Runner Spotlight: Mara Gramling

When did you begin running and why?
I quit soccer my senior year of high school after playing my entire life up to that point. I needed something to fill the void that spring, so I decided to sign up for the Fargo Marathon weekend’s 10K. I never knew exactly how far or fast I was running during training because I didn’t have a watch. I just ran. I ran well on race day and I was hooked!

How did you find out about DCRRC and when did you join?
I found out about DCRR from a quick Google search in 2015 when I moved to the area. However, I didn’t join until December 2018. I don’t know why I waited so long! I showed up to SLR for the first time for the Christmas Tree run and had a lot of fun. I’ve been at SLR and track workouts ever since.

What are you training for right now?
I’m building endurance this summer because my husband convinced me to stop being a spectator and join him for the JFK 50 miler in November. The race is perfectly timed just before the holidays. I plan to recover with lots of Thanksgiving pie and Christmas cookies for the month following the race. I’m also running the Army 10 miler and some of the Bunion Derby races this summer/fall.

What is the toughest run or race you’ve ever participated in?
I’ll give you two answers because they have a common denominator: cold! I ran (walked?) the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler in 2016 in the rain/sleet and swore I’d never again run a trail race. Funny how time changes all of those “I’m never running again” thoughts. Boston 2018 was the other miserably cold run. It was my first Boston, so I tried my hardest to enjoy it and not take it for granted. I grew up in North Dakota, but I strongly dislike being cold!

What’s your favorite part about being a DCRRC member?
I enjoy being around people that love running and talking about running as much as I do. The accountability is great too. I push myself harder in group track workouts than I do when I’m running them solo, which has been great for my overall fitness.

What’s the most important lesson running has taught you?
I’m capable of more than I think I am. I relearn this lesson every fall when I race and those difficult summer miles pay off.

What is your favorite route in the area?
I love running South of Old Town on the Mt. Vernon Trail. This half of the trail is more scenic and a lot quieter than the other half. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve done my long runs on this section of the trail, and I’m not sick of it yet!

What race day traditions do you have?
Nothing unique. Some carbs, peanut butter, and lots of coffee!

What’s your proudest running moment?
2018 Revel Mt. Lemmon marathon. I decided early in my training cycle that I was going to have a big PR and run sub-3:18 (previous PR was 3:25). I started the race conservatively and felt good, so I slowly picked up the pace. I finished in 3:14. I knew the finish line volunteers and was greeted with a big hug when they saw me beat my goal time. Not only was this a PR for me, but this race gave me the confidence to set bigger and more challenging goals. I’ve been focusing on shorter distances lately, but plan to crush my marathon PR next winter.

What’s your life like outside of running?
My husband and I enjoy traveling, cooking and eating, and being active. Bonus points when we can do all three at the same time.