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This is what the running elite has to say about "All in a Day's Run":

"Gary's experiences and thoughts are very entertaining, all levels of runners can relate to them."
Brian Sell — 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathoner

"Each of Gary's essays is a short read with great information on training, racing and nutrition."
Dave McGillivray — Boston Marathon Race Director

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Lisa Rainsberger — September, 2010
Lisa Rainsberger won the Boston Marathon in 1985 and, as of 2010, is the last American woman to hold that distinction. She finished first back-to-back in the Chicago Marathon in 1988 (2:29:17) and 1989 (2:28:15), something no American woman has repeated since. Lisa finished in fourth place at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 1984, 1988 and 1992, twice missing making the Olympic team by less than a minute. She also won the 1990 Hokkaido Marathon in Sapporo, Japan and the 1993 Twin Cities Marathon. Lisa won many major road races including the 1986, 1987, 1989 Crim 10 Mile, 1989 and 1990 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile and 1991 Bloomsday 12k. She finished in fifth place in the 10,000 meters at the 1988 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in 32:12. Lisa is talented in multiple endurance sports having finished as fourth American at the 2000 U.S. Triathlon National Championships. She also qualified for the 1980 Olympic Trials in swimming while in high school before switching sports to running. Lisa is a member of several Halls of Fame, including the University of Michigan, Road Runners of America and Battle Creek Central High School. She earned collegiate All-American honors in track and field, cross country and swimming. Lisa currently offers personalized coaching through Rainsberger Athletics and and resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband and daughter.
GCR:You have had many athletic achievements, but are known most for your 1985 Boston Marathon victory. Twenty-five years later, how has it changed and enriched your life?
LRIt solidified me as an athlete in the minds of others and in my own mind. It gave me a pedigree - I can write on my resume that I won the Boston Marathon and most people understand that. Almost anyone has heard of the Boston Marathon – they may not know how far we run – but they have heard of it. In my own mind it gave me a type of ‘bragging rights’ and opened a lot of doors and opportunities. More than anything it made me feel whole as a runner. Many runners struggle as they graduate from college, are competing and tell people, ‘I’m a road racer.’ But when I could say, ‘I’m a road racer and I’ve won the Boston Marathon,’ it made me feel good about what I was doing.
GCR:It was only your third marathon – what led to your running at Boston and did you prepare differently due to the late-race hills?
LRI had just recently moved to Boston and had signed a contract with Saucony. The Boston Marathon was an opportunity that was right in front of me. In hindsight I probably wouldn’t have run except it was the Boston Marathon and I lived there, so I got a number and raced. For me at that time ignorance was bliss as I hadn’t done much training on the race course. I did have a great spring of training and racing as I had set two American Records and done well at the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. So it all came together. I knew when the gun went off that based on the competitors who were there that it was my race to win or lose.
GCR:What memories do you have of the start, weather, crowds and your competition?
LRI remember everything. I can close my eyes and recreate the race in my mind. The smells and sounds at the Boston Marathon are different than at any other marathon. People along the course are barbequing and drinking beer. Since the race started at noon there were midday smells as compared to pancakes and bacon in Chicago with its early morning start. We were running through small New England communities with spectators who understand the history of the event. Many people were shouting my name as they were educated about who to look for. Of course at Wellesley at the time there weren’t barricades or crowd control so the college women created a tunnel. The girls were screaming, high-fiving, slapping me on the butt and so it was like l’Alpe D’uez in the Tour de Franc where the fans just go crazy. I won by eight minutes so I didn’t have female competition though I had someone running with me. It was my boss from Saucony who was hired by WBZ to wear a camera and microphone device and report during the race on how I was doing. He made it eight miles – it was long time and current Boston Marathon Race Director, Dave McGillivray. So, he failed at his first Boston Marathon job! (laughing)
GCR:How did the hills compare with what you had heard before the race?
