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  • Writer's pictureKristi Campanella

Interview with Barbara


I wanted to interview Barbara because I am always in awe of her and her great running. She is such a sweet, kind and positive person. Every time I see her she has a huge smile on her face and you really feel like she is happy to see you. She has a lot of running experience and I think it is always great to hear from people who have been running a long time and continue to run fast times and place in their age groups. You know they will have wisdom to share with you.

Barbara attributes a lot of her ability to run to her great family. She shared some insight into her family with me and agreed to let me share it with you. It is great to hear someone speak so highly of their family and also how they helped her to become the woman and runner that she is today.

Here is what she had to say about her family:

I have referred to my family, but I thought you might be interested in knowing a little about them since they have helped me develop into the woman I am today. And, as I mentioned in my interview, I am blessed that my family has supported me in all of my athletic activities over the years.

Bud is the love of my life ... my soulmate, partner and best friend. In early September, we will celebrate our 36th anniversary. We have two amazing sons and daughters in law. Stephen, our youngest, is 30 and has been married to Angelica for three years. They live in Auburn, CA near her family. Angelica works for her father's small business as well as working on getting her real estate license. Stephen works remotely for a national non-profit dealing with supporting small businesses.

Sean is 32 and has been married to Sarah for eight years. Both are ER doctors and spent the last two years in the Boston area doing clinical work and fellowships. Just one month ago they moved back to Colorado, so we are all over the moon with excitement. It has always been their goal to start their medical careers back here in the Denver area. They accepted jobs at UC Health Anshultz, working in the ER in addition to working in their fellowship specialties. Sarah is a teaching physician in the ER residency program; Sean is designing the Emergency Dept. for a new hospital the university is building in Highlands Ranch. They just started their jobs two weeks ago and love it.

Bud has worked in the technology industry for years, currently, he is an executive for a small tech company here in Denver. My background is in education. I taught elementary school for over ten years here in Denver, CA, and Ottawa, Canada, my home town. (you probably didn't know that I am a "resident alien" Canadian). But, you do know that I am a runner girl and card maker! Life if good!

Hope you don't mind me bragging a bit about my family. I am so proud of them.

Here are her answers to my questions about running:

Kristi: When did you start regularly running?

Barbara: Yikes, I started running over thirty years ago! At that time, my husband Bud and I were living in a beach city, Manhattan Beach, CA. There was a fabulous paved path called the Strand, that ran all along the coast for miles and miles. Both Bud and I ran for fun and fitness and participated in many local short races in the beach cities. Then ten years later, we moved to Denver. We both started to get a little more serious about our running and added more distances to our regime.

In 1995, Bud and I thought, oh, wouldn't it be cool to run a marathon. We heard that in April 1996 would be the 100th running of the Boston Marathon. So we signed up to run the St. George Marathon in Utah October 1995. We were total rookies and knew nothing about training for such a long distance. I cut out a marathon training plan from one of my Runner's World magazines and taped it on the wall in our kitchen. We both had great outcomes in St. George, qualified our first time, and got into Boston. Running the 100th Boston on April 15, 1996, along with 38,000 friends, was an incredible experience, one I will never forget. From that day on, I was hooked and could not wait to run another marathon again. I am so fortunate to have been able to run for so many years. I am humbled, honored and privileged to have completed several races, and marathons including many Bostons.

Kristi: Why did you start running?

Barbara: Being healthy and fit have always been a priority in my life. As I mentioned above, I really started running when we lived in Manhattan Beach. You could not help but want to be outside and be able to run on the Strand along the beach was relaxing, fun and picturesque. Running seemed to agree with me; it just felt right. I was able to have time to myself, time to think, enjoy the surroundings as well as keep strong and fit. When Bud and I had our children, we would take turns, one of us going for a run while the other looked after the boys. When the boys were old enough, they would ride their bikes along with me as I ran. I have such fond memories of those times. I would be running along and every few minutes, the boys would ask "How much farther, Mom? Can we go home now?" They were little troopers! They have always supported me in my running endeavors, even now, and they are young men! I love being a "Runner Girl/Mom!"

Kristi: Why running instead of something else like cycling, cardio at the gym?

Barbara: I love to be outside, so it was just natural that running would become my main cardio exercise. To compliment my running, I am fortunate to be able to work out regularly at my club focusing on strength and core training, taking Pilates, and Mind Body Fusion classes. Biking is also another enjoyable activity that I can do with Bud. Finally, as a treat to myself, I try to have a sports massage once a month. I think I have created a good balance of activities in my life that keep me strong, healthy, and grounded.

