Hello all! This is Angelica. As a tall herb, native to northern regions, it’s a name that suits me and my Michigan background quite nicely. I’m not sure I can claim to be as quick-witted as the Angelica of Hamilton fame, but I did spend my first four decades happily studying to become an academic and then becoming a professor. I’m still more comfortable identifying as a nerdy intellectual than as an athlete.
And yet, after I had my second child and turned 40, something happened. I had to figure out an efficient way to keep high blood pressure under control and stave off the inevitable results of my cheese, crackers and wine solution to the stresses of combining professor-life and mom-life. When some friends started running with the Couch to 5K program, I figured if they could do it, I could do it.
I ran my first 5K in August 2009 at age 40. I loved it, but I didn’t race again for over a year. But I kept running a couple times a week, generally for 30 minutes or so. Then in fall 2010, a friend asked me to run with her. I found the prospect terrifying but intriguing and pretended to be injured to buy myself an extra month of training time. She brought me along gently, moving our starting time earlier and earlier and extending our distance little by little until I was somehow running five miles on trails in the dark with a headlamp. I started meeting another friend for a weekend event I’d read about in Runner’s World: the “long run.” Longer than five miles even! When a third friend asked me to join her Ragnar team the following spring, my fate was pretty much sealed and I became a runner.
For the next few years I ran Ragnars and half marathons mixed with the occasional 5K. I had a total blast, made a ton of new friends, and found my running clothes drawer slowly expanding to fill an entire dresser. Periodically my long run buddy and I would take quizzes entitled “Do you want to run a marathon?” and the answer was always a resounding no. But gradually, the “no” became less resounding. Then the Boston marathon bombing happened, and I knew it was time to run one after all. In fall 2013, I ran the Hartford marathon and fell in love with the distance, though not with my finishing time of 5:27.
I’ve spent the last four years trying to run a faster marathon with some successes (a 4:09 in Philadelphia!), some heart breakers (barely finishing Vermont City before they called the race due to heat), and a couple of more serious injuries (a bulging disc in my back and a wicked case of plantar fasciitis). Along the way, I’ve been lucky enough to make some amazing friends and run in some beautiful places. I discovered a courage inside myself I didn’t know I possessed and I’ve bid adieu to the wallflower-me of the past. The discovery of my passion for running has been a great and unexpected gift.
I’d never be able to pursue this passion without the support of my family. As a two-career couple with two children, ages 9 and 13, my husband and I juggle crazy schedules, manage kid activities, and share laundry, cooking, and cleaning up the cat vomit. Our lives are sometimes stressful, but that is because they are full. I’m coming off a nine-month bout of plantar fasciitis and just started running again over the summer. During my time off, I learned a lot about myself and how running fits into my life. I value my connection to the running community and my ability to run more than ever. I’m looking forward to sharing my further adventures here at Salty Running!