Tundra Trailblazer Nicole: Update

The last few weeks have been really crazy for myself. Between work, life, and running, it has been hard to balance all three in one day. Obviously, work was the number one priority, since one of everyone’s favorite event is to receive a paycheck, but just like our jobs, how has your training been paying off?

A few days before my half, I decided to follow up my appointment from my running analysis back from Thanksgiving. Overall, the stretches and extra exercising have been paying off and my running form improved very well, but as most of us have experience in life, there is always room for improvement. One of the other issues I decided to ask about was my pacing for my runs.  I LOVE going out every day at 7:45/mile pace. I changed up my pacing for my runs a little, but, honestly, I seriously feel a lot stronger when I do my hill and interval workouts. I can even say, that my race from this past Saturday also benefited from that.

My job at a dairy farm is quite tiring every day. My hours typically start at six in the morning and could end anywhere between two and five in the evening. After work, I trained myself to go run. Some days, it is easy to run my favorite pace, but my body needs to recover properly on those days that I just run. I am guilty of rushing my run because I got done with work later than I expected. After all, it is calling attention to an injury. Just because a cow decided to act up before I wanted to leave does not mean I should let the cow suffer until the next morning and just go home and run. No! But instead, I pursue the issue at the farm, first, and make sure that my cow is back up and running, and then I can go home. Maybe running is not the best term to use for the cow, but as a caretaker for my livestock, it is important that she is taken care of in the most humane way possible. If it means she has to rest on the straw bedded pack for the night with food and water, and then taking it to the next step by communicating with other coworkers to help monitor her. Just like dairy cow management, you too can manage your running. You cannot always rush yourself with that. It might be bad news.

Just like the cow at work, you take the time to go through all the protocols to make sure everything is on point for running. If something is missed or a shortcut is used, something traumatic will happen. You ignore the cow in the afternoon, you might lose her overnight. You skip quality runs for your half or full marathon training, you will eventually injury yourself.

One of the many benefits of training for the Cellcom Marathon is that you are not alone. Is something bother you while you are running? Ask one of the wonderful trainers at the training runs at the Distillery. Wondering where your running form needs help? Schedule a running analysis with Prevea. All the work you put in should not be put to waste, after all, you worked too hard to get where you are standing.

One of the main things is to not let running take over your entire life. Remembering to put other things ahead of it sometimes is hard, but at the end of the day, you should be proud of the other achievements you conquered during the day besides your run.

Trailblazer Jeff: Inspired by the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon

trucking

We formally started the Truckin’ Runners FB group in 2010. “Runners World” magazine did a nice article on me and my efforts to improve the health of professional drivers. Of course the magazine had a picture of me wearing a finisher’s shirt from the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. Finishing my first marathon in 2007 gave me the confidence to start writing. Truckin’ Runners now boasts more than 1,000 members. Many have finished marathons – even ultras.

In Amby Burfoot’s book Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life , he writes about the great things that people have done after finishing a marathon. It does take a certain type of person to take on the challenge of finishing a marathon. So, there is some confidence there in the first place. Crossing the line and actually finishing your first marathon can make you believe that anything is possible and you are just the one to do it.

My little thing just happened to be trucker health. There were articles out there telling about the adverse health effects of my job. Some even wrote about shortened life expectancy. Face it. Professional drivers work long hours. Interstate workers (such as over the road professional drivers) were exempted from many laws put forth in the Federal Labor Standards Acts of the late 1930s and still are. That leads to long hours of sitting, irregular hours, uneven sleep patterns and food that you can eat in your fists.

Most professional drivers, like most people want to live healthy lifestyles. It was never just me. A lot of drivers and others in the industry worked towards improving professional driver health. Corporations joined in. Many truck stops added healthier foods. No longer would the only soups on the soup and salad bar be cream based. They started putting spinach and other healthier choices out there for drivers. Some even put small gyms in the truck stops. They put up maps of safe places to walk near the travel plazas. When Freightliner started Team Run Smart, we had 4 pillars to be a successful owner operator – one of 4 pillars for a successful was health. Freighliner recognizes that poor health can destroy an owner operators business.

