#037 – Sara McInerney Hauck, host of Facing Fear podcast, helps others face their fears while she has faced and overcomes her own. In this two-part episode, Sara shares her running journey and how she managed physical and health challenges to achieve her fitness goals.
Identifying your fear and working towards overcoming it
Managing health challenges and to achieve your goals
Enjoyable aspects about running and races
Benefits of being surrounded by the running community
Sara McInerney Hauck Sara McInerney Hauck describes herself as an ever-evolving individual who wants to make the world a better place through storytelling. She is the host of the Facing Fear podcast, a show that encourages individuals to face fear in pursuit of their own unapologetically authentic life. The Facing Fear podcast has more than 15,000 listens and over 50 episodes. She’s a daughter to awesome parents, wife, sister, nonprofit manager, lover of things food, yoga, and adventure.
Welcome to Episode 37. Today’s guest is going to talk about facing fears in life and in fitness and overcoming challenges. We had such a great conversation, I decided to break this episode up into two. And here is part one. Hope you enjoy. Here’s what you can look forward to on this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast.
Sara McInerney Hauck 0:25
I ran alone and I never would have thought that I would have trained alone for any of these any of these runs. Um, and I’ve run with friends here and there, of course, but I would say the biggest fear that people probably have to identify first is wanting to do it. And then how are you going to do it that works best for you your schedule, your health, all of that and don’t there is no carbon footprint to make it to a finish line. They can all be very different. So don’t don’t let somebody else’s journey scare you.
Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. Whether you are new to running or seasoned. Get tips in the inspiration that you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Now, here’s your host Richard Conner.
Richard Conner 1:14
Hi, everyone, welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. I am here today with Sara McInerney Hauck, Sara describes herself as an ever evolving individual who wants to make the world a better place through storytelling. She is the host of the Facing Fear Podcast, a show that encourages individuals to face fear in pursuit of their own unapologetically authentic life. She’s a daughter to an awesome parents, wife, sister, nonprofit manager, and lover of things food, yoga, and adventure. So welcome to the show Sara.
Sara McInerney Hauck 1:49
Thank you so much, Richard.
Richard Conner 1:51
it’s so cool to have you here. You know, I’ve been following your podcast for some time now. And you know, I love the stories and the guests that you’re brought on the show. And I’d like to give the listeners a little bit of context to our conversation here. So I’ve been facing my own fears and trying to overcome my own challenges over the last few years. And I shared a little bit on this podcast, but I’m sure that I’m not alone. Right. I’m sure that there. There are others in this community that are facing their fears. And I love this topic. And I’m excited to have you Sarah on the show to talk a little bit about this.
Sara McInerney Hauck 2:25
Yeah, absolutely. It exists everywhere for everyone, you know, so I’m excited to dive in for sure.
Richard Conner 2:32
Cool, cool. Well, you know, let’s kick things off and learn a little bit about you got a pretty cool bio here. So there’s a lot to learn here and unpack. But why don’t we kick this off and learn a little bit about you?
Sara McInerney Hauck 2:42
Richard Conner 2:43
We’ll jump right into maybe there’s a running podcast into your running journey. I know, there’s quite an interesting journey that you’ve had here. So let’s let’s start there.
Sara McInerney Hauck 2:54
Yeah, absolutely. I’ll try to do a little eagle eye version. And then maybe we can, you know, dive deeper into some of the the main points. So my running journey, if I think back started, when I was a kid, I grew up playing soccer. And if I say it started back then because you just start somewhere and I was great at soccer, I could chase somebody, I could chase the ball, I could run back to defense. But in the offseason, when we were supposed to be running 45 minutes every other day, I would never make it to 45 minutes and I would be so embarrassed and I would take my iPad or iPod excuse me, whatever it was. And I still just I couldn’t run that far for that long. I found it so incredibly boring, and I just could not keep up. So I did okay in season but out of season I just hated running. And then just continued to go through college. I played soccer for a year there. So it was great to stay in shape. But then I decided it wasn’t for me. So I got into CrossFit. CrossFit definitely has a little bit of running in it, but nothing long distance. So I was introduced to long distance running when I started my job. I work at a company that sells athletic apparel and sneakers. So naturally, a lot of us love that industry and are in that industry. And so there’s a pretty amazing traditional race called the mini marathon here in Indianapolis, you get to run a lap or two around the Indianapolis 500 Speedway So, super awesome bucket list item. So I trained for that with a friend and I loved it after finishing that. I never felt more proud of myself like double digit miles 13 Like, that’s crazy. And so that really gave me that like thirst of like, what else could I do? So two years for two years. I continued running I did a few more half marathons.
