Boston Bound 2018: Margaret Klimek
The countdown to Boston Marathon is on and we're continuing our spotlight series on Athletes for Yoga as we countdown to race day. This week, meet Margaret Klimek, mom of two, scientist, and inspiring runner who is using Jasyoga in her training block leading up to her FIRST Boston. We can't wait to cheer for her on Marathon Monday!
I’m Margaret Klimek, a wife, mom, and scientist. I’m married to an extremely supportive and encouraging husband. Our careers have taken us many places and I have a PhD in Molecular biology and he recently retired as a commander from the USCG career as a pilot. During the last seven years we’ve been lucky to have two children, Niko and Alexandra. Upon Brad’s retirement we decided to settle in Arlington, Virginia.
My love for running started when I was in 7th grade. I wanted to hurdle and was tiny, scrawny, and short. I wanted to be a part of a team. I worked hard, established goals, and kept trying. By the end of my senior year I had gone on several trips to state championships and broke records for all the hurdle events at my school. I created friendships that I cherish today and still hold those records (yikes) 17 years later.
I went to Moravian College, in Bethlehem, PA. Running kept me grounded and focused, and also gave me a break from the demands of my academic life as a biology major. I continued to hurdle and tried new distances (55mHH & 400m IH). I provisionally qualified for nationals in the 55m hurdles and broke the 100mHH school record by my senior year. I ran through some of the hardest times of my life that year after the death of a close friend and teammate. I remember my coach asking if I needed a break early in the year. I told him no, I needed to run. The relationships I had through my team and running saved me when I was weak, gave me a purpose when leading my younger teammates, and made me strong when I thought I had nothing left to give.
After college, I didn’t run competitively. I met Brad in 2005 and the next year he convinced me to do a 5K. It was so far to run and I hated every step until the final 400m where I could sprint to the finish. After we were married we would run together and I would do local 5K races here and there while in graduate school. I ran during my first pregnancy and loved running with my son in tow. This continued after the birth of our daughter and my husband and I began running races with them in the jogging stroller. We would run with them to The National Mall and do picnics near the Washington Monument. Running, again, became a big part of my family’s life.
Finally, in 2014 I wanted to run a longer race (without a stroller) to see what I could do. I met my goal in that 4-miler and went on to break 20 minutes in the 5K that year. I joined a local team and ironically ran club XC nats that year back Bethlehem, PA at Lehigh University with my college coach there asking me why I never ran XC for him. I began to reaching out in 2015 to other local moms through MRTT and in doing so have met some of the most amazing (fast) friends a woman could have.
Over the years I’ve matured as a runner. The long distances aren’t as intimidating and I surround myself with strong, empowering women. What I love most about this sport is truly the relationships I’ve made over the years. Yes, I love getting that PR or crushing a workout but when you share that with others... it’s even better. I know when to tell my friends to take a deep breath and when to tell them to speed up or slow down. I love hearing our strides in sync and our breathing strong, not too labored but not such that we can talk.
A true running friend will remind you to keep calm and controlled when you need to keep a moderate pace on the track. She will also challenge you on the last rep saying, “I’m dropping the hammer.” You respond by coming through the first lap 10s faster than any of the previous 20 Laps. You hold on as long as you can and thank her when you are done because she just paced you for your fastest 1200m repeat, ever. When you know someone is waiting for you at 5:30am to do a long run you both have been dreading all week because you aren’t sure you CAN do the miles at the prescribed paces... you show up and run. And after the hills and fast miles you exchange glances that say, “awesome job,” knowing you ran over 2 hours together and are excited about the paces you just ran. There is a special connection between runners and I am so lucky to be surrounded by women that help prove to me that I can do what I had previously doubted.
My husband and I also share this bond since we run about the same pace. He is encouraging every step of the way even when I’m one step ahead. He is never jealous, but always supportive with a constant positive attitude that I sometimes lack. I love that we can share this sport together and with our children. Now they are too big for the jogging stroller, but they ride their bikes while we run next to them. Brad and I will both be toeing the line at Boston this year and for both of us it’ll be the first of (hopefully) many miles in Boston.