Now, don’t hold this against me, it isn’t my fault. LOL I grew up in Chicago, and am a Bears’ fan. I am also an admirer of the Packers. I will always remember that run up the tunnel into Lambeau Field. The magic and the history that are part of this building are incredible. Running up the tunnel into Lambeau, I was exhausted. Then I came into the light of the field itself. My exhaustion was lifted. The names of Hutson, Starr, Hornung, Taylor, Nitchske, etc. were inspiring. In 2007 we ran out of Lambeau Field down the parking lot across Oneida and finished in front of the Brown County Arena. That day, I did something that I had always wanted to do. Through grit and determination I got it done, along with a few thousand other folks that day. It was inspiring.

If you train to run a marathon and line up this May 21, you have already won. Finishing makes you exceptional. I have no idea what you want to accomplish in your life. I do know that if you can finish a marathon, you can accomplish other great things.

Trail Blazer Jill: Training Runs and Other NEW Funs

Happy February, Everyone!


Woohoo! We’re one month closer to spring! I don’t know if you can tell, but being an avid runner who doesn’t like the cold, I’m kind of not a fan of winter. It’s slippery, it requires layering, it’s unpredictable, the days are shorter…I could go on and on. But I won’t because you have lives.

So I’ll just put a well-placed meme in here and we can move on. >

My rant on winter is actually very well timed as I make my way outdoors this weekend to the
Seroogy’s Valentine 15k/5k Run Walk in De Pere, WI on Saturday.

Left to right – My hubby Ross, me, and Uncle Jan
at a Seroogy’s Valentine Run in 2011.
My shirt says “Future Heartbreaker”
as JD was in my belly. 🙂
Me at the Seroogy’s in 2000 and something…
Who cares, it was cold.. 🙂

Here’s the link to their Facebook page in case you are interest in joining me: https://www.facebook.com/events/464541937087631

While it’s cold (as in one year I believe it was -40 windchills on race day cold), this race is great for 3 reasons:

The people, the chocolate, and the location.

I love running through my hometown, the volunteers and organizers are fabulous (not to mention being local I almost always LITERALLY RUN in to someone I know), and there’s chocolate at the end! If you haven’t had Seroogy’s chocolate yet in your lifetime, seriously…Chocolate Meltaway bars???

Mmm….Meltaways….

(Let’s just say, we know which local parades they have a float in, and we are NOT afraid to take out a 3 year old or two to catch some of those sweet, sweet mini bars of liquid gold.)

This run is also timed PERFECTLY for the 10 mile training run that falls this week based on the CGBM (Cellcom Green Bay Marathon) training calendar. Put with that my running buddy, Uncle Jan, and I will probably pace this out together and it’s like a cold but sweaty candy motivated party for 9.3 miles.

Outside of the Seroogy’s, I also am signed up for the Oshkosh Half Marathon in April.
Link to the race here: http://www.dutrirun.com/oshkoshhalf

(Are you getting the NEW fun in the title of this blog now?? Northeast Wisconsin fun…yep…clever, clever I am…and I guess very Yoda-y today too….) 

Another great local race (again very well-timed for corresponding Cellcom Green Bay Marathon training distances), I love this half which has now also turned into a marathon in the last two years. Being a graduate from UW Oshkosh, I love running through campus. And the fans along the route I would say are some of the best I have seen! Students, locals, and fun themed groups come out and really push you when you need it. (And trust me when I say, sometimes, I REALLY need it!)

However, one thing to keep in mind: Being this race is in April in Wisconsin, you NEVER know what you’re going to get! For instance, one year, I took the photo below. It was in the high 60s, sunny, and beautiful.  (No surprise I PR’ed in the 1:40s for a half here!)

Left to right – My sister Nikki, Uncle Jan, and me at the 2009 Oshkosh Half Marathon

The year before that? 15mph winds, snow, and about 30 degrees…oh and the train…the infamous 5+ minute, stop your Garmin and sing the entirety of “Bohemian Rhapsody” train….. Is it any surprise I do NOT have a smiling after photo from that? 🙂

(NOTE: They have since altered the route and you do NOT have to worry about a train anymore. I’m just a competitive baby and like to complain about it. Uncle Jan, however, likes to remind me of the look I had on my face as he came up to the train crossing and saw me standing there, arms crossed, looking…um…pensive I guess??) 

