Introducing Tea

imageHello, Salties!

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.

En route to my first marathon finish.

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.

On the way to an OTQ.
On the way to an OTQ.

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!

I'm a science journalist with a background in neuroscience and a love of running marathons and baking marathon-worthy feasts. I started out as an over four-hour marathoner but whittled my PR down to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials. I write about the importance of chasing big dreams and -- as I'm currently pregnant with my first -- getting ready to chase around a little one.

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10 comments

  1. Totally loved the post cinnamon wrote about you. Now, reading your own intro is exciting. I’m chasing a marathon PR and am so inspired by all of the stories. It fuels me and keeps me working hard to make it happen.

  2. I’m so excited to have you here, Teal! Your OTQ story really has helped me find the patience I need to go after my own goals. Focusing on the distance, being patient and not getting caught up in “I couldn’t” or “I’m not __ enough” is really hard. This is a good reminder that I can counter those thoughts with “what if?” and “I can try.”

  3. From one tea lover to another…WELCOME! 🙂 I’m so excited to hear more about your marathon experiences. “It seemed semi-ridiculous, but it was just the kind of crazy big goal that I needed to keep me running.” —> That is EXACTLY how I’m feeling about my own marathon training right now! There’s this tiny glimmer of “what if..?” in the distance, and hearing a bit of your story definitely has me feeling inspired to keep going. So, yeah, ditto to everything Cinnamon said…excited to have you here!

  4. Glad to have you join the team! We’ll be watching the Olympic Trials live in LA so hope to wave as you run speedily past us spectators. Ordinary women can become extraordinary and you are an example. Good luck.