In the realm of life’s grand juggling act, where work, family, and personal passions orbit relentlessly, there exists an inspiring force of nature: a 42-year-old woman who, undaunted by the ceaseless demands of her career and the whirlwind of parenthood, recalls her journey to becoming a marathon runner and completing her sixth full marathon: the TCS New York City Marathon.
Chrissie Constable – AMSG’s Marketing Manager, Proposal Coordinator, Employee Engagement Team Assistant Manager, and Executive Assistant to the CEO – personifies the resilience and unwavering determination that define the modern multitasking woman. With three children to care for, a career to nurture, and the indomitable spirit of an athlete coursing through her veins, she proves that age is merely a number, and the pursuit of one’s dreams knows no bounds.
Meet Chrissie, the marathon mom who redefines what it means to balance life’s myriad responsibilities while chasing the elusive finish line.
AMSG: Why do you run? What do you enjoy most about it?
Chrissie Constable (CC): I run for so many reasons! But I am just head over heels in love with running. I love to go out at sunrise on a fall day and enjoy the quiet of my neighborhood. I love to sweat. I love to study my stats and play with all the numbers that my Garmin spits out. I love to set a goal and reach it. But most of all, it’s the only time in my life where I actually chill out. I relax into it and just be.
It’s one of the few activities that is only for me. It’s not for my husband, my kids, or my boss. It’s just for me. My mind wanders wherever it wants to go. Sometimes I daydream, sometimes I solve my world’s problems, and other times I lose myself. Sometimes I run with friends and other times I run solo. Sometimes I run with music and other times without music, but I am in the driver’s seat, and I do know that no matter how good or bad the run was, I come home feeling better for having done it.
I also treasure the new friends I’ve met along the way. Runners are a family. I learned that a true friend is someone who sticks by your side for 17 miles on a hot summer day and gives you what little water he or she has left to help you finish, or runs around a circle for two hours as fast as you can and calls it “fun,” or makes you run up a mountain jumping over branches and through streams. But runners do that. They support you no matter what your goal. Runners are a wonderful group of people.
AMSG: When and why did you start running?
CC: I started running on Feb 26, 2009 – I was 28 years old. I went outside after work in the dark and cold with cotton clothing and bad shoes and ran three miles. It felt like a marathon. It was freezing and I kept slipping on ice but I had a smile on my face the whole time. In January of that year, I had just lost 50lbs and wanted my next challenge. I decided I was going to run a marathon, so I madly started reading as many books on the subject as possible.
I left my warm and cozy elliptical for the cold and brutal outdoors and: I fell in love. Don’t get me wrong, the first week was so painful. I was sore and tight in muscles I didn’t know I had, but I was on a mission. I had a goal. And as an incredibly goal-oriented person, I went for it wholeheartedly.
AMSG: Do you run indoors or outdoors?
CC: I run 100% outside (I do not own a “dreadmill”). I love watching the sun rise and watching the seasons change. I enjoy the world while it’s quiet before all the noise starts. It’s my favorite way to start my day.
AMSG: When you started out, what did you do to train your body and prepare for your first marathon?
CC: I spent the beginning months running some smaller races and learning how to run track. I explored parts of my neighborhood I never knew existed.
However, in the beginning I did over-train a bit. In June 2009, I had some trouble with a foot injury and had to take a bit of time off (we all know how important rest is!!). Then I graduated to longer races. I ran my first half marathon in May and had a great time. Then I ran the 15K Boilermaker in July. Most marathon training cycles are 16-20 weeks. I started training for my first full in the early summer of 2009.
AMSG: How did you stay motivated to keep running? Was there ever a time when you wanted to give up? And if so, what did you do to stay motivated?
CC: It’s amazing the amount of excuses you can come up with to quit during a run, but somehow your feet keep moving. I learned what a wonderful thing an ice bath is. I also came to appreciate the glory of BodyGlide and wicking clothing.
I like to motivate myself by rewarding myself with new running shoes (laughs).
There are definite bad runs where all you want to do is quit but I have learned over the years, to simply continue to put one foot in front of the other. Also, the good runs always outweigh the bad runs!
