Oct 21, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterCoeur Stone has always been a runner, but this year the 37-year-old from Riverton decided to test her limits on the track by running in her first-ever marathon in June.
She didn't stop there, though. Once Stone knew she could rise to the 26-mile challenge, she signed up for four more marathons.
"I just wanted to push myself more," Stone said this week. "I wanted the challenge."
So far, she has participated in the Casper Marathon in Casper, the Run With the Horses Marathon in Green River, and the Montana Marathon in Billings, Mont.
Next month, she will line up with 47,000 others at the starting line of the New York City Marathon, and in January she will travel to Houston for the Chevron Houston Marathon.
"It's just something I've gotten more into this past year," Stone said. "I like the competition, (and) I like how it takes me places. I like the experience, and I like the training and how it keeps me in shape."
Stone said she didn't know how to improve her times or running skills until she started reading racer Hal Higdon's marathon training guide. The process he outlined made exercising easy for Stone, who currently runs an average of 60 miles a week.
"I've been on this training plan for a year," she said, adding that marathon training is more time-consuming than her workouts used to be. "I do run every day, with one day off a week."
She prefers to run on her own and inside, usually on a treadmill. Stone also throws in some kickboxing and stair-stepping, and sometimes she works out on the elliptical machine and lifts weights. But she said completing a marathon is what really boosts her confidence.
"I learned that with hard work I can do it," she said. "I don't feel intimidated to go out there at all anymore."
She was nervous before her first race in Casper, but once she crossed the finish line Stone said she was excited to keep running marathons.
"That first one was really critical," Stone said. "If I didn't finish, it would be devastating. (But) I did it, and it went really well. I enjoyed all of my time out there, and I never thought it was too much."
Right away, she began signing up for more of the races, finally entering her name into the lottery for a spot at the New York City Marathon.
"They had 150,000 applicants," Stone said. "I thought it was an honor and a privilege to be considered to run there that day."
With three races already behind her, Stone said she has developed a strategy for marathon running. First, she said she makes sure not to start out too fast.
"You have far to go," she said.
She also tries not to let herself compete with any of the other runners. Instead, she said, she focuses on her own progress and tries to build off of the success of other athletes.
"Everyone in these races is very supportive, whether you're passing them or way behind them," Stone said. "All skill levels are represented. ... Some people will finish in two hours, some in eight. I admire anyone out there trying."
She does get competitive when it comes to beating her own running times. In Casper, Stone ran the marathon in 4 hours, 59 minutes, and she cut two minutes off of that time in Green River. In Billings she ran the race in 4:43 minutes, and her target for New York is 4:30.
Some day she would like to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which would require Stone to be about one hour faster than she is now.
"That would take a lot of work," she said. "But I'm sure I will (qualify). That's how I am. I'm always pushing myself to the next thing."
She acknowledged that marathons aren't for everyone, but Stone encouraged members of the local community to give running a try. She said she has enjoyed participating in many shorter races that take place regularly in Fremont County, from the Lander Half Marathon to the Turkey Trot 5K in Riverton.
"That's where it started for me," Stone said of the local events, which usually serve as fundraisers for local civic organizations.
Residents can look for Stone at upcoming 5K events locally, and on television during the New York City Marathon, which will be broadcast this year by ESPN2. The race begins at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4.
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