Welcome to the latest edition of My Michigan Running Story. This time we catch up with Tara Sabo, a southwest Michigan runner and a certified personal trainer. I got to know Tara earlier this summer when I profiled her for Another Mother Runner. (Read this story here » ) In her story here,this mother of two shares her love of running in Michigan, as well as talks about getting back into running after having a baby — she gave birth to her second child, a son, in June and is excited about returning to racing this fall. “I’m looking forward to adding another Michigan race medal to my collection this year: I will be running the Grand Rapids Marathon as part of a three-person relay with my mom and sister. All three of us are avid runners, but I can’t say that any of us have marathon goals. So this is a great way for us to work together to achieve an actual marathon. What better way to cross the finish line?!”
Where do you love running most in Michigan?

A few years ago, I spent some time in the dunes at Grand Mere State Park down here in Stevensville—in the middle of winter. There was a group that ran the trails every weekend, and they invited me to come along on a number of different occasions. I was hesitant at first because I hadn’t done much off-road winter running, but it proved to be a beautiful experience and I went back for more. Running along the frozen lakeshore with nothing but white, snow-covered sites for miles is nothing short of awesome. Definitely a different way to see the beach! And I’m sure you can imagine how great of a workout it was. That was in 2011. Motherhood has kept me from returning, but one of these days I’ll get back out there with that group.

Running in the dunes at Grand Mere State Park in Stevensville—in the middle of winter.
Running in the dunes at Grand Mere State Park in Stevensville—in the middle of winter.

Favorite Michigan race:

Oddly enough, my list of Michigan races is quite small! To this day, I’ve only done two…TWO!…races here in the Mitten State. I can’t even believe it myself. My first was a Susan G. Komen 5K in Grandville. My second was the Hartford Strawberry Run 10K—and it will always be one of my favorite races for the memory it gave me. Five months after my daughter was born, I wore bib number 5 and crossed the finish line second in my age group. 

How would you describe your running these days?

My son was born on June 2, so I’m currently rebuilding my running game…and my fitness schedule. Right now, I’m finding time to run three times a week with some strength training and rest days in between. I feel good, a bit slow and weak, but I know that will change as I continue to train. My advice to moms out there trying to balance fitness and training with family life? Make it work. Find time. Carve it out. I use nap time and the nursery at my gym very wisely, and my husband and I work together to carve out niches of time. There’s nothing wrong with needing solo time for whatever reason! And my advice to postpartum moms getting back into running? Lower your expectations and listen to your physician/midwife. Remember, you just gave birth so your body needs to heal! And when you do lace up again, be sure to listen to your body. Gradually increase pace and distance to accommodate all of the physical (and mental) changes you’ve just experienced.

Running at the beach.
Running at the beach.

Please tell us about a favorite race experience.

I’ve really come to enjoy women-only races. I have nothing against running with men, but the vibe at a women-only race is totally unique. It’s girl power, really. Everyone teams up, everyone supports each other…it creates a sisterhood on the course that can’t be beat. You see complete strangers helping each other, high-fiving each other and pushing each other to continue when it doesn’t seem possible. I’m not saying that the presence of men takes this away, but the gathering of so many women just seems to enhance it. I love the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon and the Indy Women’s Half Marathon, both of which I was unable to run this year because of my son. 

Best part of being a Michigan Runner Girl:

Truth be told, I’m a Hoosier by birth. But I didn’t start running until I moved to Michigan after college. So I definitely consider myself a Michigan Runner Girl, and I couldn’t be more proud of this beautiful state. I haven’t explored nearly enough of it in my running shoes, but what I have seen…I feel very fortunate to have seen. We’re a state that doesn’t seem to get enough recognition for all that it has to offer. I run along beaches, I run along vineyards and farms. I run in cities big and small. And I do it all in four different seasons. Translation? There’s a little bit of everything for every runner up here in Michigan.

Learn more about Tara at her blog A Daily Dose of Fit, on her blog’s Facebook page, and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Do you run Michigan? Have someone in mind you’d want us to interview, or care to share your own story? Send an email to michiganrunnergirl [at] gmail [dot] com 

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