The Boston Journey – A Timeline

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April 28, 2012 – Illinois Marathon – Time: 4:10

The first marathon at 19 years old. I trained for this properly following an online training plan and getting up to a 20-mile long run but it would be the race that completely humbled me. It was cold and in the second half there was a light drizzle that would send a chill down my spine. I went out way too fast and crashed and burned in the second half, but I crossed that finish line as a marathoner and was hungry for more. I thought being a track and cross country athlete the year before in high school had kept me in good enough shape to run a 3:35 BQ (8:13 seemed really easy as a pace to someone who was used to running sub-6 paced two miles on the track but little did I know how different the marathon was from a track event). It left me longing for the BQ, but due to a busy schedule as a student, I realized maybe marathon training as a college student wasn’t the best idea so I waited until my senior year to try again.

April 26, 2015 – Illinois Marathon – DNF

The Illinois Marathon has both a half marathon and marathon course. I made the decision at the split-off portion to turn left back towards Memorial Stadium and finishing out a half marathon instead of the full marathon. It was pouring out, freezing, and the wind was howling. I hadn’t been properly fueling and was feeling very off. I made my way into a medical tent after crossing the finish line to find a phone to call my parents and now husband and let them know I had stopped early. The people at the medical tent instead took one look at me and told me I needed to get help from them and now. I didn’t realize that my lips were completely blue and that I looked white as a ghost. They stripped my wet clothes off me and started putting dry blankets on me to help me warm up. The race would later be called due to lightning so I received a comped entry into the race for the next year. (I actually have no photos from this race…it was that rough!)

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October 11, 2015 – Chicago Marathon – Time: 3:57

It was a hot day at the Chicago Marathon in 2015 but I was determined to get a sub-4 hour marathon. I had learned that I needed to chip away at the time vs going out hard and trying to hold on for something I wasn’t ready for yet. Breaking 4 was a big step but I found myself still disappointed knowing I was not reaching my full potential.

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April 30, 2016 – Illinois Marathon – DNF

Another pouring, miserably cold day. I had told my parents before even starting that I might just turn this into a half marathon. Mentally, I was pretty broken when it came to running and having so many flashbacks to the year before where I ended up in the medical tent in similar conditions didn’t help. I made it to 13.1 miles in a pretty slow time and called it. I had trained pretty hard for this and was in good shape so I ran a half marathon a week later and dropped my time down from a 1:47 to a 1:41. It helped ease my mind from the pain the marathon had brought me but I felt embarrassed about my marathons and like I had something to prove.

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October 9, 2016 – Chicago Marathon – Time: 3:38

Leading up to this race I was pretty busy planning our wedding that was in November as well as a big work trip that I coordinated for about 50 people the week before the marathon. I think the distractions and excitement of it all kept my mind less focused on the marathon and more focused on being happy that things were going well at work and in my personal life getting to marry my best friend. I had trained hard for Chicago, following the Nike Chicago Marathon training guide, and ran with the 3:35 pace group for just over 21 miles of the race. I lost contact shortly after 21 but kept pushing, finishing in 3:38, just 3-minutes off of my BQ time, but finished with a breakthrough race and the feeling that I had finally performed to my potential.

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October 8, 2017 – Chicago Marathon – Time: 3:49

Prior to the 2017 Chicago Marathon we had been through a lot of life changes. I got a new job that I started in June in Chicago during the training cycle, leaving my husband in St. Louis until he found a job in August. We officially moved in mid-August to a rental house and moved all of our belongings in a UHaul thanks to my husband’s family who loaded everything up in St. Louis as I was unable to take time off of work to move (should’ve been the first sign that this new job wasn’t going to be the best decision). I started running with a local running club and trained for the marathon with them wanting to try something new. The marathon ended up being super hot and I stopped on the side of the road at mile 15 dry-heaving. My asthma was really kicking in in the heat and it was a death march to finish the race. I thought I was in shape to BQ for this race, I’m not sure if that was the case or not, but had the heat not been a factor I knew I would’ve finished a lot better than I did.

