Saturday, August 5, 2017

Spotlighted Athlete of the Week Marsha

Everyone has a story about how being active and staying fit has become a part of their lives. Hearing these stories are inspirational and motivating and worth sharing!

Sea to Shining Sea Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k are proud to begin spotlighting runners, walkers, and hikers who can inspire us all. Today we'd like to kick off this series by introducing you to Marsha.

Marsha, what inspires you to be active and lead a healthy life?

I just feel so much better when I am active. Moving in some way every day is like my daily fix. It's kinda like brushing my teeth. Until I do it, I just don't feel like myself.

What activities or sports do you enjoy?

Running is my first love. I've done and taught aerobic and step aerobics in the past, but after I picked up running in my early 20s it became my go to activity. I also love to the road bike and even taught a spin class for several years. I love the freedom I feel on the bike and it's great cross-training. I strength train because I know it's good for me. It's not something I love but I work it into my routine.
I don't do long sessions, but I do it and like that it makes me feel stronger. Finally, I picked up yoga about 4 years ago and it has made a big difference in my overall health. It helps me stay in tune with my body, adds flexibility and strength, and keeps me present.

What is your favorite recreation activity?

I love to run outside. I love to bike. Those are my workouts and my recreation. I often say that running is my holy ground. I do like to run and ride with friends but it's also good alone time and time to pray and listen to uplifting music.

If you are a runner what has been one of your proudest moments?

I have run several races. I've only kept track of half and full marathons. I've run nearly 60 half marathons and over a dozen full marathons. The few trail marathons that I have completed make me quite proud. It really ups the notch when you're running 26.2 miles up and down and over various terrain. In 2013, I ran 13 half marathons. I ran none of those with a watch and still finished all but 2 under 2 hours. The 2 that went over were within a minute. That was also the year I took up yoga and I feel like that helped me be present in all of those races and really enjoy the experience.

What is something unique about your fitness or journey into leading an active lifestyle?

I started running by racewalking. I ran to train but I entered the race walking division when I went to a race. I finished well among local races but eventually, I just decided to start running when I started training for my first half marathon. I didn't want to racewalk that far!

Are you inspired by others who are active? What is a characteristic, example or even just the reason you find inspiration through others?

When I first started running, I did it alone. I even trained for my first couple of marathons by myself. But then a running club formed in my local community, and someone kept asking me to join. At first, I was self-conscious and felt like I would be too slow. However, I finally showed up to the small group (only about 4-5 runners in the beginning) and someone waited for me on that first night to make sure I didn't run the whole course on my own. That was about 14 years ago. That group has grown and I have run paces and distances I never thought I would have, and I'm sure I never would have done had it not been for the Shelby Roadrunners. We're like family and we all find inspiration in each other.

Even when we all want to be healthy, we all have that one food we love to indulge in or treat ourselves to after a hard workout or goal we have achieved. What is yours?

Chocolate and peanut butter! It may come in the form of a Reese's Cup. Or it may be a big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and chocolate chips in it.

Share with us a goal you have worked on and achieved.

For a long time, I never thought I would break 2 hours in a half marathon and then I wanted to get a 1:45 finish. The year I achieved that goal I put in the time and training and race day was tough but thanks to a good friend who ran with me, I met my goal with only a couple of seconds to spare.

When you set out to achieve your goals, share with us your best tips or advice you have to help you reach them, that others may be able to use as inspiration for their own goal setting.

I've trained for several half and full marathons, and many of them I've followed a training plan that had me running nearly 13 or 26 miles in training at near race pace. And every time I start a new training plan, especially for the marathon, 26 miles seems so far. But as I go through training, I build up and I'm ready for the longer distances as they come. My best piece of advice is to trust the process. Follow the plan. Keep your focus.

If you have had a struggle or something you have had to overcome to achieve one of your goals, what was it and how did you overcome it?

Last summer I felt like I was given some devastating news. I started having knee pain after doing a half marathon in Chicago with Team Momentum. It wouldn't go away so I finally got it checked. Doc looked at my x-rays and said: "The knees of someone in her mid-40s shouldn't look like this, but they do". The verdict is that I had arthritis in both knees. Not much of any cushion left. That particular doctor pretty much told me to hang up my running shoes. Thankfully I love to bike, so I biked and biked....and got a second opinion. The second opinion agreed with arthritis but his verdict "You have bad knees. You will just have to learn to manage them." And so it took months to get the knee calmed down and lots of miles on the bike. But with work, I got through that phase and was doing some shorter races by the end of last year. In May, I did the Indy Mini for the 20th time but that is likely my last time doing a half marathon. The distance just aggravates my knees. But I'm able to run shorter distances and focusing on what I can do which is run 5Ks and run 3 times a week with my local running club. I've had to shift my focus a bit. (I've always been a distance junkie!) I just appreciate every mile I get to run and the pain-free running days.

What's your fitness claim to fame?

My claim to fame according to local runners is that I ran more than 2 marathons in one day. I entered a 12-hour relay event but you also had the option to run by yourself. It was a 3-mile loop at a park. I pretty much ran all day and ended up running a little over 56 miles. I set out with the minimal expectation that day, it was a hot summer day, and I just kept running. I even stopped in the campground and took a shower mid day! lol!

Isn't Marsha incredible? Most may give up on their passion when dealt with the news of arthritis in the knee's but she's found a way to push forward! I think anyone reading this will agree that is very inspirational!  Marsha is also a blogger if you'd like to begin following her journeys you can reach her at:
Faith and Fitness with Marsha Apsley

Marsha is also frequent on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK

Do you have a story to tell? Run Sea to Shining Sea Virtual Races would love to tell it, you can email us at and ask about becoming a spotlighted athlete on our blog.

By stopping by to check out our spotlighted athlete, you're also welcome to join us in our Virtual Race event coming up in September with a discount, use code FUNRUN15 at checkout to save 15%.

1 comment:

Spotlighted Athlete of the Week Marsha

Everyone has a story about how being active and staying fit has become a part of their lives. Hearing these stories are inspirational and mo...