Meet Faye Reber of Madison, Wisconsin. By the time she toes the starting line for the Twilight 10K and Madison Half Marathon events, she will have lost about 100 pounds, a journey that has been life-changing. Faye is tackling the Conquer the Capital challenge, a combination of each of the Madison Marathon distances in 2016 (the Twilight 10K on May 28, the Half Marathon on May 29, and the Marathon on November 13). Her best advice? “Be stronger than your excuses.”
Focal Flame Photography (FFP): How many Madison Marathon events have you run?
Faye Reber: These will be my first.
FFP: Have you participated in other similar events?
Faye: Yes! I ran my first official 5K in July of 2012 (Waunafest) and my first half in August of 2012 (Madison Mini).
Since then I've completed … two more (halfs)... When I completed the 2015 Madison Mini, I took over 14 minutes off of my time, which I attribute to my weight loss as well as my workouts - especially my personal training sessions.
FFP: Are there any personal accomplishments that you are particularly proud of?
Faye: The fact that I could run my first half (and I ran the entire thing) was huge for me, but I missed my goal time. When I ran the race again in 2015, I came in more than 14 minutes faster, I was ecstatic - and even more so when I saw that the last 5K of that race was the quickest 5K I had run to date.
Of course I am proud of my weight loss, it is huge and it allows me to see that my body is constantly capable of so much more. ... Learning to lose slowly has taken patience, but I think it has also allowed me to enjoy life more while working on a maintainable weight loss and not just quick fixes.
FFP: What does running and participating in events, such as the upcoming Madison Half Marathon and Twilight series (and the Marathon in the Fall) mean to you?
Faye: For me, every race and every training run help me understand and prove what I am capable of. These events and the training … give me healthy outlets. The people I've met and become friends with is just as important! I never consider myself to be "racing" against anyone else, but I'm still at a point that I'm losing weight, working hard, and lately I've seen huge improvements on each of my races. I know that at some point those will level out, but to see the progress each time is really rewarding!
I wasn't super athletic growing up. I finally joined the rugby team my senior year in college and loved it, but the running was hard. I tore my achilles and when discussing recovery plans, I remember the sports ortho essentially saying it didn't matter much because I'd never be a runner. The irony of that is amusing to me now!
FFP: With so many races to choose from, why did you pick these events?
Faye: After finishing my last half in August 2015, I decided I was ready to commit to a full marathon. A friend of mine was also ready to look for a full. …. When I looked at the Madison Marathon again and started looking at The Conquer the Capital Challenge, we decided why not go all in and sign up for the whole thing!
FFP: Can you tell us what it has been like to train/prepare for the event?
Faye: Training so far has been surprising. I've realized that on my days that I "just want to go for a run" it's almost "easy" for me to hit 6-7 miles for fun. I don't think I would have ever anticipated that this would be the case!
Knowing I have to pull back on other fun, social workouts to hit my training runs and not be overly exhausted is something I am working on and I know it'll get harder as the time commitment for marathon training increases for November.
FFP: What will it mean to you to participate in the May race?
Faye: I think the May races will be a test in self-restraint. In order to do my best on the half, I know I will need to keep myself from going all out on the 10K the night before. I am also recovering from a knee injury at a little over a month out from the races so keeping balance and being smart is important!
FFP: Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?
Faye: If people can take anything from my story, I hope it is that inspiration to reach their goals too. Be stronger than your excuses - you do not need to be an all-star athlete or subject matter expert to conquer huge goals. When you truly make up your mind and commit to a goal - weight loss, physical fitness, running, or anything for that matter it's possible. There are always bumps, pauses, or plateaus but don't quit!
This article is part of a series featuring athletes and others who are participating in a Madison Marathon event in 2016. Focal Flame Photography is honored to serve as official photographers for the Madison Marathon. All runners will receive free FocalShare™ digital race photos courtesy of the event organizers. The Spring Madison Marathon events will occur on May 28 and 29, 2016 on the streets of Wisconsin's capital city. For more information or to register, visit Madison Marathon.
- by Suellen Adams