Runner Spotlight: Christine Westcott

Christine Westcott at the 2014 Boston Marathon

When did you begin running and why?

I began running track in the 7th grade in Sealy, TX. I ran the 400m relay, the 800m, the 800m relay, the 1600m relay, and even competed in the triple jump. In high school, I competed in cross country and track and ran the 3200m, 3200m relay, and the 1600m relay. I am not sure why I decided to run back then. I think I realized as a young child in PE, it was something I exceled at. It wasn’t until I was 30 years old that I decided to run my first marathon and began distance running. I ran that first marathon just to run a marathon, but I “caught the bug” and have been hooked ever since.

How did you find out about DCRR and when did you join?

Our son went off to college in 2008 and my husband decided he wanted to run a marathon for “real”. He had run a marathon before but with little training. We noticed it was all too easy on a Saturday morning to procrastinate and not get out of the house early for our long runs. We decided we needed the support of a running group and the commitment we knew we would develop by keeping an appointment with the group each week. That is when we decided to join a running club. We did some research online regarding local running clubs and decided to join DCRR.

What are you training for right now?

Right now, I am training for the Richmond Marathon which is November 15th. I was scheduled to run the Wineglass Marathon, but I had a few minor injuries that set my training back a bit so I deferred my Wineglass entry until next year and decided to sign up for Richmond which gives me a little more time to prepare.

What is the toughest run or race you’ve ever participated in?

I could say that the Steamtown Marathon was the toughest because I got injured two weeks before, and ran the entire marathon anyway, but I think one of the toughest races I have run to date is the Charlottesville Half Marathon in 2012. I was just coming off of hip surgery and wanted to avoid the lottery and qualify for entry into the Houston Marathon. My conditioning wasn’t where it needed to be and the morning of the race I woke up in Charlottesville and my husband checked the qualifying times for Houston and told me I had to run 10 seconds per mile faster than we first thought in order to qualify. I was devastated wondering how I was going to pull it off given my limited training. It wasn’t an incredibly difficult time, but coming off of the injury, having limited training, and looking at the hill profile of the course, I knew it would be tough. It is the only race that I can think of that I crossed the finish line in tears…not tears of joy but tears of discomfort. The funny thing is after all that I had to go and run another half marathon a month later in New Jersey because it turned out that the Charlottesville half was not a certified course…only the Charlottesville full marathon was.

What’s your favorite part about being a DCRR member?

My favorite part of being a DCRR member is the people I have met throughout the years. I love that not only can I meet new people along the way, but I enjoy the stability of seeing a lot of the same familiar faces each week. I can run and catch up with everyone at the end of our busy work weeks.

What’s the most important lesson running has taught you?

I think the most important lesson that running has taught me is perseverance and that I am tougher than I think I am. In 2010, I was running very strong and was in great shape. As I mentioned earlier, two weeks before running the Steamtown Marathon and attempting to qualify for Boston, I got injured. I ran the marathon anyway, but it did not turn out well. Six months later, doctors determined I needed hip surgery. I went through months of physical therapy and came off of that to run 6 marathons in 19 months which included two Boston Marathons. I equate running to life and I always tell myself through the ups and downs, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”.

What race day traditions do you have?

I always try to get up early enough to shower, eat breakfast which is comprised of granola cereal, a banana, and a glass of milk. I also have some coffee. The night before, in addition to eating pizza or spaghetti to carbo load, I lay out all of my clothes, race number, watch, shoes, gu, etc. in one location and systematically put them on the morning of the race.

What’s your proudest running moment?

My proudest running moment is this year’s Boston Marathon. From the start, I noticed there was something wrong with my quads. I was hoping that I would warm up after a few miles, and the weakness I was feeling would go away. But, by mile 15 I knew this was wishful thinking. In addition, it was a warm day and I started to feel it by mile 8. I wanted to walk off the course but I saw two runners that were running with prosthetic legs and that inspired me to continue. Not only did I continue, but I stopped the rate at which my time was fading and ended up missing my PR by only 8 seconds. I was so proud of myself for not quitting and fighting through when things got really tough. Another proud moment but less about me and more about my son was completing the Houston Marathon in 2013. I was so proud of his ability to train in just 11 short weeks off the couch to run his first marathon. It was a great feeling to be able to run with him just about every step of the way until the very end when I told him to finish strong and he pulled away from me to beat me by 16 seconds.

What’s your life like outside of running?

Is there actually a life outside of running? This is news to me. Just kidding. But seriously, as everyone knows, training for marathons takes a real commitment. Between running and working as an Employee Benefits Advisor, there isn’t much time left for anything else. In between, I like to work in the yard and spend time with family.

What is one thing you wouldn’t run without?

The one thing I do not want to run without is my husband, Paul. Since my surgery he has logged thousands of miles on a bike alongside me as I run. We started running together when our son went off to college in hopes of running a marathon together someday. Unfortunately one or the other of us…mostly he has been injured ever since. I know I can’t always have him alongside especially in a race so if I had to choose one thing I couldn’t run without, I would say as others have said before…it would be my shoes.