Expert Advice From a Marathon Runner

Lessons from a superstar Dallas marathoner.

photography by Allison V. Smith

Name: Melisa Christian
Age: 31
Profession: Dentist
Notable Achievements: female winner of the 2007 Race for the Cure; two-time female winner of the 8-mile YMCA Turkey Trot; ran the 2006 Boston Marathon in 2:46:30, earning a spot in the 2008 Olympic Trials

If you’ve jogged around White Rock Lake, then you’ve probably seen her. She’s the fast one—and she’s training for the U.S. Olympic Trials Women’s Marathon being held in Boston in April, which could garner her a place on the women’s marathon team for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. This superstar athlete, who works at Dallas Laser Dentistry, created a dental scholarship to provide aspiring athletes with better access to dental care, and she volunteers for the Hopeful Smiles program, which offers free dental care for women in Attitudes & Attire. “Life’s too short not to help others,” she says.

1. My first marathon, White Rock 2001, was extremely painful. I thought I wasn’t going to finish, and if I did, I would never do another. I usually start making deals with myself, like, “If you finish strong, I’ll never make you do this again.” Thirteen marathons later, I’m still trying to convince myself that I will stop.

2. I run more than 100 miles each week and lift weights twice a week, though my training regimen changes for various races. I run with the Luke’s Locker racing team about 90 percent of my training time. We push each other in a positive way. It’s a nice distraction from the pain.

3. I eat six times a day, take vitamins, and drink a ton of water. I don’t get crazy about it or write it down; I just try to make healthy food choices.

4. I run in the mornings and evenings. I just get up and don’t think about it. If I do, I’ll get back in bed. That’s how I am when I run a marathon. The minute I think of something negative, I’ll block it out and focus on something else, like my parents. They couldn’t care less about my finish time, but I always want to make them proud.

5. There isn’t a magical pair of shoes. Everybody has to start from the beginning. People get frustrated and can’t envision themselves getting to the next level, but with focus and perseverance, you can. Determination is key; live it every single day.

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