Marathon Challenge



Betsey Powers-Sinclair 41
Hospital Administrator

Summer 2006 Profile

When her doctor not long ago put "moderately obese" on a health form, Betsey was outraged; she prefers to see herself as "situationally overweight." Until roughly three years ago, Betsey exercised avidly and kept her weight under control. But major surgery for a life-threatening tumor growing from her spine forced Betsey to be sedentary for six months. And this trauma was compounded by a divorce. Now the single mother of two teenage kids, Betsey hopes training for the marathon will be a turning point in her life. Learn more about Betsey's story in her Marathon Diary.

Betsey's Race Results & Update

Official Time/Pace
5hrs. 56min./13:36 minutes per mile

Betsey ran with a painful urinary tract infection.

Are you still running, four months later?
Yes! After the marathon, I ran for the first time that Friday, a short, roughly 3-mile run, then again that Sunday. I also continued with my outdoor fitness bootcamp program. In early May, as part of my bootcamp, we began one-mile time trials. I had an amazing experience—running faster than ever, getting my personal best time to 6 min. and 47 seconds for one mile. On May 13, I did the Mothers Day Run for Women in Melrose (3.5-mile run). On May 20, I jumped up to a 10-mile run in prep for the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon on 5/27 ... Did a fun run with Sama and other friends on 5/31 around the Charles, did the Aids Walk/Run on 6/3 with Daniel …

What else has stayed with you?
I just returned from a nine-day trip to France, where I tried mountaineering for the first time with Mim [Miriam Nelson] from Tufts as part of a "Strong Women Mountain Getaway." It was awesome! Would I have done this before?

My marathon training was helpful in many respects. First, I was certainly very fit for this adventure. However, perhaps as important, I was able to rely on the psychological training piece as well—"Don't get too far ahead of yourself. Don't worry about the 12,000-ft. climb on the day we are at 4,800 feet. Learn the skills you will need (glacier work with crampons, poles, and ice axes). Don't worry about anyone else. Go at your own pace. Stay focused! Eat well and rest! Stay hydrated! Look out for your teammates—help them if/when you can! Be in the moment! Lean into the fear!"

What it all meant
The journey was a fabulous one, every step of the way! I never imagined the impact the group would have on me. As the marathon drew near, I worried that I would be depressed without this group as part of my life. I don't think I was alone in my thoughts, as Sama asked if I would be interested in learning to play tennis; Jane planned an outing to a concert for Carol and me; Daniel and I planned to run a half marathon...

We endured what I refer to as nine months of group therapy. We shared our vulnerabilities—those that can be seen (injuries) as well as those that remain hidden (fears). We didn't waste time getting to know one another nor with the typical superficialities that often occur in everyday life. Was it because of the intensity of the activity? The scope of the event? The fact that none of us had done it before?

I like to think faith, or letting go of control, was the real catalyst for growth and change in each one of us. Our willingness to experience the full range of emotion allowed us to witness, first- and thirdhand, the best we had to offer ourselves and one another.

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