Meet the Athlete: Hayley Sutter

Name: Hayley Sutter

Age: 29

Hometown: Lincoln, Nebraska

Current residence: Boston, MA

Occupation/Degree you are working towards: I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Global Development Policy from Boston University in 2017 

High School: Lincoln Southeast

College (major/minor): the cradle of knowledge Nebraska Wesleyan University (double major in Political Science and History)

What is your running background? My identity as a runner developed in stages. I initially started running when I severed my Achilles tendon in middle school and was told by the operating surgeon that I would always walk with a limp and wouldn’t be able to run again. After months of PT, I joined my middle school track team as a sort of “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” preteen defiance. My true baptism into running was when I joined my high school cross country team during my sophomore year. I had played softball the previous year and took up track as a means to stay in shape for my illustrious sports career (that’s a joke if you can’t tell). I had some success in track and was convinced to run cross country.

Favorite distance to run? Hard long runs. I love grinding out a tough long run. It might take me two hours to work up the courage to get ready for my run, but once I’m out there I usually love it. As far as racing goes, I honestly like 5ks the most. They suck and they are hard and they hurt almost right away. Obviously, I am much better at longer distances though.

What are your future running goals? In the short term, my biggest goal is to finish in the top 50 women at the 2020 USA Olympic Marathon Trials. In the long term, I want to be 50 years old and be able to go on an easy run and keep up with my kids (who don’t exist yet – and won’t for years).

I can’t run without…? My watch! I’ve been known to put off runs so I can get it charged up to last the duration of the run.

Do you do anything to stay injury free? LOL! I’m only writing this because I managed to tweak my hamstring last night and am missing out on a long run with friends right now. So I guess my first answer should be listen to your body! A run missed is often more valuable than a run that shouldn’t have happened because of injury or illness. I also try to roll out my legs, back, and glutes regularly.

Do you have a favorite running book/podcast/movie/athlete? Ann Ringlein

What is your favorite race you have competed in the past? My first time racing the Lincoln Half Marathon. I wasn’t all that well trained for it and I absolutely surprised myself with how well it went. I’ve since had faster and more fun races, but that is the one that started this love-affair with long distance road races.

What is your number one bucket list race you would like to do in the future? 2020 & 2024 Olympic Marathon Team Trials

Do you have any advice to other runners? Be relentlessly positive. Running is inherently a punishing sport – physically and mentally. Also, don’t compare yourself to others. It’s a tormenting cycle of never being enough. In the age of social media, this is something I struggle with but I try to keep my running and training in perspective and realize that what I do (mileage, pace, etc) is best for me.

What are your PRs? Marathon: 2:45:00 Half Marathon: 1:19:47 (I don’t have any others memorized and don’t want to sleuth the internet to figure out my PRs of the past)

How long have you been an LRC-Nebraska member? I believe I joined in 2012.

What excites you the most about being an LRC-Nebraska athlete? I love representing the Lincoln Running Company and having their logo on my jersey. Especially since now most of my races are on the East Coast where no one has heard of LRC. I feel like I’m part of a secret society. LRC>Illuminati

What does a typical training week look like for you?  Walk us through your daily routine (training related and otherwise): I have tailored my working schedule around my running so I have ample time to do Tuesday and Thursday workouts and long runs on Sundays. The rest of the week I run somewhere between “as easy as I can run” and “fun run.” I try to make Thursdays my ‘fitness girl’ days and also go to the gym to lift and swim. I absolutely hate swimming but get really fit when I do.

We all approach training and racing differently, so tell us what your short-term and long-term goals are with running: Short-term (2019): race two competitive marathons, win the New England Pub Run Series (this is contingent on me not having any scheduling conflicts that force me to miss a race), and win the NWU alumni meet. Long-term: qualify for the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials, never miss the Lincoln Marathon (which I refer to as my homecoming parade), and be a lifelong runner.

Where are your 3 favorite places to do long runs at the moment? Only Bostonians can appreciate my answers: My current favorite is the Wayland Rail Trail; the Charles River Bike Path (but really only the sections west of the city); and the Comm. Ave service road. When I’m home, I always do a MoPac East long run.

After a solid race or long run, what is your favorite meal to demolish and replenish those calories?  Please use details and give recommendations! A BBQ bacon burger!

Share a crazy training or racing story, or simply an interesting moment in time: This is going to be long. In 2013, I was second at the Buffalo Run – which earns you a buffalo trophy. Prior to the 2014 running, my goal was to “grow my herd” aka win another buffalo trophy. The 2014 race starts (I’m always slow off the line – I try to run pretty evenly from start to finish) and I’m in fourth. Shannon Suing is leading and Bridget and Frankie are trading places for second and third. For the first 3.5 miles, I make up some ground on Bridget/Frankie and then they pull away from me. Coming into Pinewood Bowl I think to myself “ok, this is your chance to catch them.” Spoiler, I do not catch them on the hill. I start resigning myself to a fourth place finish, one place outside of earning a trophy. (Or so I thought, I later found out 4th place also got a trophy. I’m glad I didn’t know this.) Circling around the buffalo for the last time I can see how far ahead everyone is and I think to myself “damn it Hayley, you didn’t come this far to resign yourself to not getting a buffalo!” Sorry to the kids reading this, but that is exactly what I thought. So I dig deep one last time and for once I am consistently gaining ground on Bridget and Frankie. With maybe 600 meters to go I catch them and they wheeze (as you do in the last meters of a race) out a “go get it!” Ok, 500 meters to go, can I catch Shannon too?! At this point she is maybe 10-15 second ahead of me. I run like I have wings and to my amazement, I catch Shannon! 200 meters to go. We are sprinting side by side. All out. She surges, I surge, we do not break each other. The crowd is going WILD. Then, out of nowhere, a man is running beside me yelling “You can do it! Beat her! Go!” And I think to myself “Thank you. Yes, I can do it. I can do it!” with meters to go I surge ahead and win by 1 second. So, the best part of the story is: that man? That was Shannon’s husband and he was definitely not cheering for me but I am so self-absorbed that I just assumed he was! So the moral of the story is don’t give up on yourself and convince yourself everyone is always cheering for you.

What book are you currently reading or TV show are you binge watching? With my down time after CIM, I have started reading the Harry Potter series. I am on book five.

You’re the star of a running movie, and the opening scene is you running on a winding dirt road, with a beautiful sunrise.  What song is playing in the background? No music. The opening scene is a shot of my feet. The sound of foot to gravel, the shifting ground. The camera pans up toward the open expanse before me. Heavy breathing, a soothing breeze, a pony tail swishing, arms swinging, a bird chirps on a telephone wire. I wake up from a deep sleep. The first scene is a dream sequence because I never run before sunrise.

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