Introducing Sarah Kirke, a FITS Boston Marathon Ambassador - FITS®

April 02, 2019

Sarah Kirke is a HR consultant and runner in Orchard Park, NY, about to embark on her first Boston Marathon! We couldn’t be more excited to cheer her on and watch her rock her FITS running socks all the way to the finish line. 

Here’s a little more about Sarah and her running story.

Tell us a little about your history and experience as a runner: 

I’m not traditionally the normal “runner.” I grew up playing sports and soccer was my sport of choice, but I never did cross country, track and field or anything along those lines in high school or college. I went to Wake Forest and they had a phenomenal soccer program and I thought about playing club soccer, then I got my noes in the books, joined a sorority and found life outside of the sports — but I found myself really missing that component of training. I fell into running my junior year of college and enjoyed the peacefulness of getting out there, clearing my mind and doing it by myself, as opposed to being on a team sport.

I ran a couple of marathons in my 20s, but not in the healthiest of ways. I didn’t treat my body very well and just wasn’t smart about training. Then I took a substantial amount of time away from running. I got married and had two babies (now five and three), and for those five years of pregnancy and nursing, my body was dedicated to having the babies and being a mom. It was my choice to step away from running, but that also made me step away from a piece of myself. Once I was done nursing my son after about a year postpartum, I laced up the shoes again. I really wanted to do something for me and have that time for myself. And man, that was so hard to do. Everything hurt. It was humbling and just very challenging mentally, physically and emotionally, but something inside of me came back. I felt like a kid again, playing soccer and just running around with that abandon. So, I slowly and steadily in a very smart and healthy and balanced way — now being in my early 30s at that point — was able to really do it in a way that made sense. I honestly never thought it would come back to me in any sort of overwhelmingly spiritually way, but I just fell passionately in love with just going out and running.

I decided to sign up for the Chicago Marathon in 2017 and training for that marathon lit a fire in me. The miles were clicking away, I was getting faster and treating my body in a way that really respected it. Having my kids see me do something I really, really loved made me a better mom. I made a quiet goal that I wanted to qualify for Boston…and I did. I went to Chicago and I ran a really smart race and I qualified with over five minutes under the qualifying standard. Then I ran the Buffalo Marathon in May of 2018 and further bettered my time for Boston, and then I ran Chicago again in October of 2018 and set my PR again of 3:23. I’ve run the three post partum marathons and I’m three for three with the BQ (Boston qualifying). It’s hard to fathom a time when running wasn’t a part of my life in the way it is now. 

What are your goals for Boston? 

I want to have fun. I want to soak it all in. It is a historic, amazing, oldest annual marathon in the world, and I worked my tush off to be able to get there and I just want to be able to enjoy it. I don’t have any expectations to PR (personal record). There’s no pressure. To me, it’s a celebration of the work I’ve already put in. I cannot wait for the excitement of the entire weekend. I’m turning 37 on April 12th, so it’s going to be an extended weekend with my husband and just an absolute blast. 

How has training gone so far? 

My training cycle was a little abbreviated. I typically do a 16-18 week training cycle and this time I did a 12-week. I run my miles outside and in Buffalo, it’s brutal. But I love being outside. I love just having the ability to breathe the fresh air, to lace up and go. I don’t have a treadmill and I don’t belong to a gym, so the majority of my miles are outside and the winter has been brutal. But it gives me that determination and drive to grind it out and get to the start line.

As a runner, how important is it for you to have the "right" gear?

It’s extremely important — from feet all the way to my head. With all the trial and error of different clothing and shoes, you find what works for you. It’s so unique to each runner, but once you find it, it’s hard to gravitate away from that. It’s what make me feel strong and powerful.

Do you have any race superstitions or rituals that you follow? 

I’m a creature of habit. I eat the same thing, but I feel like if you ask any runner they’ll tell you they eat the same thing. My favorite number is eight, so every time I get a bib number, I try to get it to add up or multiple or subtract to equal to eight. For Boston, I got the actual numbers of the bib to equal eight (13894), plus I’m wave two corral six.

What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you? 

It’s really hard to put into words, and I know I’m going to get incredibly choked up as I cross that finish line. The marathon is such a fickle beast and, honestly, training for this distance humbles me every step that I take. I get chills when I think about it. I love showing my kids and my husband that Mom can set mini goals along the way – I always talk about manageable pieces – and when you string together consistent manageable pieces, you can have amazing outcomes. It’s never going to be perfect, but that’s what makes it amazing and interesting and complex and multidimensional. And that’s what the marathon is to me. I love the training aspect of it. I love the grind and just being able to be a part of such a historic event like the Boston Marathon. It’s an absolute dream come true, honestly. I just can’t wait to celebrate all of the hard work that I have put in and have my family proud of me. Without my support system, I couldn’t have done any of this. I’m not a team of one and I owe so much of what I do day in and day out to that support system.

 

Good luck, Sarah! We’ll be cheering you on from afar.


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