Sioux Falls Marathon to Boston Marathon
August 14, 2015 at 8:51 AM
Tammy Hofer, Sioux Falls, SD: I will be running my 1st Sioux Falls Marathon with the goal of running a Boston Qualifying mark.
My Running Story:
I first got a taste for running in elementary school during our end of the school year rally day. I always chose to run the 50-meter dash, the 100-meter dash, and the shuttle run. Little did I know, that was the start of a long running career, which is still ongoing. Once I hit the 7th grade, I was able to go out for organized school sports. In the fall, I went out for basketball and ran cross-country. During the winter season, I played volleyball and in the spring, I went out for track & field. I always looked forward to the spring as I really enjoyed track and field due to all the different events that you could participate in. As I finished my 7th grade year and entered my 8th grade year, I was asked to run/play on the varsity squads. This was a great opportunity for me to show what I could do on the court, as well as on the cross-country courses and track.
As I entered my high school sports career at Freeman Public, I really grew to liking cross-country and track. As I became more competitive in these sports, the more I enjoyed them. However, I was stopped in my tracks at one point in my freshman cross-country season. I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma, which really slowed me down. There were times where I was unable to finish a race and it was very discouraging. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well, which led to me panicking at times, which would trigger an attack. I really struggled with my freshman year of cross-country and didn’t even want to go out for track.
After I decided to continue running track, I was waiting to run at the Howard Wood Relays and my mother walked up to me and told me we had to go. I had no idea what was going on. As I entered the Ramkota Events Center, I saw Track & Field Olympian, Jackie Joyner-Kersee sitting there! She was my idol when I was younger. I loved watching her compete as she was a heptathlete and a true, hard-nosed competitor. She, like I, has exercise-induced asthma. After listening to her speak that day, I gained a lot of confidence that I could compete at a high level, even given my diagnosis. As I continued to compete in high school, I grew into having a deep passion for running and was successful in both cross-country and track.
After graduating from high school, I went on to run at the University of South Dakota. I specialized in the middle distances, specifically the 800 meter run. I was very fortunate to have coaches at USD that believed in me and saw that I had some potential to run well on the track. In the spring of 2001, I qualified to run the 800 (2:12 PR) meters at the Division II Outdoor National Track Meet where I finished 15th. It was an amazing experience.
I knew once college was over, I had to keep running. As an athlete, it is hard to walk away from something that you love doing, especially when you love to compete. In the spring of 2003, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to run the Deadwood Half Marathon. I thought he was crazy as I had never run over 8 miles at one time before. My first half marathon was brutal. I didn’t train very properly and I walked away saying never again. However, as runners know, running is addicting once you get started, so here I am 9 half marathons later (1;33.1 PR), numerous 5K’s and 10K’s under my belt, one sprint triathlon, and a few Irishman races. I am still running and loving every minute.
I attempted running one marathon a few years ago, (4:15) but I struggled so I want to try it again. I was disappointed in my time and know I can do better. I have learned a lot since my first half marathon experience about how you train to run longer distances, so I hope I am better prepared this time around. Training for a marathon is tough, especially with 3 young children at home. You have to battle the heat, humidity, and all the physical, emotional, and mental games the longer distances play with you, but with the help of my family and friends and their ongoing encouragement, it is time to tackle 26.2 again.
If I could give any advice to a person who is new to running and just starting out, go slow. If you have to start with a walk/run approach, that is totally fine. In the last two years, I have helped my oldest sister through two half marathons, my other sister is preparing to run her first Miracle 5K this year, and a friend of mine finished the Deadwood Marathon this past June. I love being able to talk and guide people through running and encouraging them to do something that they didn’t think was possible.
As a physical education teacher and high school track coach, I love to help kids stay healthy and active. It is awesome when your students and athletes come and talk to you about their PR’s, what they have done in the off season to get prepared, and the goals they have set for themselves. It is my hope that they share the same passion as I do for running when they get older. Running is a great way to stay healthy and provides you with such a sense of accomplishment when you reach the finish line.