After the marathon, I ran a turkey trot half marathon where I crumbled yet again finishing in 1:45. It was here that I realized something needed to change in my training since I knew in my heart that I was capable of more. In January, I finally got the courage to hire my first running coach post-high school. It’s when I finally started running for me and not to prove anything to anyone but myself.

Spring 2018 – Half Marathon Breakthroughs

I ran 2 half marathons in the spring, the first in a 1:37 breaking my goal of 1:40 for the first time and the second in 1:36. This gave me a lot of confidence going into my next marathon training cycle where I would go on to run a 1:35 half marathon 6 weeks before the big race. I felt fit and stronger than I had ever been leading into the Berlin Marathon.

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September 16, 2018 – Berlin Marathon – Time: 3:28

The Boston Qualifier. My confidence was at an all-time high leading into this race and I knew the BQ was mine to lose at this point. I was a little frustrated with the course and logistics of this marathon because some of these things did slow me down (corrals were not seeded well and I had to weave in and out of people for the first half marathon of the race, plastic cups were not conducive for drinking out of or running on top of once they were on the ground…and aid stations were not manned so it was a free-for-all). I came out of this race so excited that I had secured my place on the Boston starting line but a little disappointed that I hadn’t run to my full potential at the time due to factors outside of my control.

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October 7, 2018 – Chicago Marathon – Time: 3:53

I had an amazing first 15 miles running right on track for a nice PR…and then GI issues hit me like a brick wall. I spent about 20 minutes in porta-potties and ended up running more distance running off the course to and from the bathrooms. It was the most unpleasant experience I’ve had while racing and I was very tempted to just drop out since this race was supposed to just be for fun, but being the competitive person I am, I had to finish. I should’ve been running slower; I truthfully shouldn’t have even been running at all only 3 weeks after another marathon. And being dumb, I injured my hamstring and adductor muscle pretty badly by pushing myself too hard after another marathon. Pro tip – if you’re going to all-out race a marathon, it’s not wise to run another one shortly after. This made for a very unenjoyable fall running season running my lowest mileage months in years.

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The Boston Build

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November & December 2018 – Running Funk

I felt out of shape post-injuries and unsure if I would perform well in Boston, let alone if I wanted to even run another marathon. It was a huge mental struggle to get out the door every day and run, especially in the cold, but because it was Boston, I knew I needed to keep showing up.

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January – Polar Vortex & All the Indoor Running

I spent 13 of my running days inside on a treadmill or indoor track in January. I was nervous it wasn’t going to translate to outdoor running and especially not on hills like I would see in Boston. I was also super busy this month as I officially started my LLC, started coaching new athletes, and started a new full-time job, too!

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February – Confidence Building Month

I started gaining confidence as long runs with pace work started to come in around goal marathon pace and speed workouts started touching speeds I hadn’t seen before in training. “I’m fitter than I’m letting myself believe,” was my key takeaway from this month and this month was where my mind finally started clicking with my body.

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March – The WTF Is Happening Month

A huge month both in miles and in mentality. I dealt with my TFL muscle flaring up at the beginning of the month and was so nervous for my half marathon on crazy hills. I was so afraid of failure throughout the weeks leading up to the half and considered dropping out of the race and running a less hilly one. However, I swallowed my pride, just went out to race hard, and I ended up running a nearly 3-minute half marathon PR of 1:32 in a half marathon with 700 feet of elevation gain. This is where I started believing that I was more than in shape for my goal at Boston and things just started flowing from there. I was no longer intimidated by seemingly hard workouts on paper, I was just running with fire in my eyes and in my heart. After my 3-hour simulation run averaged goal marathon pace, I knew my body had truly done something special this cycle.

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April – The Reflection

I recently realized that out of the entire training cycle I only missed 1 run due to the stomach flu. I showed up every single day in every possible kind of weather and I am feeling my strongest going into Boston. This has been a life-changing cycle for my running. When you start doing things for yourself and not to prove anything to anyone else, special things can happen. I’m so excited to pin on that Boston bib and to run the course I’ve dreamed about for years. I’m not sure what the weather will be like, but I’ll be showing up to the start line ready to do what I trained to do – to race my heart out because this is Boston and my time has come.