Sara McInerney Hauck 4:46
Um, a side story. I did one untrained because a friend of mine ended up having to be somewhere else that day and she said, Here’s my bib, you go run. I was not trained for it. And I was like, whatever I’m cocky, I can do it. It was horrible. So take care of your body train, dress appropriately. It was also 32 degrees. It was it was terrible. Anyway, so that was a lesson learned train. And then two years after my running journey started, I had my second ACL meniscus surgery. So that set me very far back. And I honestly thought my running journey was over. So instead, I got into triathlons because I was like, Okay, if I can’t run long distance, I’ll just do these little short ones, and really started loving the triathlon community, and then worked my way back up to a half marathon, I actually trained for two years to complete a half marathon. That’s a long time to do a race of that of that length. But it was worth it. And it finally let me prove to myself, Okay, I could come back from this surgery, you know, and then at the end of 2019, I decided okay, 2020 is marathon year. And then started training was very into it. And then you know, the world shut down. So my first marathon and only marathon so far has been virtual, which was an experience all on itself. But that pretty much catches up on my my journey.
Richard Conner 6:11
Wow. Well, that’s pretty amazing. And you know, just to comment on the last part about the the virtual marathon, was it a half marathon or marathon, you said?
Sara McInerney Hauck 6:21
Marathon in 2020. My first and only marathon has been virtual.
Richard Conner 6:25
Okay. So I had a similar experience where I was training for my first half marathon. So I’ve never ran a half marathon a marathon before. And the same thing we had planned to to do it live in, in Texas. And then everything shut down. I said, You know what, I made the commitment. I’m going to do it anyway. And I trained and I did it. And my coach ran with me, which was pretty cool. So it wasn’t I didn’t have the big crowd of folks. But he came as well. And it was, it was a fun experience.
Sara McInerney Hauck 6:53
Oh, that’s so great. I love that we have that in common conquering those hurdles in a year when we easily could have sat on the bench, you know.
Richard Conner 7:00
Exactly, exactly. And, and it was such a roller coaster last year, because race it some races were on and then they’re off, and then they’re on and they’re off again, as like, this is too much of an emotional roller coaster for me. So I said, I’m going to sit sit up the live races, and I’m going to go with the virtual races. So it was great to have that opportunity to so kind of follow through, you know, kind of on that on that goal.
Sara McInerney Hauck 7:23
So, so true.
Richard Conner 7:25
So so great story. And let’s take it, let’s take it all the way back to when you started playing soccer, but didn’t really like running those long distances. And that’s, you know, a common story for a lot of folks who did sports in high school, running was something they had to do not necessarily something they wanted to do unless you’re on cross country or the track teams. So it was interesting.
Sara McInerney Hauck 7:48
Richard Conner 7:48
How you kind of made that transition to something that you really enjoy doing. So what do you think that was for you? That kind of switched in your mind that says, You know what, this is something that I actually enjoy and could do.
Sara McInerney Hauck 8:00
Yeah, and to take it back of why I think I love soccer, too. I also have asthma, which has been a big fear and component in my life. And I think people who do have asthma think no way they can do long distance running. And that’s absolutely not true. If you’re able to get your health up to the level that I luckily I’ve been able to do over the years, but with soccer, I knew I was safe. Because I was gonna come out every once in a while, you know, come out sit on the bench. With running, I was like, Oh, hell no, like, I’m out there for hours by myself, you know. So that was another fear. But I decided that I just wanted to try it. Honestly, what got me to try long distance running was probably FOMO fear of missing out a lot of other people, my co workers were doing this mini marathon and I thought, what a good opportunity to give it a try. We trained together we went to like little races along the way, you know, we did a 5k and then a 10k. And then you do a 10 miler to get you to that marathon or half marathon day. And so yeah, I would say it was probably FOMO. And just being surrounded by a running community for the first time. So it was a good push for me. And totally, I’m thankful for that. That time of my life.
