Life is series of ups and downs, but sometimes the negatives appear to outweigh the positives. The biggest lesson I’ve taken away from the challenge and frustration is to fall seven times and get up eight. 

I have been on an injury roller coaster since 2012, yes there have been sprinkles of success during this time too. 

I went into the 2012 USA Olympic Marathon Trials with a severely torn hamstring and finished 3:05:11 (3rd from last). 

In 2013, after a year spent healing my hamstring, I pulled my calf muscle two weeks before the PF Chang’s at Houston Half Marathon, finishing 6th place overall in a disappointing 2:59:55. 

In 2014, after working to get back in shape, I ran the Boston Marathon with a sore ankle and later learned that I had a partial tear in my posterior tibialis tendon. I placed first in my age group with a disappointing 2:55:02, missing the Veterans Course record. 

Since the 2014 Boston Marathon, I have completely fixed and strengthened my ankle tendon (through PT with Nicole Armbrust, Prolotherapy with Dr. Tallman, and ST with Watus Cooper) and have been training strong for the 2015 Boston Marathon Veterans Course record that I missed in 2014. My excitement was shattered four weeks ago when the hamstring that gave me trouble in 2012 tore again!

Seeing me disappointed and broken-hearted, my dad asked, “Why do you keep doing this, baby? Why don’t you just hang it up and be happy with the success that you’ve had?”

The mere thought of giving up on my goal to run the 2016 Olympic Trials at 52 and break the Boston Veteran Marathon Course record brought crocodile tears to my eyes and a heaviness to my heart. Giving up my passion and giving up on my dreams would feel like death, whereas getting up after each fall makes me feel alive!

I love the journey, I love the athlete lifestyle, and I love being a role model for women runners! I love being part of the Sonoran Distance Project (#SDPStrongerTogether) and, most of all, I love living life to the fullest with big dreams and passion! I love reaching a goal that seems unreachable--this is why I can’t bring myself to stop. 

So, after my seventh fall, I decided to get up an eighth time. I quickly decided this dream was going to happen and I started planning with intention! Watch out dreams--I’m coming after you!!

So here’s the cross-training plan to keep me in shape as I rehab my hamstring. 

Weekly Schedule

Monday: 5:30 am Barbell Class at Lifetime Fitness + ElliptiGO or Swim + Physical Therapy (PT) with Nicole Armbrust


Tuesday: 7:30 am Strength Training (ST) with Watus Cooper + 6:30 pm Master Swim Session at Lifetime

Watus Cooper Strength Session!

Watus Cooper Strength Session!


Wednesday: 5:30 am Coach Track + ElliptiGO or Swim for 60 minutes + 9:30 am PT with Nicole 


Thursday: 8:30 am Barbell Class at Lifetime + 6:30 pm Master Swim at Lifetime

Gettin' buff at Barbell!

Gettin' buff at Barbell!


Friday: 7:30 am ST with Watus + Swim or EliptiGO 


Saturday: 6 am BTB Long Run (walk or ElliptiGO with group)


Sunday: Swim or ElliptiGO

Post swim smiles!

Post swim smiles!

Additional: Daily stretching (including Hip flexor stretch, Front butt stretch, and Single leg hip abduction), Rehab exercises, Prolotherapy on my hamstring (which was instrumental to healing my ankle) and a weekly massage.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it! The setbacks have been tough, but it would be even worse to give up. I BELIEVE I can do this, and with the support and inspiration from my teammates at Sonoran Distance Project…anything is possible! #SDPstrongertogether #LikeAGirl

Of all the lessons I’ve learned, one of the most important has been to Dream Big and Plan Hard! Dreams motivate us to keep going, but we’ll never know how to reach our goals without taking daily action and defining tangible milestones. 

Though many of my big goals have been interrupted by challenges and setbacks, I always make the CHOICE to find a new training plan that will allow me to still pursue my big dreams, in spite of ANY injury. The right attitude and a commitment to your goals can help you to also overcome your obstacles and achieve all of your dreams!

Never Give up & Find a Way,

Susan Loken