As I sign up for these races, I realize they all have one thing in common:
Familiarity. 

Thug Life…
Leaving the weekly meal plan at home
and going grocery shopping
This is the other half of my purpose in titling this blog NEW Fun, as I am making one major goal this year:

TRY SOMETHING NEW! ANYTHING! 
I’m kind of the Danny Tanner of our little family. I have found even more so as I get older I love having a game plan for EVERYTHING. If you’re looking for a friend to call up and say, “Hey! Let’s go to Vegas tomorrow! Come on!” I’m more of the friend who, rather than responding, “Sweet! I’m in!” Would say, “Sweet! I’m in! As long as by tomorrow you mean 6 months from now with ample time to plan out what we’re going to do.”
But being a planner or not, I think we can all agree that adding new things to our daily routine can be a challenge. Newness takes us out of our comfort zone and (putting on my counseling hat for a minute) goes back to our biological “flight or fight” response when we’re put in an unfamiliar setting. While centuries ago, a trigger of “flight or fight” might be taking on a bear while hunting for food, now a lot of what triggers those feelings are less physically life-threatening than they are socially.
We don’t want to look bad, feel bad, and in the end, we think we will and  don’t want to fail. The easiest way not to fail is if we just don’t even try.
Sorry..still not seeing it…

It’s easy to feel this way I think in today’s society. Take a look at Lady Gaga’s performance at the Superbowl this past weekend. While she was sending messages through her performance of unity and belonging, people were tearing her apart for having a fold of skin hanging over her outfit. REALLY?!?! When things like this happen, it’s not sad to me that there are cowards hiding behind their computers body-shaming someone. There will always be those with something negative to say; social media just now gives them a mainly anonymous platform to say it. 

What IS sad to me is that this “ideal image” of what a woman should look like has gotten so out of control that one would even notice her skinfold to begin with. Why would we ever look at that and think this is a FLAW??

Fortunately for us, Lady Gaga like many others did not “flight” from this situation. Rather, she went into “fight” mode with an epic response:

“I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That’s the stuff of champions….” (CNN.com)

I love that last part: That’s the stuff of champions….

If we stay afraid of failure or afraid of what people might think, we’re cheating ourselves out of becoming the best we can be.

So this week, try something new! Try a new running route, and a new fitness class, or sign up for a race/distance/event you’ve never done before. Show yourself that you don’t have to be afraid of what you don’t know.

I’ll be the NEW guy with you! 
 
Here are my NEW goals for the next couple of months while I’m training for CGBM 2017:
– Take a TRX class for strength training (I completed TRX 101 on Wednesday and let’s just say, this is DEFINITELY not in my comfort zone)
– CONSISTENTLY take a yoga class (Ooohhh….Yoga…I know you’re so good for the avid runner, but to sit still that long….we’ll see….)
– Sign up for a distance/event beyond the CGBM that scares me. Triathalon? Tough Mudder? I’m not sure what it will be. But it’ll be NEW!
– – Perform at Superbowl LII in my underwear  (eh…I’ll leave this one to Gaga…)
Make today your best day yet! 
Jill~

A note from the author:
So…how are we all doing? While the purpose of the blogs are to talk a bit about my marathon training progress, related runs, etc. for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, I’m always going to sidetrack, mumble, go off on tangents..it’s kind of my nature.

So, if YOU have a topic you’d like me to talk about in relation to running, or have something you want to hear more about that I mention, please feel free to email me, comment, or the like!

Trailblazer Nicole: Training Update

Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon Race Recap!

Hello, Everyone!

If some of you already know, I am now six months in from my foot surgery in July. If you recall, I managed to qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon, despite all the barriers I had while healing for three months. This year, I am running the Cellcom Half Marathon a month after running my first Boston Marathon. The race that I ran in the past weekend was an indoor half marathon in the Milwaukee area. The event itself was very unique in many ways, more than just being indoors and safe from the elements.

One of the best benchmarks I set for myself while training for longer distance races, is yes, running races. Typically, the first few months of the year are focused on large double digit miles for spring marathons. Due to my unique training cycle for the first five months of 2017, I decided to throw in a half marathon to see where my first three months back from running would take me.

