I had a blast meeting Salty and Cinnamon in Jacksonville and I’m psyched to be joining this community! Yesterday Cinnamon told you a little bit about my story, but here’s the extended version:
By day, I’m a science journalist, writing about the body and brain for various publications. By early morning, I’m a marathoner who survives by drinking copious amounts of tea (I can’t stand coffee), eating too much chocolate, and avoiding 5Ks at all costs. But I was not always so dedicated to the pursuit of long distances.
After spending my childhood declaring running the most boring sport on the planet, I was somehow convinced to follow in my older siblings’ footsteps and try cross country in high school. I was immediately proven wrong about the boring part and by sophomore year was running year-round in cross country and track.
But once I got to college, I stopped running. I knew I’d be in a better place both physically and psychologically if I got back into it, but just couldn’t get into a routine. Sophomore year I decided nothing would motivate me better than a date with twenty-six miles, so I signed up to run a marathon. I finished, totally psyched to complete the thing in 4:07.
Then I stopped running again. After college, I knew what I needed to do to get going again. It was back to the marathon, this time with a goal to qualify for Boston.
That was in the spring of 2008. As part of my re-immersion into the running world, I went to spectate the women’s marathon Olympic Trials held that year in Boston, where I was living at the time.
Holy mother, those women were fast! I tried sprinting along the road at their pace… yeah freaking right. What impressed me, and what I hadn’t realized until I watched the race, was that the handful of professionals were followed by totally “ordinary” women – women with full-time, non-running related jobs, with families and eight zillion responsibilities – who were also extraordinary athletes. How could they do it all? I was in awe.
Later that year, I shocked myself by nabbing the BQ. Then I kept on running marathons, going for PR after PR. In 2009, a faint glimmer that I could be one of those women someday, that I could qualify for the Trials, started to grow in me. It seemed semi-ridiculous, but it was just the kind of crazy big goal that I needed to keep me running. In 2012, I started blogging about my goal to make it to the 2016 Trials, making my ambitious dream known to the world and holding me to it.
In December of 2014, in a mess of tears and thanks to God, I qualified, having taken nearly an hour-and-a-half off my marathon time in the span of 12 races. Now, here we are in 2016 and I’m preparing to line up with many of those extraordinary women I watched speed by me in Boston four years ago.
I still can’t quite believe it, but I hope my story is an example of what you can accomplish if you go after your goals and chase your semi-ridiculous dreams. Sometimes I think a lot of us feel like totally ordinary women (I know I do!), but when we put on those running shoes, we can do extraordinary things.
I’m excited to share my journey to the Trials along with some science-y insight into all things running related with you. I hope you’ll enjoy following along!