The most common response I get when I tell people that I am training for a marathon is, “Good for you! I could never do that!” I used to think that, too, but in the last 5 years I’ve run 34 races including 11 half marathons and 3 full marathons. I train year round – in the rain, in the snow, in the sweltering sun. I don’t love every run. That’s ok! I skipped today’s run.

Near the end of my first year teaching I decided I needed a release, so I tried running. The first time I went out for a run, I couldn’t make it 2 miles. I had a close friend, Jeannette, starting to run at the same time. Throughout the spring and summer we slowly started increasing our mileage. I found that running allowed me to zone out and decompress from all the emotional labor of working in a school. In August, we decided to sign up for a half marathon on a whim. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I knew I wanted to try. Jeannette and I ran together after work twice a week and did a long run each weekend. There were days I didn’t want to go, but Jeannette pushed me out that door. And I did the same for her. Running together is truly what got me through the training and solidified my habit of running regardless of the weather. On March 14, 2015 I ran my first half marathon. I was hooked. I signed up for my first marathon the next day.

One of my favorite things about running is the community. Most races, I find a pace group and stick with them. I am so grateful for the pacers in every race I run! Pacers provide me with inspiration, motivation, and camaraderie. During my first Gazelle Girl race I ran with a pacer who had just finished the Boston Marathon less than a week earlier. During my most recent half marathon, I ran with a pacer who has completed 85 (EIGHTY FIVE!!) marathons in the last 10 years. During my fastest marathon, I relied on that pacer to keep me on track. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to provide that support for others!

I run with a local run club most Saturdays. Most of the time, I’m the only woman running with the group. I love that Gazelle Girl encourages women to run and to push themselves further than they thought possible. If you had asked me five years ago if I would be training for my fourth full marathon I would have laughed – but here I am! I’m excited to run with all of you beautiful people on April 19th!