I guess a brief summary before you read on how the race went down for myself. If you know how long a typical track is, yes, 400m or a quarter of a mile, then you got that part down. Now, converting that over to how many laps that is for a half marathon, it would be 47.5 laps. In order for accurate timing and distance, each one of your laps are displayed on a screen after crossing a mat on the track. If you are competitive, it is nice to see how many laps ahead or behind another runner is from you. Since it is an indoor race, my Garmin watch could not get an accurate reading, so I had to convert my lap splits into a pace for a given time at the race. Now that we have that down, we can get down to business!

Like I have mentioned before, it was my first half marathon back. I walked a half in September and did a run/walk method at another one a month later, so this event this past weekend was going to be a good benchmark and goal setting race to take in some ideas for my spring training.

The race started at seven in the morning, since I sort of live in the Green Bay area, I had to get up at approximately four to make the race. I had some rough idea of how the race would go. Since it was my first indoor race since high school, I knew it was going to be tough. (By tough I mean, dry air, and a dry month, constantly dying from thirst!) If running the 3200m was tough indoors in high school, then running another 11.1 miles was probably going to be the death of me.

As I approached the starting line at the 200m at the track, I was regretting signing up for the race, a typically feeling I get before every race. All I could do at that point was to hope for the best and try not to kill myself in the first half of the race. Despite all those nerves, I recalled the strategy of how I ran my half marathon PR at the time, a SLOW START, and a STRONG FINISH.

The gun went off for the race, and we were off. I was very tempted to go out extremely fast, but I had to hold back. I almost always run shorter distances, but long distance running is different. I kept my half marathon racing etiquette in line and hoped to pass people later in the race.

I let two miles pass until I started looking for competition. It was still early in the race to pick up the pace, but I knew who was in front of me. You easily could pick out the top five men in the race, so I was not worried about catching them. Instead, I decided to focus on the women. I knew the top women, who ended up winning the title was out of question to catch, but I could see the second and third just 25 meters away from me. They were going a steady pace, so I wanted to keep them in sight. I was not too concerned about place going into the race, but more with time. My goal for the half was to run a sub 1:40. I knew I could do it, but I had to be smart about pacing early on in the race.

Within the first few miles, I worked from my starting position of 20th place down to 15th and stayed at that point for a long time. I was quite worried about my splits from the first two miles, which were not that bad, but were a lot faster than my anticipated goal time of 1:40. I told myself to let the competition come to me and then I can start racing. I just had to focus. Around mile five or so, the women who was in second fell back, and so did the third. I quickly caught up to both of them, past the second-place women, now fourth, and stayed with the newly second place female. I went from fourth female to third female. I gave the second-place women at least two laps, and I passed her. I was now the second female. I now had a race. If you recall from my summary from the beginning, there were displays on what lap each individual was, so using that to keep the third-place female behind me was a goal.

After a few miles, I went from position 15, to 12, and then 11. I kept looking back at the screen just to estimate how far back she was from me. For the longest time, she had to be at least 50 meters away from me. As the race progressed, the fourth-place female fell back, my lap splits were getting faster and more consistent, and the third-place female was falling behind little by little. Water consumption increased a lot between miles 6 and 9.

Four miles left in the race, place remained the same, fatigue was settling in, and my pace still stabilized. If you wanted to ask me what songs were being played over the speakers at that point of the race, I seriously could not tell you, I was that into the race. I was at least one lap ahead of the 3rd place female and a few more behind the next women. I was now focused on keeping that lead for the rest of the race.

Once I got to three miles left, the announcer was pretty pumped for the runners getting closer to finish. Ideally, I was motivated to stay at the spot and pace that I was running at. The first-place woman was a little bit over 3 laps ahead of me. The women behind me now was two laps back from me. I had to focus.

Eight laps to go, hey, that’s a 3200m! I was pretty pumped for that. The top men’s finishers started to come in, and the track traffic got a little bit lighter and less stressful for passing other racers on the track. The announcer, again, was talking through the intercom on how many laps that the top finishers had left. A mile later, four laps to go, another announcement. Three laps to go, the top women’s finisher clocked in, and the announcer was going wild for the top three women. Two laps to go, I lapped the third-place women. “Nicole, you are on your final lap!” I think that was the most comforting words I heard the whole race! Onto the final stretch, I sprinted in, and finished 11th overall and 2nd female. I clocked in at 1:30:16, average pace of 6:53/mile, a new personal record for myself, beating my time of 1:35:02 from 2015. It felt so good to be back!

