When Oiselle expanded its women’s running team membership in 2015 I was thrilled to find out that a fellow Oahu runner, Emmie Saigusa had also joined the ‘Volée’ section of the team (Oiselle: The Volée is a global community made up of women with diverse running backgrounds and competitive goals.)! Emmie is full of energy and always brings a fun and friendly attitude to the Hawaii running scene. In this interview we hear about Emmie’s marathon running accomplishments, what she is looking forward to about this spring’s Boston marathon, and what Emmie enjoys about running in Hawaii.
LRY: Hey Emmie! Congrats on your recent marathon in Tokyo! Tell us about your experience in Japan? How does the Tokyo marathon compare to other marathons you have competed in?
ES: Tokyo was my first overseas marathon. It was well organised and all of the volunteers were very nice and helpful but sometimes the language barrier made communication a little more challenging. The course is flat and wide but with lots of turns and lots of runners, it was hard to run the tangents. Almost everyone in the group I traveled with ended up logging 26.71 miles or more on our GPS watches. Flat courses are difficult for me, I prefer point to point courses with rolling hills. The weather was pretty cold in the morning but got very hot toward the end. I ran with shorts, a singlet, arm warmers, and gloves but ended up taking off my gloves and rolling down my arm warmers. I prefer colder marathons mid 30s to mid 40s. When it came to food we couldn’t find any pasta places the night before the race, so we ate sushi!! However I love Japanese food so that was not a problem!
LRY: To turn back the clock, when did you run your first marathon? And how many have you completed?
ES: My first marathon was Honolulu in 2001. Since then I have completed 18 marathons.
LRY: Why the marathon?
ES: I’m always up for trying something new to challenge myself and once my competitive soccer days were over I decided to give it a try. I only planned to run one marathon but then I got addicted and kept pushing myself to get a faster time.
LRY: When it comes to training for a marathon do you include any cross-training, or do you simply run? How about core, strength training or flexibility workouts?
ES: Yes. I try to hit the gym (lift weights/core exercises/TRX) 1-2 times per week and do HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts with my physical therapist/trainer once a week. Stretching after each workout is important for me too.
LRY: Many runners listen to music or audio books/ podcasts when they run? Are you amongst that group, and if yes – what do you listen to?
ES: Nope. I never listen to music while running. I like to be aware of my surroundings (people, cars, bikes, etc).
LRY: As a keen traveler where is your dream running destination?
ES: My love for traveling is separate from running so I don’t really have a “dream” running-destination. I’ve always chosen places I wanted to visit and then I’ve looked to see if there was a race during that time. I enjoyed my trip to Europe last year and would like to go back to run the London and Berlin marathons one day.
LRY: Is there one runner, from the past or present who you would like to share a few miles with?
ES: I can’t think of just one runner…
LRY: As a member of the Oiselle Volée, what do you like most about being part of a women’s running team? What inspired you to join the team?
ES: I love reading the Oiselle page and seeing how much all of these women runners support each other. We may not know each other personally (yet) but it feels great to have that support and encouragement. I’m looking forward to finally meeting and racing with fellow Volée members next month at Boston!
LRY: What are you looking forward to most about this year’s Boston? How many times have you qualified to run in the historic marathon?
ES: This year will be my 4th Boston Marathon. There isn’t just one thing that I’m looking forward to for this upcoming Boston. The experience is always amazing. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) does a great job organizing this event every year: the volunteers and the spectators. I’m looking forward to everything – including the Hawaii House and racing with friends!! My goal is always to PR (3:25:45 for Boston) so we’ll see how it goes on race day!
LRY: What do you like about running in Hawaii? Any tips for runners who are visiting from the mainland?
ES: I love that I can run outside almost everyday of the year in Hawaii. For runners visiting from the mainland I’d suggest connecting with a local running group. There are lots of runners training on road and trail.
LRY: Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to a runner preparing for their first marathon?
ES: Join a running group or follow some sort of training plan so you can be prepared for the 26.2 miles. Although I was already an athlete and physically fit when I ran my first marathon, it was a painful experience. I was a soccer player and my body was not trained to run 26.2 miles.
The 2016 Boston Marathon takes place on Monday, April 18th 2016. To follow Emmie and track her progress along the marathon course use this link: http://raceday.baa.org/individual.html
Good luck to everyone running in the 2016 Boston Marathon!!