LRThey weren’t that bad and I didn’t feel they hindered my race. I was in good shape and ran a smart pace. Since I knew my ability and ran within myself, I didn’t experience difficulty on the hills that I may have if I was out faster than my capabilities.
GCR:Were you running strong coming in the last few miles and what do you remember of the post-race awards ceremony?
LRThe only thing to drink along the course was water every five kilometers. So the last five or six miles was like the Bataan Death March. I was dizzy and light-headed and was grasping after the finish for anything to refuel. When I look at pictures of me at and after the finish I was a pale white color. The awards ceremony was in the garage as we finished underneath the Prudential Center. They had staged the press conference and awards in there and it was sort of strange as it was dark, dingy and cold.
GCR:You’ve been invited back on anniversaries of your win in 2005 where you ran with your husband in 3:42 and in 2010 when you were the official starter for the women’s elite race before running with your husband and daughter. What was the reception along the course from the crowds – were you recognized – and how much fun was it running with your family?
LRIt was so much fun running with my family this year. I wanted my daughter to experience the race on her terms, so I made my husband swear that he wouldn’t get competitive and push the pace. I stayed one step behind Meagan the whole way. We talked about signs and other things we noticed along the way. Since Geoff Smith and I won in 1985 we have the same anniversary of our victory and are invited back every five years to be honored. So I’ve gotten to know Geoff, his wife and children and he is a good man.
GCR:In only your second marathon you placed fourth in the 1984 Olympic Trials Marathon. Were there mixed emotions about doing so well, but coming up so close to making the Olympic team as you missed by one place and 44 seconds?
LRI had a love-hate relationship with the Olympic Trials that started back I 1980 when I was in high school and qualified for the Trials as a swimmer but it was the year of President Jimmy Carter’s Olympic boycott. At the 1984 Olympic Trials Marathon I was in third place until the 25-mile mark. The race pre-dated the use of electrolyte replacement drinks along the course and it was tough at five feet, ten inches and 130 pounds to run a marathon while only drinking water. If I knew what I know now about hydration and nutrition it would have been a whole different story. On a side note, the runner who placed second failed a drug test, but a lack of policy by the U.S. governing body didn’t stop her from competing in Los Angeles. She raced poorly in L.A. and shouldn’t have been representing our country due to that failed drug test.
GCR:Were you able to offer any resistance when Julie Isphording caught you in the latter stages of the race?
LRI ran well and, as I noted, was in third place at 25 miles. I’ve been good friends with Julie Isphording throughout my career and that day couldn’t stop her from going past me. I had mixed feelings about the race as it opened doors for me though I missed the Olympics and was so close. I did run my personal best time that day.
GCR:What was your pre-race strategy for the 1988 Olympic Trials Marathon and how did that race develop? You missed a spot by 48 seconds – were you ever in third or closing in?
LRThere really isn’t much to say except that again I ran my personal best time and there were just three competitors who ran faster.
GCR:In 1992 at the next Olympic Trials Marathon you again came in fourth, but were nearly three minutes behind. It wasn’t as close, but did you start to feel a bit cursed?
LROnce the ‘fat lady started singing’ I was wishing that some more runners would pass me. I was thinking that sixth place would be better than fourth again! That race was hard because it was originally scheduled to be in Long Beach in May. In November I had a terrible case of plantar fasciitis and I decided to take six weeks off so that I could get ready for the May Trials. Then they announced that the Trials were changed to January in Houston. I felt let down by our federation that took more financial backing without taking into consideration the effect on the athletes. I was devastated as there wasn’t time to fully prepare for a race that was moved forward by four months. I needed another three or four months of training.
GCR:Let’s talk about some of your other major marathon victories. You won twice at Chicago in 1988 and 1989. How did the course and race atmosphere compare to Boston when you first won at Chicago with a 2:29:12 time in 1988?
LRI think I like Chicago better because I’m from the Midwest and my whole family was able to come and watch. My sisters were there so I had my posse. It was much more relaxed as I felt at home. Winning at Chicago was also huge for me financially.
