Whenever you start something new, especially something as demanding as exercising, it’s helpful to find someone to take that journey with you to keep you accountable and motivated.
Sisters-in-law Amber and Kayla Boen learned just how important it is to have a companion when they began running together. They conquered small distances at first and, through encouragement and determination, have now set their sights on long-distance goals.
Amber: I started my running journey in January of 2018. I was looking for a way to better my health and be more active. It started out with running on the elliptical at home in our basement. Once it warmed up, I took my running outside and started the Couch 2 5K program.
In April, I learned about Susan Kreklau’s C25K running group, so I signed up for that to keep up the motivation. I was lucky enough to have Kayla join the group as well. We kept each other motivated and accountable for our runs.
Kayla: Before the C25K, I ran one 5K with my oldest sister. I remember saying, “Never again will I run a 5K,” but here I am five years later having run several 5Ks last summer and enjoying every minute.
Amber and I were able to get through the C25K and keep each other on our toes, encouraging each other to do our best. Then we ran our first 5K together, the Sunnybrook Stomp. It was kind of scary. I ran the course before race day and felt like it was taking me forever, but I learned it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to finish the race. It’s that I cross the finish line. Those were Amber’s famous words. Eventually, it stuck in my head that, yeah, she’s right. That’s all that counts.
Amber: I remember being super nervous about the Sunnybrook Stomp. It was a really warm morning, and the sun was hot. The only goal I had set was to cross the finish line, and I think that is a really important part when running 5Ks.
You can’t get hung up on the length of time it took you to run it, but be proud of yourself for running it.
Kayla: After the Sunnybrook Stomp, Amber and I decided to get in as many 5Ks as we could that summer, so we did. We were able to run the Deer Creek Smokin’ Hot 5K, Bertha 5K, and Bluffton Days 5K together. I also ran the Someplace Safe 5K, which was a last-minute decision made the morning of the race.
Amber: After running the 5Ks, we both set goals that we wanted to run a half marathon in 2019! I searched for upcoming half marathons that would give us time to train and found the 2018 Monster Dash in St. Paul. It looked like a great course, so I talked to Kayla about registering. She was hesitant at first, but I knew we could do it, and I knew she knew it too. I told her that I registered for it and that I would love for her to join.
Kayla: When she told me that, I’m pretty sure I said to her, “You’re crazy.” I told her there’s no way I can run a half this year, but I gave in and signed up.
I decided to put myself to the test and run from my parents’ house to mine. It was a little over 12 miles one way. I ran it in two hours, which I though was pretty darn good. Amber then wanted to take me out on a course she had planned, so we set out early Saturday morning and started running.
Amber: We took off on our run and ended up taking the wrong road and ran down a minimum maintenance road. It was all muddy. There were gunshots in the vicinity as it was duck season. It was terrible, but it was also great at the same time. We joked about it, made it through the mud, stomped off our shoes, and finished our 13.1 miles.
We were ready for our half marathon.
Kayla: Ready, set, go!! It’s October 28, and it’s the BIG race day for us both. I remember being so nervous I wanted to puke, but we lined up, had our water, backpacks, and ear buds playing some tunes. We both did amazing. I couldn’t be prouder of this huge accomplishment that we crushed. I hope to run even more 5Ks and half marathons with Amber this summer. My own personal goal is to run two half marathons this summer, and I’ve signed up to run a full marathon in December in Hawaii.
Amber: The day of our half marathon is truly something I will always cherish. It’s a journey that we worked so hard for, and when we crossed that finish line, the feeling is unexplainable. I was so incredibly proud of how far we had come. I went from never running to running 13.1 miles in 10 months. Even looking back, it is still unbelievable. I look forward to many more 5Ks this summer and maybe another half marathon.
Kayla: Amber and I have run together countless times. We are great running buddies and that’s a must-have. I needed Amber’s encouraging words at times and as a good running buddy. I hope that I did the same for her as well.
Running has taught me a few things. The biggest one is finding a person that’s going to motivate you and a good pair of shoes.
Amber: My favorite part about running is running with Kayla. Having someone to run with keeps you motivated. They push you to do your best, and it isn’t boring. You can have a conversation, and time just flies by. Kayla always pushes me to do my best. It isn’t a competition between who is the fastest or who can go the farthest; it’s making sure we both reach our goals.
If you are interested in running, my suggestion is to find a running partner. You can motivate each other and hold each other accountable. Also, having the right pair of shoes makes a huge difference! I’m pretty sure I bought at least four pairs last summer before I found the right ones. The benefits of running are incredible. It increases your energy, you feel better emotionally and physically, and you sleep better.
The upcoming Sunnybrook Stomp gives area runners and their families a chance to participate in a 5K or children’s 1K. It will be held this Friday, June 14, at Sunnybrook Park in Wadena. Proceeds go to the pediatric rehabilitation program at Tri-County Health Care. For more information click here.