OKC-area business women run in marathon
Women on the run

Brandon Beard
Take from OKCBusiness.com


  For most of us, driving 26 miles seems like, at the very least, a modest inconvenience. Now imagine running that distance.
OKCBusiness caught up with three local businesswomen who did just that in the 7th annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, which took place April 29 and kicked off downtown.

Billed as a celebration of life, the marathon is held in conjunction with the anniversary of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing and consists of several events, the largest of which is a 26-mile full marathon, the route of which is lined with 168 banners, each representing a victim of the 1995 terrorist attack.

Each of the women with whom we spoke come from different backgrounds but seem to share the same desire to prove to themselves that they could accomplish their goal. And, along the way, learned a few things, it seems, about life, business and, ultimately, running.

Driving Ms. Debbie

Debbie Anglin, principle and owner of Anglin Public Relations, has been running recreationally since about age 8, but had never competed until five years ago, when she ran in her first 5K marathon.

She said it all started while working out at the Downtown YMCA, where fellow runners eventually convinced her to take the marathon plunge.

Incremental steps – the 5K run, then a 10K run – eventually led her to a place where she thought she could tackle 26 miles at once.

“Last year, I got up to 10 to 12 miles on my distance runs,” Anglin said. “I wasn’t training or anything, and I thought, ‘If I can do this, I can double it and do a marathon.’”

This is when she began training, pulling a 16-week training schedule off the Internet, which required that you already be able to run at least 10 miles at one time.

“I counted backward and I had exactly 17 weeks until the Memorial Marathon, so I just figured it was fate,” she said.

Anglin said getting to the point where she could run the full marathon happened in small steps, slowly increasing the distance she would run over time. After all, she said, if you’re running 10 miles, running 11 isn’t that much more. She said one of the biggest surprises she found was the amount of time it takes to run longer distances.

She said her training schedule required that she work in three more four- to seven-mile runs a week plus longer runs on the weekends. All this, being a wife and running a business, too? “Wow,” she said.

“I don’t think marathoners are especially fit or committed or anything like that. They just must have a lot of time,” Anglin said. “And running a business kind of eats my lunch. When I was running my 20-mile distance runs toward the end of the training schedule, it was taking me about three-and-a-half hours to run that. It’s a big time commitment, so that was probably my biggest surprise.”

When it came time to run the actual marathon, Anglin said she became nervous, adding that the anticipation of the pain is often worse than the actual pain itself. But, indeed, there was pain, she said.

The first 10 miles of the run were highly enjoyable, she said, but that the last 16 miles “were hell.” Perhaps, she said, eating pasta the night before wasn’t the best idea.

“I had a great time and it was fun and I was all excited and then, all of a sudden, it hit,” she said.

Further, Anglin said she told many people about her goal of finishing the marathon in a certain number of hours, which added an accountability factor to the equation.
She said she crossed the finish line and later realized that running a marathon is a lot like running a business – you have to be in it for the long haul, that it’s not a sprint.

“You really have to pace yourself,” she said, adding that 90 percent of it is winning the mental game. “Your brain really does play tricks. You’ve got to eliminate that chatter or find a way that you can’t give into it.”

There’s something about Mary’s run

Mary Tucker is the principle and owner of Cultivate Your Life LLC, a “life-coaching” service that teaches individuals and groups how to reach their full potential.

What started as a personal challenge to run a 5K marathon in December 2005 – in honor of her 50th birthday – turned into a 12K run a year later. That led her to running the full OKC Memorial Marathon this year.

Tucker said she, too, downloaded the standard 16-week training course from the Internet, stuck to it and, as a result, she finished the 26-mile run in 5 hours, 40 minutes and 46 seconds.

A business owner, wife and mother of five, Tucker said she made a decision to remove the excuses and just make time to train.

“I really think that when you remove all the excuses, and ‘I don’t have enough time’ is one of them, you can create time to do a lot of things,” she said. “If you tell yourself, ‘I don’t have time to do that because I’m really, really busy,’ then you’ll be really, really busy and you’ll never find the time.”

Tucker said she ran the marathon to answer the question, “What if I’m wrong that I can’t run a marathon?” As it turns out, she was wrong, but that’s something she wouldn’t ultimately know until after she crossed the finish line.

She said she’d only trained up to the 21-mile mark, that she’d never run the full length of the marathon.

“Last year at this time, if you had told me, ‘Mary Tucker, in the spring of 2007, you are going to run a marathon,’ I would have said, ‘You are a fool and I’ll do that right after I get through living on Mars,’” she said. “That’s how impossible that seemed for me.”

Tucker said she probably will run the same marathon next year.

“I have learned that really the only limits for possibilities for my life are those that I believe to be limitations,” she said.

Persistently seeking Susan

Susan Swyden has a long job title. She is a legislative aide in the State Government Affairs Group for Conoco-Phillips for the Midwestern Region of the United States. But this complicated job title belongs to a woman with a very simple passion – running.

Swyden is no novice when it comes to running. She’s been doing it off and on for some 20 years. However, this is only her second marathon.

A member of the Oklahoma City Running Club, Swyden said while training last year for the Sixth annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon she encountered a rather severe quadriceps tear 13 weeks into her training.  This ruled out taking part in the event. She said, though, the tear healed and she ran in the inaugural Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa later that year.

She and her daughter, Allison, both ran in the event, with Allison finishing as the youngest full marathon finisher in that event.

“All I know is that running is so good for my physical and mental wellbeing. It’s an excellent de-stresser,” said Swyden, a breast cancer survivor. “After running, it feels like you’ve taken a happy pill. It cleanses your mind and it lifts your spirit. And I’ve got to tell you, runners are some of the most wonderful people in the world. I love being in their company. They’re just the most delightful, positive, encouraging, supporting and happy people I know.”

Swyden, also a mother of five, said she gets up at 4:30 a.m. most days to run. She said her longer runs come with her club mates on the weekends.

She plans to train for a fall marathon to celebrate her 50th birthday, which is in December. Further, she said she plans on running the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon next year.

“I feel like the running is just a wonderful thing I do for myself that keeps me strong and positive,” she said.

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