Kristi: Has running changed your life? If so, how? Barbara: Oh yes, running has definitely changed my life. Most importantly, it has taught me gratitude and appreciation. I am thankful every day that I am healthy and able to just head out the door and run whenever I want. I "get" to run; I don't "have" to. In addition, running has helped me become a stronger, more confident woman. Because of running, I have more energy which allows me to work on being the best wife and mother that I can. Putting in the necessary training for half and full marathons take commitment, determination, and self-discipline. All of these I have learned through running. Running has also taught me to be more organized and a planner since I have to plan when I get to run. To save time in the morning of one of my running days, the night before, I decide what running clothes I will wear, and place them out on my dresser. To get my mind and body ready to run in the morning or a race, I have developed a warm up routine that I do before every run. I have a cool down routine as well. I do these routinely and consistently. Running puts a lot of stress on the body and that means to stay healthy, runners need extra nourishment. Being a runner has helped me not be obsessed with carbs vs protein, fats, and calories. I celebrate cooking with nourishing whole clean foods which are essential to train smart, help prevent injuries and perform better. (My favorite go to book is "Run Fast. Eat Slow" by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky).

Kristi: What would you say to your younger, running self?

Barbara: There are a few things I would say to my younger, running self. First of all, to give myself permission to rest. Rest is part of training and plays a key part in your performance. It is sometimes hard to do, but it is so important to take a day and engage in activities that are relaxing and restorative. Secondly, to slow down the pace of long training runs to 90 seconds to 2 minutes slower than your goal race pace. Again, not easy to do, but worth the benefits. Use a foam roller, and last to start out conservatively in a race, and ease into a comfortable nice steady goal pace and enjoy it.

Kristi: What do you still want to accomplish with your running?

Barbara: There are a few things I still want to accomplish with my running. The main thing is as I get older, I want to be faster, stronger and injury free. There is no magic in accomplishing these goals, especially as one ages. So I have to work hard at making these things happen. I also want to be able to continue to be competitive and participate in races - short and long distances.

Kristi: Do you prefer to run alone or with others? Why?

Barbara: Most of the time, I prefer to run solo, however, years ago, I used to have a training partner. We would meet every Saturday and do our long runs together. I did enjoy those times, but I guess I am really like running alone. It gives me time to think and make plans for the day. I do like running with others sometimes ... like some day, I hope to run with you, Kristi!! Bud and I usually train for the same races, but we rarely run together. He does his thing, I do mine. Sometimes, though, we will run a short distance race or half marathon race together. It is fun to have him push me and pick up the pace. I have been fortunate to place in my age group several times when having my speedy husband pace me.

Kristi: How do you keep yourself running strong in a race?

Barbara: The most important tactics that I use consistently to keep myself strong in a race is a positive mindset and having conversations with myself. When I hurt or feel fatigued, I try to not fight it, not every mile will feel good so I try to acknowledge the pain and tell myself, yep, it hurts because I am running hard and trained for this but I will be just fine. During these conversations that I have with myself, I also do body checks to make sure I am relaxed and not all tensed up. I have found that to have a great race experience and finish strong, I must start out the race conservatively, and give it all I have the final miles. Mantras (another self-talk tactic) and crazy silly games like pretending to lasso the runner in front of me so I can pass him/her also help me stay focused and strong during a race. Some of my favorite mantras are "Run like the wind", "Commit, Believe, Keep Going", "I am strong; I am tough", and "One mile at a time."

Kristi: Do you use any of these same tactics in life when faced with tough times?

Barbara: Yes, I do use some of the same tactics I mentioned above, and extensions of these as well in life when faced with tough times or challenges. Over the years, I have had my fair share of running injuries, and two surgeries but having a positive mindset has helped me numerous times to heal, recover, and get back on the road. During other tough times and challenges, there is no question in my mind, that my persistence, determination, commitment, endurance and perseverance - all qualities that I learned from of my training for half and full marathons played important roles in how I dealt with these challenges and how I was able to get over the hurdles. Also, I am blessed to have the continued love, and support from a wonderful loving family and special friends.

Kristi: If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting running, what would it be?

Barbara: The advice I would give a beginning runner would be to enjoy the opportunity to be out there running, have fun with it, and make realistic goals for yourself.

Here are a couple of pictures of Barbara running Boston and with her hubby. I hope that she has inspired and motivated you like she does me.

Happy Running!



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