Chyanne Taylor, of San Clemente, Calif., started running as a sophomore in high school, when her boyfriend (now husband) left for boot camp in the U.S. Marine Corps. “I needed something in my life that I could focus on while he was gone, to make time fly,” she says. “I joined my local gym, signed up for a 5K and got right to work.”
Now five years later, Chayanne has competed her first marathon in Ventura, Calif. Chayanne, along with her veteran partner Jake Jendusa of San Diego, Calif., are part of the Saucony 26 Strong project, a collaboration between Competitor and Saucony that pairs a veteran runner with a first-timer to train for a fall marathon.
“My first marathon experience is something I will never forget,” Chyanne says. “The pride you get and the title of ‘marathoner’ is something that is earned, not given. From the excitement you get when it becomes official that you’ll be running a marathon, to the first long run, thru all the training, and of course when you cross the finish line. There are no ways to explain it, you just have to do it and see for yourself.”
The toughest part of the race came at mile 22, when Chyanne hit the wall.
“I felt like I was hit by a truck,” she says. “I had 4.2 miles left, it was difficult not to stop and that was the last thing I wanted to do. I had trained, I had set a time to finish, and I WAS going to do it. After I sucked it up, I picked up the pace a bit and crossed the finish. There waiting, was my supportive husband with water and a bouquet of flowers.”
All the training paid off, but finding the time to train was the toughest part of the process for Chyanne.
“Managing my long runs and making sure I have time to prepare and recover all while going to work, school and taking care of my family became difficult,” she says. “At times I just could not fit in a 15 mile Friday morning run, then I began beating myself up for not doing it, which was not a good idea. I had to keep telling myself it was OK.”
Her advice for other first-time marathoners?
If I could change anything about how I approached my marathon, it would have been to give myself at least another month of training,” she says. “I would also read biographies and accounts of famous marathoners for inspiration and motivation. My advice to first-time marathoner would be to not think about race day—it just stresses you out! Also, having a proper diet while training, and incorporate a strength training routine into your plan.”