in the first place. Hays Communities YMCA member Crista Meyers recently competed in the New York Marathon, and she made it clear that every runner does it for their own reason. For her, the drive comes from wanting to set a healthy example for her three children.

Before she had kids, Crista says she wasn’t a particularly active person. She never participated in sports or went to the gym. After the birth of her youngest child, she faced a challenge that is probably familiar to a lot of parents. She wanted her kids to be active and healthy, but how could she expect them to, when she wasn’t active herself? The best way to get everyone on board would be to lead a healthy lifestyle by example.

Crista joined the YMCA and eased into exercise with elliptical and weight machines. Then she tried some of the yoga classes and group exercise. One day she summoned the courage to try Bodypump. Sore, stiff, and struggling to walk, she ran into instructor Anna at their kids’ school. Crista asked how long she should wait to recover before returning to class – a few days? A week? “No!” Anna answered, “You need to come back tomorrow!”

Crista did Bodypump for a year and got to know the people around her in class. One of her classmates, Matt, runs 50-mile and other extreme races. He offered lots of guidance in those early days.

When the Y offered a “Couch to 5K” training course, Matt encouraged Crista to give it a try. Crista downloaded the training app and worked hard to prepare. She completed the 5K and, having accomplished what she’d set out to do as a runner, thought she was done.

Her friends said, “You should try a 10K! How about a half marathon?”  

Crista ran those races, too, and felt great about it. She noticed her attention span improving and recruited her teenage son to start running with her. They ran races together, and he noted how proud he felt to complete a 10K! His focus and attention improved.

After training for and running in half marathons for a year, Crista began to consider full marathons. “When I met Matt, I said, ‘you’re a crazy runner! I could never do that!’” But she HAS become one of those crazy runners. Crista hasn’t stopped at marathons. She competes in super marathons, too!

I asked Crista what people can do to support their friends and loved ones who want to run in marathons. She said it was a lot of hard work to train for the NY Marathon. We had such a hot summer, and getting up at 4:30 in the morning to beat the heat was a huge sacrifice. Her family played a key role in motivating her in those times she didn’t feel like getting up. Her husband reminded her about her goals and how far she had come. Her kids reminded her how great she felt when she had checked off her day’s training task.

The New York Marathon was a special experience for Crista.  The moments before the race were a bundle of nerves and excitement, and crossing the start line had a magical feeling. The crowd can be a real factor, and the New York crowd was enthusiastic and cheered her on. Knowing she could take on a marathon, her husband encouraged her before the race, “you should just enjoy it!” And enjoy it she did. “It was very moving, knowing I had worked that hard, completed it in my goal time, and crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.”

All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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