Winner of the Women’s Division in the 2017 Flying Pig MarathonMarc Emral Kerry Lee finished in the top three of the Flying Pig marathon six times before winning the women’s division last year with a PR (personal record) time of 2:53:47. The 43-year-old Hyde Park resident and Anderson High School teacher (math) and coach (track and cross country, of course) grew up in Oregon and attended Miami University, where she met her husband Dan. Lee has run 26 marathons, and plans on running this year’s Flying Pig, the 20th year of the race, on May 6. We spoke with her about why she loves running and how’s she’s preparing herself for this year’s race.
How did you start running?
My dad. He’s a runner and he ran marathons when I was young. Most every memory I have of him has running to do with it. I knew I wanted to run in some aspect, and coaching seemed natural, too, so I fell upon that, and honestly it’s been the best part about it. Coaching is more rewarding than running for myself. You just spread your passion, especially to kids who are just starting to build their own.
Besides being fit, what is the most important issue to get you through the Pig?
You have to have a realistic goal with a plan. And you have to be flexible. There are going to be things that happen. You have to be OK with having a plan but then knowing when you have to take a rest or a break and adjust your plan.
What is the best way to prepare for the race mentally?
You have to trust the process. You have to trust your training. And never doubt yourself. Go into it with your goals and expecting to achieve those goals. But know if it’s not your day there will be another day.
What do you get out of running?
Joy. Strength. Confidence. Gratitude. Pride. I feel strong when I’m running. I feel strong when I can run a race. I feel strong when I can keep up with my kids. Not just physically but mentally strong. All of those words I used to describe are things I hope to give to my kids, my runners, or other people I run with or create a training plan for.
If someone says. ‘You’ve inspired me I want to run a marathon,’ what do you say?
I would say it’s a really challenging thing to do but it’s rewarding, and if you stick to a plan you can do it. If you are brand new to it I would suggest joining a local running group because … you are surrounded by a bunch of other people who are embarking on the same journey.
What do you think about during the race?
I definitely break it down into sections and kind of concentrate on one section at a time. In the beginning I really try to be aware of my surroundings and the people who are around me and listen to my breathing. Towards the end when it’s starting to hurt is when I start … thinking about who are the people who got me into this and why I still do it and what do I want to prove to them or show to them.