What are you doing? Training for a marathon?” one officer teasingly asked Ruth Clemans, wife of Commanding Officer Craig Clemans, as she entered Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow recently. With a smile, she answered, “Yes… Yes I am.”
In fact, the avid runner is currently training for a marathon slated for June 22 in Duluth, Minn.
“I chose it because it’s a relatively flat course along the coast of Lake Superior,” Clemans said. “I have a time goal to achieve so that I can qualify for the Boston Marathon, and my coach recommended it.”
Although she began training with her coach two and a half years ago when she and her family lived in Florida, her athletic running career began when she was just a kid.
“I started running with my Dad after work when I was 12,” she said. “He would take me on short runs through our neighborhood in Fairfax, Virginia and encourage me in my relationship with God and running. That year he entered and ran with me in a 5k and I placed third in the women’s division.”
She now has a few 5, 10, and 15ks under her belt, as well as seven half marathons and five full marathons. Her training regime is demanding, and she maintains nearly constant communication with her coach, with the help of modern technology.
“He’s 59, and in 2020 he will run his 5th Boston Marathon, and after the Grandma’s Marathon, he’ll have 14 marathons under his belt and he loves coaching,” Clemans said. “He is Road Runners Club of America certified as a running coach and lives across country, so I got a fitness Garmin watch that links my running data, such as heart rate, times, etc. to a plan he’s laid out in an app on my phone. He can see everything, get feedback from me, and comment to me, as well.”
Her current training schedule is to run five or six days per week, and includes stretching exercises and strength training, mostly for core work, two days a week. She is currently running 35 to 40 miles per week and will increase to 58 miles per week before tapering down a few weeks before the race.
“On Tuesdays I run six miles of hills at a tempo pace, with a half mile warm up and cool down,” she said. “Wednesdays I recover and run a slower paced five miles. Thursdays I run intervals: 6 x 800 meters at 3:40 time or faster (ideally) with a mile warm up and cool down. Fridays is another recovery run of four to six miles, and Saturdays is when I do my long run. Sundays a 4-mile recovery run if I can fit it in, and strength training, stretching and rolling my muscles (a lot since I’m old) mixed in.”
So who is she running with, you ask? Well, that would be Rose Schwartz, wife of Chip Schwartz, plant manager, Production Plant Barstow, Marine Depot Maintenance Command, on the Yermo Annex of MCLB Barstow.
“I train with Rose Schwartz three days a week and she is so positive and so fast!” Clemans said. “I met her in December at our Christmas party and she shared that she was a runner and was training for the LA Marathon at the end of March. Running with a friend is like therapy. We keep each other going and encourage each other. It is so motivating and knowing she’ll be waiting for me has gotten me out of bed many a morning when I’ve wanted another extra hour of sleep!”
Schwartz has been running since her late 20s, but really devoted herself to fitness when she turned 40 in 2004.
“Running has been part of overall fitness for me,” Schwartz explained. “I also like to lift weights, do bodyweight training with pull-ups and push-ups, and other types of cardio like the stair-climbers, treadmills and stationary bikes.”
She has run several 5 kilometer runs and Mud-Runs, but the Los Angeles Marathon will be her first full marathon.
“I’ve increased my miles each week, but I’m just trying to have a good time, and finish without getting hurt,” Schwartz said. “So, I’m not training as hard as Ruth. I do enjoy training with her. She is so positive and supportive, plus she really knows about running and training. I especially love running hills with her. She’s a blessing!”
For Clemans, with a focus on qualifying for the Boston Marathon April 2020, she must qualify at an earlier, certified marathon. For her age bracket, she will need to finish the Duluth Marathon just under 3 hours and 40 minutes, and that’s at an 8 minute, 20 seconds per mile pace. Marathons are a full 26.2 miles.
“I’m hoping that the altitude and wind I’ve met with here in Barstow gives me an edge before racing at sea level, even if it is a bit more humid in Minnesota!” she joked. “Sometimes I’ll run on the treadmill on base and that’s good heat training as the heater’s always on and I’m sweating up a storm. This is my first time training at a higher altitude.” Injuries are always a concern, as with all athletes and Clemans has dealt with her share from shin splints, a strained Iliotibial band a few weeks before a race, and nerve pain in both calves stemming from tightness in her lower back. “
Stretching and strengthening the core, to include my hips and back, is vital!” she insisted. “I have a specific yoga for marathon runners routine I do every week, as well as other ab and core exercises. I also go to a massage therapist for my lower back regularly.”
She also takes care to eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
“I don’t count calories, but I do try to stay away from greasy foods or any foods that are high in sugar,” she explained. “I use a specialized system of a nutrition. It provides me with mineral-rich shakes that are completely balanced meals and includes a regimen of intermittent fasting. As I increase training miles, my body demands more nutrients so I go from two shakes a day to three and sometimes four.”
When it comes to hydration, she takes water with her everywhere she goes and drinks when she is thirsty.
“In the summer and as the heat index rises, I mark off a gallon jug and try and get through one a day,” she said. “I also take salt sticks on my longer runs or a hydrating sports drink once the weather warms up.”
With athletes in the family, she gains a lot of support from her loved ones. “
The kids and Craig are my biggest cheerleaders,” she said. “I know the boys can relate because they’re involved in sports and admire the effort and work. The kids told me last night they brag about me to their friends, which was so sweet to hear.”
“Ruth supports me in so many ways with work and in the faith we share, it’s great to encourage her as she does ‘her thing,’” said Col. Clemans. “I’m grateful she has such a healthy interest and appreciate the ‘Marine like’ commitment, sacrifice, and determination she’s shown while striving for her goal of qualifying for Boston.”
So, if you see them running around the base, throw up a wave, or roll down the window to shout words of encouragement as these ladies run their hearts out. Maybe even consider lacing up your running shoes and putting in some miles yourself. Keep an eye out, too, for follow-up on their marathon adventures.
DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub (www.didvshub.net). The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
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