GCR:In 1989 the weather was warm in Chicago and you let the field go, falling 50 seconds behind at five miles and one minute, fifty seconds behind at ten miles. Describe how you stayed with your plan and how your confidence increased as you passed competitors and assumed the lead at 18 miles?
LRThe lead runners went out fast so I ran at the exertion level and heart rate that matched my training. Before mile five I was busting a gut trying to keep up so I let them go. It was a hard decision as I was wearing race number one and felt like a target. I put my blinders on, listened to my breathing, checked my splits and thought, ‘I’m running really fast – they’ll come back to me.’ I remember as I ran down the road that I caught my competitors one at a time. I also knew how to hydrate well by then and was drinking plenty of water and Gatorade. I made up that nearly two minute deficit and knew I was approaching the leader at 18 miles because the helicopter was overhead. It was exciting as the women’s race had a lead vehicle and a helicopter for television coverage. I passed Cathy O’Brien right where my coach and husband were watching so it was cool that they were able to see me take the lead.
GCR:As you finished the final three miles heading north on Lakeshore Drive, was there a cooling breeze that helped neutralize some of the warm weather?
LRWe did have a headwind that felt really good. I was also wearing a white uniform, was dialed into my pace, kept hydrating and everything worked well.
GCR:You won the 1990 Hokkaido Marathon in Sapporo, Japan in 2:31:29. What were differences in competing internationally and how was it adjusting to the time change in Japan where our daytime is their nighttime? How did that race develop?
LRI had raced several half marathons in Japan so I was familiar with the country and the time zone changes. It was hot that day as the temperature was 30 degrees Celsius which is 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It wasn’t just hot - it was oppressively hot! My friend and foe from the 1984 Olympic Trials Marathon, Julie Isphording, was there, so we started out together. I actually finished ninth overall, so only eight women beat me. I took the womens’ lead early as I was ready to win that race. There are certain times when I scouted out my competition and if they wanted to win they needed to work very hard. That was one of those days as I ‘came to play.’
GCR:The Twin Cities Marathon bills itself as the ‘Most Beautiful Urban Marathon.’ How beautiful was it to win in 1993 and did you notice the scenery amidst your focus on racing and winning?
LRActually I was fairly frustrated leading up to that race as I had been hit by a car in Boston during the spring. I really hurt my back and couldn’t race at Boston, so when I got back into training I decided to race at Twin Cities as the pressure wasn’t as high as for one of the ‘Big Three’ U.S. marathons at Boston, Chicago and New York. The gun went off and early on I found myself in fifth place. I wasn’t feeling smooth, it wasn’t going well and I got frustrated as I couldn’t find my ‘happy place’ and pace. But after about 19 miles when the race begins an uphill stretch I finally woke up. One by one I caught the women in the race. Taliana Zueva of Russia was winning as we came up on St. Paul’s Cathedral and I didn’t know if there was enough real estate left to catch her. But I did go past her right after the top of the hill and was able to win by eight seconds. I found a gear and made my move and it was one of my hardest marathon races. Afterward I recall having to carry my urine sample to the awards ceremony and accepting my award holding my urine bottle – it was so embarrassing! But I wasn’t going to miss the ceremony due to the ‘pee police!’
GCR:You were successful at the marathon distance right away with a 2:35 performance. What prompted you step up in distance to enter the 1983 Grandma’s Marathon?
LRBack then women only had two choices – the 1,500 meters or the marathon. In 1984 it was the first time there was any race for women longer than 1,500 meters as in Los Angeles at the Olympics they had a 3,000 meter event and an exhibition 10,000 meters. I figured I’d move up to the marathon and give it a try as I didn’t really have enough natural speed for the 1,500 or 3,000 meters.
GCR:You switched to professional triathlon and finished as 4th American at the 2000 US Triathlon National Championships. Compare and contrast training and racing as a runner with splitting the focus and energy on three disciplines.
