Ryan and Sara Hall might not run the same events, but they are working toward the same dream when it comes to the London Olympic Games.
The husband-and-wife pair hope to walk hand-in-hand to the opening ceremony in London.
"I have this vision of Sara and I walking into the opening ceremony together, hand-in-hand, and that would be something that would be a lifetime memory for us -- something we could cherish forever," Ryan Hall told me.
Ryan, a marathon runner, already has qualified for the London Olympic Games. It will mark his second trip to the Games, as he also ran the marathon in Beijing, where he finished tenth.
Sara, also a distance runner, has been a member of two indoor world championship teams. Most recently, she earned a gold medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2011 Pan American Games, and in June, she will compete for her own spot on the 2012 Olympic team.
Together, the two have struck out on their own to try to accomplish their dream. Within the last year, Ryan and Sara left their training group in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., to train on their own.
"It was our first year that we were really out on our own, in a way, after we'd always been part of a team whether it was high school, of college, or post-collegiately," Sara Hall told me. "But we really felt called to … leave our training group in Mammoth and kind of forge our own trail."
Sara now works with her college coach, sometimes from a distance, she said, while Ryan trains without a coach.
The new training set up has been good for the couple's performances - and their marriage, Sara said.
"We've really been the ones to encourage each other in the day-in and day-out when the workouts aren't going well, and to get through hard times … so that's actually a really good thing for us and for our marriage," Sara Hall told me. "(We get) to spend so much time together and it's been a really fun journey so far."
The set up works so well for the Halls because both Ryan and Sara live the same lifestyle, Ryan said. Because both are professional runners, both understand the time and commitment needed to be successful, he said.
"I feel super blessed to have a wife who's also a runner, because I think I would probably drive any normal woman crazy," Ryan Hall told me. "It's not just the hours you put into running, it's so much more than that. It's a lifestyle, and she essentially has to live by the same lifestyle. … There's a mutual understanding there that's huge for us."
It's that kind of mutual understanding that has helped Ryan and Sara to be successful since their move. The Halls believe that the changes have been worth it, and that in 2012 they will be able to walk into the opening ceremony together.
"It's taken me a little bit longer than Ryan to reach that level," Sara told me. "I didn't make the Olympics in 2008, but we feel like, now, this is the time when that's really going to happen. This is the time when we really want to have that … together.
"That would definitely be a dream come true for us."
Read more about Ryan and Sara Hall and their foundation.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. She completed her first marathon in 2011, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to learn about each Olympic sport. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46