ZSIR CEO Runs the Boston Marathon

We’re so incredibly proud to share that our CEO, Jessica Averbuch, recently completed the Boston Marathon! An avid runner, she trained tirelessly to accomplish her goals. We chatted with Jessica about what it was like to run the marathon, how she trained, and more.

CEO Runs the Boston Marathon

When did you start running?

I decided to run cross country in high school for the exercise and to be a part of a team with my friends. I grew up in Florida so it was HOT and I was not a natural.  I have the best memories of our coach sending us out for a long run and I would sprint with my friends to my dad’s office nearby. Then we would scarf down cookies and diet coke then sprint back to school. Needless to say, we didn’t feel too good so it looked like we had pushed ourselves really hard. I ran through high school and college but never fast or long. Then right before my wedding in 2000, I decided to run my first marathon in Austin and then I was hooked. I’ve run around 20 marathons and even more half marathons and 10Ks.

What’s your favorite thing about running?

I have so many favorite things about running. I love the time outside in nature and I’m equally happy alone or with friends. It is a wonderful stress reliever and mood booster. It makes me feel good and I’m definitely addicted to that feeling. I also love tackling a challenge and it doesn’t matter how many marathons I’ve run, it is ALWAYS a challenge. 

How did you prepare for the marathon?

I had a bad marathon last fall which was miserable so I decided that my number one goal for Boston was to feel good. I wanted to make sure that I was properly trained, mentally and physically, so that I could truly enjoy the experience. I decided to hire running coaches who have a podcast that I love called Run Farther and Faster and I joined their virtual training group.  They met with me to assess my goals and gave me a training program which was unlike any that I’ve done before. I learned that 75% of my runs need to be slow and relaxed so that I can push myself during speed workouts. This approach allowed me to build up my mileage, get stronger and avoid any injuries. I loved having them tell me what to do because I didn’t have to think about it and I knew that they would get me ready. I also did a lot more mental preparation by listening to podcasts, reading online and focusing on positive affirmations. 

How was this marathon different than other races you’ve done?

It was incredible! I felt like I was at the Olympics and I got to participate in them! It was amazing to be surrounded by the world’s fastest runners and inspiring to see all the charity teams. I was one of 11 people on the Heather Abbott Foundation team and together we raised over $100,000. Heather was a spectator at the Boston marathon in 2013 when the bombing occurred and she lost her leg. We were running for her foundation that provides prosthetic limbs so we had such a sense of purpose and gratitude that we got to do this. It’s hard to put into words the energy level on race day when there are 25K+ runners and the whole city of Boston cheering you on. One of the coolest part of this year is that it was the 50th anniversary of women being “allowed” to enter the race. It gives you a lot of perspective when you think about the fact that this race started in 1897 and it wasn’t until 1972 that women could enter the race.

Tell us about your experience running the Boston marathon?

My goal was to be well prepared and to enjoy the experience. One of the mantras I said to myself repeatedly throughout the race was “this is my Boston”. I just wanted to enjoy every part of it as I ran through all the towns and colleges and then into the city. The crowd support was unbelievable – Patriot’s day is a party in Boston and everyone comes to cheer the runners.  

What was your favorite thing about this marathon?

My favorite part was the energy of the event – it is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. There is so much history, so many traditions and a tremendous amount of strength and pride. All of these things add up to an incredible amount of positive energy and I just soaked it up!

Were there any tough parts of the race for you? If so, how did you push through it?

I had a bunch of small things that made a big difference in getting me through the hard parts of it. A friend gave me tags on my shoes (see picture) that say Run Boston 2022 and I am Strong and just looking at them gave me the energy to push. I had a couple mantras that I repeated over and over.  For example, when I ran uphill, I would say repeatedly “Fast Feet” to get myself to focus on taking small steps. That is the strategy that got me up the legendary Heartbreak Hill at mile 20 when most people started walking. It really helped me to know that I had so many people who were so excited for me and cheering me on.

And what was it like crossing the finish line?

It was like a dream come true. I had my team and my mom and sister cheering me on as I came down the final stretch. The picture of me at that point says it all- I was ecstatic and exhausted! After I finished, I walked to meet my family at the watch party for the Heather Abbott Foundation on the second floor of a bar. When I walked into the bar, every single person (and there were hundreds) stood up and started cheering for me. Then I went upstairs to our group’s party and the same thing happened again. Needless to say, I burst into tears with such overwhelming joy because it was a beautiful moment I will never forget.   

Do you have any running goals for the future?

I really want to do it again so I am going to focus on improving my time so I can qualify. It’s going to be a huge challenge but I’m up for it.  I also have another epic experience coming up this fall. I am hiking the Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon with my sister in September. After that I will run my favorite marathon for the 8th time, the Flying Monkey Marathon, in Percy Warner Park.

What are your plans for resting/recovering from the race?

I went to New York after the race so I walked a gazillion miles every day.  Now I am excited to make some time to do other things I love like yoga and rowing and yes, more running.