One Mile at a Time: La Jolla dentist completes Boston Marathon

Tracy Taddey at the conclusion of the 2019 Boston Marathon, April 15.

La Jolla dentist Tracy Taddey completed this year’s Boston Marathon on April 15 — the world’s oldest annual marathon, dating back to 1897 — achieving a longtime personal goal. Despite an injury, challenging changes in the weather and an unfamiliar course, Taddey ran the 26.2-mile race in four hours, 28 minutes and three seconds.

Back at home this week, she shared her thoughts on the triumphant experience with La Jolla Light.

When did you start running?

I started doing it just for fun while I was in college at NYU. I would just run around the city. In 2013, I started running half marathons and full marathons, and I joined the San Diego Track Club. I always wanted to run the Boston Marathon, so I started training with the San Diego Track Club. I ran a marathon with them last year and qualified for Boston.

Why did you always want to run it?

As a runner, the Boston Marathon is the ultimate! It’s a challenging marathon with a lot of history. Women weren’t allowed to run it until the 1970s, so as a woman it was important to me; and when you look back on the bombing of 2013 (in which two homemade bombs were detonated near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 250) it meant that much more to me to complete it.

How did you train?

I did a lot of running with the San Diego Track Club. They have a half-marathon program to train for things like this. It’s a great running group with whom you run a certain number of miles every week and longer runs on weekends. You just condition yourself to go, no matter what. There are some challenges you cannot train for, but the overall training was really important.

What were some of the Boston challenges?

The weather for one (laughs). When the marathon started, it was raining heavily, then it was cloudy and humid, and half way through, the sun came out and it got really hot, then it got cool and cloudy, then it started raining, and then it rained heavily at the end of the race. But at the end of the day, it’s a really challenging course, no matter what, so you have to push yourself mentally.

How did you acquire the mental toughness needed?

I decided for this marathon to take one mile at a time, and the miles just kept coming. My boyfriend was at the half-way point and that gave me an energy boost. Seeing that finish line is also really exhilarating. It’s an amazing thing when you near the end, and you’re on an adrenaline high. But throughout, you keep calm and take one mile at a time. My family and boyfriend were also at the finish line. So that was emotional, too.

What was that moment like?

Exhilarating! That’s the only word I can think of it to describe it ... and magical. It was everything I’d worked for actually happening. I saw the beautiful blue-and-yellow finish line and heard all these people cheering. I thought ‘oh my god, I actually did this.’ It was one of the happiest days of my life. I was crying at the last mile. It is so emotional, but you can’t breathe if you are crying, so I pulled it together at the last minute.

What was your time?

I went into it with an injury, so it wasn’t my best time, but I finished 4:28:03. Normally, that’s not a great time, but I just wanted to cross the finish line. I didn’t know how it was going to go with my injury, so I’m actually really happy with my time.

What’s next for you?

My goal is get back to Boston and do it again. I want to enjoy running in San Diego for now.

Where do you like to run in San Diego?

My boyfriend and I run in La Jolla a lot; we run along the coast through Bird Rock and to the cross at Mount Soledad. We’re so lucky to live in a beautiful place where there are so many places to run.

What do you most enjoy about running?

It gives you a real mental boost ... it is also a stress release and makes me feel strong, especially as I can run longer and faster. I hope to be able to run for many years. I would really miss it if I couldn’t do it.

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