Richard Conner 9:13
That’s super cool. That’s super cool. And now, you know, thinking about others in the community who either they haven’t made the decision to start running, because maybe they’re afraid for some reason, like, this is something I can’t do for one reason or another or they’ve done shorter distances, but maybe doing longer distances might feel like a challenge for them. Like in my case, I had no interest in doing long distances. And quite honestly thinking about a half marathon or marathon scared me. I’m like, wait a minute. That’s a
Sara McInerney Hauck 9:41
Richard Conner 9:41
so I’m a runner, but I’m not that kind of runner. Right that in my mind. Yeah. That’s kind of how I was thinking. So I’m wondering, you know, for others in the community, how do they kind of figure out like, what’s really holding them back? What do you think that they should consider?
Sara McInerney Hauck 9:57
Well, you bring up an important point you have to want to do it or be interested in it with running, you can’t want to make it to the finish line because you want to keep up with somebody else or be a part of the group like you, you literally physically and mentally have to want to accomplish these goals. And long distance running is not to be said that that’s the elite group of running. Like you said, there’s a ton of runners out there who go do a mile a day or a mile a week. We’re all we’re all runners, you know, we can all call ourselves that and wear that badge of honor. Yeah, I think that you have to want to do it. And then you have to figure out, okay, how does this journey look for me? Because I tell you what, what you’re gonna find on social media and online is people running fast times. They’re running every day they’re eating specifically. And that, I think, is the fear. It’s watching somebody else go through their journey and be like, well, I can’t do that. When really, there’s so many different ways to get to a finish line, so many different ways. So you have to identify, how is your journey going to go? And what works for you? Is it a running group? Because you love being social and you love being held accountable? Or is it running on your own, because you’re super busy, and you have a crazy schedule, and you can’t rely on anybody else? That was my route, I ran alone, and I never would have thought that I would have trained alone for any of these, any of these runs. Um, and I’ve run with friends here and there, of course, but I would say the biggest fear that people probably have to identify first is wanting to do it. And then how are you going to do it that works best for you your schedule, your health, all of that. And don’t there is no carbon footprint to make it to a finish line, they can all be very different. So don’t don’t let somebody else’s journey scare you.
Richard Conner 11:42
Mm hmm. That’s great. That’s great. And I want to come back to this point, again, kind of throughout the conversation, because I know, you know, was we progressed through your story, so we can relate it to to the community. So let’s talk a little bit about like how you got there, specifically. So you mentioned that you trained alone at some point. So what did that training look like for you?
Sara McInerney Hauck 12:03
Sure. So for my first half marathon, though, so 13.1. I trained strictly with other people, I had a girlfriend of mine who we were on the same plan. You know, every week, we were doing the same thing. So that was great to have that accountability with her. But from then on out, she went a different direction or doing some other different things athletically. And so I just started making my own goals. And I have had a ton of support from my friend and trainer, personal trainer and his name is Scott Saucedo. He has helped me a ton. He’s answered all my question. He’s written me plans. And what I figured out is that I love homework, and having the plan in front of me, I do not do well. When you give me vague instruction and tell me to get it done by the next week. I need like daily, what am I supposed to be checking off today, I’m a pretty good homework person, I will do it. If it’s in front of me. For the marathon specifically, I ended up doing that route. So I trained alone, because my schedule is pretty busy even and 2020, I still had a lot of things going on virtually. So I turned alone. Usually I’m a morning runner, I would get up at 530 be running by six be done by seven or however long the distance was. And I got all my homework assignments from my friend and trainer, Scott. So that’s how I made it to that finish line had help along the way. I had friends who had bike next to me, or I had a friend who was rollerblading next to me one time. But it was fun to involve other people every once in a while when I had those shorter, more attainable runs, or the longer ones where people would come bike next to me. So I would say my journey was a balance of getting professional advice on a training plan, holding myself accountable and working it into my schedule for me. And then the third one involving friends or running partners when I felt like I needed a boost of motivation.
Richard Conner 14:02
Okay, all right. That’s, that’s great. And, you know, everything that you said is so relevant. And we talk about these things on on Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast, about having that plan, and you know, also having that accountability partner or kind of group to to help you. I mean, those two out of the three things are some things that we talked about quite often so So I appreciate you bringing that up. And that’s great that it works for you.