LRThe hardest part was surrendering my comfort level with running many miles. I felt that if I didn’t run every day I’d lose my running fitness. That just isn’t the case as many top-notch triathletes run only four days per week. There was an excitement in reinventing myself – being at the bottom and having to work myself up the ladder. I experienced that process when I switched from swimming to running and was experiencing it again as I changed to triathlon training.
GCR:You were a competitive swimmer as a youth. Please discuss how you decided to change sports and how your endurance background from swimming helped in the transition to high-level running.
LRIt made all of the difference. Swimming created an engine inside of me that was incredible. As a child having such a great engine and fitness level put me in position to do many things. I was a long shot to make the Olympic team in 1980. Eight girls make the finals and the next eight make the consolation race. I would most likely have been in that second group and in the top 16 in the U.S. When I made the switch, initially I had to lose weight as swimmers carry more weight than runners. I also had to learn how to accept the impact of running. Right off of the bat I had a couple of stress fractures because I was able to run harder than my body was ready for so I had to get the chassis in shape. That was the hardest thing to accept – the injury factor in going from a non-impact sport to an impact sport.
GCR:You had success on the track, highlighted by a 32:12 10,000 meters at the 1988 US Olympic Track and Field Trials. Take us through that particularly hard-fought track race.
LRIn that 1988 Olympic Trials 10,000 meters I started the race in the back at my pace and lap by lap I slowly passed women until with three laps to go I was in third place. Lynn Williams was in front with Francie Larrieu in second, but Lynn Jennings and Nan Davis were behind me. As I worked my way up through the competitors, Marty Liquori was announcing and going crazy. He was excited for me and the crowd was chanting, ‘Lisa, Lisa, Lisa.’ They knew I had finished fourth in two Olympic Trials marathons. Sure enough, with a lap to go Lynn Jennings and Nan Davis went by me. But after 24 of the 25 laps I was an Olympian. That last lap they outkicked me and I finished fifth.
GCR:You won many major road races including the 1986, 1987, 1989 Crim 10 Mile, 1989 and 1990 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile and 1991 Bloomsday 12k Champion. Were any of these memorable for tight competition and close finishes?
LRThe race that stands out the most isn’t one I won, but one of the Crim 10-milers where I finished in second place. I was in a duel with Anne Audain as Cathy O’Brien took off fast and was out in front. I could see Cathy, but couldn’t bridge the gap. There is a sweeping left hand turn and then a quarter mile on cobblestones to the finish line. I came around the corner and Anne was right there with me. I tried as hard as I could, was pumping my arms and digging deep. I never, ever let it out like that. We crossed the finish line in a dead heat, but I got second place. The funny thing was that we had both received appearance money and there was no prize money on the line, just our competitive spirit. When the gun goes off, my light goes on.
GCR:What was your base mileage during your collegiate competitive years and during your marathon training? What were some of your favorite sessions for stamina, speed and race tempo?
LRI didn’t surrender my speed as I trained for the marathon and I didn’t run extremely high mileage. I raced marathons while running 85 to 90 miles per week. I never ran over 100 miles in one week in my life. This compares to my collegiate mileage of 50 to 60 miles per week with two track sessions each week, a log run on the weekend and plenty of stretching. I just added morning runs and longer weekend runs when I stepped up to marathon training. I did four mile tempo runs on the track as when I’m by myself on the road my mind tends to wander. I like having my times read out every lap. Everyone has ‘the one workout’ that means something to them. For me it was five times a mile with a two minute rest. When I could run five times a mile in five minutes I knew I was ready to hammer. I never really did 400s, but I would do 200s at the beginning of a building block to get some speed back after a rest period. We’d call them ‘200 floaters’ and would alternate 200 meters ‘on’ with 200 meters ‘off’ and this would reacquaint my legs with how to turn over fast again.
GCR:With the luxury of hindsight, is there anything you could have done differently in training and racing focus that may have resulted in better performances?
LRI’m happy with what I did at the time. If I had the knowledge I do now it would have been different, but that is no way to live one’s life. My career transcended 20 years so I feel the picture is complete.
