What if you went from swimmer (aka non-runner) to running 40-50 miles per week AND 4 x Boston Qualifier in just two years…? Does it seem near impossible? Does it make you all antsy (like it makes me)?
Today’s guest, Holly Wallace, did just that! Holly went from non-runner to not only marathoner, but Boston Qualifier AND RRCA certified run coach AND team-member of one of most renowned coaching companies to cross the internets: Run4PRs.
Also, she loves Lifetime movies (which is a typical topic of discussion for us – it’s really too bad Tori Spelling isn’t looking for a running coach…).
It’s been great to talk to Holly and get to know her running journey from start to finish. Spoiler alert: It’s inspiring!
Holly has been competitively swimming since age 9 and continued through college. During her swimming career, she was the New York State Champion in the 200 IM during her junior and senior years. She was also runner up in the 100 butterfly during those same years. In college, she won a Conference Title in the 400 IM while attending East Carolina University.
When swimming came to an end, Holly went a little stir-crazy about a year later. She joined a gym and described her initial relationship with running as sporadic: “I joined the gym and participated in a lot of group fitness type of classes for several years, occasionally running here or there.”
Her running journey began during her journey into becoming a mother of three.
“I started [out running] slow as I had some pregnancy related injuries from my first born and trying to run too soon after her.” Holly jogged and walk for a good month before she finally went all-in. “My goal was to run 20 miles a week. This felt like a lot at the time – my knees were sore; I was fatigued, but I was doing it. Shortly after, Holly ran her first real race and that was it for her, in the best of ways: “I thought, ‘wow, if I can come back faster after having babies, I wonder what else I can do?!'”
And this is what she did, as far as PRs go: 3:28:03 marathon, 1:39:02 half marathon, 1:12:42 10 miler, 45:30 10k, and 21:15 5K.
Holly’s most memorable race is her first marathon that, in her words, she “bombed.” During her first 26.2, Holly learned that the marathon is a beast of its own and that completing one is far from even the toughest swimming competitions: “[A marathon] requires patience and strategy — neither of which I possessed at the time.” She burnt out at mile 18, “hobbling” to the finish line.
Ironically, this is the race that motivated her to keep returning to the marathon start line. “As a result, I keep coming back wanting more because the marathon is such a fickle event. You never know how its really going to go until you are out there on the course on race day. Every finished marathon is truly, truly a huge accomplishment.”
Through all of her miles and welcoming three kids into the world WHILE living the life of a traveling military wife, Holly fell so much in love with the sport that she became an RRCA certified coach. For those who are unaware, RRCA is the name in adult run coaching. RRCA certified coaches are some of the most trained professionals BY some of the most trained professionals.
Holly’s desire to learn more about running and help others achieve their goals stems from her passion for running. “I feel that running can help in every season and aspect of life. If I feel stressed out, I go for a run. If I am overwhelmed and need to distract myself, I go for a run. If I feel down, I go for a run because I know it will make me happy. If I am happy, I also go for a run! Running is something I can also share with my children as I take them with me sometime.” She also noted that being an online running coach fits in perfectly with her lifestyle as a military wife.
When Holly first began running, she took to Instagram and used hashtags to connect with other runners. This is how she stumbled upon Run4PRs, an online run/strength/nutrition coaching service for runners of all abilities. She began as an athlete on the team and not long after, she became a Run4PRs coach after receiving her RRCA certification.
Guys – this gal went from swimmer to Boston to run coach in two years.
Of course, I had to ask how she fits it all in. Marathon training is no joke, and with three children along with the rest of her responsibilities, it sure seems like a lot to juggle. “I am not at all an organized person, she said. Her advice is to keep a play area near the treadmill (toys, snacks, things kids like) and consider finding help with the kids if possible (at least for long runs). Holly is clear that she loves family time just as much as running, and it’s a constant balancing act.
So, what’s on the books for Holly in 2019? Boston and continuing to help others (with the possibility of a triathlon or two). Her goal is to help as many people as she can realize their full running potential.
And finally, Holly’s favorite running quote: “If one could run without getting tired, I don’t think one would often want to do anything else.” – C.S. Lewis”
Thanks for chatting, girlfriend!
You can find out more about Holly via the following:
Hey #motherrunners – looking to level up your time management? Get your copy of the only running trainer/journal created just for busy moms who run: CLICK HERE!