AMSG: Did you meet your goal that year? Were you able to run your first full marathon?
CC: I did! When September 2009 rolled around, it was time for the marathon, and I finished it! I ran 26.2 miles, and I was damn proud. The emotion of crossing that finish line is something I will never forget.
To avoid the inevitable lull that comes after such a big goal, I spent October running just for fun. This was the month I learned how therapeutic running can be. This was the first time I wasn’t in actual training for something and ran whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And then December 2009 brought me a win: I won overall top female in my 10K! But nothing compared to crossing that first marathon finish line … until the NYC marathon.
AMSG: Once you completed your first full marathon, did you set a new goal for yourself?
CC: Yup – the following January I decided to sign up for the New York City Half Marathon and then another full marathon (Newport, RI) in the fall of 2010.
By then, I’d been running for a full year. In the years that I’ve been running, I’ve had years where I ran close to 2,000 miles a year and other years where I only ran 800 miles. I’ve ran with my kids in tow in a stroller. I’ve ran during transitions in my life, including job changes, moving from one state to another, dealing with my husband’s battle with cancer, celebrating a promotion and more. I never really stop running.
AMSG: Why did you decide to run the New York City Marathon?
CC: I was born and raised in the Bronx and ever since I started running, I have always wanted to run the NYC Marathon. It’s my very favorite city in the world.
B.C. (Before Children), I ran two full marathons, and post kids, I’ve ran three additional marathons, but I always had NYC on my bucket list.
AMSG: How does one prepare for a marathon?
CC: Typically, one trains for a full marathon for 16-20 weeks, so it takes a lot of dedication. For instance, this past marathon cycle, I will have run about 650 miles and that doesn’t take into consideration all the cross training as well!
This September, there was a weekend I needed a 19-mile run, but my weekend was full of kids’ soccer games, birthday parties, and other life events. So, I set my alarm for 3:40 a.m., woke up, left the house at 4:40 a.m., and ran my 19 miles, which ended at the soccer field ready to cheer on my oldest at his first game of the season, which my husband was also coaching! With a full-time job and a family, it’s not easy or glamourous to be marathon training, but it’s worth it to me so I squeeze it in where I need to!
A ‘good’ runner will also add strength training into the mix. So, when I’m not running, I’m trying to get that in too! Sometimes it feels like a part-time job, but one I absolutely adore. And since I am a vegan athlete, I also do a lot of research on nutrition.
AMSG: How does being a vegan impact your routine?
CC: I don’t think it really changes things. I pay as much attention to getting enough protein and balancing my carb load as any of my runner friends. I just use different sources!
What has running taught you about yourself?
CC: It has taught me that I can do hard things. It has taught me to slow down and enjoy the ride. And most of all, it has taught me to be in the moment.
It is definitely my therapy. During the pandemic when my husband was going through chemo treatments, my runs were my saving grace and probably the only thing that kept me sane.
AMSG: You just finished your first New York City marathon. How was it and what’s next?
CC: I still don’t have the words for this one. It doesn’t compare to any other race I have ever run. IT WAS AMAZING. It was not a road race. It was a 26.2-mile block party.
The weather was perfect and I don’t think that smile came off my face once! (Well maybe on the Willis Avenue bridge at mile 19.5 (laughs) but that’s it.) Brooklyn was electric! There was constant crowd support. It was unreal.
And the wall of sound they tell you about on 1st Avenue gave me chills. Everyone was cheering, throwing their dogs out to be snuggled, smiling, offering candy, water, and there was music everywhere! The race was exhilarating from start to finish.
That marathon wasn’t about pace. I barely looked at my watch. I stopped to hug my people. I took all the high fives. It was a true celebration. How lucky am I that I got to experience that. It was one of the most incredible days ever and it will stay with me forever.
AMSG: So, what’s next after this big achievement?
CC: I have a few weeks of off-season. I may run a local half marathon in December, but I am certainly toying with running the world majors! We will have to see …
But no matter what, I will just keep running!
By: Juania Owens, Investment Analyst Lead