The sound of her heart beating in her chest, her feet pounding the pavement, all her thoughts and frustrations from the day drifting away.
This is what Sara Groth experiences every time she runs, including in Boston earlier this week. Groth, a CSU public health graduate student, ran the Boston Marathon on Monday, a feat any marathoner would be proud of and make known.
But not Groth, who described her experience modestly, not wanting to draw attention to herself or her talents.
â€œI entered the Portland marathon and then the Denver marathon, and I thought it would be cool if I qualified and got to go,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™ve never seen Boston or the East Coast, so I just thought it would be fun.â€
marathoner should be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon â€“â€“ not so. The qualifying time for Grothâ€™s class, women ages 18 to 39, is three hours and 40 minutes. Groth qualified with a time of three hours and 27 minutes, easily making it into the race by keeping a pace of just less than eight minutes a mile for the full 26.2 miles.
But in Boston, she hit a personal best at the marathon with a time of three hours, 22 minutes and 44 seconds, keeping at a pace of seven minutes, 39 seconds for each of the 26.2 miles. Groth was in the top 5,000 runners with over 23,000 competing.
With times like that, one might think that Groth has been running since her childhood but that is not the case.
Groth grew up as a small-town girl on an island just off the coast of Washington. She spent most of her time in the water and though she ran track in middle school, she said she hated the sport.
This all changed in college while attending Portland State University. She was running on a treadmill in the gym when the cross-country coach approached her and asked if she was on the team. When she answered no the coach responded that she should be.
Although she moved to Colorado shortly thereafter, Groth took what the coach said to heart and has been running for the past six years.
Groth ran her first marathon two years ago when she and her boyfriend decided to run the Portland Marathon, she quickly became addicted to marathon and the adrenaline of the race.
â€œIt became an instantaneous part of my life,â€ she said. â€œI moved around but running was something that I always had.â€
Groth trains five to six days out of the week, typically running 40 miles a week unless sheâ€™s training for a marathon, then she amps it up to 60 miles. She has no trainer, simply driving herself with the will to succeed and see how far she can push herself.
â€œItâ€™s become an addiction to see where I can go,â€ she said. â€œI just keep challenging myself to run a little farther each day.â€
So what is next for the athlete?
She says that her next avenue will be international races. She hopes to travel and run the Paris, London and Berlin marathons while she is abroad.
_Staff writer Jordyn Dahl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.