GCR:Who were some of your favorite competitors and adversaries from your road racing days and collegiate competition?
LRThere was a small group of top runners and I enjoyed racing with many of them including Anne Audain, Francie Larrieu and Cathy O’Brien. We competed hard, but went out for a few beers afterward.
GCR:You have coached at many levels including high school, adults with charity marathon programs, US Army elite athletes and personal coaching. How satisfying is it to help others succeed compared to your own personal accomplishments?
LRIt is very satisfying to coach others as it refreshes my own memories and allows me to share with others. It isn’t the same, but in some ways it is more fulfilling because it isn’t about me. Being a world class athlete is a very selfish lifestyle as everything is about you. Being able to give of my knowledge and experience to someone else is very rewarding.
GCR:How much more difficult is it to instill in others the necessary discipline, focus and mental toughness?
LRRunners I coach have to know that there are no handouts. In a way it has to be inside of those I coach as it is hard to teach.
GCR:How did each of your coaches from your youth swimming days to college running and beyond contribute to your success and what would you say are the major points you learned from them that helped you with the physical and mental aspects of training and racing?
LRI think I was twelve years old and having a bad day when my swim coach, Tom Belco, decided to make a point with me. One day he said my favorite quote when he was putting me through a rough workout. He pulled me aside and said, ‘Lisa, if you’re looking for sympathy you can find it in the dictionary between sh!t and suicide.’ My college coach, Ron Warhurst, was amazing. The biggest thing he taught me was how to hurt… and how to like it. He could put me through a training session that was pure agony and I’d walk away giddy. I carried what I learned from Ron and the ability to do these really hard workouts. But I also learned that recovery was necessary. He let us just jog on our easy days. I learned the importance of going really hard on my hard days and totally backing off on the easy days.
GCR:What are some important words of advice you can give to marathon runners in training and racing and especially those getting ready to race at Chicago or Boston?
LRRunners have to understand their ability. They have to understand what mileage, training elements and nutrition are right for them and how to customize their program. In this day and age of technology it is easy to read on the computer about other runners’ training. Runners need to be careful as when they read about how others are training it can take away the confidence in their training regimen and give them doubt. My top level athletes have to get off of the internet and stop reading about what others are doing. Runners need to zone in on what is right for them and, as I say to them, ‘nurture you.’
GCR:You were inducted into several Halls of Fame including the University of Michigan Track and Field HOF in 2004, Road Runners of America in 2005 and Battle Creek Central High School in 2006. How does it feel to be so honored?
LRIt is such an honor that I enjoy sharing with those in my life. My parents were able to be with me for the high school and college HOF inductions. I’m glad these honors are happening later in life as I appreciate them more and they are very meaningful
GCR:What do you do now for health and fitness?
LRI do exercise sessions with athletes I coach. This past weekend I took several athletes I coach to the Pikes Peak summit. We ran four miles down hill and then four miles back to the top. Today I ran six miles with one of my clients. Tomorrow I will swim with someone. Typically my fitness involves what my athletes need from me.
GCR:What excites you and what goals do you have with coaching, family life, fitness and the possibility of age-group competition in running, swimming or triathlon?
LRNext year when I turn 50 I’ll probably race a half ironman triathlon. But right now it is about my athletes and my family. Whatever I can fit in is great and I’m happy for that – I’m not dying to race!
