Photo by Wendy Shulik of WendyCity Productions.
Hello, Salty Readers! I am thrilled to be joining this strong and fierce group of women in the Salty community. I am currently chasing down PRs in the road racing world and work a full-time job at the University of Toledo where I coach cross country and track and field.
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and was always very active. Since we lived in a rural town, there wasn’t much to do other than play outside until the sun went down. My dad was in the military so when he trained for physical training tests, I would join him on his two to three mile runs on a small trail in town. That is where I discovered my love for running; I felt free and on top of the world!
In middle school, I didn’t make the volleyball team. The only other fall school sport was cross country. Since I am a very competitive person, the thrill of beating other kids, especially boys, was addicting, but I still wasn’t very dedicated to running. That is until late in my high school career when I found out I could continue running in college. I didn’t run much or know what I was doing in high school, but I can honestly say I loved everything about running and I loved feeling fierce while competing.
My freshman year of college I went to Illinois State University, but transferred to Iowa State University for my junior and senior years. Iowa State allowed me to be a part of a thriving distance running program. In my three years on the team, we won three consecutive Big 12 titles, three Midwest Regional titles and placed in the top-15 at the NCAA XC Championships. I won the individual Big 12 Indoor Championship in the 5k, was nine-time All-Big 12 in cross country and track, and was honored to be a team captain.
But I wasn’t done. I always wanted to be a marathoner, but, to be honest, I had no idea what that actually meant. Throughout college, I increased my mileage until the point where I was running consistent 100-mile weeks. High mileage gave me confidence, so I knew that the transition to the marathon after college would be relatively smooth.
In April 2015, I made my marathon debut at the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, Ohio. It was a very unconventional first marathon because at mile 20, the course official directed me off-course. I ended up running an extra mile, completing 27.2 miles in 2:47.22. Even so, I fell in love with the marathon and couldn’t wait to tackle another one.
In December 2015, I made a last-minute attempt at an Olympic Trials Qualifier at the California International Marathon and nailed it, running 2:41:10. Unfortunately two months later, I had a heartbreaking day at the Trials and experienced my first DNF.
A year later and I am training as a lone wolf, but absolutely love it. There are days when I lack motivation and wish that I had training partners, but training in this way has allowed me to focus on my coaching career and keep my own running as a passion rather than a job. I have big goals for the next few years as I hope to smash my current marathon PR, 2:36.26, and be ready to roll at the 2020 Olympic Trials and beyond!
I look forward to sharing my journey with you over the next few months and I can’t wait to learn from my fellow Salties!