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45 Days Out: How Olympian Anne Hart Finds Inspiration to Train for 2018 NYC Marathon

Anne Hart is a member of Team WSF for the 2018 New York City Marathon, which she will be running on November 4 to help further the Women’s Sports Foundation’s mission. A 2018 Olympian in cross-country skiing, Anne has also previously completed two marathons and two half marathons. To donate to Anne’s fundraiser for WSF, please click here.

Having come from the relatively niche sport of cross-country skiing (I usually have to correct people who think I took a chairlift that I actually propelled myself up the hills), entering the world of marathon running has been a drastic shift. Whereas most people struggle to even picture cross-country skiing, running a marathon is a concept to which most everybody has a reaction. They fall into two relatively predictable camps. There are the fellow marathon runners, the ones who also pre-ordered 2017 NYC Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan’s Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow and debated whether the ginger molasses granola from book one or the honey cardamom granola from book two tastes better post-run. And then there are ‘the rest,’ the ones who, while respecting your tenacity and dedication, think you’re certifiably crazy. I have plenty of friends in both camps (at times I think I hop between sides myself).

I think the more society learns to value people for what they can do and not for what they look like, the better we will be.

After the final class of my third week of law school, I was grabbing lunch with some of my fellow first-year law students. In between exchanging cold-call horror stories (while at times exaggerated, Legally Blonde got this part right) and learning that I’m not the only one whose mom is worried about my posture, we got to talking about weekend plans. Without thinking, I said that Saturday morning I was meeting a friend for a 20 run. I was just planning on moving the conversation to the bakery I was going to patronize later on Saturday when a woman opened her eyes wide and said, “MILES?!” The conversation then took the turn to how I get myself out the door in the morning and how many podcasts do I finish in a normal run and what do I even think about for 26.2 miles and am I just hungry all the time? (Yes).

In between peppered questions, I tried to come up with the reason why I really run marathons, why I’m running the NYC marathon for the Women’s Sports Foundation in particular, and how I get myself out the door at 5:15 a.m. to fit in a training run. And while I didn’t articulate my reasoning particularly well (it was Friday after a full week of class), after having some time to reflect I have some better answers.

I run marathons because I view them as a way to not only push my body, but also to honor all that it has done and continues to do for me. It is a constant reminder that it is not what my body looks like that makes me confident, but instead it is that my body can carry me far that brings me strength.

I’m running the NYC Marathon for the WSF because I want to give girls and women everywhere the tools to feel the same way I do. Even if it isn’t running a marathon, I think the more society learns to value people for what they can do and not for what they look like, the better we will be.

I get myself out the door at 5:15 a.m. because I know I not only have my training partner waiting at the bottom of the Mass Ave Footbridge to the Charles River Esplanade to hammer out speed work, but also my family, friends (in both camps!), and countless other early morning runners propelling me forwards.

With all that inspiration, training has been going really well. I did some incredibly big mileage blocks before school got underway — I’m inspired to get out the door at 5:15, but any earlier and I literally might fall asleep on my feet — and have since been focusing more on shorter weekday workouts, such as tempo miles and other speedwork while saving a big long run for Saturday mornings. I’ve managed to stay injury free — there was one scare with a tendon in my foot, but turns out my shoes were just a size too small) — and am feeling more and more excited as November 4 draws closer.  I’ve never been to New York City before, and I think the best first impression will be running through it with my fellow marathon-runners next to me and the non-marathon runners cheering me on.  It truly takes all kinds.

I’m also excited to find a real New York City bagel immediately after the race.  If you have any suggestions, do let me know.