Boston Profile #20: Following One’s Passion, Lisa McClellan

 Elizabeth, aka “Lisa,” McClellan is on a streak these days.

A streak of success with her running, that is.

In March 2012, Lisa qualified for the Boston Marathon at the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach (3:54; she will move up an age bracket next year, thus qualifying this time).

In April she set several personal bests: The Rockstar 8K Race (37 minutes) and the Cherry Blossom 10-miler (1 hour 15 minutes).

The 44-year-old mom of three and wife of a Navy Seal diver is in the best shape of her life and realizing her full potential — both in her personal life and as a runner and blogger (

a few short years ago, though, life threw her a curve ball and that’s also what makes her BQ story inspiring.

Like many women out there, Lisa experienced agonizing postpartum depression following the birth of her three children (a 6-year-old and 4-year-old twins).

According to statistics from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, the condition affects as many as one in 10 new moms.

Lisa and I met through the, and she has an awesome disposition. You’d never know she went through this until she shares it. Lisa is one of the kindest, most upbeat and supportive people I’ve met on DM.

But, that, too, is one of the dark secrets about postpartum depression: it is a surprising twist that hits otherwise healthy people. Doctors don’t know why some women are more prone to it over others.

What they do know about it: It is definitely real, a variation in normal body chemistry AND it usually comes back more severe with each subsequent pregnancy.

(FYI, I suffered from it as well with own two pregnancies and it can be debilitating.)

It was through running, Lisa said, she found her way back from the depths of postpartum depression.

started running again because I suffered from postpartum depression
after both pregnancies and for me going on anti-depressants was not an
option — they made me feel apathetic,” she explained. “When I ran, it eliminated a large
amount of the symptoms with no side effects, plus it was my alone time —
time to get my head straight.”

Born and raised in Southern California, Lisa was a nature athlete in her youth and she ran cross country and track in high school.

As an adult, she went in and out of phases of running. After the birth of her children, however, she stuck to it again.

Lisa and her family have lived to many places because of her husband’s work. It was when they were sent to Washington, D.C., a few years she found her passion again for road racing.

“I had raced many years ago, but entered a more recent race when we moved to D.C. I placed in the top ten. … It gave me a sense of accomplishments that I had not felt in quite some time. I was hooked, ” she said.

“I started with 5Ks and worked my way up to a marathon in March 2011. I entered thinking, ‘How hard could it be? If Oprah can do it, so can
I.’ Boy was I naive!  It was the hardest thing I had ever done,” she explained. “I cried
when I crossed the finish line at 3:57 — my life felt different. I had
just achieved something grand. I went home and looked for next and I
have not stopped since.”

Her husband, a Navy Seal (which also requires grueling physical training) and her children (6-year-old Jet and 4-year-old twins Corbin Rose and Tristan) are very supportive of her, she said.

Her goals include to run Boston next year, better her BQ time and also to run an ultra marathon in July.

“Whether it’s running or anything else, I think it’s important to encourage other women out there and other people to find their passion and to go for it,” she said.

“Other people go out for Starbucks (for their outlet with friends)” she joked, “With me and my girlfriends, we go for runs and that’s out quality time to visit and be together.”

She and her husband, who have been married 7 years, met at Port Hueneme, when he was stationed there. They will return to California in July.

Before she was a mom, Lisa said she was a hairdresser. These days she’s passionate about her family, running and writing and blogging: “Another love of mine is writing my blog (;
it brings me so much pleasure to connect with other bloggers, runners
and people. It has opened up a whole new circle of amazing people into
my life. I feel blessed beyond words.”

She added: “My favorite thing about running is meeting so many incredible people who share my passion. I feel like we have a tribe, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are if you love running you are a part of that family. … There seems it be an instant understanding or bond.”

Lisa also enjoy the solitude running provides: “Going for a long run and letting all of your worries go, just being in the moment and enjoying your natural surroundings. I sort out many personal issues while on a run. being a runner brings out the very best in me. I am a much happier, grateful, positive person because I run.”

The marathon for her is symbolic of life and its challenges, she explained: “You travel this journey and along the way many things can happen and each one is different. You learn to be patient and trust. You learn to that it can be as much mental as physical. You learn how strong and capable you really are, it’s much more than you think.”

In July, Lisa will run her first ultra: the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K in Washington, D.C.

After that she hopes to a run a November marathon and get even faster at that particular distance.

Running — although it comes with challenges in balancing family time — keeps her feeling young and fit, she stressed, and she cross-trains to stay injury free.

Her goal for Boston is “to run a decent pace and soak up the experience of it.”

“Running makes me feel alive. I can’t imagine living a life not moving. I am more fit now than I have ever been in my life, that makes me feel very young,” she said.


“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Mileage today: 4.1; Mileage for 2012: 456.

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