Sara McInerney Hauck 14:26
Yeah, absolutely. And another thing I want to mention is we all know, we have bad days and bad runs. And I spent a lot of time thinking, oh my gosh, I can barely make it to eight today. I’ll never make it to 26.2 I don’t have to be at 26.2 today. I have months to go to get there. I spent a lot of time debunking that myth in my head of I can barely do 10 today. How am I going to do twice six. It’s what do you have to do today to keep it moving and congratulate yourself for that. And then move on to the next stair step, you know,
Richard Conner 15:03
Mm hmm. And that’s a great point, you know, I’m thinking back to my half marathon training. I did. It was a six or eight week program. But I built up to those miles. And again, like I shared, I never thought that I could do 13 miles, right. So I’m like, wait a minute, if the most I’ve ever done is like five or six or seven miles, getting the 10 felt like a long ways away. But it just happened over time. And then before you know it, I’m there. So so so totally get that definitely step by step, because you’re trying to get from from point A to point Z, like all in one step, it’s, it’s gonna be pretty challenging.
Sara McInerney Hauck 15:42
Richard Conner 15:44
So what did you What do you enjoy? I’ll ask you one question, but two parts to it. What did you enjoy most about your training? Was there anything in particular that really got you out of bed at 530 in the morning to kind of start your running?
Sara McInerney Hauck 15:59
Sure. So throughout most of my training, you get an addiction of, Oh, I did four, maybe I could do five next week, maybe I could do six and a month. And those numbers start to build up and you just get this addiction to wanting to keep going. So I definitely enjoyed watching the progression physically, and then the numbers tick up. I also enjoyed, I think back to 2020. Now and where I’m at now. And thank goodness, I trained for a marathon in 2020. Because it made me wake up early, even though I was working from home. So nobody really enjoys getting up early. But it is a good feeling to have your training done, and then go about your day. So I enjoyed that routine. I also enjoyed going outside, I love being outside. So that was another huge piece of enjoyment with running that I got. And then I would say other parts that I enjoyed was probably having people cheer me on, I’ll be honest, and say that I do carry a ton of confidence. But I also need words of attribution. And I need that support to come from external sources, I can’t fully give it to myself. So when I did involve other people, or I would post on social media, like, oh my gosh, I made it to the 20 mile marker. Those things I enjoyed as well of seeing people be proud of me, it just fed into my energy and my confidence. And finally, the last thing I will say that I enjoyed was just breaking my own barriers. Like I mentioned, I have had asthma my entire life. I’ve had two knee surgeries on the same knee. There’s nothing in me that says this girl should be a runner. And so as I continued to be careful and monitor those scenarios for me, but then go past where I ever thought I could go. I mean, I thought my life was over 2016 When I tore it for a second time, I just thought, Okay, I just won’t be athletic. I’ll do yoga and keep it moving. So I enjoyed breaking my own barriers. There’s a lot of sense of pride in that.
Richard Conner 18:03
And I’m glad you mentioned those, those challenges that you had, and we’re going to talk about them in a moment. So the second part of the question is, what did you enjoy most about the races? I mean, not just in 2020. But even before then, like what what was most enjoyable for you?
Sara McInerney Hauck 18:18
Oh, yeah, with races, a few things. One, I love the feeling of being a part of something that’s bigger than you. It’s so cool in the corral, to look around at all the different people and all the different shoes and athletic gear and different sizes of bodies and gender and age and ability running just covers the gambit. So I love being a part of this bigger than me community that physically in a corral there’s no other sport like that, where you’re all gathered, and then you separate and do your own thing. I love the corrals. I tear up about every race when they play the national anthem. And I’m just like in it with everybody. So I love that start line feeling. I so appreciate anyone and everyone who cheers for runners. That is a boring job. You’re just standing there watching people run by you that you’ll never see again. So I just have such a heart. I’m always waving to people high fiving kids, you know doing things like that I’m so appreciative of those people. And then I just enjoy being by myself and saying can we go a little bit faster? Hold on, we need to slow down. Okay, that hill was really hard. Am I Am I putting both of my center of gravity through both my feet I have to pay attention to that a lot with my knee but I love the adrenaline. I love the community aspect of it. And then I love having people around you to cheer you on. So those are a few things that I love and of course you know, the after race brownie, cookie, beer, OJ, whatever it is I love all that stuff too.