As I am writing this, my legs still ache a lot! Working Monday morning will be very rough for me, but I still will give my 100% work ethic at the farm. Coming out of this race, I could not be more than proud of what I achieved over the weekend. Not only did this race have an incredible time, but I now have much more confidence going into my last three months before Boston and reconsidering my time goal for the Cellcom Half in May. The best take-home message that you can grab from this is to consider doing some benchmark races going into your training. Sure, you can do a 5K or a 10K at any point of the year, but timing out the races accordingly can help you test your fitness.

Wishing you the best!!

Nicole

Tundra Trailblazer Jill: Slow and Steady Runs the Race…

Slow & Steady RUNS The Race…

Ugh…January in Wisconsin…Is anyone else sharing this sentiment with me right now? I know they say it’s all relative or, “It could be worse.” I get that, I feel that, but I want to have a little bit of a pity party. So if you could, give me, say, 30 seconds of your time? I promise, I’ll suck it up after that.

It’s All Relative…
This month has bit the big one!

The stomach bug hit our house along with a cold and fever which led to multiple, MULTIPLE days off of school for our Kindergartner, who happens to hate missing school. (Proud mom, struggling parent when it comes to explaining why we can’t go to school and be Boogers-McGee sneezing germ goblins on our friends.)

Add on top of that our little bug, Julianna, turning 3, (Ninja Turtle-themed birthday party had to happen of course) a busy 8-12 hour night work schedule for my husband (we’re only half way through that one…), and just the general fun that is winter marathon training in Wisconsin (SERIOUSLY?!?! Another ice storm!?!? Not the treadmill again!?!?) I’m ready to say, “GOODBYE, January!! If you would’ve been able to get your s$#t together at any point, I might had missed you. But, for all aforementioned reasons, I won’t. So peace out.”

Alright, I’m done whining.  Thank you for your time.
 
Mmm…cake….

You might be thinking to yourself, “Jill, what does any of this have to do with you telling us how your marathon training is going?”  To you I say, “Maybe nothing. But I’m home with my kids most of the time and can’t really complain to a 3-year old about how said 3-year old stuck a crayon in the dishwasher which went unnoticed until after the rinse cycle. Sooo…

Tag. You’re it.” 🙂 

In all seriousness, I’ll get back to where the reality of my day-to-day life fits in in just a bit. But before that, here’s a little story and little catch up how my training runs for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon have been going thus far…

There’s only 1 name in this book
…and it’s Ross…
and maybe Justin Bieber..

My husband, Ross, God bless his annoyingly intelligent and natural-born athlete soul, is a great runner. He played professional rugby for a bit in the Navy, and to this day, he can outrun me in any race…without training.

Of course, having been a runner for over half of my life, you can imagine that it gets difficult to work hard at a goal while someone else breezes right through it. While I’m happy for him, it’s hard not to compare myself to his race paces. I find myself thinking, “Well, if he can do that, so can I”, among other not as nice things….
So this month, I’ve been pushing; pushing my limits and pushing myself. Now, don’t get me wrong, pushing yourself to be stronger is a great thing! I’m not saying you shouldn’t push yourself to test your own personal limits.
 
In fact, that’s exactly what I AM saying.

The problem is, while I’ve been pushing my long run paces (the training runs where I should be running at my goal marathon pace or slower) way beyond what I know will be my comfortable marathon pace, I’m not doing it for me. I’m doing it because I think, “This is what he’s running, and this is where I SHOULD be.”

Thinking this way, I’m not pushing myself to meet my personal standards, to set a PR or even achieve my personal mileage goals. I’m pushing myself to meet his. 
 
