How does she do it?

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Autumn Velez
  • 153rd Airlift Wing

Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Airman.

Capt. Erin Swingholm, 153rd Airlift Wing executive officer, does a bit of it all.

If balancing home life with the commitments of being an airman wasn’t enough, Swingholm is also training to run in the 2018 Boston Marathon.

“I’m truly honored to run in the Boston Marathon,” Swingholm said.

Prior to qualifying for the world’s oldest annual marathon in April 2017, Swingholm didn’t think qualifying for the race was a possibility, despite being an avid runner.

“I’ve thought about doing Boston, but my time was so slow – around 30 minutes too slow to qualify.”

During her fifth marathon, Swingholm ran a sub-three hour and thirty-minute race, qualifying for Boston.

“I love to run and I guess a marathon is one of those races where you can push your limits and challenge yourself and see what you can do.”

Since qualifying, training has been an uphill battle for Swingholm. Two months after her qualifying race, she severely sprained her ankle and was unable to run until October.

“When I first started running again, the therapist told me I couldn’t run more than two miles every other day and if my ankle hurt, to stop running.”

Prior to her injury, Swingholm was averaging five to six miles a day. Slowly, she has been able to build back up to three to five miles a day, which she does in addition to CrossFit three times a week.

She is a busy airman, but she makes it a point to never lose family time. Despite having three teenagers and raising her 15-month-old granddaughter, Swingholm and her husband maintain a calendar and will not miss any of her children’s events, unless it is absolutely unavoidable.

One major part of maintaining this balance is that running is her escape.

“Running helps me clear my brain,” she said. “It helps me think about things. Sometimes, I can brainstorm ideas and figure out solutions to troubles and issues I’m having.”

Since first starting to run, Swingholm has come a long way. She was overweight and couldn’t run a lap around a track.

“You gotta start somewhere and take little steps,” she said. “Running the Boston Marathon wasn’t a lifelong dream and I never thought it was possible until friends convinced me.”

Swingholm will be running in the 2018 Boston Marathon on April 16, which also happens to be her birthday.