Archive Anesthesia 2018

An Inspiring Second Place Finish After 26.2 Miles

Q&A with Sarah Sellers, CRNA, 2018 Boston Marathon runner-up.

Sarah Sellers, CRNA,

You made national news by coming out of relative obscurity to beat some of the best racers on the planet. How did you do it?

It was a combination of things. There's a quote that I like: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I ran competitively in college and had been training consistently for many years. The weather that day — rainy and windy — was the wildcard everyone had to deal with, so it was a unique race. It was only the second marathon I'd ever run and the only reason I entered was to run with my brother.

Did you know how well you'd done after crossing the finish line?

I had passed some of the top women who were expected to finish at the front of the pack, so I knew I was doing well, but had no idea how well. When I finished, a race official told me I placed second. I assumed he meant in my age division. A few minutes later I found out it was second place overall. I was in shock. That's when my husband and I started freaking out.

What kind of reception did you get when you returned to work?

The race was on a Monday and I was back in the OR at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. My colleagues were awesome and so supportive. They got me a chocolate cake and we had a little celebration. The first patient of the day wanted to take a selfie with me. That was pretty neat. I'm currently training for the 2020 Olympic marathon trials. I run about 90 miles a week and usually get up at 4 a.m. to get the road work in before heading to the hospital.

Why did you decide to become a CRNA?

My dad is an orthopedic surgeon and got me interested in the field when he said he loves the anesthetists he works with. I'm very much into the science and physiology behind anesthesia, and in surgery you learn something new every day. I like that.

Can you take lessons from this experience into the OR?

For sure. There's a steep learning curve in anesthesia, and it can be a tough profession. During marathons, it's easy to get down on yourself and start doubting if you'll make it, but you just focus on small goals along the way until you get through the mental struggle. I also think my story shows that working hard and having big goals can pay off. OSM

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