Running can make me feel so strong and extremely vulnerable. Yes, there are disappointments (injuries, bad races) but as I grow as a distance runner, I’m learning that those experiences where I didn’t PR and really had to gut it out are the ones I remember most. Running is certainly a gift and sharing that with my children is always fun. Teaching them to be strong and active is very rewarding for both my husband and I.
I still think back to that scrawny little girl that wanted to run hurdles. Now I’m a strong, wife and mother, but I’m still that girl at heart: Eager to set new goals, get stronger and faster, be a part of a team, (whether Team Klimek or with my amazing sisters in sport) supporting and encouraging others as their running is as much of a part as my Running journey in this sport.
I always preferred shorter distance races since I come from a sprinter/hurdler background but in 2016 I decided to try to go ahead and run a marathon to get a BQ. I ran my first marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, in October 2016 with two of my best friends. They were experienced marathoners at the time and happy to run with me to BQ. MCM was an amazing experience for me, so much so, that I ran it again in 2017.
I can say now I’ve raced distances from the 55m hurdles to the marathon. I’m learning to love the longer distances most likely because I am able to spend more time with amazing, fast women (most of us moms) for hours running every weekend. I’m heading to Boston this year with the ladies that crossed the finish line at MCM with me and several more that I have had the pleasure to run, train, and become closer friends with all thanks to the sport we love.
Where did you qualify?
Marine Corps Marathon 2016.
What are your A, B, C goals?
D) 3:35 (my BQ standard is 3:40)
What was your most challenging workout in this training block?
I have had dedicated hill workouts every other week since December. Each one is more difficult than the last with more reps and longer distances. I think it’s the hardest hill workout each time but I’ve completed every single one since December 12. They are definitely the most challenging workouts but I feel a great sense of accomplishment when they are completed. Now, I look back at the distance for my first hill workout (1800m in December compared to this 4800m in March) and feel like they have been a great challenge to have in order to build my strength for handling the Boston course for both up and down hill!
What was your most encouraging workout in this training block?
The workout was a 20+ mile run with marathon pace miles (miles 11-17) on rolling hills. I was lucky to have two friends with me and we ended up crushing the MP miles about 30–40 seconds faster than my actual marathon pace while climbing over 1000ft during the course of the long run. We finished the fast miles a bit exhausted but feeling amazing at the same time. I never ran a 20-miler that fast before and it certainly boosted my confidence for Boston.
A close second was a 17 mile run with 2mi WU, (4,3,2,1 miles @ MP with 1 mile easy recovery), 2mi WD. I ran non-stop after the 2mi warm up for 15 and hit paces faster than anticipated for the MP miles. This was just one of those days where the Running felt controlled, smooth and fast.
How do you use Jasyoga in your training?
I try to do something daily. Regularly on Hill days (Tuesday every other week) I do the Booty Lock Mitigation video. I also do the 5-Minute Resets for Quads and Calves on these days.
High Mileage Reset is my favorite for Mondays which is a day off running for me.
What’s your favorite video for workout day?
I really like the videos focusing on the hips (Comprehensive Hip Reset, Post-Run Hip Reset, Optimal Hip Reset & Quick Hip Reset). I used to get a lot of tightness in my IT bands stemming from tight hips and these help with that a lot when running higher mileage.
The 5-Minute Reset videos are also great if I want to focus on a specific area but am limited on time.
Favorite video for recovery day?
High Mileage Reset.
Favorite video for long run day?
Do you have a go-to, can’t live without video this training cycle?
High Mileage Reset.
It's mile 24, what will you think of to pull you to that finish line?
This training cycle I’ve been trying to do visualizations more often when the running is hard or uncomfortable. I usually think about running toward and crossing the Boston Marathon finish line when I’m getting closer to the end of a long tempo.
I tell myself now during workouts that my legs WILL hurt and I CAN keep going. I have gotten more comfortable feeling uncomfortable and try to keep focus on my breathing and evaluate my body head to toe. Usually, I’m fine if I can get my breathing synced with my stride.
I will be counting down 400s from mile 24 like I do on long tempos. I’ll tell myself less than nine laps on the track and cut down from there. The next thing I know I’ll be 400m from that finish line... hopefully smiling, on the way to a big PR.
Do you have a mantra for when it gets hard?
Run strong, Run Fast, Run Free, and Breathe.
Follow Margaret on Instagram and be sure to give her some love as she approaches race day!