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My Running Story: From My 2017 Chicago Marathon Story

Why are you running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
I'm so excited to run Chicago.  I'm from Detroit and I love visiting the city.  I have a long-term goal of running the Abbott World Marathon Majors; Chicago will be my first.  I'm also so excited to train for and run this race with my best friend, training partner, and coach.  We've run together for a long time, but this is the first time we actually get to race 26.2 together.

What are you looking forward to on race day?
I'm really looking forward to running with my best friend.  I'm also really grateful we get to share this day with our husbands.  My husband, Jason, has supported my journey since I decided to start racing again in 2013.  He has Type 1 Diabetes, but he laced up along side me and runs 5k-13.1.  He's my support team when I run 26.2, and seeing how proud he is and knowing he's out there, waiting for me, makes my heart happy.

Who or what inspires you to run?
My husband, Jason, inspires me.  He has Type 1 Diabetes, but he doesn't let it stop him from running anything from a speedy 5k to a half marathon.  He runs to stay healthy.  I run to stay healthy for him.  One day, he's going to need me to be strong, mentally and physically.

My 3.101 (couch to 5k) runners from RUNdetroit inspire me so much!  As their coach, seeing their excitement when they ran-walked their first 3 miles without stopping was an incredible feeling.  I've never been so proud.  It's easy to forget how hard those first months of running can be.  Coaching them put it all in perspective.  One mile at a time.

How would you describe yourself as a runner?
Happy legs, happy heart! As long as I'm out there, I'm happy. There's never a bad run. I'm just grateful for everything running has given me.

That being said, I'm competitive. I want to be the best I can be, and I'm 110% willing to put in the hard work. My goal in my first marathon was to qualify for Boston. I qualified, but with only 6 seconds to spare, so I didn't get to register in 2017. However, I DID get to use that time to register for Chicago! I qualified again this April, with 2:45 to spare, so I'll hopefully get to run the race in 2018!

What does running mean to you in your life?
Running allows me to live life to the fullest. It's my adventure. It's the song of my heart. It showed me who I really am. It's helped me open up. It's taught me what true passion is. It helps me express my emotions. It helps me write. It makes me more creative. It's brought me my only adult friends. My husband and I run together, and the family that runs/races/sweats/suffers/fails/triumphs, stays together. Running makes me feel strong and empowered. Running makes my heart beat.

Do you remember the first time you ran? How did it feel? Did you ever imagine you would tackle the marathon distance?
I NEVER thought I'd run a marathon, let alone four! I loved running half marathons so much. I swore I'd never run a full because I wanted to keep getting faster at 13.1. But my best friend is an incredible runner. She was out there, training for Boston and NYC, and seeing her run those longer distances gave me the bug. Now I'm hooked!  Seeing the direct correlation between effort and improvement is a strong motivator. The marathon is a BEAST, and I know I still haven't figured it out.

I remember when I started running in high school. It was tough, but gave me time by myself. I felt free. In retrospect, I wasn't all that good, but, luckily, no one said anything negative and I just kept running. I do remember one time when a friend's mom saw me running on the treadmill at the Y. My friend later told me her mom asked why I bothered to run just 10 minutes? What was the point? In "normal life," I would have let that upset me and hold me back. In running, it became fuel for the fire.

What is the best life advice you have ever received and how does it translate to running the Marathon?
“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” (Mark Twain) If only I could be fast enough to run competitively! I don't know how you could train for a marathon if you didn't love it. 26.2 demands so much of the human body, soul, and mind. I run 50 miles/week, meditate, eat well, strength train, stretch and roll, get massage, supplement, hydrate, manage anemia, listen to podcasts, read books, etc. I don't know how you'd do all that if you didn't love running. The marathon has beaten the you-know-what out of me, in spite of how hard I trained. I can't imagine trying to run 26.2 unprepared!

I also can't imagine why you'd want to. Running has shown me that you CAN find something in your life that you're truly passionate about. It's out there; it does exist, and I'm grateful I've found it. In return for all it gives me, I give it the respect, love, and dedication I feel it deserves.