Ramona Teter has volunteered in multiple roles for Girls on the Run. She helped coach the team at Hobby Middle School throughout 2016 and served as a running buddy at the Spring 5K on May 7.
This year, while helping Girls on the Run participants meet their goals, Ramona achieved an incredible goal of her own: running the Boston Marathon! Read on to learn more about Ramona, her training, and her love for Girls on the Run.
Tell us a few sentences about yourself?
I am a communications professional working as the engagement director for the Corporate Responsibility programs at USAA. I have been employed by USAA for 23 years. I have two grown children -- a son and a daughter -- both in their 20s, who live in Fort Worth and Los Angeles, respectively, and make me immensely proud every day.
I was not an athlete in school, nor did I believe at that time that I was athletically inclined. I was a late bloomer to running; I started running regularly about 20 years ago, and ran my first marathon 14-1/2 years ago. In January 2016, at the Houston Marathon -- which was my 18th marathon -- I time-qualified to run the 2017 Boston Marathon, which I ran last month. To date, I have run 23 marathons in 19 cities across the U.S.
Why did you choose to volunteer with GOTR?
Running has changed my life in positive ways. It has made me healthier and more confident, led me to visit new places I might otherwise never have seen, and taught me that I can achieve big goals if I put forth the effort to make them happen -- and most important, never give up. I began volunteering with GOTR because I wanted to give back to my community, and I'm happiest and most fulfilled when I am doing something I'm passionate about. I am passionate about running. Volunteering with GOTR allows me to share my passion, experiences, and knowledge in ways that can inspire and motivate young girls to dream big, set goals, and believe in themselves.
What was one of the most memorable experiences you had when coaching Hobby Middle School?
It's truly heartwarming to watch the girls progress over the course of the season, not only in their running ability, but also in the maturity they demonstrate with one another and their coaches. One of the most touching moments was when one of the girls I ran the 5K with as a running buddy told me after she finished, "Thank you for running with me. I don't think I would have done so well if you hadn't kept me going."
Congratulations on qualifying for the Boston Marathon! What kind of training did you go through? What were some of the biggest obstacles you overcame during your training?
There are a number of marathon training programs out there. I chose an 18-week program from a nationally known coach whose programs are available online, and I have been using that as my training regimen for the past 10 years. I also took a class in 2014 to become a certified coach, so that I could not only help others, but also pick up pointers to improve my own training and performance.
As for obstacles: It's hot in Texas! The heat is one of the most challenging hurdles to running in San Antonio. But, I'm very determined, so I adjust by either getting up super-early before the day gets too unbearably (and dangerously) warm to run long distances or going to the gym and running indoors on a treadmill.
My second biggest obstacle is my schedule. I have a pretty busy work schedule and other obligations, so it's not always easy to get outside or to a gym to get my training runs in. So, I have to be flexible. I usually rest on Mondays on Fridays, but I'll flex and run on one or both of those days if I have to miss another day of the week. But I've also learned that no one has time for anything, really; you make time for the things that you really want and that are important to you.
Running is important to me, so I try really hard to make the time to do it.
What are some of the biggest lessons that you learned throughout your training that you would share with the girls from GOTR?
Your dreams -- whether related to running or something else -- are within reach if you are determined, disciplined and dedicated. You have to be ready and willing to put in the time and the effort, knowing it will not be easy. You will encounter challenges along the way, and you might even find yourself wanting to give up. But you have to believe you can do it. And keep going. Because the payoff will be sweet. That's what I did. Once I decided I was going to qualify for Boston, I was determined to make it happen, no matter how long it took. Once I made the decision to go for it, I had to run hundreds more miles of training and seven more marathons before I finally made it. But it was worth it, because now I have had the experience of running the prestigious Boston Marathon, an amazing experience I will never forget. And I will especially never forget the journey that got me there.
Your dreams -- whether related to running or something else -- are within reach if you are determined, disciplined and dedicated.
How did it feel crossing the Boston Marathon Finish Line?!
It was unbelievable and so surreal. The adrenaline rush of running the last stretch of the marathon on Boylston Street in downtown Boston was unlike any other marathon I'd run. The roar of the spectators cheering at the top of their lungs was incredibly invigorating, and I didn't want the experience to end! I was in such a euphoric state when I crossed the finish line that deep-down I really wanted to go back and run that last stretch again. Of course, I didn't do that. I did, however, relish in the freshness of my achievement, and then having that unicorn medal placed around my neck was the crowning moment of glory and reflection.
Congrats Ramona! Your dedication to running and to Girls on the Run is an inspiration!