Richard Conner 19:55
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. The the post race goodies. And you know, it’s it’s really funny. So thank you for sharing that. It’s really funny. You mentioned that because one of my races, I was it was a 5k. And I was just nearing the end of it. And I’m tired. I’m beat, I was chasing this kid who was probably only like eight years old, I’m watching the back of a sneakers the entire race. So you know how that how I felt, you know, at that time in my 30s. So I’m finishing the race, and all I hear is, go Daddy, go Daddy. And I’m thinking like, it’s my family. You know, my son is rooting for me. And I’m coming near the finish line. And I’m like, I’m coming, Andre, and I’m running and I’m running. And I finished fast. I was actually surprised, you know, I sprinted to the end. And I felt really good about it. And I’m looking around, I’m like, where is everybody? So apparently, it wasn’t my son rooting for me. It was someone else’s, son rooting for them. And my family was enjoying those post race goodies that you just mentioned. So that’s what popped in my head when you when you mentioned that. But in all seriousness,
Sara McInerney Hauck 20:58
Richard Conner 20:59
That’s but but in all seriousness, like the cheering in the crowd, the post race goodies, all that the sense of accomplishment, like definitely can relate.
Sara McInerney Hauck 21:06
Richard Conner 21:09
Very cool. Very cool. Okay. So let you know, let’s, let’s touch on a little bit about what you just mentioned about your knees. And I know you mentioned a little bit about your asthma. So let’s let’s talk about that. Because, you know, again, there’s a lot of reasons that we can make up in our head like we can’t or won’t do something. And I’m just kind of curious, like, how did you deal with those challenges that you’ve had, you know, during your, your athletic career?
Sara McInerney Hauck 21:35
Yeah, so when I was younger, and a youth and through high school, and most of college, I dealt with my asthma by using my inhaler, I would usually use it before I exercise. And then at least one time during there was a really bad period in high school where there’s this machine called a nebulizer for people with asthma to use when things get really bad. I was using a nebulizer every single halftime of my soccer games. So something clearly was not right there. But I don’t know if it was me who just wanted to keep going and not take a step back. Or if my parents were like, oh, going to see a specialist doctor is too expensive. Just keep taking the medicine, you’ll be fine. What that was, but I remember that being a really hard time with my asthma. Um, and then so in college, I started eating a little healthier. And I know that helped. And then after college, the year after college, Scott, shout out to Scott again, said why don’t you cut out dairy? And I was like, Well, hell no, because I love ice cream and cheese and that stuff. But he was like, fine, cut back dairy. So I used to drink milk, like it was water, I used to have yogurt every day, cottage cheese, all those sorts of types of products. So I cut all that out because it was so regular my diet, you know, ice cream was not as regular it was like a maybe once a week, three times a month thing. So I kept that because I’m a human. And I’m not going to get rid of that. But I did stop buying cheese. So the only way I get cheese is when I’m like out to eat, and I will have it. But cutting back dairy was huge for me. And I wish somebody would have told me that when I was a kid, although I guess maybe I wouldn’t have listened. But that was a way that I managed it. And then as I’ve just continued to grow older, the healthier and the more exercise, the better. I feel I really do. So now I’m on a regular routine. I only take the inhaler before I exercise. Of course I always have it with me when I’m running. But I usually don’t have to, to lean on it. So I’ve managed it by just going by how I feel I’m asking questions, and then cutting out dairy made a big difference for me.
Richard Conner 23:48
That’s really interesting. So first off, I never heard of that as a solution for for kind of reducing the symptoms of asthma. So that’s really interesting. And the second, it’s interesting that you really took that step to figure out like what else? What could I do to help me through this versus just accepting this is just how it is right? Look for a solution. Yeah. And I’m wondering if it went back to what you said earlier about, like wanting to do it, like the desire to, you know, do these activities and kind of take control of your life in that regard?
Sara McInerney Hauck 24:20
Yeah, absolutely. I never wanted to sit back or sit on the bench, like I want to be right there in the action. I’m also the oldest of four siblings. So I’ve always wanted to be the best or be the leader and everything athletically and I’m just super competitive. So whatever I had to do to get to my finish lines, whether it was a nebulizer or an inhaler seven times which is not recommended, or changing my diet a little bit. I was like I will do this and it has made my life better too because like you said, accepting that is you can until you try to like see what’s on the other side and see that it could be a little bit better and I’m so good. I’ve done those things. Are there other things I could probably be doing like cutting out gluten completely? Yeah, but I just I can’t right now. So, you know, take what you can do, do what you can with what you have, and keep it moving.
Richard Conner 25:14
Alright, that’s it for this episode. I hope you’ve really enjoyed the conversation. If you haven’t done it already, please subscribe so you don’t miss out on part two. That’s it for today. Thanks for listening, and have a great day.
That’s it for this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review. Also, be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss an episode. Thanks for listening.