 Inside Stuff
Hobbies/InterestsSkiing, piano, taxi driver for my children
NicknamesAage, which is Danish and pronounced ‘O-ga’, though my coach said it as ‘O-gee.’ It’s because my dad’s name is Sven Aage Larson. When I swam there were three girls named Lisa on the team so Aage became my nickname
Favorite moviesI enjoy movies, period. The one that sticks out is ‘Despicable me’ that I watched last week. I do like humorous movies as I love to laugh. I enjoyed ‘The Blind Side’
Favorite TV showsAs a child I liked ‘The Twilight Zone.’ We didn’t have a color television so ‘Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color’ wasn’t quite as wonderful for us. Now I watch ‘Criminal Minds,’ ‘Forensic Files’ and ‘NCIS’
TV reality show to be on‘Shaq Vs’ where Shaquille O’Neal competes against a sports personality in some type of handicapped competition in their sport
Favorite musicI’m truly an oldie rock ‘n roll fan of music and one of my favorites is Neil Young.’ As far as more recent music, I like Taylor Swift
Favorite books‘The Power of One’ by Bryce Courtenay is my favorite motivational text. Every athlete should read it
First car1980 4-door Cutlass Supreme Diesel
Current carI just got a ‘new’ used Infinity Q56 that is ‘pimped out’
Family, Children and SiblingsI have great parents, Sven and Norma, who have been married about 55 years. My sisters are Laura and Leslie. All three of us have the same middle name – Ann. My husband is Bud and my daughter is Katie
First jobI picked strawberries back in Michigan. I remember riding my bike to a farm to pick many types of produce, but particularly strawberries. I had skipped a grade so I was always too young to work and anything I did was as a day laborer
PetsI’ve always had dogs. When I trained in the Seattle area I encountered bears at times so I asked a veterinarian what breed of dog could run 80 or more miles per week and he recommended an Australian Shepherd. For the last 20 years I’ve had that breed of dog and currently have two, Luka and Ledger. They know on which days I run. They also know when I am wearing running shoes that it is time to run
Favorite mealSalmon with asparagus and rice pilaf. We’ll have two feet of snow and we’re on the back deck grilling salmon!
Favorite beverages A good oaked chardonnay; Fat Tire ale
Favorite breakfastA bagel with peanut butter and jelly
First running memoryI was mad at my mom and ran out the front door. I was in about ninth grade and it was an emotional time. In my mind I was raging and was running and running and running way far away. By the time I became lucid I had worked out my demons and felt better. I turned down a ride and started finding my way home
Swimming heroesShane Gould and Shirley Babashoff. I swam the 400 meter individual medley. Shirley was Australian, but won so many medals, was pretty, had a great smile and I liked her cute little accent. I wanted to be like her
Running heroesWhen I first started my hero was Grete Waitz and then my hero became Joan Benoit-Samuelson. Now it will always be Joanie
Greatest running momentWinning the Chicago Marathon in 1989 as the field was loaded, the competition was hard, the weather was tough, things were going on in my personal life and I overcame it all to win. It is truly my most meaningful victory
Worst running momentThe Olympic Trials marathon in 1992. I felt such despair as I crossed the finish line. I broke down and cried as I knew that was it for me in trying to qualify for the Olympic Marathon
Childhood dreamsTo make the Olympic team as a swimmer. Later on I reinvented myself and had the same dream in running. Maybe I should take up ping-pong (laughing)
Ever called to the Principal's officeI was sent to the Principal’s Office all the time. My mother likes to tell one story of when she got a call from the Principal one day who said, ‘Norma, do you know where your daughter is?’ ‘Well, she’s at school of course,’ was her response. ‘Yes, but she’s on top of the school!’ I was bored and had asked for a bathroom pass, shimmied up a pole and climbed on top of the roof. I was only n third grade. In today’s world I’d probably be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. In fifth grade they tested me intellectually, found that I was smart enough to skip a grade and the elementary school got rid of me by skipping me to seventh grade!
Favorite Halloween costumeAs an adult I was Sponge Bob Square Pants one year
Funny memoriesFlying home first class from Japan after winning the marathon, I fell asleep on an older gentleman next to me and drooled on him. When I awoke and discovered what had happened I was appalled. But he said, ‘Dear, dear – it’s fine, it’s been a very a long time since a young lady drooled on me!’
Worst date everI didn’t date much as I think the boys were afraid of me. One time in high school for Homecoming my date had a six-pack of beer and wanted to sit in the car and get drunk instead of going in to the dance. I left him in the car and went in solo
Favorite places to travelI like going to the Rocky Mountains