“One week after CIM, I was actually going through the security line, on my way to Hawaii for a getaway vacation to “drown my sorrows” when Lee called me and told me that I was, in fact, going to the Olympic Trials. That’s when I found out that the IAAF and USATF had amended their qualifying standards and my 2:44:58 would qualify me.Honestly, it’s now only a few days until the actual race day and I still feel like it’s a dream. I was in shock. I might still be in shock. It was the most amazing feeling in the world.”
I started running track in elementary school (the 200m!!) and finally got the courage to join cross country my sophomore year of high school (the distance seemed so long at the time!) I ran cross country and track through college for Bradley University where I was able to have a lot of fun with it but never took it seriously enough to feel burnt out on running. I signed up for Chicago Marathon 2011 immediately after graduating from college, just to stay in shape. However, I knew even as a struggled to complete that marathon in 3:21 I had found my passion in marathon running.
I currently work several part time jobs including tutoring elementary students, nannying, and as a shift supervisor at Starbucks. It’s perfect because they are all very flexible jobs that allow me to make training my priority. Training with Lee is great because he is so hands on. He wants to help us as much as he can and he’s so passionate about the sport. He makes it to all of our workouts – Sometimes coaching from the sidelines, other times he’s right there in the mix of the workout with us. The Boulder Track Club is also great because there is always someone to run with, or someone you’ll run into. There is rarely a day that I’ll go out for a run and not see at least one person I know from our club.
“Moving to Boulder and committing myself totry to make the trials was the hardest thingI’ve ever done. Even if I hadn’t qualified,I’d never look back and regret taking a chance on my dream.I can’t imagine the regret I’dfeel if I hadn’t taken the chance.”
After running a 2:54:53 in my third Chicago Marathon 2013, my coaches (Blair Gorsuch & Greg White) in Peoria, Illinois planted the seed in my head and told me I was capable of making it to the trials. Also looking for a lifestyle change, I reached out to several coaches outside of Illinois knowing that my current marathon time was nowhere near the qualifying time but just hoping for some options. Lee was quick to respond with a phone call simply stating that my goal was a long shot, but I should come out to Boulder and see if the Boulder Track Club was a good fit for me. Two days after my first ever visit to Colorado, I told Lee I’d be moving to Boulder as soon as possible.
The most difficult part about my decision to move to Boulder was knowing that I was giving up my second grade teaching position at a great school I had been at since I started my career. I was incredibly blessed with great students and a great faculty who still support me to this day, so it was hard to leave that behind. In Boulder I decided that I would put my teaching career on hold to fully commit to my goal, knowing that the future had a lot of unkowns but I had to give it a shot.
Yes, the 2:44:58 was CHIP time. The rules state you must qualify with GUN time. My gun time was 2:45:02. Hearing the news that I was possibly out of the trials, again, was gut wrenching. The days I waited to hear if the appeal went through were excruciating. I was on an emotional roller coaster. Again, Lee was the one to call me and tell me that I had officially, officially made it. I felt like my heart had been lifted out of my body and broke down in tears of relief and happiness.
Take the opportunities that life presents. You will never know what you’re capable of until you put in one hundred percent of yourself into your dreams. Moving to Boulder and committing myself to try to make the trials was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Even if I hadn’t qualified, I’d never look back and regret taking a chance on my dream. I can’t imagine the regret I’d feel if I hadn’t taken the chance.
No, I’d like to consider Boulder my home now. I’m currently trying to convince the rest of my family to move out here! Teaching is definitely still in the plan though. I’m just not sure when. I’d love to get involved in a classroom again as soon as possible. However, I’m still hooked on this running thing and would like to see how far I can go with it.
My goal for the trials is honestly just to learn from it and enjoy it. I don’t have any experience in championship racing and I’ve ran every marathon I’ve ever done for a time, so in this race, I want to race my competitors and take it all in!
I don’t have any races in mind after the trials. I know I’d like to take a break from marathons until 2017, just run some fun road races, and work on my speed.
How do you stay healthy while marathon training?
I’ve been very lucky with minimal injuries in the past 18 months of marathon training. Also, I think Lee’s training has been great for me in avoiding injuries. There are always opportunities to push when you’re feeling great, and opportunities to scale it back when you’re feeling exhausted or sore.