Rock My {Running} World: Meet Terzah

This mother of twins is truly inspiring to me and I think you will find her story, perspective and advice helpful as well.  I have never met Terzah in person, but earlier this year I was introduced to her blog through the Run Like a Mother community and I instantly felt a connection with her.  Terzah is on a quest to qualify for Boston this year (you can read all about it on her awesome blog) and the two of us are seriously looking forward to meeting in person in 2013 on the streets of Beantown!  I can’t wait.

Terzah rocks the Top of Utah Marathon, 2011
Name: Terzah Becker
Age: 38
Location: Longmont, CO

Twitter: @terzah

What do you do in “real” life? I am a public librarian.  I work with digital initiatives for my library and on the reference desk answering all kinds of questions ranging from homework help to job hunting to e-books.  In my old life, I was a reporter and editor.
How long have you been running? I have been running on and off since I was 12 years old.  So that’s almost 27 years.
Why did you start running? My grandfather was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.  As a pre-teen I got it into my head that I wanted to go there, too, and I knew I’d need to get in better shape.  So with my dad, I started heading out to the MKT, a former railroad track converted into a miles-long trail near our house.  Dad and I would knock out two flat miles every other evening.  I didn’t get faster, and I changed my mind about the Naval Academy, but I kept running.
How many marathons have you run? 4
Personal Records:
Marathon: 3:59:11 (September 2011)
Half Marathon: 1:56:36 (July 2011)
10 Miler: 1:27:01 (February 2011)
10K: 51:04 (2011)
5K: 22:34 (2005); more recent PR is 24:24 (Dec. 2010)
What is your proudest running moment?  When I was training for the NYC Marathon in 2005, I ended up filling in on a team running the 200-mile Colorado Relay.  The person I took over for had the third-hardest of the 10 sets of legs–a four miler up a mountain pass, a 6-miler and an 8 miler.  Our team ended up beating their prior year’s time by more than an hour.  At one point, one of the women in my car told me I was their ringer, a “secret weapon.”  I loved the whole relay experience (I did it again this past summer), but it was so nice to have someone objective tell me I’m a good runner.
Pick one of your favorite parts of the lululemon manifesto and tell me why it speaks to you:

A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.  I never knew how true this was until I got pregnant and gave birth to my twins, Will and Ruthie (they will be 5 on Dec. 8th).  Because my pregnancy was “high-risk” (all multiple pregnancies are considered high-risk, even when like me the mom has no other complications), I didn’t run or exercise much at all during.  I also found, when I was given the all-clear, that finding the time after was so hard.  But I also found that when I did make the time, it made a huge difference in my outlook. I believe starting to run again kept me off anti-depressants.  Baby twins are hard.  So are toddler twins. (Heck, so are kids period.)  But throw in a well-worked-out mom and it’s all do-able.  
Do you have a favorite running mantra?  Why does this work for you?:
I don’t have a favorite, but I have some old reliables.  During speed work, it’s often just the word “Joy” over and over again. On less quick efforts, a stanza from Emily Dickenson comes into my head:
“We never know how high we are/Till we are asked to rise/And then if we are true to plan/Our statures touch the skies.” (You can repeat it to the rhythm of your feet.)
It’s too lofty for what I’m doing, but it’s so beautifully put that I invoke it and then laugh at myself later for my delusions of grandeur.

Tell us a little about what you do to strengthen your running (core training, lifting, yoga, Pilates, etc) and what do you do to protect yourself from injury?

I take a Weight Training class twice a week–we spend 45 minutes lifting and 15 minutes on core specifically.  I also cross-train with spinning twice a week on non-running days.  I wish I had time for a regular yoga practice–I was a faithful practitioner until the last trimester of my pregnancy–but between what I already do, my job and my kids, I just can’t fit it in right now.  I’m hoping to add it back next year when my kids are in kindergarten five days a week.  I believe yoga is the perfect complement to running.
To avoid injury, I get a massage whenever I can afford it and I use my foam roller after every run, focusing on my twingey left hip and glute in particular.  I also try to get in six sun salutations, especially after a long run.  I find if I adhere to this faithfully I’m very rarely sore.  Knock on wood, I’ve never had an injury that prevented me from running.

If you run with music, tell us a few of your favorite running songs:
“Lift Me Up” Moby; “Goody Two Shoes” Adam Ant; “You Spend Me Right Round” Dead or Alive (my iPod is chronically stuck in the 80s); “Sandstorm” Da Rude (fortunately I had a great spin instructor who introduced me to some good new music last year). 

What is your next race?  What is your goal for that race?
My next goal race is the Houston Marathon in January.  I’ll have to see how my training is going to finalize my goals for that day, but right now I’m aiming to qualify for Boston.  I have to run better than a 3:45 to do that.  That would be a 15-minute PR.

What are your long term running goals?  Beyond qualifying for Boston, my long-term goal is to get really in to trail running.  I want to run the Pike’s Peak Ascent next summer and someday do the Imogene Pass Run.  Trail running is amazing.  It’s the great love of my running life.  It’s just hard to do with kids. Right now, the road’s right outside my door, so I’ll take it.
What advice do you have for other runners out there? 
I’m still learning myself, but for people new to the sport I say….take your time!  There’s no need to go right to the marathon (though of course it can be done if that’s really your dream).  I didn’t run a race until I was 22 years old–a full decade after I started my slow two-milers with my dad.  After that, I ran only 10Ks and shorter races for two years.  I did run a marathon at that point, but after that I went back to shorter distances for a really long time.  However you approach it, make sure you are enjoying yourself, and be true to yourself.  Make your goals your own–don’t worry about what others are doing. That’s the key to sticking with it. 

Who “rocks your (running) world?” Can you tell us about someone who inspires your running?
I admire my husband Dan for his chill approach to running.  He’s truly competitive with only himself and never compares himself to others.  He hasn’t been in a race since 2008 (partly due to injury), but there’s no sulking or whining from him.  He celebrates being able to do what he can when he can.  Unlike me (quitter that I was), he was on his high school cross country team, and I bet he was an amazing teammate even though he was never the star.  He doesn’t need to be a star.  His peace comes from within.  I love that about him.
Terzah & Dan running together!
I also will always look up to my friend-since-first-grade Angela, the best runner I know.  Like Dan, she loves the sport.  She has been running with true joy since childhood and was a competitor all the way through college and beyond.  Without Angela and her running family, I wouldn’t be running today.  It took a long time, but the seed that was planted when I watched them run as a young doubter finally bore fruit late in my life.

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