And this pushing is going to lead me to not being able to run the race at all as I already see signs of past medical issues peeking around the corner. 
I think we all at times get caught up in comparing ourselves to others. I like to call it the “Better Than Me” game. Going back to my little rant at the beginning of this blog, I can see many times this month where I moped and thought, “If only my kids weren’t sick, or my husband was working less, things would be better.” Or in running, “If only I was faster, had more time to train, I would be a better runner.”
But here’s the thing about playing this whole “Better Than Me” game that leads to epic failure…
BETTER is a completely subjective term. So if you constantly define your better by someone else’s standards, at what point will you finally be better!?!   
Repeat, repeat, repeat…
Repeat after me: I am not you and you are not me.
I’m not the ultra marathoner training for the Boston. I’m not the person at the gym lifting 300 lbs. over my head with ease. I am an admirer of these people and their dedication, and maybe some day I will be them. But they are not better than me nor am I better than them.

We are just different people trying to achieve our different “betters”. 
My mantra for February and as I continue my training for the Green Bay Cellcom Marathon on May 21st is this: “Slow and Steady RUNS the Race”. I will try and focus on the end goal of simply completing my 26.2, to slow down and focus on being a healthy and happy runner.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the dog just ate someone’s mac & cheese and I’m pretty sure Julianna is “cleaning” the toilet with her toothbrush.
Make today your best day yet!…And I mean that completely subjectively…. 🙂 
 
Jill~ 

Tundra Trailblazer Jeff: Read More

books

Read More

If you want to become a better runner – read. You can read for inspiration, information, or just plain entertainment. The more that you read about running the more that running becomes a part of you. It makes you think more like a runner. Not everything you read has to be running specific. How many articles in Runners World are about nutrition, or weight loss? Running is part of overall physical conditioning. Your running will become better, if your total physical conditioning is better. The same goes for your mind.

 Did you know that the first Olympic Women’s marathon was not held until 1984? Within my lifetime the longest sanctioned womens’ race was 800 meters. One woman, Kathrine Switzer is most responsible for the adoption of the women’s marathon into the Olympics. There is that iconic picture of the Boston race director Josh Stemple trying to shove her off the course. That was early in the race. She finished the race, in large part due to her acceptance and protection by the male runners that ran with her.

Her story certainly does not end there. She worked hard for years for the world to accept women’s distance running. She built herself int a champion marathoner. All the while working for acceptance of the sport. She formed alliances, even with Josh Stemple. I often use Kathrine as my business model. She stayed focused on her goal and would work with anyone who could help her. Switzer’s book –Marathon Woman is one of my favorites.

 If I were to name a favorite running writer – it would be Amby Burfoot. His latest book First Ladies of Running is about women who ran and changed the way we think. His book The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life will always be one of my favorites. Amby has both analytical and philosophical sides. All sides of a runner matter. Amby gets that and teaches it.

 For the humorous side of running read Yasso and Remy. Funny things happen along the way to finishing a marathon. Bart and Mark share them. They laugh at themselves and show us that it is cool to laugh at ourselves. Along that same line read John “the Penguin” Bingham. His Marathoning for Mortals is an entertaining training guide for us mortals.

 Know the immotals. Start with Pheidippes. Move on to Zatopek, Bannister, Gibbs, Switzer, Ryun, Popejoy, Waitz, Joanie, Mary and Zola, Rodgers, Shorter, etc. If you don’t know these runners – google them. Inspiration can come from the legends. It can also come from us mere mortals. Learn what you can from both and as Amby wrote in my copy of The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life – “May all your miles be filled with meaning”.

Tundra Trailblazer Nicole: Coming Back from Injury and Accomplishing a Dream…

It was time to make a decision for myself…

I pretty much played all the sports: basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and yes, I was even a “graceful” dancer for nine years of my life. Every sport was fun, except for the “running” part.

Every time my coach made the team run, I would literally be the second last person to finish. These were simple sprints during practice. Since I played “almost” every sport, the only sport I avoided was track and field. I knew I could not run. It was bad enough I was made fun of at school for being slow, so why add more fuel to the fire if I went out for track and field?

After graduating eighth grade, I still wanted to do sports in high school. Since my high school had about 230 students total, the only two fall sports offered to girls were volleyball and cross country. If you remember from the last point, I did play volleyball in grade school, but because my coach burnt me out by yelling at me often, I reconsidered my choice for a fall sport. I went out for cross country.

Long story short, I made my cross country varsity team after three meets on JV, not only was I getting faster, but I loved every second of running. The variety of running longer, including intervals and going up hills, got me hooked for life. I managed to stay on varsity for the rest of my 37 cross country races in high school.

