Carla Smith has her eyes set on the 2014 Boston Marathon.
She qualified for the 2014 event by running the Cellcom Marathon in 3:45:32 in Green Bay on May 19. For her age category, she needed to run the 26.2-mile Cellcom in under 3:55.
“That is my personal record (PR) for a full marathon,” Smith said. “I also had personal records in a 10K, 15K and a half marathon; so far, this is my strongest year.”
The Boston Marathon has been her goal since last fall.
“The 2013 bombings won’t hinder me from going, if I get to go,” Smith said. “I expect to see more security for the marathon in 2014.”
Registration for Boston begins in September.
“In a normal year, my time qualifies me to register on the fifth day,” Smith said, “but there are so many people trying to qualify this year with the expectation that the Boston Marathon will be bigger and better in 2014.”
“I just want to go one time,” she said. “If I don’t get to go, it’s still an honor just to qualify.”
She admits she will probably try again, if she doesn’t get to register for the 2014 event.
“When I set a goal, I do all I can to try to make it happen,” she said. “For me Boston is the Super Bowl of marathons.”
Smith’s full marathons have been spread out every few years.
“They take a lot of training and support from my family,” she said.
“Since I have completed several half marathons, I needed to challenge myself with a full.” Smith said.
She now has run three full marathons.
Her goal this year is to run one race per month at varying distances.
Training for Boston would begin in December.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet that I have the chance to go to the Boston Marathon,” she said.
Smith runs about five times a week, ranging from five to 20 miles each time, depending on her training schedule.
While running, she listens to music, counts the miles, and does a lot of thinking.
She zigzags through the city of Clintonville using a GPS device to monitor the mileage. If the temperature gets too cold, she opts for the treadmill at the Clintonville Rec Center.
“I do speed work and hills on the treadmill because it’s easier to monitor.” she said.
She uses a training program she found on the internet and also follows the advice of Dana Tennie at Hard Core Fitness in Clintonville.
“The running part came easy, but I needed help with the other aspects of training and that is where Dana helped me,” she said. “I feel with the nutrition counseling and strength training she provides in her classes that I have become a stronger runner.”
Smith says she feels invigorated after a run.
“I got addicted to it because running made me feel good,” she said. “After three or four miles I get into a rhythm and I don’t have to think about the legs moving anymore – they just do.”
Distance running also de-stresses her.
“My family can tell when I haven’t run for a while,” Smith said.
Her family includes husband Michael and their two daughters – Kelli, 9, and Kenzie, 5.
Michael is her support on race days.
“I like just seeing him and knowing he’s there to support me,” she said.
“My family support has been awesome,” she explained. “We make everybody’s hobbies fit in.”
Smith grew up near Dupont and graduated from Marion High School in 1986. Her parents are Bill and Judy Bork.
She works full time as a dental hygienist for John W. Connelly, DDS.
She started running in 2000 and “racing” in 2005.
Her and her friend, Cathy McCoy, travel and compete in races together.
“We challenge and we push each other,” Smith said.
Smith loves race days.
“The comradery is exciting – it’s energy,” she said.
According to Smith, marathons are unlike other competitions.
“Most runners don’t run against each other – they run against themselves,” she said, “trying to beat their time.”
At the beginning of a race Smith lines up near a “pace setter” according to her finishing time.
“The congestion at the start of the race can make it hard to find your pace,” she said.
At the Cellcom Marathon, she ran the race according to her plan, but lost some time in the last 2-3 miles as they were running into the wind.
It was still her personal best time for the distance.
“It’s always exciting at the end because you get to run into and around Lambeau Field,” she said.