Remember the idea of track and field? I went out and pretty much got addicted to running three of the longest distances offered in high school, the 800m, 1600m and my personal favorite, the 3200m Run.

I graduated high school, now what?

In the fall of my senior year in high school, I was assigned in my psychology class, “What Are Your Top 25 Goals in the Future?” I took the assignment seriously and made a HUGE GOAL. What was that goal, you ask? “To qualify for the Boston Marathon before age 25.”

At that point, the longest I ever ran was 8 miles. On that same list, I threw down running a half marathon, and I knew I could easily run that. It was the whole point that I had to run a FULL MARATHON in less than 3 hours and 35 minutes. I ran the numbers out, 8:12/mile. Well, I had to get faster sooner than later.

I ran my first half in fall of 2013 and it went terrible because I started out too fast, and after my first half, I ended up getting slower. I was unmotivated and my goal of running Boston at a young age seem to be out of reach. I was missing the support I had when I had a team to run with in high school.

Then I met four people: Alex, Erika, Ryan, and Nick.

All of us met each other through running races. Soon enough, we all realized we all had the same running ability and decided to always run races together. Still, to this day, we all push each other and are constantly getting faster. In spring of 2015, I got Nick to run our first marathon together. At that point, we were the only two in the group that haven’t ran a marathon yet.

Both of us finished the Cellcom Marathon in May 2015. Nick ran it in 3:51, and I finished at 3:45, and yes, 10 minutes off of the Boston Marathon standard of 3:35.

Then we wanted to run another marathon.

Nick and I decided to run both the Oshkosh Marathon and the Cellcom Marathon, a nice break of 28 days between the two. I made plans to accomplish my time goal of 3:30, to ensure extra time for a BQ. Sure enough, I earned my BQ by running a 3:23, cutting off my Cellcom time from the year before by 22 minutes. Nick and I still ran Cellcom a month later with Nick running a new PR of 3:40 and myself clocking in at 3:41. (On a side note, Nick can whip the whole team at any other distance, but the marathon. We love our little “sprinter”.)

Then July came along…

I was attending a rock music festival in July when I walked into a pot hole, landed on my left foot funny, and managed to fracture it. I went into an orthopedic surgeon’s office the following Monday and found out that my fracture, based off of the x-ray was previously fractured, but never completely healed. I personally couldn’t remember when I might have fractured it. So, you’re saying all this time, I was running and living my life with an unhealed fractured left foot? And running a 3:23 full marathon on it? I was extremely baffled.  I ended up having surgery on it and missed out on three months of running.

So, what about Boston?

Sure enough, the goal of running at Boston was now in plain sight, but if you know a thing or two about how the Boston Marathon registration works, one week in September is when you apply and wait to find out if your time made the cut. (The fastest times in each age group are accepted, some people who got their time standard do not make it in, due to race caps in each division.) One of the most reassuring words I heard from my orthopedic surgeon were the words, “We’ll get you all healed up before Boston. I want to let you know that you won’t get the time you want, but running in Boston is a huge running accomplish and I want you to run it.”

I can go to Boston!

Now, wrapping it all together…

I am now approaching six months post-surgery. I now have three months of running in and I am slowly building back up my mileage for my race in April. Sure, running those sub-eight minute miles for 16 miles results in being sore for a few more days than I like to, but those comforting words that my orthopedic surgeon told me constantly echo in my head. I got my running friends helping me out with support and training to fulfill that crazy goal of running Boston before age 25.

I will be 22 years old on April 17, 2017, the journey from being a simple runner to a stronger runner, battling the barriers of a setback injury, and now thinking about the start at Hopkinton and the finish line in downtown Boston in just a few months is crazy.

It is a HUGE honor to be a part of this year’s Cellcom Marathon Tundra Trailblazers along with Jill, Joe, and Jeff. Overall, I am sure we all have set goals bigger than ourselves at some point in our lives, whether they were running related or not. Like, I have mentioned, I got injured, and I still am trying to get back to where I was. This year, instead of running the marathon like I would love to do, I personally made a decision to give myself a break after running Boston to ensure that I would not have another injury pop up.

I hope you all will enjoy my blog posts about balancing life and running!

May your miles be bountiful and your dreams be accomplished,

 


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